A Question Of Taste, or Own A Piece Of Hopper's Crashed Kawasaki

There are many good reasons for working as a marshal or corner worker at motorcycle racing events. You get free access to the track, you get closer to the action than almost everyone except the riders themselves, and you often get a chance to meet the riders and teams in person. Though the pay is usually nothing more than an expense allowance, it's still the best chance most people will have to meet their personal heroes.

When riders crash, there's the double whammy of meeting the riders face to face, and getting to handle some of the most exotic motorcycles in the world. Your job, after all, is to ensure that racing can proceed safely, and part of that job is to retrieve the gorgeous, if now somewhat damaged, MotoGP bikes from the gravel and wheel it off to safety, to be retrieved at a later date. Another fringe benefit which nobody likes to mention is that you occasionally pick up souvenirs from those outings, with parts of crashed bikes taking pride of place on many a corner worker's mantlepiece around the globe.

It appears that the trophy cabinets of some trackside assistants are already rather full. That's one possible explanation for the items which appeared on the Dutch auction site Marktplaats.nl, where somebody is offering parts from the Kawasaki ZXRR which John Hopkins crashed at Assen. The parts include the nose of Hopper's Kawasaki, including his race number, and parts of the fairing side panels with the M for Monster Energy decal showing prominently, all produced from carbon fiber. The parts can only come from someone who worked the corners at Assen, as the place where Hopkins crashed, the Ramshoek, is not accessible to the general public during MotoGP events.

The items are surely a fantastic souvenir, as fairings from MotoGP bikes are not the kind of thing you can normally buy over the shelf. But they also come with a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. The crash these parts came from was very nasty indeed, John Hopkins sliding into the gravel at very high speed, and breaking his ankle against a tire wall (ironically) in front of the marshal's station. So though the price is very reasonable indeed (current asking price is 110 euros), you may not be keen to be reminded of one of the season's nastiest crashes every time you run your fingers over the exquisitely fabricated carbon fiber.


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As reported on Hacking's website (JamieHacking.com) & on SuperbikePlanet.com (SOUP,) Kawasaki AMA Superbike rider Jamie Hacking, will ride the Kawasaki ZX-RR in place of the injured John Hopkins @ Laguna Seca.  Hacking, a former  2X AMA Supersport Champion & an AMA Superstock champ, was very impressive @ Kawaski's Autopolis test track in Japan, setting the track record.  Hacking is having a great season in the AMA SB class aboard the Kawasaki & has been the only rider to regularly challenge the dominating Suzuki duo of Ben Spies & Mat Mladin this season.  I think that Hacking will do as good or better than the great Top 10 finish put in by Roger Lee Hayden @ the 2007 USGP round.  Hayden would've been the natural choice after his great performance last year as a wildcard rider for Kawasaki.  However, major injuries suffered from a crash during qualifying @ the Barber Motorsports Park in week 2, which included a finger having to be amputated, left Hayden unable to ride as a wildcard.  Good luck to Hacker as his excellent test on the ZX-RR combined w/his knowledge of Laguna Seca may seem him give Kawasaki their best finish so far this season in MotoGP.