Talk to the Robe!
By The Robe!
You have questions? Well, so do we, and if we don't know the answer we'll do what we can to find it. Oftentimes, the answer will be a light-hearted insult directed at the questioner. It's simple psychology, really: By insulting you, I somehow feel better about myself. It's a scenario that gets played out in schoolyards across the world on a daily basis and why should I pretend to be any better than a 12-year old?!
Ok, let's see what's in the 'ol mail bag this week, shall we...
First off, I want to congratulate Greg Wilhelm for winning the SCOTT prize for the month of March. For sending in a question he was entered into the monthly swag draw and last month ‘Talk to the Robe!’ was sponsored by SCOTT. Please keep sending in your questions for your chance to win! April is ARSON Month, so send in your questions to be entered to win an Arson prize pack.
Dearest Mr. Robe,
You've travelled all over North America and the world the past few years chasing your own moto dream. You’re an innovator and a man who gets things done. Your impact on moto as a fan has been appreciated. Focusing on your world tours, but mostly North America, is there one moto facility or event that you've been to and thought, "That’s how a moto race should be!!"?? What did it for ya, Mr. Robe? What can you pass on to facilities/events that can't quite seem to get the crowds they want or the return on their investment?
Appreciate your consideration for question of the week, kind Sir. And I say ‘Sir’ because at 5'6" you definitely tower over me!
C-Dot, Ontario, Canada
I suppose people are going to find this a little fishy that not only did you win the SCOTT prize last month, but I am now answering your question. Well, if it smells like a fish, quacks like a duck, and has smoke coming from its barrel, I wouldn’t worry about it.
Thanks for your kind words and as soon as I read your question, two events popped into my mind: the 2007 MXdN at Budd’s Creek and last summer’s Riverglade national. Actually, the MXdN in Italy is top of my list, but you want to hear about North America.
You ask me what I can pass on to help other places achieve similar levels of greatness and the answer is easy and comes in the form of two suggestions: 1) Offer gates full of the best (arguably) riders in the world for a one-off race and 2) Create some hype before your event to make people feel they need to be there to see what all the excitement is about.
You can’t go wrong when you attend a MXdN. The one I attended in Italy was even more amazing, but you asked me to stay on our continent. Seeing fans and riders from every corner of the world on exotic bikes has to be seen to believe! Honestly, it’s amazing and I’m going to do everything I possibly can to get to Belgium this coming year.
Last summer in Moncton was awesome. There were so many people there that we were actually bumping into each other! Like I mentioned above, a crowd draws a crowd. It’s simple marketing, really: Make it seem like something really big is going on and it will attract even more people. People, in general, are lemmings—we want to be where cool stuff is going on (even if it involves following the crowd off a cliff to your death), sometimes for no other reason than to say we were, and we will, therefore, follow a crowd. Stand in the middle of a bunch of people some time and point up. One after another, individuals will stop and look up. No, it’s not the exact same thing, but it’s pretty fun to do.
Year after year, moto fans talk about how great the Riverglade event was. Is the track any better than the rest? No. Are Maritimers any better than the rest? Maybe. Is the track located in closer proximity to major population? Absolutely not. Is the weather nicer than the rest? No. Is Riverglade located beside an outdoor concert that attracts thousands and thousands of people the night before every year? Um, yes. Are the bathroom facilities any better than the rest? No.
I guess it’s sort of like if the Rolling Stones came to play in your hometown. Maybe you aren’t the biggest Stones fan in the world, but you’d probably go just because you know it will be the place to be that night and everyone, given the chance, should be able to say they saw the Stones live, no? A crowd attracts a crowd! The hard part is how on earth do you attract that original crowd to build on each year. The Robe isn’t a marketing genius for goodness sake!
Seriously though, get to a European MXdN!
Why, in your professional paid journalist opinion (I’ll make the jokes here!) does every mx guy under 30 find it necessary to get a tattoo? Is it fad, culture, or just a reminder of how badass it is to ride a dirtbike?
Dear I’m Not Touching This One,
I’m going to tread lightly here because I know an awful lot of people who I would call friends who have tattoos (and one of them is a 3rd degree black belt!). Although they may not be for me, they seem to do it for a ton of people these days, don’t they? My problem is I don’t know if I’m passionate about anything enough to commit the rest of my life to it! Seriously, what am I 100% sure I’m going to be into for the rest of my life??? Well, maybe air, food, and water. That would make a sweet bit of ink, no? “Food.”
I actually saw a guy at the beach last summer with a big “Git ‘er Done!” tattoo across his shoulders. That one and my buddy’s “Bad Boy Club” tattoos are good examples of what I mean when I say I don’t think I could commit to anything and be sure it would be ‘cool’ down the road.
This just might be the best 'Tattoo' ever! (Google Herve Villechaize, Bowker)
They found a frozen Iceman that dated back to around 3300BC and scientists actually think some of the markings on his body are tattoos! In fact, they found about 58 markings on his body and have concluded they were put there on purpose. Explorer, James Cook, took the word from the Polynesians back in the late 1700s. The original word is “tattau” and it means “to mark.” Bottom line is that you are not being an original by inking-up your body.
Anyway, I understand fashions come and go—hula hoops, Rubik’s Cubes (which I could finish in 47 seconds), mullets, designer jeans, fanny packs, tricked-out pit bikes, boot gators, acid wash, flat-brimmed hats, and the internet—but showing people what you stand for/believe in with permanent ink just scares me a little. Remember when seeing a Fox Head sticker meant the person in that car was a motocrosser? Well, when you see someone walking around with a tattoo, it doesn’t mean they’re an Iceman…just saying.
It’s like anything else: People always say they want to be different, so they join some group and turn into exactly what the rest of the group is. See: punkers, goth, rockers, nerds, hipsters etc. The best quote I can think of is from Billie Joe of Green Day when he explained what punk rock is:
Someone asked Billie Joe what punk rock is. He grabbed a trash can and threw it, spilling garbage everywhere, and said, “That’s punk rock!” The guy takes another trash can, throws it and asks, “So, that’s punk rock?” Billie Joe replies, “Nope, that’s trendy.”
I can’t really say it any better than that. Tattoos don’t affect me either way, but I definitely don’t think they necessarily mean you’re a badass or anything like that…unless you get neck or face ink done. Now THAT’S badass commitment! See Mike Tyson.
Did you really pass up a date with Kim Bassinger? What were you thinking?
Moncton, New Brunswick
That’s a very long story that has a perfect ‘Dumb and Dumber’ ending. All I will say is that instead of furthering things, I left and went to a Loverboy concert. Yep, classic ‘Dumb and Dumber!’
Definitely my 'Dumb and Dumber' moment.
That’s it for this week. Please keep the questions coming and we’ll do what we can to find some answers. There were a few harder-hitting ones that came in last week that will require a bit of research on my part, so watch for those to be touched on in the future.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone who sends in a question will be entered into the monthly draw and, if we use your question, you will receive some DMX swag in the mail.
Thanks for reading.
Ignite your soul!