You want to lose a race? Because this is how you lose a race.

Picture this: You’re a talented professional superbike racer and it’s the end of the racing season. You’ve been so competitive all year that you’re about to take the championship. Naturally, you’re in the mood to celebrate. You mount up for the last race, and you’re on pole. Starting this race literally couldn’t be any better. 

You lead the rest of the field handily, making it look like the easiest thing in the world. It looks like you’ve got this race in the bag, too—just like all your previous wins this season. You’re confident, happy—and you’re in the mood to celebrate. So, you stand up on your pegs on the front straight, and you start waving to the crowd.  

Except you didn’t wait until you’d actually crossed the finish line to start celebrating. Victory laps are, after all, called “victory laps” for a reason. The start/finish line is usually the starting point for this and all other laps in a race, as far as officials are usually concerned.  

This exact scenario is what happened to Brazilian EVO Superbike racer André Veríssimo during the last race of December, 2020. He stood up and started celebrating after reaching the grid, instead of waiting until he crossed the finish line. As a result, both the second and third place riders blew past him, cementing his third step on the podium instead of the win that inspired the premature fist-pumping. It was his race to lose, and he gave the top two positions to Osvaldo J Filho and Marcelo Skaf.  

The fateful season closer race took place at Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna in Goiânia, Brazil. It's likely a horror scenario he’ll never forget. It’s also a good reminder to us all, whether it’s racing or something else. Don’t get so excited about doing the thing until you’ve actually done the thing, or it may not end like you hope.