Posted by: Jessie | July 26, 2010

Following the Racers


Why am I following these racers now, when I never did before?  Eric first took me to Superbike in 2000.  I did not know what to think, other than “Those motorcycles are very fast.”  My interest picked up a couple years ago when I realized that there was a woman racing.  Eric and I were wandering through the paddock and I saw that one of the racers was a woman.  Jessica Zaluski.  I started following her race results and her race blog online.  Racing was much more interesting when I had someone to cheer for.  The next year, towards the end of the season, I discovered Misti Hurst was another woman racer.  Unfortunately I did not get to follow her because she quit racing after that season.  Jessica Zaluski had a stroke and could not race professionally anymore either.  Then I discovered Melissa Paris.  Last year she finished the Daytona 200 ahead of her husband Josh Hayes.  Wow.  I’ve been following her ever since.  This year there is another new woman in racing.  Elena Myers is only 16 years old.  This is her first year racing professionally. 

So why am I so interested in following women racers?  They usually are not the ones winning the races.  In fact, Elena Myers made history this year when she became the first woman ever to win an AMA Motorcycle race.  I like to follow them because what they are doing in unconventional.  They are following their dreams.  They are not worried about doing what a woman is “supposed” to do.  They are struggling to make it in a field that is dominated by men.  Usually a woman trying to work in a men’s field has to be twice as good at their job as the men in order to get half the credibility.  Usually a women working in a field dominated by men has to deal with sexism and harassment.  These women don’t seem to be concerned with that.  They don’t let anything stop them.  Not even injuries… they just keep on riding.  Me, if I broke my leg, I would not be racing again until it was fully healed.  I would be out for the season.  Not these women.  They are unstoppable.  I really admire their strength and their courage.

Something else I’ve noticed about the races this year that I never noticed before is the camaraderie.  I didn’t see that before.  When I first started watching racing some of the racers seemed like real jerks.  This year these guys who are battling it out for the top three places actually seem to like each other.  I see them shaking hands or patting each other on the back as they are still riding around the track on their “cool down” lap.  I hear them say nice things about each other on the podium.  Now that I’ve discovered Twitter I can get a glimpse into these racer’s personalities.  I’m starting to really dig Josh Hayes.  Mostly I like him for his sportsmanship and for the way he supports Melissa Paris.  By the way, he’s in first place so far for the season, but he doesn’t always finish first, which makes it interesting to watch him race.

I wish Speed TV would be a little better about televising the races.  They used to show motorcycle races on a regular basis, but now they are more like a Nascar channel.  This makes it harder to follow the races.  They won’t televise SuperSport at all.  When they do televise a race they only show the five people out front, so you miss a lot of the race.  Of course, when you go see a race in person you can only see a small part of the track, so you miss a lot of the race that way too.  Anyway, race results can be found here: http://amaproracing.com/rr/events/results.cfm?eid=2010011035  They are published shortly after the race.

I did not take pictures at the autograph session, but Melissa and Josh looked exactly like they do in this picture that I stole from another website.

Picture stolen from here

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