If life imitates art, art imitates racing. The 2018 Moto3 race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria had the emotional range of the greatest works of man’s invention. There was triumph and heartbreak, unlikely odds overcome, and seemingly cruel injustice. The best racing promises unpredictability. At the mercy of fate, riders flourish or falter. They cloak themselves in unalloyed self-confidence or seeping self-doubt.
One of the pleasures of the junior classes of grand prix racing is to witness the brazen acts of youth and the hardly contained emotions that often get the better of them. Daring passes fueled by desperation are the currency to pay for potential greatness. Every race showcases maneuvers where, as Casey Stoner once said of Valentino Rossi (just imagine!), “Ambition outweighs talent.” For young men ranging from their teens to early 20s, the emotions of racing are not subdued. To see their exuberant victory celebrations and their disappointment-wracked figures crumple as their hopes are dashed in defeat confirms one of racing’s greatest merits. It exposes humanity for what it is: hopeful, strong, defiant, afflicted.
Emotions are manifested in degrees of self-doubt or self-belief. When the checkered flag flew at the at the Red Bull Ring, the young men atop the podium personified belief, unbelief, and disbelief.