The Ever-Present Death Drive In MotoGP

Just as Freud suspected that humans have an internal drive towards life, there was another: the death drive.

Freud thought that while we possess internal drive towards procreation and propagation towards life via sex and romantic partnerships, he believed that there was an opposing force as well. The drive towards death arose out of a necessity for a “cycle” – a cycle from the inorganic, to the organic, back to the inorganic. In other words: you’re born, you’re here, you die – and that’s made sure of.

Source: Linden Adams Photography/Getty Images
Source: Linden Adams Photography/Getty Images

If such is the case, why is it that we engage in life-threatening activities for recreation? Why not just live comfortably and safely tucked-away somewhere and see how many years you can get to. Because sometimes safe isn’t comfortable. And anyone following Motorsports will know: the risk. There are few things that can make one feel alive as being so close to death. And if we take Freud’s thinking to be valid, they’re very much two sides of the same coin.

As fans of Motorsports, we are attracted to the speed, the precision, and the inherent danger of the race. Each sport offers an appreciation of form, technique, risk, and performance, but there are few avenues that hold potential for grievous bodily harm and fatality as MotoGP – the death drive is clear and ever-present.

HOHENSTEIN-ERNSTTHAL, SAXONY - JULY 17:  Luca Marini of Italy and Forward Team   leads the field during the Moto2 race during the MotoGp of Germany - Race at Sachsenring Circuit on July 17, 2016 in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
HOHENSTEIN-ERNSTTHAL, SAXONY – JULY 17: Luca Marini of Italy and Forward Team leads the field during the Moto2 race during the MotoGp of Germany – Race at Sachsenring Circuit on July 17, 2016 in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)

While I always cringe when an F1 driver shoots down the straight with a millimeter to spare between his tire and his opponent’s, nothing makes my ass pucker harder than seeing a spill happen or a bike buck the rider off mid-race on a MotoGP track. You don’t call yourself the premier class in motorcycle racing with no reason, and it’s easy to forget just how powerful these four-stroke monstrosities are.

The YouTube video compilation above has some incredible footage of mishaps on the raceway. Thankfully, none of the incidents were lethal – but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. The crash at 00:30 is enough to make the aforementioned pucker clench so hard it threatens to create a gravitational singularity.

The video does an excellent job of showcasing just how dangerous these machines can be. Oftentimes we forget the speed that these races take place – until someone end-o’s over their bar and sends their bike on a somersault across fifty feet.

The craziest (best?) part is, after most of these spills and wrecks, the riders will give their all to get back up and back on the track.