Post #3 of a 5 part series. Scroll down to see posts 2 and 1. All photos by Dee Ritter.
We got to the track on Friday, April 10th, via our rented ramp van and were rather astonished to find that although the COTA site is fully accessible, they do not have accessible transport! Contrast that to Barber, where they have trains of passenger cars towed completely around the track and each little train has at least one section that has a ramp with wheelchair access. COTA has the same little trains but none of the cars will accommodate wheelchairs. Thank goodness Dee’s son Russ was with us. He did a lot of leg work over the weekend.
My task that day was to sign books in the Ducati Austin tent, which was shared with Dainese Leathers, along vendor row at turn 13. We had really good parking place but it was a long roll to the vendor area. Things were pretty quiet compared to the party the night before but I signed a few books and had a couple of old pals drop by for a chat.
After my signing duties were over Dee, Russ, and I went to our turn 15 grandstand seats to watch some MotoAmerica practice just to see how the seats were. They were pretty good — we couldn’t see the start but most of the esses, the back straight and the turn 12-13-14-15 complex were visible.
Friday evening an informal Ducati “meet and greet” was organized at the bar in the Ducati Hotel (J.W. Marriott downtown). We didn’t set up a formal book signing there as it wasn’t the right place for it, but we took a bunch of postcards showing the cover art and how to order the book. We met a nice couple at the bar and recommended a drink Russ turned us onto — vodka and limoncello with muddled mint on ice — and gave them a postcard. We had passed out a half a dozen more when I spotted a small group all wearing Ducati Corse red and white shirts, and gave them postcards. Then things got pretty hectic.
They were part of a fairly large group of the Ducati Owner’s Club members from Mexico, and they started asking me to autograph the postcards. They were a really friendly group. During the signing marathon there was also a woman from Naples getting in on it. The DOC Puebla group were very friendly. You can see me in the middle of this group photo.
When we ran low on postcards I was asked to sign hats and t-shirts. It was exciting and exhausting at the same time. It was a little taste of what the real MotoGP stars go through all the time.
Eventually we escaped back to our own hotel south of town.
Next — Saturday at Ducati Island.