Monday, 28 January 2013

Contemplation



I'm still feeling pretty moved, as well as still very sad, about what happened to Kevin Ash. I've been reading around on various forums the many tributes rightly paid to him as a person, and to his work. Some commentators, who know nothing, suggest that motorcycle journalists are bound to have accidents as they are reckless, and speed, and show off. There is a minority like that - maybe the some of the younger ones with little real world riding experience, and who are prepared to leave their common sense behind when they sign the manufacturer's disclaimer. I've ridden in groups on launches where some of the riding has been appalling, and simply dangerous. I tend to sit at the back, let the would-be Valentino Rossis go up front, and concentrate on riding, and learning about the machine I'm sat on. Kevin was quick when he wanted to be but very measured. I liked to sit behind him at times because his riding was smooth and predictable, so though I don't know any details of his accident, he more than anyone knew how to ride safely. A quote I read on advrider.com from another British journalist that was on site for the BMW launch said this, and I know how he feels:

"...I’ve been getting more than a little spooked lately at press intros. Or should I say “the journalist GP”. I’ve been at a point of not wanting to click into the mode needed to run with the pack. It’s been invading my confidence and I’ve spent a lot of days thinking “I don’t want to ride this fast on a public road anymore”. I’ve seen them fall before. Kevin was a great guy. Mild mannered, polite, one of the boys. Good at this job, always with a good word. He will be missed...."

Sometimes though, the unpredictable can happen, quickly. On one launch last year, some big silencers were detaching from their mounting points, and dropping off, while we were riding, fast. We pulled over, and Kevin's had already lost its nut. "That's it, we're not going on," he said, very rightly, and with concern for the rest of us in the group, to the guy leading the group. And then we scrabbled around by the side of the road, in the verges, until we found some wire. "That'll do," he said, and he proceeded to expertly bodge the big silencer back on to the bike, safer than it was before. And then he checked everyone else's too. Good bloke.

In contrast,  I read a post the other day on a one-marque owners' forum by someone who seemed proud that he saved himself a measly 4 quid by sneakily photographing complete articles in bike magazines, then putting it back on the shelf. This person wanted so much to read and gain from the opinion and experience that someone like Kevin Ash would risk his life for to impart, but didn't want to pay for it. And that's just sad.

1 comment:

Gregory Bender said...

Sad, indeed. I couldn't agree more.