"My Take" On The Differences Between Europe And America
Written by: Dave Despain
Charlotte, NC – 5/19/2003
I'm asked a lot if I think this or that form of racing (and I've
heard everything from rally to motocross) will ever be as popular in America as it is in Europe. My answer is always "No" because there's a big difference between America and Europe.
It's the difference between the Autobahn and the Montana Interstate speed limit, which marked the death of common sense in U.S. transportation.
Europe is different...it's the difference between scooters filtering to the front at stoplights then going on their way when the light changes, and road rage maniacs shooting each other in stop-and-go logjams.
...the difference between Italian stuff and most of what we get from Detroit and Japan. The word you're looking for is "passion."
It's the difference between people who can't grasp the "Keep Moving" sign beside the right turn lane, and people who don't need that sign in the first place.
...the difference between parking your bike next to four old men who walk over and comment on the make and model, then drop the name of the '50s GP star who made the brand famous, and pulling into the same spot here and noticing the old men edge away a couple steps (except for the one who yells, "Wow, is that a Harley?").
It's the difference between automotive performance that only exists in TV commercials, and the same thing found every day, in real life - and appreciated, not looked down on.
...the difference between seeing one comin' fast in the mirror and moving right, and not having looked in the mirror since your last make-up job.
In Europe, the majority of people "get" this car and motorcycle thing. The American masses don't. Responsibility lies with a dumbed down, National Nanny, lowest common denominator Transportation Bureaucracy that insures a driver's license to anyone who can fog a mirror, then mandates a bags-and-belts cocoon to protect them when they run into each other, which is inevitable because they have no idea what they're doing out there.
Bottom line...a culture that can't grasp "slower traffic keep right" is not fertile ground for the growth of sophisticated forms of motor racing. If you live here and you "get" it, savor your place among the enlightened few, but don't expect the guys around the water cooler to share your appreciation of the German Touring Car series.