The Rest of the U.S.

It’s taken over a year but part two of the two-part survey of U.S. racetracks has been posted. Part one, you might remember, was on page VG. The Fall and Rise of West Coast Racing and covered tracks in the three west-coast states. Part two surveys the rest of the U.S. It’s on page VF. Other U.S. Racetracks.

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New! An Index.

There was no story this week. I started writing one, a good one, and when I got to about 500 words I thought this sounds too familiar. I looked at the early stories and found that I had already done that one. Whoa.

There are now over 60 stories in this blog, in simple chronological order, most recent first. There’s no organization — it’s just a long list. It needed some kind of index, so I made one instead of writing a story. Of course it took much longer than I expected.

I’ve named the index page “An Index” so it will stay at the top of the page list, while the most recently added page will be listed just below it. Each new page will result in a new entry in the index. Hopefully this will help people find stories they’re interested in, and will keep me from putting in a story that’s already there. Take a look at it — the first couple of paragraphs explain how to use it. You may find a good story that you haven’t noticed before.

MotoGP Sunday

This is the fifth of five posts, scroll down to read posts 4-1.

People always recommend saving the best for last — sorry not this time. This final post about the Texas trip is probably the least interesting of all five.

handbuiltSaturday night Russ and I went to the Handbuilt motorcycle show near downtown Austin. What an eclectic collection of motorcycles! There were old-school Harley choppers, perfectly restored classics, customized new motorcycles (a turbocharged Motus V-4 for example), and more. It was noisy, crowded, and not well lit enough to get really good photos. Here’s one example of the diversity: a Honda CB350 engine in a monocoque aluminum chassis circa 1975.

I didn’t have any signing duties on Sunday, which was great for me as the schedule had races all day starting with Moto3 at 11:00 am, followed by Moto2, MotoGP and finishing with the second MotoAmerica Superbike race. Contrary to predictions it was dry the entire day, yay. We watched different races from different areas of the track. No spoilers in what follows.

We viewed Moto3 from the grassy bank near Ducati Island with a good view of the final two turns, and an excellent view of a jumbo-tron screen and audio to follow the rest of the action. It was an atypical Moto3 race, a bit different from all the Moto3 from last year and the initial Qatar race this year.

We went to our grandstand seats, described in an earlier post, to watch the Moto2 and MotoGP races. From there we could see a lot of the track, although some of it was very distant, and there was a viewing screen a bit off to the left of our position, so we could tell what was going on in the parts we couldn’t see. It was a fun race to watch with the podium positions undecided until the very last few laps.

COTA towerUp in the tower. I’m 2nd from right, watching the racing through the clear floor. Russ is the guy in the black hat and shirt. It’s an open air space with a clear 4-foot railing at the edge. Photo by Dee Ritter.

After the MotoGP race we bought tickets to go up in the big tower, and we watched the 2nd Superbike race from that lofty position, some 800 feet about the track. You can see a lot of the race if you’re willing to move side to side. Worth doing at least once.

Unsubstantiated rumors — I saw some criticism of MotoAmerica because there was no live TV coverage of the Austin race. Things like, “First round of a new series and they couldn’t get live TV? Bad start.” From what we heard at the track, from a couple of sources, was that Dorna insisted on it. It seems Dorna didn’t allow anything that might diminish the impact of the MotoGP races. From the tower we could see that the MotoAmerica team tents were set up in an area behind the pit garages, where they could not be seen unless you had a paddock pass. If anyone reading this can confirm or contradict these rumors please add a comment to this post, In the meantime, folks should ease up on MotoAmerica for now and see how they do on round two.

That finished out Texas trip. It was, I think, a successful book launch and fun visit with the added plus of seeing some good racing. We arrived home to Oregon happy and completely exhausted. I ended up sleeping all night, most of the next day, and all night again. I’m caught up now.

Ducati Island

Part 4 of 5 posts. Scroll down to see parts 3, 2, and 1. All photos by Dee Ritter.

On Saturday, April 11, I had a book signing at Ducati Island from about 1:00 to 2:30. The day got off to a rough start as the 44 books that the publisher had shipped were somehow misplaced. They were addressed to “Ducati Island care of COTA” with the COTA address. The books had been received and signed for but could not be found. It was a shame as the Ducati Store could have been selling them all day Friday and Saturday morning.

We scrambled around (by we I mean Dee and Russ) and got all the surplus books from Ducati Austin and the two we had so we were able to have some books to sell at the Ducati Store by the time I was scheduled to be signing them.

Ducati Island SigningAll set up to sign books. The white tent on the right is the Ducati Store tent where the books were being sold.

The couple we met at the bar the night before bought a book and came to have it signed, as did two members of DOC Puebla, as well as a few others, but it was pretty slow. At the 2:30 hour we left the shelter and were able to watch the MotoGP Qualifying 2 session from a huge Jumbo-tron set up at the Island. This is the qualifier that sets the grid for the first 4 rows. I’m not going to give any spoilers but it was a pretty amazing session. If you haven’t already watched it, do so.

Later in the day we went to our grandstand seats to watch the MotoAmerica Supersport and Superbike/Superstock races. It had been threatening to rain all day but held off until those two events. Dee took a panorama photo from the seats with shows the track and how wet it was. I’m on the far left with Russ Granger just behind me.

COTA Panorama

Without giving any information about who finished where, I’ll tell you that the Supersport race had lots of crashes, no doubt due to the changing track conditions — it started out damp and got wetter and wetter as the race went on. I think everyone still running at the end earned points. The Superbike/Superstock race was a more controlled affair as the track was pretty wet through the entire race.

Tomorrow is races, races, and races. Moto3 at 11 am then Moto2, then MotoGP, and at the end of the day the MotoAmerica Superbike race 2.