Monday, August 07, 2006

Colin McRae is a GOD!!!

Okay, go here and then go here. Go on, don't came back until you've done that....

Are you done? Good. Now, does anyone want to disagree with the title of this post? Hmmm? Yes, I thought not.

There was never any doubt that the X Games would be a major boost for rallying in the US. But to have the event end like that? Well, nearby Hollywood couldn't have scripted it better. You have hotshot young American going up against legendary European world champ. They battle it out on the stages and end up separated by 0.5 of a second. In the meantime the young American goes off and completes the FIRST EVER DOUBLE BACKFLIP IN FREESTYLE MOTOCROSS COMPETITION!!! Tension builds as other competitors come out and try to overcome their deficits to the top two, but in the end it would always be Colin McRae versus Travis Pastrana. As McRae thundered into the stadium for the second time, he was clearly on target to beat Pastrana, but in typical Colin style he doesn't back off, and attacks the last jump with the tenacity of a dog in a butcher's shop. Over he rolls, and by now we're on our feet in front of the TV, screaming about how likely 4th placed-finisher Laughlin O'Sullivan will surely get the bronze medal. But no, Colin proves his status as a rallying deity by popping the clutch and engaging first whilst he's still in the middle of the roll, and driving full-on for the finish line as soon as all four wheels touch the ground again. In the end, he loses out to Travis by 0.52 of a second. Apart from the now-questionable ride by Floyd Landis into Morzine on the Tour de France three weeks ago, it's been a while since I've seen a sporting moment as exciting as that.

Let me break it down a little. Travis made it clear all week that although he was entered in four events at the X Games, it was the rallying that was most important to him. And he was also very clear about how big a thrill it was to be racing against Colin McRae. When Travis speaks, America listens. Don't underestimate the power of X Games media - this was very, very big, and congratulations to Rally America, the competitors, the TV producers and everyone else involved. It was a great piece of sport (and let's not dimiss X Games events as not being sports anymore - watching Shaun White attempt a 1080 on his skateboard more than 20 times or that amazing Pastrana backflip was far more impressive, and says more about human physical achievement than any basketball, ice hockey or American football I've ever seen.)

Colin, you're a God. And Travis, you're pretty damn good too.

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