This track-monitor video is circulating on the internet. It purports to show former EBR World Superbike racer Niccolo Canepa purposely punching the brake lever of another rider, causing him to crash and nearly involving a following rider, too.
I don’t know for sure if it was Canepa, but someone does. In this day and age of hi-res video and computer enhancement, it should be possible to positively ID the machine and rider’s leathers and helmet. It happened at a track day, which baffles me a little bit anyway; I mean really, what does a rider of that caliber get out of riding around with club racers and calamari, anyway?
In any case, Canepa had to sign in, his bike had to have been tech’d; there should be a pretty much ironclad chain of evidence. Apparently, he’ll face assault charges (and if there’s any justice, he’ll be convicted.)
If that happens—i.e., if the guy in this video is really Niccolo Canepa—assault charges should be the least of his problems. World Superbike, the FIM, and the Federazione Motociclista Italiana should hand down a fucking draconian ban. It doesn’t look like the victim of this assault was seriously injured, but he could’ve been killed, and so could following riders.
Whenever I hear of—or see—a really fast guy pull a dick move, I’m reminded of a race meeting at Loudon, back in the ‘90s when NHIS still hosted an AMA National.
Back then, I raced in the LRRS series, so in the support classes that weekend. We had one rider’s meeting for the whole group, so there were AMA Superbike stars standing around with LRRS club racers, some of whom were pretty quick and who were signed up for both the LRRS races and AMA races. After going through the usual patter about flag protocol and the special schedule for a National weekend, the Race Director asked if anyone had anything to add.
Miguel Duhamel piped up, reminding the fast local guys that the AMA Pros were racing for a national championship. Not to put too fine a point on it, he told them to stay off the track in the final 15 minutes of qualifying, so they wouldn’t balk the stars.
After Duhamel’s suggestion had sunk in a moment, someone in the back spoke up very clearly.
“OK, I’ll tell you what you little runt,” came the retort. “I’ll stay off the track in the last 15 minutes. But if you come past me again and try to kick me, or turn around and give me the finger, I’m going to come to your pit and beat the shit out of you.”
At that, there was an acutal smattering of applause from local fast guys, which made me think that Duhamel had made himself unpopular with more than one of ‘em.