When I think of Ben Bostrom, I remember his thrilling and surprising string of five straight World Superbike wins on an L&M Ducati, including the double at Laguna Seca. It was the highlight of a career of mercurial talent and mysterious droughts never easy to understand.
When I think of Sturgis, I think of heavier, slower V-twins, beer, bars and the Buffalo Chip.
So when it was announced that Bostrom would be the grand marshal of the annual mayor's ride at Sturgis this year, my first reaction was, "Huh? Really?"
As it turns out, there's a perfectly good reason for Bostrom to ride at Sturgis. Like Daytona Bike Week, Sturgis began not as a rally, but as a race. In both cases, the rally that started as people coming to town for the races eventually grew much larger than the races, themselves. Bostrom and his younger brother, Eric, also got their start in flat-track racing, including at places like Sturgis. As this video captures so well in under two minutes, it makes perfect sense for Ben Bostrom to go back to Sturgis. It's all about roots, kids and their love for motorcycles.
So when you see Bostrom at Sturgis, don't think of him as a globetrotting former rider of an Eye-talian superbike who took a wrong turn at Rainey Curve at Laguna and is way out of his element in the rumbling V-twin belt of South Dakota. Instead, think of a kid who loved motorcycles, now a father of a boy who loves motorcycles, coming back to where it all began.