Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Win on Sunday, sell on Monday - mimitig

At the end of last season Ducati pulled off an astonishing coup. They brought Superbike rider Troy Bayliss into MotoGP for the last race of the year, and he won. In the off season, they were equally bold and signed the exciting young Australian Casey "crash and burn" Stoner into their team. His first season in grown-up MotoGP had been pretty mixed. One podium, some promising rides, but a lot, a real lot of throwing it off the track crashes. Honda were maybe not able to bring out his best. We are only 3 races into the new season, and already "Advance Australia Fair" has rung out, with Casey on the top step of the podium. Twice.

Something is working very well indeed for Ducati. Their "old boy" Loris Capirossi, rode a fabulous race today to take the third step on the podium. The adjective "dominant" is being used about Ducati's performance. OK, it's very early in the season to start making predictions about the whole year and the championship, but when a small, independent manufacturer can pull out the stops in this way and produce the goods for Stoner and Capirossi to win and take 3rd, and to have resources enough to supply a completely privateer outfit, d'Antin, with the equipment to get Alex Barros, yes, THAT Barros, up to a fourth place finish, you have to admit there's a bit of a wow factor.

Honda have more bikes in the field than anyone else. Yamaha have become used to being top dogs by dint of having the bike meister, Rossi, and the tactics and technical guru, Burgess, at their disposal and yet this weekend, both these big big guns were embarrassed by the comparative minnows, Ducati.

Could it be, perhaps, that by being top dogs in racing for such a long time now, Honda and Yamaha have lost the plot a wee bit? Ducati have very obviously kept their eye sternly on the reason for going racing on a Sunday. Win, and we sell bikes next week.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Blogasbord - Offgrass and Greenside

The Pakalolo Tavern is empty. An Irish jig on the juke-box. Sounds of cutlery and dishes and diverse appetising odours coming from the kitchen.

Offside comes in through the kitchen swing door, laden with dishes and odours. He sets them on the bar.

Offside (shouting): Ingrid! How's the couscous?

Ingrid (from kitchen): The doctor said it would be better soon!

Offside arranges the dishes on the bar, steps back, looking satisfied. He dives back into the kitchen, and comes out again almost immediately, carrying more dishes, some of them steaming. He sets them down hurriedly, opens the tap to run cold water over his hands.

The main door opens to let in Greengrass, a spring in his step and a guitar slung over his shoulder. He saunters to the bar and eyes the food on display.

Greengrass: Smorgasbord?

Offside: Sort of. (to kitchen, shouting) Ingrid! Hurry with that couscous. Greengrass is here already, the others won't be long now.

Greengrass: What's the occasion?

Offside: None, really. I just want to put some food into the lads and lasses. It's been a long season-a-bloggin', and now we're coming to the run-in, so they need sustenance.

Greengrass examines the dishes suspiciously. He stoops to take a closer sniff at the stuff.

Greengrass: No tapir this time?

Offside: No, all gone. Mimi finished it. Hey don't touch that, wait 'til everyone's here. Er, I would leave that one alone if I were you, that's cojones de toro, strictly for our Argentine guests. Unless you're feeling really adventurous, of course. (pause) What's with the guitar? You're going to give us a tune?

Greengrass: Haven’t you seen the posters?

Offside: I told you - they’ll be along soon.

Greengrass: No, don’t be daft - not that lot! The posters for my performance: they’re all over the village.

Offside: Performance?

Greengrass: Nine o’ clock! At the Wheel Tapper’s Arms - Selected Ditties of Atahualpa Yupanqui. I’ve translated the works of the Master into Lancashire Dialect. Ingrid will be along to harmonise if she’s better.

Offside: Better?

Greengrass: She was poorly yesterday - had a frog in her throat, poor lass.

Tweet it, digg it