Motorbikes. Motorbikes are great for Cornwall. Although, my motorbike days are long in the past and best forgotten. Or, so I thought, until a few months ago.
Convinced and determined my biking days were long gone and defunct, it therefore came as a complete shock while flicking through the television channels - as I was not in the mood for Vanish “it really works” commercials - when I came upon the Year 2000 500cc Malaysian World Championship Grand Prix. Now known as MotoGP. Something stirred in my stomach that had nothing to do with the iffy tuna fish I’d eaten the night before. The tuna wasn’t really off. I’m the iffy one. Hazard of ME is that you can’t eat what you want. When you have found something that doesn’t leave you comatose within minutes lasting for the whole day and possibly into the next, do not get excited because by the following month your body will probably be rejecting it.
Motorbikes. Easy. Choose your oil. Any type. Motorbikes don’t get ME. Wow! I watched with eyes wide open. The commentator mentioned something about Kenny Roberts. Kenny Roberts? I heard it as Rogers. Had Lucille finally left him? Impressed at this drastic change of career for the old country and western crooner I had to find out more. Moving Ninja to one side, who couldn’t understand anyone getting excited over something that sounded like a swarm of hungry hornets - I sat back and allowed myself to be totally amazed. I was hooked! Ninja too. Judging by the eventual intensity of her purring or was she simply mimicking the bikes. I can do it too. We’d both found a new hobby. Perhaps it would even knock food off the number one spot? Doubtful.
Eagerly we waited for the Suzuka Grand Prix to be broadcast and by the time it came around, Ninja and I were sitting next to each other on the edge of the couch. Fired up, ready and waiting. I was there. Watching. Waiting. That’s me being fired up. And we waited. Concentration is hard at the best of times but after being told for the fourth time by a girl in a bikini how Michelin tyres are the best, my mind began to wander. Snoring reverberating in my ear told me Ninja had lost the will to live and I began to lament how the Japanese could produce the bikes but seemingly not the riders to go with them. On which planet have I been living these past few years? How deliciously wrong did I turn out to be?
He seemed to lean into the corner with the grace of Nureyev only to come out of it kicking like Bruce Lee. He and his bike were not two separate components. They were one. Moulded together from birth.
Norick Abe. He is sheer poetry in motion.
Okay, I admit it. We’re not talking strictly bikes here. Let’s face it - he’s a babe! He definitely has a quality that sets him apart from his competitors as brilliant as they are. Abe has that special something. Not since the groovy days of Barry Sheene, (a now sadly departed seventies icon) has there been someone who not only rides a mean machine but has the decency to look good as well. Placed at number three in the current standings of the 500cc World Championship Grand Prix, he is 100 per cent dedicated to his art. In Mr Abe’s case, it is art.
What’s he doing these days, I wonder...
UPDATE: Norick Abe died in 2007. I’d like to dedicate this blog to the memory of a talented and decent human being.
Norick Abe - 1975-2007