Looks unremarkable, right? It should. Podium ceremonies are customary at the end of most motorsports events outside the US – check the Daytona 500 for Victory Lane-as-American exceptionalism – and this image from Sunday’s FIM Supersport World Championship race in Australia is no different. Three men mount the rostrum, three men receive modest trophies and a bouquet of flowers, three men pop expensive champagne bottles once the winner’s national anthem is played. A team owner laughs, soaking up the victory. A cameraman catches it for posterity. Across the road, someone takes a photo to summarize the weekend.
What’s so strange about this podium is who’s on it. To the right, Italian Raffaele de Rosa, wearing leathers for a team he no longer rides for; to the left, journeyman Scot Kev Coghlan, still winless; and in the center, the most remarkable story of the weekend. But this is World Supersport at the Australian Grand Prix in 2014. This is life at its most whimsical. This is life at the top of the bottom of the world.