Fourth Installment of Beyond Racer Road

I’m still working on the story of our Barber 2016 trip. In the meantime I’ve re-printed the fourth of the Beyond Racer Road series of articles from Cycle Magazine. This one is from 1976. Look for the page VP. Beyond Racer Road 4 – A Four Square Two Stroke.

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Race Gear – Then and Now

I published the page October 18th but failed to make a post to announce it. Duh. The story is a comparison of racing gear commonly used in the 1970 versus what I see the Superbike and MotoGP riders using today. Look for the page “Race Gear, Then and Now.”

MotoGP “Bowling Balls”

There have been collisions in the last two MotoGP races (Argentina and Texas) that have been particularly, um, disappointing. There have been some multi-bike crashes in the past that have been particularly upsetting as well. For this blog story I’ve picked five crashes that left me wanting a stiff drink. Look for the page VX. My Least Liked MotoGP Crashes.

About Race Starts

Today’s story is about racing starts. Warning! The page contains spoilers of the recent Qatar MotoGP races, so if you’re still planning to watch the races DON’T read the page until afterwards. The rest of you can go to the page VZ. Racing Starts.

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.

Circuit of the Americas

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.

Turn 13 signingA happy customer with his autographed-by-the-author book (right) and the author (left)

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.

DOC Puebla

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.

Liz and Friend
The DOC Mexico members were very friendly. The woman of the left had me sign her cellphone!

Eventually we escaped back to our own hotel south of town.

Next — Saturday at Ducati Island.