BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
THE KENTUCKY DERBY & FLAT TRACK MOTORCYCLE RACES:
HORSES AND MOTORCYCLES
To make sense of this little short piece an explanation might be helpful. The Beanery Writers Group meeting our facilitator and co-founder sends us a weekly prompt to assist us with writing something for the meeting. For the first May meeting she offered the recent Kentucky Derby as the subject. She asks us to think about the subject, formulate a piece and write the results in just seven minutes. This is the result.
The second hand will be up to the twelve in five seconds. There it is—so now seven minutes to write. The Kentucky derby is the subject, but I have no interest in it. Nancy (my partner) is into the whole thing though. She watched it off and on through the day.
I thought the track was perfect for a flat track motorcycle race. Back in the day most of the flat tracking was done on horse tracks. They can be very exciting to watch. Holding a bike up with a steel shoe while going sideways at just over a hundred is pretty ballsy stuff—especially given there are bikes all around you, just inches away, doing the same thing. Way more exciting than watching horses.
I have a problem with horses. They are just poorly designed. Their center of gravity is way too high. They are sprung so stiff just the act of running sends shock waves right up the rider’s spine. You could never sell a car sprung that way. In fact Ralph Nader could write another book about a car that steers like a horse, which under-steers badly and can easily flop on its side if over controlled. Any mechanical engineer worth his salt could easily design a better horse for riding.
My seven minutes has gone into twelve so I will stop. I’ll go back and review what I wrote and try to clean it up. I have some really long sentences that I know need to be shortened. I just hope it doesn’t take too long. It’s 11:30 pm and I’m tired.
NOTE: Did this excite some curiosity about flat tracking? Want to know more? Find a copy of the 1971 Bruce Brown movie, On Any Sunday, and watch it. The sequences talking about the AMA Pro Flat track competition is the best documentation there is. The movie is long but it is exciting and you won’t be bored. —Bob