Memorial Day weekend brought with it the first weekend-weather good enough for everyone to break out their favorite toys. For me, that meant hopping on my 1978 Yamaha XS-750 "Triple," an antique that’s the space shuttle compared to most modern "cruiser" motorcycles. But you didn’t need a special ride to enjoy the show. The weekend was full of wheeled treats for the eyes and ears.
You could start with Sunday’s tripleheader of auto racing, starting with the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco, the signature event in the most technologically-advanced racing series in the world (In other words, the most expensive). Monaco is a gas, although it was depressing to think about how much fun it would be for IndyCar to hold a similar event through the streets of Boston. But that’s the difference between Monaco and Boston. For another example, Monaco is one of the gambling capitals of the world. Boston keeps throwing roadblocks in the way of every prospective casino, even after "approving" casinos in the state. Evidently folks go to Monaco to have fun, and they go to Boston to avoid it.
But if you were missing the prospect of Indy Cars in Boston, you could have salved your wounds with the 100th running of the Indy 500. I don’t know what it is about Indy, but while I find 500-mile NASCAR races boring to the point of tedium (look it up!) Indy keeps me interested from the start to the finish. And now we know who Alexander Rossi is, an American who wants to drive racecars built without quarter.
Still, it was great to see Martin Truax win in Charlotte later in the evening in NASCAR’s Soda-Pop 600. Truax, from New Jersey, has New England racing roots, having competed in the old NASCAR Beer North series, which raced at the weekly shorttrtacks in the region, until NASCAR’s Cup teams decided they wanted to run the little guy out of even NASCAR’s regional series and it was replaced with a clone of NASCAR’s "Alarms for Your Home" Series. Yeah, as with NASCAR, I don’t give away advertising.
But wait. The weather was perfect for turning off TVs - at least for most of the weekend. And as I said, with the first weekend for breaking out the toys dawning, the toys were out in force. I mean, imagine seeing a car you rarely spy anymore, like Porche’s first front-engined sports car, the 924. Imagine seeing two of them, both in Ferrari-red, at the same moment. And not together, passing each other amidst waves and thumbs up.
There was interesting contrasts, too, like the brand-spanking new Corvette ZO6, tagging along behind the Ford Model A, 90 or so years of technological advancement expressed in a black two-car timeline.
Now it’s summer. Every weekend should bring more toys to our senses. See you at the swap meet, and the racetrack, and from the seat of my bike. And maybe yours.