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#1 brands77

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 09:30

There are a few posts in the forum about Jon Ekerold and I have often seen him being described, in the press, as a "hard" rider. Others of that era who were also similarly described were Takazumi Katayama, Angel Nieto and Yvon Duhamel and these are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. I know there are a few in the forum who raced against them and many who, like me, watched them (although not being a racer myself and being relatively young at the time, I don't think I would have noticed hard riding had it happened in front of me then).

I have always wondered what this actually meant. Does this mean they were determined, prepared to defend (and pass) at all costs, perhaps cross the line in terms of what was acceptable? Is this the same as, say Spencer and Capirossi who both won their titles with "very hard" passes in the final laps of the final race? Is it that they were also tough and uncompromising off the bike too? I have heard Jim Redman described in this way, but I've not seen him referred to as a hard rider. Toni  Mang was often termed determined, but I don't recall anyone referring to him as a hard or tough rider and he is very often referred to as likeable off the bike.

I know it's very subjective, but I would like to hear what others think of why these riders gained such a reputation and others like Spencer and Capirossi didn't. What was it about their riding styles that made them "hard"?



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#2 tonyed

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 21:03

What exactly is meant by 'hard riding'?

Racing is 'per say' a matter of finishing over the line in front of the rider you started on the grid with.

Riding a motorcycle fast is not always a matter of inch perfect precision.

Half a foot wide on entry to a corner and and blokey behind you who has been itching for several laps to get through sees, at last, his one opportunity and dives up the inside.

You suddenly realise you've left six inches of space tighten the line, but too late, blokey's through, but contact is inevitable. 

So who is at fault?

Not blokey as he's been quicker than you for the past few laps but you've blocked his every move.

The fault is with you for being a nadge off line.

You'd have done the same thing.

Hard riding, I think not.    

Was it Capirossi who nerved Harada off all those luverly 250 years ago. Lost his Aprilia ride as a result.

No, Tetsuya had been hanging around for several laps denying Loris the move, and went for that one opportunity - forceful admittedly but a perfectly well executed move.  

I have a photo move me with another rider 'resting' on the tarmac under my front wheel.

Foul he cried in the paddock afterwards - 'too bloody slow' where was  I meant to go?

Reap what you sow  :cry:

Perhaps hard riding is confused with 'ambition'

And as for Marc ' deal it out but can't take it' Marquez good old GOAT  :clap: 

Jon Ekerold was not only a great world champion but did not have to 'dope' the fuel to achieve it.  :eek:  

What it ain't is 'knitting' :smoking:



#3 Michael Ferner

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 08:28

I largely agree with tonyed, "hard riding" is, if anything, a compliment for determination and commitment. Nothing wrong with good old Jonnie Ekerold, he was a super bloke from what I can make out, and definitely wanted to succeed. At all cost? No, I don't think so, but he was prepared to go that extra mile that only those who succeed do. Maybe guys like him or Katayama didn't have quite the same level of competence that marked out other greats as champions from the word go (Roberts, Mang, Spencer), but they made up large bits of that by riding with "a big heart", taking chances that may not always have been well calculated. "Hard riding" against the competition, and sometimes "hard" against yourself (they both had plenty of sheet time to pay for the occasional exuberance!!). Perhaps it's "hard riding" for those at the top who didn't quite have the talent to "make it look all too easy"?

 

I will take issue, however, with tonyed's version of the Harada/Capirossi "incident" - as I remember, Tetsu overtook Loris in the closing laps, and was clearly the faster of the two, he definitely wasn't "denying Loris the move". Capirossi took one desperate chance on the last lap, and it was VERY desperate - if he didn't hit Harada, he'd gone straight on for several miles such was his excess speed. I was very angry about that move at the time, but I have 'mellowed' somewhat over the years. There used to be a "rule of the last lap", meaning you can do things on the last lap of a race that you shouldn't do 'normally', and this was perhaps the ultimate stretch of that rule. I don't think he was happy with that move, but it was his last chance and he took it. Harada was livid, and rightly so - he couldn't have done anything to avoid being hit by a wayward bike!



#4 brands77

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 08:59

In those days we didn't see anything like the amount of racing we see now on tv, so for a someone like me who could only get to Brands and Silverstone (mostly on the bus or train) you could only read about what happened in MCN or MCW. So it is good to hear the opinion of actual racers. FWIW I always admired Ekerold, to win as a privateer on the Bimota against the Kawasakis was a great achievement. For both the Spencer/Roberts and Capirossi/Harada incidents I have only seen clips of them and I think both were unfair, but then I am biased as I favoured Roberts and Harada before the incidents anyway. I always felt Capirossi's first title in the 125s was also "tainted" given that the other Italians ganged up against Spaan. I saw an article, I think in Classic Bike Racer, where Gresini admitted it was the case, but having said that, you've got to be in the position to benefit in the first place I guess.



#5 Michael Ferner

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 10:03

Maybe it's a bit unfair to compare "Fast Freddie" with Capirossi; as I recall Kenny finished second and did not end up in the kitty litter with a brooken arm. That was more of a typical "rule of the last lap" manoeuvre for me, hard and maybe marginal, but overall acceptable.



#6 tonyed

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 11:39


I will take issue, however, with tonyed's version of the Harada/Capirossi "incident" - as I remember, Tetsu overtook Loris in the closing laps, and was clearly the faster of the two, he definitely wasn't "denying Loris the move". Capirossi took one desperate chance on the last lap, and it was VERY desperate - if he didn't hit Harada, he'd gone straight on for several miles such was his excess speed. I was very angry about that move at the time, but I have 'mellowed' somewhat over the years. There used to be a "rule of the last lap", meaning you can do things on the last lap of a race that you shouldn't do 'normally', and this was perhaps the ultimate stretch of that rule. I don't think he was happy with that move, but it was his last chance and he took it. Harada was livid, and rightly so - he couldn't have done anything to avoid being hit by a wayward bike!

I thought that one would get people going :up: Loris could be a bit over the top on occasions, as for the Spaan 'incident' just not enough 'cloggies' to swing the result in Hans favour.
However as we have seen in the past couple of seasons the 'hot heads' are back with a vengeance - Moto3 looks more like 'roller derby' and despite warnings, grid and race penalties there seems to be no let up. Even to the point where one of the worst culprits, Darren Bindit is rewarded with a MotoGP ride. :eek: :eek: What's that all about :confused:
It used to get a bit tasty up into Druids on the first lap at Brands, never quite sure whose bike you'd exit the hairpin on :p

#7 Michael Ferner

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 12:46

About the Spaan 'incident', I wouldn't give it too much thought. I also remember Toni Mang complaining about the French "ganging up" to help JJ Tournadre win the 250cc title in '82, but really, I don't think there's any substance. Of course, Gresini would help his junior team mate, but in racing everybody is his own man (or woman ;)) and only looks after himself. And a good thing it is, too, no nationalistic nonsense - there's more than enough of that around in other sports! (and in other ways of life, too :rolleyes:)



#8 TZ350H

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 11:11

Tony it's difficult to define the term 'hard' in this context but my view is that when you see a 'hard' rider you know what it means.  Without over thinking the issue Bill Ivy, Tom Herron, Jon Ekerold, Alan North, Derek Chatterton and Jeremy McWilliams are names that immediately spring to mind.  Any time I watched any of those guys racing they always looked to be really 'on it'.  Herron, Ekerold and North at the Ulster Grand Prix in 1977 aguably produced some of the hardest riding ever  witnessed at Dundrod.  Ironically super cool super smooth Ray McCullough was quicker than any of them that day and I wouldn't classify him as a particularly hard rider.  



#9 tonyed

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 14:19

So in fact we have come down to the definition of 'hard riding'

Is it:

Opportunistic?

Aggressive?

Dirty?

Stupid?

Arrogant?

 

To me an opportunistic rider might be considered hard as sometimes in the heat of battle the perceived opportunity for a pass might suddenly disappear the split second after it was perceived but by that time it was too late to pull out.  A bit of handabgs - no hard feelings. 

An aggressive rider can be OK as long as he does not become overly aggressive to the point of danger to both parties (often seen in modern racing where crashing appears to have little physical consequence)

Dirty riders will not pull out of a maneuver providing it's them that will not suffer (taking someone's front wheel away) again fairly prevalent in todays 'top class' racing  

Stupid riders don't care about themselves or others and have no place in any form of racing.

Arrogant riders, again have no place in our sport. Those that in modern racing attempt to set a ridiculously fast qualifying lap in the final minute of the 10/15 minutes qualifying that is beyond the capabilities of them and their stead, inevitably crash, and because of the rules (yellow flag if anyone farts) deny others of a faster lap. 'Biting the screen' it is called - the Esparago brothers, Jack Millar, Jorge Martinez, Nakagami - do these people think? When they crash take their fastest lap away. 

 

I am going to make one observation that will upset some (who cares) but the only rider I know who fits all of these scenarios is Marc Marquez a rider who for the good of himself and his fellow competitors should be banned from the sport.

There are some younger riders who have time to learn (perhaps) before they do themselves and others irreparable damage but this clown has had enough time and enough experience to know better.

A very skillful rider but more flaws than the 163 of the Burj Khalifa in the UEA

Quite where TZ350H gets the names of Bill Ivy, Tom Herron, Jon Ekerold, Alan North, Derek Chatterton and Jeremy McWilliams as hard riders I can't think.

​Don't forget in their day it wasn't the luxurious run offs of todays motorway tracks but those lined with (Cur Jackie Stewarts) Armco, 4 inch wooden posts, ex-railway sleepers and in some cases dry stone walls, cliff faces, houses and worse, so an imprudent move may cost the imprudent mover more, physically, than he/she might have bargained for, which can be a great moderator in the game of chance.

I don't want to go back to the 'good old' days of 'death by crashing' (personally a victim of the 'Bomb Hole' at Snetterton, 1978 still suffering today, Oh and and a stone wall in the OM 1977) but a little more consequence to consistently running wide (more than a slap on the wrist, have you seen the new Dianese leathers with the wrist airbag?) such as grass runoffs might help to deter the 'nutters'    

As I said earlier it ain't knitting but it's not suicide/murder either.

 

If you want the definitive of 'hard riding' - how about 1937 TT, Freddie Frith  500 Manx Norton (top speed 120mph) 90 MPH average on roads little better than cart tracks.

NOW THAT'S HARD RIDING 


Edited by tonyed, 20 January 2022 - 08:48.


#10 brands77

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Posted 21 January 2022 - 09:39

I agree with tonyed about Marc Marquez, brilliant as he is, I feel that on too many occasions he places other riders in danger and relies on them backing off so that both of them are safe. I think this is a calculated tactic. In F1, in my opinion, Max Verstappen does the same thing too.

I wonder is it a co-incidence that we have had so many awful accidents with young riders in Moto3 and SSP300 this year? Are the young riders coming through now adopting the same tactics and mentality, as they have seen it at the highest level and assume it must be acceptable? Or am I just an old sofa jockey with outdated ideas or is it probably both??



#11 tonyed

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Posted 21 January 2022 - 11:44

I agree with tonyed about Marc Marquez, brilliant as he is, I feel that on too many occasions he places other riders in danger and relies on them backing off so that both of them are safe. I think this is a calculated tactic. In F1, in my opinion, Max Verstappen does the same thing too.

I wonder is it a co-incidence that we have had so many awful accidents with young riders in Moto3 and SSP300 this year? Are the young riders coming through now adopting the same tactics and mentality, as they have seen it at the highest level and assume it must be acceptable? Or am I just an old sofa jockey with outdated ideas or is it probably both??

I think you are spot on with the observation that the youngsters are aping the moves of riders like Marquez and some others.

It is unfortunate that 'race direction' doesn't have the guts to do something about him.  :down: