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Valentino Rossi :: A personal account of some fleeting moments with the GOAT

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  • [Hard Torque]: Valentino Rossi :: A personal account of some fleeting moments with the GOAT

    Have you been that guy in the room who is as good as the other guy and yet is not as popular as him ? In your head you know objectively for sure that you deserve all that adulation and more as the other guy.

    And yet, it doesn't seem to compute so.

    That is the exact feeling that the racers in MotoGP had to face. For almost three decades.

    Because of Valentino Rossi.

    That X factor. No one can quite point out what it is.

    Is x = his charisma?

    Is x = his wonderful objective scorecard ?

    Is x = something supernatural to do with his official number, 46

    Is x = blessings of his parents

    Note that I still write it in present tense. Come the end of 2021 season, it will be the past. Maybe.

    Because, like death is certain but no one wants to accept it as a fact, a huge mass of humanity did not want to accept that one day the number 46 will be deducted from the MotoGP equation.

    That day was 5th of August 2021, when he announced his retirement from MotoGP.

    And that is why, while there have been racers faster than him, more technically correct, with probably more emotionally stirring stories of the insurmountable odds they faced to be in MotoGP - No one has been able to come close to being so porous like Vale. From the upper echelons of corporates like Yamaha and Honda to the tuk tuk guy wearing the 46 cap in Thailand to the innumerable 46 stickers on scooters and motorcycles on the streets of India.

    He was also responsible for single handedly making MotoGP a sport loved by millions around the globe. Memes like ‘I am MotoGP’ were made by the fans and secretly abhorred by his co racers.

    They probably couldn't figure out what was in him.

    They are still scratching their helmets as thousands of fans and journalists pour in their eulogies and pen down their moments, no matter how fleeting they were on social media. Some just letting it sink in without bothering to utter a word.

    And me, I am just one of you. But I am one of the very few blessed by the god. And I think I must be amongst the rarer of the rare to have an amazing moment which has been only recorded in my head.

    This is not about his career or the numbers, this is about my moments with him. And like many others I also would like to bathe in a few moments of glory, of having touched and spoken to not only a man responsible for putting millions of people ‘on track’, pun intended, but also for inspiring many people like me, who want to keep pursuing their passion for as long as they can. Because Rossi showed, yes you can.

    The first time I met the Doctor was due to Ducati. In 2012 I was ‘chosen’ to ride from Dubai to Italy on a Multistrada for the World Ducati Week. That was when Ducati wasnt present in India officially. Those were the days. Sigh.

    Besides doing 10000 kms with a dream brand, there was another reason why I was motivated to ride towards Misano across so many countries. That I will probably be able to meet my idol - Rossi while he was with Ducati.

    Apart from a grand welcome and being featured on the official global Ducati page facebook cover (!) I literally got a chance to shake hands with Rossi himself and get my ride completion trophy signed by him while thousands waited outside the pits to see him. I am still thankful to Ducati and to the people who made that possible. DJ and everyone!

    You might be thinking, this is not about you, this has to be about the Doctor, right ? So this is the thing - he has such a profound impact on people that he meets that we want to describe the moment. He seeps inside your bone marrow. And when the moment is so special I cannot help but rant about it like I have been blessed by god.

    For some reason that moment was also captured by the official motoGP cameramen and has been shown many times in different places. With me wearing the iconic i, the Biker tee. What could be more profound than that ?

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    And then a few shots from the ride party on the circuit, I was lucky to seem him live and shoot at such a close distance

    Maybe, one more moment. It was Malaysia, Asia Ducati Week if my memory serves me correct. He came off the stage and was going out when like one of the manic fans I screamed for him holding the xBhp print magazine issue carrying my ride from Dubai to Italy in my raised arm, flapping it like a newspaper boy eager to sell his last copy off at a station full of disinterested commuters. But somehow he saw me and came to me thinking I wanted to get the copy signed. But my intention was to give it to him. In the melee, I dropped the copy on his side which was separated by a metal fence. He picked it up for me and wanted to return, but I said it is for you and he did take it! I do not know whether he even saw it or it was lost just like many other things with one of his aides. But it was like that feeling where you think god has maybe listened to your prayer and taken your offerings.

    Crazy, aint it. So much madness about one single person. We have godmen in India for which millions of people go crazy about and have blind faith in. Is he any different ?

    The jury is out there and I am happy to be one of the delusional madmen who just feel fast by adoring a Rossi helmet and a sticker on his bike. Maybe that is why I converted my Benelli 899 in 2016 when I wanted to race in the JK Championship in Delhi (FULL ARTICLE).

    Here are a few other moments I managed to shoot the Doctor myself.

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    Catalunya 2016

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    Valencia (2017?) :: See the madness!

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    To some Rossi was the Flash and to some he was Zoom, who was faster than flash but evil. This line was a homage to all the popculture fans who would understand what I mean.

    The natural order of things is to be born, decay, weather and die. But some outlive this natural order. And Valentino Rossi, I feel will keep touching and influencing millions of people for some time to come. On and off the grid.

    Forza, Vale. We are prepared for a world without Batman. Without Flash. But we know when you will return…

    Now let the Robins have their day...

    Join xBhp On

  • #2
    Yes Sunny bro.
    This man defined the sport. Not very often players become bigger than the sport itself, but he might have just done that without bragging about it.

    Some memorable moments:-
    1. Valencia, last race of 2015 season, he was penalised for kicking Marc Marquez not saying its acceptable, but how he battled from 21st to 4th position was worth watching.
    2. Once he took a shortcut through mud to defeat Marc Marquez who took a longer turn. It became subject of many memes

    There are countless memories.... can't type them all. All I can say is, Love you Rossi! And may you have fun at the ranches training newbies and may we have more and more junior Rossi's.
    You've played a fantastic inning and have nothing left to prove.
    And it wasn't just sports- you are a positive person, always laughing and smiling and cheering. If I could live life at 25% of your charisma, yes, my life would be success.

    Simply speaking, no tribute is enough to a legend like him, but we still dedicate whatever we can.
    Brotherhood, Rules, Freedom. Xbhp.
    Indian riding = Alertness, Anticipation and Adjustment.