MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Motorcycle racing’s dwindling classics
As MotoGP’s superstars rode out on Saturday night to tweak their black boxes and twiddle with their high-speed rebound adjusters, the world’s greatest motorcycle race was roaring into action 7000 miles away.
Not that anyone seemed to care. While cyberspace was afire with every detail of the final preseason tests outside Doha, the 74th running of the Daytona 200 didn’t even raise a ripple in motorcycling’s Twitter-sphere. It wasn’t even televised.
Not so long ago the 200 really was the world’s biggest bike race. It meant fame and fortune to any rider who could capture the gigantic trophy. Those who have done so include many of the greats: Giacomo Agostini, Steve Baker, Johnny Cecotto, Graeme Crosby, Nicky Hayden, Eddie Lawson, Gary Nixon, Wayne Rainey, Cal Rayborn, Kenny Roberts, Scott Russell, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz and Freddie Spencer.
The race probably meant even more to the factories. It was certainly their biggest marketing opportunity of the year, selling vast numbers of motorcycles in the booming US market and across the world.
Daytona was also the first big race of the season: a sunny Florida signal to everyone – especially fans still shivering in Europe – that the long, cold winter was over.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.