I want to believe in Ben Spies


Ben Spies has beaten Noriyuki Haga and secured the World Super Bike (WSBK ) Championship in Portimao. It's surprising to see Haga fizzle out at the end of this season after holding off Spies down to the wire. That's racing in the big leagues, with all those little surprises that come with it. In today's racing in Portimao, Haga  fell off his Ducati 1098R in Race 1, creating a situation that required Spies to finish within the top six in race 2 to win the championship. So many commentators had been wishing this outcome it seemed almost inevitable Spies would win the SBK, before transferring his much heralded talents to MotoGP. Since this win represents another victory for Yamaha manufacturers in both WSBK and MotoGP , he'll also be representing Monster Yamaha Tech 3 as Colin Edwards' new team mate at MotoGP's finale in Valencia.

Unlike many ardent Bike fans who forever sing the praises of Texan Ben 'Elbowz' Spies, I try to refrain from assuming that he will be an instant success when he gets to MotoGP. Firstly, I'm not too familiar with what specifically makes him so unique. I like it when I can determine these things myself rather than being told by some obscure expert. It's only right I remain cautiously neutral on the subject; to borrow a word overused by Gordon Brown when the going was good, “prudence”. When you see brilliance in sport, you need no one to tell you what it is. if you don't believe me ignore the haters and watch Floyd Mayweather Jr train on youtube and form your own judgement. If Ben Spies arrival in MotoGP next year sets the championship alight, then great, but I feel not everyone is as convinced as those who really want it to happen.

I've only watched a handful of MotoGP races over the years because I lack patience. I tend to neglect any sport that's overwhelming dominated by one superior competitor. I make only one exception, golf, and Tiger Woods. In Formula one, the 1990s will only be remembered for Michael Schumacher's legendary brilliance. That's 'wunderbaste' for Herr Schumacher, but absolutely boring for everyone else.

Valentino Rossi initially put me off MotoGP. Firstly, he was the MotoGP equivalent of Michael Schumacher winning everything with hardly any real challenge. Secondly, no matter whom I asked, I couldn't really determine why Rossi hated on Max Biaggi when he was in MotoGP. In fact, if I recall correctly, the first interview I watch with Valentino in London, he said he didn't like Biaggi, but didn't explain why. Over time, I've managed to set aside my pig ignorance and prejudice of MotoGP, and long since acknowledged the brilliance of these biker kids; a bit like a conservative father inevitably accepting his gay son's lifestyle.

There is so much talent in MotoGP, I find it incredibly difficult to accept that Valentino Rossi is still on top. But Rossi isn't just talented, he's also extremely lucky. I see the hunger and in some of Rossi's competition, from Lorenzo, Stoner, Hayden, even Edwards, but like I said Rossi is extremely lucky. All these cats are such talented cats, I don't see how in the hell Spies will make an impact beyond what these guys are already trying to do. James Toseland who's had a torrid time of it in MotoGP said as much while lamenting his own woes moving from 1200cc to 800cc racing.

The word is Spies is a unique talent. I've watched only a handful of races in the WSBK preferring to get to know something about the BSB in gradual stages before I delved into the global world of 1200cc racing; but what I've seen so far I like. What I have seen of Ben Spies seems unclear to me, my untrained eye can't catch what makes Spies the equivalent of a Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenburg, or Casey Stoner. 2010 promises to be an interesting season. Sincere congratulation to Ben Spies, there is no doubt he's atleast generated an extra amount of interest in the WSBK, the question remains whether here can transfer both excitement and talent to MotoGP. Then I might become a true believer in the cult of spies, like that Russian Meerkat in the ad says, simpullzz!

  • It’ll be interesting to see how Spies does in MotoGP, I think he’s going to have to change his riding style.

    I guess we’ll get a glimpse of this at the last round of MotoGP!

  • David Chandler

    Ben is a great rider, all this racing with Mat Mladin definately helped him a lot… Don’t think he’ll break into first 6 in motogp

  • Agreed, MotoGP is a very different beast to WSBK… look at the previous WSBK champs in the past that have made the switch and failed to impress.

  • Andrew K.

    Rossi has won 9 world championships because of “luck”? I wonder if Charles Oladeji thinks Tiger Woods won all those tournaments because of “luck”.

    No, Tiger, wins because of mental strength… where other golfers falter, Tiger capitalizes – just like Rossi. Having the world’s best on your rear tire for 24 laps is enough to break the most talented rider. When golfers look up and see the scoreboard, and those dreaded letters spelling out “WOODS” beneath their name, they crack.

    The same goes for racing… every lap, seeing ROSSI and his decreasing split times on your pit board will eventually wear on you, until you lose pace because of the pressure, or crash out. Just ask Stoner and his “mystery” illness this season, or his handful of bizarre crashes last season when Rossi was on his tail. That’s not “luck”, that’s the mind game that all top athletes participate in… Rossi and Woods just happen to be better at in than anyone else, which is why they are the best.

    If 9 championships doesn’t make that clear to Charles, I don’t know what will. This author is an idiot.

  • Charles the Author,

    @ Andrew K.
    You stike me as the sort of individual who jumps head first into an empty pool. Would you care to read my article again and point out where exactly I suggested that luck was the only or main ingredient to Rossi’s success? And why is it you select Tiger Woods rather than Schumacher? I know what your real issues are, you’re fooling no one. I’m not mad at you for calling me an idiot you’re either a Rossi groupie or too effeminately hysterical to conduct your criticism in a gentlemanly manner….Now kindly F***k O** before you expose yourself to your children as a complete nincompoop.

  • Nico

    This is insulting, you have a guy that do not watch motoGP and he admits he did not watch much WSB, so why is this “journalist” writing this article, which is not an article, you can sum up: I do not know what I am talking about and I do not have an opinion FULL STOP. I can tell you the successfull sites has people that is passionate at what they write about and usually one can see and enjoy that enthusiasm. when I read something, the person who wrote the article must know more than me, not annoy me with boring speech. I know this guy do not ride, but me thinks this “journalist” has never even been on a bike, probably because his golf sticks (or what you call it)do not accomodate.

  • Nico

    so charlie is a new addition to the TCF team, congrats charlie, with such control of your vocabulary I am much impressed. we can see you are a cut above the rest, no really you are, I mean such gentlemanly swearing, must mean you are a real man, you do not have to watch or know anything about what YOU write, not like those pantsies that actually pilot those machines, mwaaa ha ha ha…. lets see his next set of word gymnastics, check this I am going to tell him I am South African, now sit back and enjoy THIS…..

  • Charles the Author,

    @ little nico
    pardon me if you find my erudition a threat. If I did not have any detractors then I suppose I would not be doing something right. However, I’m curious as to what exactly is your beef? Is it because you feel inadequate and need to raise the bar a little in your life? why not write your own article with a structured opposing point of view rather than hide like a coward behind ad hominem attacks. furthermore, your background means very little to me but since you’ve brought it up I must ask, do you think your being SOOT EFRIKAN makes you the Great White Hope? Tread softly SOOT EFRIKAN, and be careful what you wish for….C***S****k**!!

  • ElBigonio

    Why were you selected to write this article sir? The site has enlisted a neophyte to write an article about a subject completely outside of his grasp by his own admission. For what purpose? Pulp? Had you actually shown the prudence you profess and dug into the story you would have learned that this is someone at the pinnacle of his sport achieving things that have not been seen in the 20 plus year history of this series. In doing so he has attracted throngs of American and other fans from around the world who had previously not payed so much attention to WSBK racing. To do so in the current severely depressed state of the worlds economy is truly lightning in a bottle for a series promoter! That is why he is being sent to MotoGP. A series that, outside the Valentino Rossi phenomenon is struggling for its very survival. They need something other than Rossi to sustain the series when Rossi finally hangs up his leathers. People like Jorge Lorenzo, Marco Simoncelli and Ben Spies are that something. Do yourself a favor and watch the Valencia race you just might learn something!

  • JT

    I’ve read less than a handful of the author’s articles because I lack patience. I tend to neglect anyone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. This was one of the worst articles concerning motorsports that I have ever read. I want my 30 seconds back.

  • Charles the Author,

    @ Elbigonio
    Thank you for your advice I have watched some races and I did say I had an untrained eye, I’m writing strictly from that perspective, and if you wanted to read the same ol’ “praise of Spies” you should have gone somewhere else, I’m sure there are loads of sycophantic websites dedicated to those Americans now paying attention to the WSBK, hypnotised by that ol’ “bottle lightning”. All the same I thank you.

  • Charles the Author,

    @ JT
    Now, I bet you thought you were being clever when it took you 30 seconds to read my article and 3 hrs to write these lines.
    It’d too much to ask you stay classy, so, I’ll set the bar lower, and ask you to at least be original.

  • Charles the Author,

    @ All
    This article was a satirical and self deprecating view of biking from, (as one portentous commentator called me) a neophyte to Bike Racing. (neophyte?)
    It has however inadvertently exposed a few people as being rather thin skinned about Bikers who will always be second rate racers compared to Open Wheel,and Touring Racers.It stated nothing as fact but asked questions. Curiously, I haven’t had one critic ask me to view a particular riding technique or view a video of Ben Spies on a MotoGP bike excelling himself…why? because a lot of these critics hardly understand the technical aspects of bike racing themselves…my article is proudly unpretentious. I now understand that a lot of my critics are nothing but dilettantes. Really, who cares? Neophyte my Arse.