Opinion

Spec ECU Again?

The renewed suggestion from Carmelo Ezpeleta, that a spec-ECU needs to be forced onto the manufacturers, has crossed over from "concerning" to insulting, disturbing, and offensive. For some background on my opinion, I'd like to refer you to my thoughts at the beginning of the year.

The pervasive or ubiquitous use of the phrase "traction control", when speaking of a problem with the quality of MotoGP racing, is a red herring, at best. Second only to the even more nebulous "electronics", it is now used as a pejorative, intended to suggest that the riders are not in control of their machines and that this is somehow the fault of everyone but the governing body for the sport. Every team is confronted with the same issue: the electronics are more intrusive in the 800cc era so that the bikes can finish the races on artificially small fuel loads.

I'll put this another way, in order to be more blunt: attempting to call this "traction control" is fraudulent. Rev-limiters and throttle-limiters functioning as fuel misers have overlapping benefits with traction control mapping, but the objectives are different. As Jorge Lorenzo has shown us, a bike can still high side while "thinking" it is saving fuel and "controlling traction". Anyone suggesting that a spec-ECU is the solution to overly paternalistic electronics, or excessive cornering speed, is (L-Y-I-N-G) not telling the truth. A rough equivalent would be to feed a child only rice and water and then begin to lament that he or she is problematically thin. Believing that a subsequent change to "homogenized rice" will solve the problem would be considered sophistry by anyone observing from the outside. This is obfuscation, and an inquiry into motive is begged...

Back to top

Make Sure You See The 2008 Laguna Seca MotoGP Race

If you haven't already seen the 2008 Red Bull US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, then make sure you do, as quickly as possible. Beg, borrow, steal a copy of the race. Head on over to MotoGP.com and sign up for the rest of the season package, just so you can watch the race online. Whatever they're asking, just pay them, because it's worth it. That race was a piece of history. If you love motorcycle racing, or even if you only have a mild interest in motorcycle racing, watch that race.

Back to top

Where NOT To Stay If You're Visiting Assen

As I've alluded to in several items on this site, modern racetracks have a hard time. Once built out in the sticks, away from the masses, urban sprawl has meant that houses have gotten ever nearer to the circuits, and as a consequence, complaints have started to increase. The more astute among you may want to point out that those new residents must surely have been aware of the existence of the circuit before buying their home, but that fact doesn't seem to stop people from complaining.

While such complaints might be regarded as rather stupid, some complaints are even worse. Like many other circuits, the TT Circuit in Assen has suffered increasing complaints from neighboring properties. Among the most vocal of these has been a local campsite and recreation park, Camping Witterzomer. Understandable as it may be for a recreation park to complain about noise from an adjacent racetrack - one that has been there for 53 years, a good deal longer than most of the other business in the area - it would seem rank hypocrisy for the same campsite to try to attract business from the very race fans whose activities they despise.

Yet that is exactly what is happening. The owners of Camping Witterzomer have put a good deal of time, money and effort into legal proceedings to limit the activities at the racetrack, including trying to prevent the Champ Car series from running at the track. The mass of complaints and procedures has culminated in the canceling of 20 track days and the KNMV Cup, a Dutch club race series aimed at offering riders a cheap and safe way into racing, and taking their first steps on the track in a safe and organized way.

Back to top

Pages