HOODOOS & GOATS...
My pen pals have me here – I didn’t expect Casey Stoner to take the Win @ Jerez for a bunch of reasons & said so to them. Despite being “fastest” & Jerez in Testing in late March, since Dorna stuck their big oar in & dumped an extra 4 x KG on all the “factory” machines – a fact the Teams themselves seemingly weren’t aware of because the Rule Meeting notes & reports were “distorted”?
Stoner has complained bitterly he has been hampered & adversely affected by “chatter” & it seems he wasn’t alone with this. Also, his “arm pump” was back, albeit not as bad - & neither he nor anyone else was happy about the tyre situation. Couple all this with that historical Jerez “hoodoo”& struggling into 5th in Qualifying & he wasn’t looking or sounding at all like his happy camper self. The stars weren’t aligning – more of a total eclipse! My apologies, Champ – your talent, fighting qualities & guts carried you through. Turning up the wick to drop down to 1.40.285 from a string of 1.40.88’s & 1.40.66’s on stuffed tyres – just when everyone thought you were toast coming into that 2nd last Lap & totally demoralising Lorenzo was just genius. Well done!
I see we are debating the entire GOAT issue all over again. As I have opined numerous times, comparisons are odious – especially from differing eras – BUT – when Valentino Rossi or anyone else retires with 9 x World Championships & doesn’t go near a motorcycle for 11 years – then jumps back on one to Win the IOM – not just once – but twice – on a 4-Stroke Ducati 900 SS & then a 2-Stroke RG500 Suzuki - maybe they are eligible to stand up there with my GOAT - Stanley Michael Bailey Hailwood, MBE & George Medal (2 April 1940 – 23 March 1981)- aka – “MIKE THE BIKE “. He was an absolute gentleman - liked & loved by all – including his closest rivals.
In 1968/69, Honda decided they’d had a gutsful of the FIM & left GP’s, paying Hailwood a poultice NOT to ride for anyone else. The plan was to grab him when they returned but this didn’t happen for another 10 years. Bored & restless, Hailwood went to cars, winning the European F2 Championship & ultimately going to FI, where his best result was a 4th place before being badly injured in the 1974 German GP.
When he was actually racing the Ducati in the IOM, there was an F1 Practice going in Europe at the same time. When it was suddenly realised Hailwood was winning, all radios were tuned to the IOM race coverage & the F1 Practice simply stopped. When the IOM Race was over - big, boofy motor-noters & F1 blokes applauded & cried – they cursed & cried again too, as many of us did, when he was killed @ just 40, along with his & Pauline’s 9 year-old Daughter - such was the high regard for this absolute colossus of our sport. RIP, Mike & Michelle. Cheers