Well, it is the new year 2021 and new things are going to happen, and the usual things as well. Everyone has their new year resolutions as always. So far at the end of 2020 heading into 2021 Team owner Fausto Gresini has been hospitalized for COVID-19 but is improving, John McGuinness is named Member Of The Order Of The British Empire, and Support Bikers has started organizing a world record poker run. AMERiders has the story for you on all of these.
Aprilia MotoGP team manager Fausto Gresini
Former racer and Aprilia MotoGP team manager Fausto Gresini has been hospitalized for COVID-19, according to an announcement on the Gresini Racing Facebook page. His condition is grave but improving as doctors begin to revive him from an induced coma to enable him to breathe on his own once again.
Gresini tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before Christmas. After isolating at home for several days, he went to the hospital on December 27, 2020, where his condition could be more closely monitored. Further details released on January 1, 2021, reveal that Gresini’s condition is improving, but was quite serious upon his arrival at the hospital. He had very low blood oxygen saturation levels, was put into a pharmacological coma, and was intubated to ensure his body had enough oxygen to survive. His condition has since improved, and doctors have begun the process of reviving him and letting him breathe on his own.
Gresini Racing joined forces with Aprilia in 2015 and runs its factory team in MotoGP. This partnership continues through the 2021 season, after which Aprilia will run the team independently.
Fausto Gresini is an accomplished racer himself. He won the 125cc world championship in 1985 and 1987. He has competed in 132 Grand Prix races with 21 race wins. He and Ángel Nieto share the record of 11 consecutive victories in the 125 class. Gresini won 10 of those victories in 1987, crashing out of the final race but still winning the overall championship.
Gresini Racing has also won two world championships. Daijiro Kato won the 2001 250cc world championship, and Toni Elías winning the 2010 Moto2 world championship. Kato tragically died after a crash at the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix. Gresini Racing suffered another loss with Marco Simoncelli after a crash at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. Let’s hope Gresini himself pulls through and does not become another tragic loss for the team.
Legend John McGuinness to receive an MBE.
While I’m sure most of us can’t wait to be rid of 2020, one extremely talented motorcycle racer has even greater reason to look forward to the start of 2021. To ring in the New Year, the U.K. government announces its New Year Honours List at the end of the previous year—and for 2021, none other than road racing legend John McGuinness will receive an MBE.
Consulting the official list of honors for 2021, the listing next to McGuinness’s name says the award is “For services to Motorcycle Racing [sic].” The man himself spoke to MCN about it, and said the news hasn’t really sunk in yet. You can read the full interview here.
Short for “Member of the Order of the British Empire,” the award is one of a trifecta of Orders of the British Empire awards. They’re meant to recognize British citizens making positive impacts in their respective fields. The Orders of the British Empire awards were created by King George V during WWI to recognize people who helped in the war effort, but weren’t on the front lines. The full slate runs like so: Commander of the British Empire (CBE), Order of the British Empire (OBE), Member of the British Empire (MBE).
Other motorcycle greats to have been so honored during their careers include Joey Dunlop, Jonathan Rea, Dougie Lampkin, Maria Costello, Barry Sheene, Mike Hailwood, John Surtees, Phil Read, and David Knight.
Individuals who are awarded one honor can go on to receive additional honors in coming years, as well. For example, seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton will also be knighted in 2021, and was previously awarded an MBE in 2008—back when he took his very first F1 championship.
Overall, there are 1,239 New Year Honours 2021 recipients on the list, and the overarching theme of the list is individuals who have gone above and beyond in serving their communities through COVID. Congratulations to everyone who’s worked so hard to bring light and hope to all in these times.
Support Bikers Doing A World Record Poker Run
Sonny Badger, one of the chief perpetrators of the Support Bikers website, received a flash of inspiration one day. He and his wife, Momma Badger, were in the middle of organizing their first poker run event. They had also decided that 2021 would be the year they go to Sturgis for the first time. Then he thought to himself, why not do both at the same time? That’s how the idea for the world record poker run was born.
There are many events claiming to be the world’s longest poker run, but Sonny found the longest of them recognized by Guinness to be a 3,123-mile poker run held in the UK. The Badgers live in Florida, and Google’s optimum route to Sturgis is 2,015 miles long. Since when is the optimum route the most fun, though? Throw in a few side quests, and the trip can easily become longer than the current record. Sonny figured that if the Badgers were going to ride to Sturgis, why not go all out and share the experience with others? All are welcome to join, no matter what kind of bike you ride.
Although the Badgers are the driving force behind the event, they have recruited others from the Support Bikers website to help as well. Others involved include YouTubers such as Blacktop Devil, Baggers and Brews, Ozarks H-D Riders, and John Maxwell, a.k.a. The Harley Tech. The Badgers could not pull this off by themselves, and this really is a group effort including the entire Support Bikers advisory board. (Full disclosure: I’m on this board myself, but other commitments and event conflicts prevent me from participating in the poker run.)
Many of the details are still being ironed out. What’s certain is that the ride will begin somewhere in Florida on July 30, 2021, and end in Sturgis, South Dakota, on August 6. The official route will be announced in February. The distance and time involved means that each day will average about 500 miles on the road, so make sure you and your bike are up for that kind of distance. The poker run will support a charity, which has yet to be chosen. This will also be announced sometime in February once this is decided.
Registration begins March 1 and ends May 31. Registration packets will be mailed in late June. The event will likely begin with a meet and greet on Thursday, July 29, followed by the official start the following day. The event is also actively seeking sponsors to help out as well. There is a website and Facebook event to keep up to date with the latest details.
~And as always…
~Live Free Ride Hard~
Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on Fausto Gresini Hospitalized, McGuiness Honored, and More in 2021.
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