Yesterday I spent some of my St. Patrick’s Day weekend spectating at a Paraguayan Motocross … It turned out to be a Velocross actually …. I don’t know if we have them in Europe, but apparently the difference between a motocross and a Velocross is that there are no jumps in the Velocross.
Anyway, off I went with my friend Gustavo and his son Guiliano to a little pueblo called Nueva Italia 45Kms south of Asuncion, in Paraguay, in his white Ford Mustang. That was interesting at times because the Mustang is not exactly built for off-road duties and the final approach to the motocross track was about 10 Kms of dirt roads. The Mustang managed well.
Gustavo’s brother was racing in the ‘Seniors’ class … and it turned out, ‘Seniors’ means over 35 … Like me, he qualified for that class about 20 years ago! And he wants me to suit up for the next outing?? … Obviously it would be lunacy … of course … I’m too old …. and I really shouldn’t ….
Anyway, there was a large community of Motocross enthusiasts, with a purpose built track in the middle of the sugar cane fields, and a schedule of races in various different classes already in progress. It was great fun and the health and safety regulations that save you from danger (and from having fun at times) in Europe, didn’t really exist. Not in the same way anyway.
The first thing I noticed was that children on mini-bikes with 50cc 2-stroke engines were flying around the paddock and public areas … you needed to be careful not to get a ‘mini-yamaha’ shin adjustment! The second thing I noticed was that some of the riders had bog-standard trail bikes with the lights and indicators removed. I liked that – no money – no problem, “run-what-ya-brung”, although there were a lot of good bikes too. The third and most interesting thing was that all the body armour that I am accustomed to as a rider, and that makes you look like an American Footballer on steroids, was optional. That is to say – if you don’t have body armour, then race in your tee-shirt and jeans! ….
One guy in particular caught my eye … He was wearing soft running shoes, a tee-shirt, jeans and his trusty steed was a 100cc comuter bike complete with original mudguards. 10 out of 10 for courage …. was was trailing last by the end of the first lap and clearly, his objective was to get to the end of the third and final lap, before he was lapped. He didn’t make it. But he seemed to be having a hell of a time – the world needs those guys … nothing is a problem for them.