Features 2 Apr 2020

Viewpoint: The relevance of racing

Life without two-wheel sport as COVID-19 places everything on hold.

These are unprecedented times that we’re experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic that has put a pause on our day-to-day life as we know it, including professional sports and, more specifically, motorcycle racing that has been suspended globally.

It’d be difficult to imagine a time like this prior to actually living it, coming to terms that a virus can cause havoc on so many lifestyles, careers and interests in 2020. And we can only hope that these social distancing measures put in place are taken seriously enough to go on and properly flatten the curve, however long that takes.

Weekdays and weekends have essentially merged together as one for many by now and it’s safe to say that the majority of us are as excited as ever to see two-wheel championships resume. It’s a way of life, whether we’re involved directly, consume it or partake in the ongoing discussion points that are built upon race results.

Image: Foremost Media.

In fact, from a road racing standpoint, we would have already been two rounds into MotoGP (with the Americas rounds scheduled for this weekend), three rounds into WorldSBK and two rounds into ASBK. Instead, we’ve only witnessed the joint WorldSBK/ASBK opener, which was thankfully held at Phillip Island a full month ago now.

Is this what life would be like without the sport? I’ve heard many times over the years that the expense of racing can be difficult to justify in terms of marketing, but even at the domestic level it is evident that this current situation is leaving significant gaps in the content landscape. And, as they say, content is king…

Sure, we’re witnessing a heap of interesting archived videos and photos surfacing, plus all kinds of challenges have been taking place on social media, but – in my opinion – none of it has the substance or sheer appeal of broad coverage that stems from current on-track action. That applies to any sport, for that matter.

Whether it be riders, teams, manufacturers, sponsors or the media generating content, the collective momentum that we’re accustomed to every time competitors line up leaves a serious void to try fill. Regardless of if you’re fully engaged or a casual observer along the way, there’s no doubt that racing has a powerful influence on motorcycling.

Image: Supplied.

I may be biased considering racing is our primary focus both as a media outlet and through our company agency, but I’m convinced that this time is making it clear that competition is more relevant than ever in this digital age.

Not only that though, the government restrictions in place and wider medical constraints are now reducing the opportunity of everyday riders getting out on the bike without any subsequent concerns and, of course, that’s completely understandable.

What is important right now is that we support the industry and dealers where we can, as well as each other, while we play the waiting game. By the time bikes are actually lining up again, you can guarantee that we’ll all benefit from the fresh influx of content created on any given race weekend and the perspective that all of this provides.