What happened to Juan-Pablo Montoya

Posted by batman on Jan 26th, 2009
2009
Jan 26

montoya.jpgHis time in Formula One was aggressive, confrontational, and in-your-face – and that’s why so many people loved him. He was a breath of fresh air in a staid and stuffy environment, where no-one was allowed to say or do anything that would cast the sport in a bad light. He was relatively happy during his time with BMW-Williams – he had some measure of freedom to be himself. But his time at McLaren Mercedes was just a disaster – way too formal, too strict and with far too many rules – Juan Pablo would unfortunately never survive under Ron Dennis’s dictatorship!

He left the McLaren-Mercedes team midway through 2006 to pursue a career in NASCAR, and after two years away from the sport, appears to have no regrets about leaving Formula One. “Formula One drivers are convinced that they’re so much better than anyone else,” Montoya, who races for the Chip Ganassi team, said. “When I was in F1, every week I was on the podium. It was cool, but is it satisfying? It wasn’t, because it was the most boring races. The guy who started in front of you would drive away from you and the guy who was behind you would drop away from you, unless you messed up in qualifying and then you need to have a different pitstop strategy to beat them.”

Whereas Formula One revels in the romantic notion of presenting the zenith of style and grace, Nascar delights in being bold, brash and loud. The supercharged road cars steam around predominantly oval tracks, with hundreds of overtaking manoeuvres per race. Fans park their motorhomes on the track infield, barbecuing and drinking as the drivers race around them. At the end, the race winner does not spray Moët et Chandon, but Budweiser.

“It’s boring,” Montoya said. “It’s a shame because the technology these cars have and the amount of companies that are involved is unreal. I don’t know how big companies do it for such a long time without results.”

In Nascar, there are more than 40 cars racing wheel to wheel for up to three hours. “It’s harder here,” Montoya said. “When you run fifteenth, sometimes you think it sucks. But look at the big picture: fifteenth here is like sixth or seventh in F1, because there are twice as many cars. The incredible thing is here I run fifteenth or twentieth on average and there are four or five weeks in the year where I have a chance of winning. In F1 if you run sixth or seventh, you run sixth or seventh the whole year.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re running for the lead, or for 30th, you’re always racing somebody. That’s much better.”

Juan Pablo Montoya’s Pedigree

1998 – Won Formula 3000 Championship
1999 – CART Rookie of the Year
1999 – CART Series Champion
2000 – Won Indianapolis 500
2001 – Joined Formula One
2001 – First Formula One Win (Italy)
2002 – Finished third in Driver’s Championship
2003 – Finished third in Driver’s Championship
2007 – NASCAR Cup Rookie

His 2008 record

During 2008 he competed in 36 races, completing 96% of the laps. He had no wins or poles, and ended with a ranking of 25. He had two top 5 finishes, and three top 10’s. His best result was a 2nd place at Aaron’s 499 on April 27.

I just don’t get oval circuit racing

What is it about oval circuit racing that grabs the imagination of the American’s? Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking it – its just that I don’t see the attraction for seeing 30-40 equally matched cars, stuck in top gear an at maxuimum revs, following each other around a small oval track. There are no corners, no driving skill in the traditional sense (although I realise that it must take some pretty awesome car control to keep a car at high speed on banked circuits), no real overtaking – just the slipstreaming behind the cars in front. In a 200 lap race, the pace car can come out several times, bunching the field right up to where they were when they started. What is the point then of trying to break away and establish a lead? I just far prefer the European Formula One series instead of the American IndyCar series, and for instance the Australian V8’s instead of NASCAR – there’s just more to it – high speed straights, slow corners, heavy braking zones – and it just seems more like racing.

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Cricket – where is it going?

Posted by batman on Jan 18th, 2009
2009
Jan 18

PowerPlays, SuperSubs, FreeHits and other frills

I don’t care if this new “batters powerplay” has introduced a whole new dimension for the viewing public – “its just not cricket“. I dislike any form of powerplay, and I’m really pleased that much vaunted supersub disaster was dropped before too long. I don’t mind all of these gimmicks in Pro20 – like on-field microphones, heartrate monitors, free hits and the like. By all means, try out these things in domestic competetions, and let Pro20 be a playground – but please, please – don’t corrupt Test and ODI cricket.

Can you imagine tainting the other “purists'” sport – golf? Let’s make every golfer have to tee off with a 5-iron on at least one par 5. Or how about forcing the players to swap their putter with their playing partner – all in the interest of making it more interesting for the spectators. Or how about making the Formula One cars have to race towing a trailer, or a caravan? Imagine what that would do to spectator viewing interest. How about making the tennis players play one game per set with their “wrong” hand, or else make them tie their shoelaces together, or make them carry a backpack while playing? Imagine how much the spectators would enjoy that!

These suggestions are obviously very much tongue-in-cheek – yet cricket is actually implementing some of these steps. Come on cricket – how about going back to your roots – back to the original game. When two equally matched teams are competing, you won’t need tricks and illusions to make it attractive to the viewing public. By all means let Pro20 be your glitz and glamour spectator special, but please, please keep Test and ODI cricket pure!

Strength vs Strength

When cricket provide close encounters, as South Africa vs Australia has been this summer, or India vs Australia, or the classic Ashes – the whole world sits glued to the screen. Many of these games go down to the wire, and both teams have wins, and both have losses. Who needs Pro20 if we could have more 438 games?

But cricket becomes boring when for example Australia post 350-plus in their allocated 50 overs, and then watch Bangladesh, Zimbabwe or sometimes West Indies make no effort whatsoever to chase the score, but rather use this opportunity as 50 overs of batting practice, and end up with 140/7 after a most tedious afternoon.

Would it not be possible to have something like they do in other sports – for instance a premier league where the top eight teams of the ICC play against each other, and a B league – where perhaps the next eight teams will play each other. Every six months or year, the bottom premier team and the top B league team swap places, or at least have a playoff. Admittedly it would be difficult to implement with tours scheduled possibly years ahead, but nonetheless.

Again, no disrepect intended, but games against Bangladesh or Zimbabwe aren’t really worth watching. However a B-league with teams like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Holland and Kenya might make for some interesting viewing – and I’d certainly rather watch South Africa play the top team of this league, than Zimbabwe on an off day (or year)!

World Cup training ground

In all of the other major sporting disciplines, players or teams need to earn enough points to qualify or be eligible to play in their premier events. In golf there are the four majors, in tennis – the four Grand Slams. Not so in cricket however! For some or other unfathomable reason – (unless its all about making the event as big as possible so as to maximise profits) – teams that are not good enough to play international cricket make up half of the field for the World Cup. If there are sixteen teams playing (four teams in four groups) there are 24 games before we get to the SuperSix round. Of these 24 games twelve are mismatches – like South Africa vs Holland, or Australia vs Bahamas. No wonder people lose interest way before the end of the tournament. They say it is all about “growing” the game and providing “lesser” nations with international experience. I’d love to be invited to play in The Masters at Augusta, or at Wimbledon – in the interest of “gaining experience”!

No, the World Cup is rather where the cream of the crop should come together to determine the best of the best – it isn’t a training ground. I would far rather see the tournament start with the top eight teams (ICC rankings as at a specified date) that regularly play international cricket, and then all of these teams play all other teams other for points. At the end the top four can go into a traditional knockout stage. Ireland, Kenya or the Seychelles have no place at a Cricket World Cup – with no disrespect intended to these countries. If my memory serves me correctly the first World Cup South Africa played in after re-admission was played along these lines – and was by far the most memorable for me. This last one in West Indies lasted about two months – and was about one month too long. Too many games were just insignificant!

IPL Pro20 and other pay-for-cricket options

I love my cricket, but in all honesty I didn’t watch one single game of the IPL – there were just too many games, I didn’t really identify with any of the teams and it all just smacked of $$$.

A lot of people I know feel the same – in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if the ONLY people that followed it would be the bookies, and the people dealing with the bookies.

I don’t like the fact that some bloke with more $$$ than sense can come in and “buy” world cricket. I was really pleased to read of the failure of the Stanford series.

I don’t like the fact that young up-and-coming cricketers (from all countries) have as their primary goal is to land a lucrative IPL contract, instead of aiming for the honour of representing their country. It would be a tragedy when IPL gets the first choice, and Test/ODI cricket gets the “leftovers”. I don’t have a problem if its the other way around however – Kevin Pieterson is a prime example – IPL can have him!

Pro20 has a place in world cricket, but it must remain a small place. One or two games can be played between two countries, ideally between a Test series and the ODI series. It should always be about having fun, entertaining crowds, and experimenting with new players. Pro20 must NEVER become bigger than Test or ODI cricket.

One upside is that ODI’s have become “bigger”, with higher run rates being chased, and higher scores achieved. But on the downside many of the purist strokes are becoming yesterdays news, making way for big, powerful blokes coming in with treetrunks in their hands, and “hacking” the ball to the boundary fence. I would hate to lose those classic shots, like Herschelle Gibbs’ lofted cover drive, or Sachin Tendulkar’s sublime wristplay as he flicks the ball off his pads. It would be a pity to lose all of that!

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More Blue Bull Bashing

Posted by batman on Oct 24th, 2008
2008
Oct 24

More rugby jokes

Posted by batman on Oct 24th, 2008
2008
Oct 24

Good Looking

Blue Bulls player: “Doctor, doctor, every morning when I get up and look in the mirror – I feel like throwing up. What’s wrong with me?”

Doctor: “I don’t know, but your eyesight is perfect.”

Brave Call

A rugby referee died and went to heaven. Stopped by St Peter at the gates he was told that only brave people who had performed heroic deeds and had the courage of their convictions could enter. If the ref could describe a situation in his life where he had shown these characteristics, he would be allowed in.

“Well,” said the ref, “I was reffing a game between the Blue Bulls and Natal Sharks at Loftus Versveld. The Bulls were 2 points ahead, 1 minute to go. The Natal wing made a break, passed inside to his lock. The lock was driven on by his forwards, passed out to the flanker who ducked blind and went over in the corner. However, the flanker dropped the ball before he could ground it, and as Natal were clearly the better side all game, I ruled that he had dropped the ball down, not forward, and awarded the try.”

“OK, that was fairly brave of you, but I will have to check it in the book.” says Peter, and disappears to look it up. When he comes back he says “Sorry, there is no record of this. Can you help me to trace it? When did all this happen?”

The ref looked at his watch and replied “45 seconds ago.”

Vicious Rottweiler

2 boys are playing cricket on a field in Durban, one is attacked by a vicious Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other boy took his cricket bat and managed to wedge it down the dog’s collar and twist,luckily breaking the dog’s neck and stopping its attack. A reporter sees the incident, and rushes over to interview the boy.

“Young Sharks Fan Saves Friend From Vicious Animal, “he starts writing in his notebook.

“But I’m not a Sharks fan,” the little hero replied.

“Sorry, since we are in Durban, I just assumed you were,” said the reporter and starts again.

“Western Province Fan Rescues Friend from Horrific Attack …”

“I’m not a Western Province fan either!” the boy said.

“I assumed everyone in Durban was either for the Sharks or Western Province.” “So what team DO you root for?”

“I’m a Blue Bulls fan!” the child beamed.

The reporter starts a new sheet in his notebook and writes,

“Little Bastard from Pretoria Kills Beloved Family Pet

Little Willie

Little Willie was in his junior school class when the teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up;-

Fireman, policeman, salesman, politician; Willie was being uncharacteristically quiet and so the teacher asked him about his father.

“My father’s an exotic dancer in a gay club and takes off all his clothes in front of other men. Sometimes, if the offer’s really good, he’ll go out with a man, rent a cheap room and let them shag him.”

The teacher hurriedly set the other children to work on some colouring and then took Little Willie aside.

She asked him, “Is that really true about your father?”

“No,” said Willie, “My father plays rugby for the Blue Bulls, but I was just too embarrassed to say”.

Family Ties

Dear Dr Ruth,

I am a crack dealer in Kempton Park, Gauteng. I was recently diagnosed as a carrier of the HIV virus. My parents live in Hillbrow and one of my sisters, who lives in Benoni, is married to a transvestite.

My father and mother were recently arrested for growing and selling marijuana. They are financially dependent on my other two sisters, who are prostitutes in Brakpan. I have two brothers; one is currently serving a non-parole life sentence at Leeukop Central Prison for the murder of a teenage boy in 1994. My other brother is currently in jail awaiting charges of sexual misconduct with his three children.

I recently got engaged to marry a former prostitute who lives in Yeoville. She is now a part time “working girl”. All things considered, my problem is this. I love my fiancé and look forward to bringing her into the family. I certainly want to be totally open and honest with her. Should I tell her that my cousin is Luke Watson?

The Operation

An Englishman wanted to become an Irishman, so he visited a doctor to find out how to go about this. “Well” said the doctor, “this is a very delicate operation and there is a lot that can go wrong. I will have to remove half your brain”. “That’s OK” said the Englishman. “I’ve always wanted to be Irish and I’m prepared to take the risk”.

The operation went ahead but the Englishman woke to find a look of horror on the face of the doctor. “I’m so terribly sorry!!” the doctor said. “Instead of removing half the brain, I’ve taken the whole brain out”. The patient replied, “No worries, mate!!”

Balance

Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Heaven, God went missing for Six days. Eventually, Michael the Archangel found him, resting on the seventh day. He inquired of God, “Where have you been?”

God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, “Look Michael, look what I’ve made.” Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, “What is it?”

“It’s a planet, replied God, “and I’ve put LIFE on it. I’m going to call it Earth and it’s going to be a great place of balance”.

“Balance?” inquired Michael, still confused.

God explained, pointing to different parts of Earth.

“For example, Northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth while Southern Europe is going to be poor; the Middle East over there will be a hot spot.”

“Over there I’ve placed a continent of white people and over there is a continent of black people” God continued, pointing to different countries. “And over there, I call this place America.

North America will be rich and powerful and cold, while South America will be poor, and hot and friendly. And the little spot in the middle is Central America which is a Hot spot. Can you see the balance?”

“Yes” said the Archangel, impressed by Gods work, then he pointed to a smallish land mass and asked, “What’s that one?”

“Ah” said God. “That’s New Zealand, the most glorious place on Earth. There are beautiful mountains, rainforests, rivers, streams and an exquisite coast line. The people are good looking, intelligent and humorous and they’re going to be found traveling the world. They’ll be extremely sociable, hard-working and high-achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats and carriers of peace. I’m also going to give them super- human, undefeatable, strong in character citizens who will be admired and feared by all who come across them”.

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then exclaimed, “You said there will be BALANCE!”

God replied wisely. “Wait until you see the buggers I’m putting next to them”

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Blue Bulls Bashing

Posted by batman on Oct 24th, 2008
2008
Oct 24

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