Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Indianapolis Moto GP weekend

It’s Monday now, Terry is taking the first shift driving us back home as I try to recall all the events from the past weekend as well as the days leading up to.

Wed, Aug 26, 2009 Afternoon

I drive out to our garage that we rent in NJ to pick up the trailer. We return from NJ to home in Manhattan to pick up the bikes, roll up to the front of the apartment building to find both of our bikes on the their sides! AWESOME!! They’ve been in front for months without incident, but in the last minutes of us leaving for Indy some lady in a white jeep with rag doors and no top, with a smiley face on the wheel cover backed into our bikes HARD and took off. There was a witness from the Post Office across the street, unfortunately he could only see a few digits of the license plate. Terry got to see the incident on video from a camera located in the front of our apartment building with the help from our super. The damage? Well Terry’s brand new chromed tank landed on my foot peg and now has a new fist sized dent. My bike came out of the incident unscathed; once again my frame sliders did their job well. Terry went into what I call, “gorilla mode” and wanted to kill the first person that pissed him off. I push on to load up the bikes and get out of Dodge. I take a black sharpie and decide to decorate the dent with an angry face. After speaking with some police officers about whether or not to file an accident report we finally leave and start making our way out of town and out to Indy.

I drive the first 8 hours or so and get us well into Ohio, Terry drives the last 4 hours to get us to the parking lot of our hotel north of Indianapolis at about 6 AM.

Thursday, Aug 27, 2009

We take a nap in the truck and at about 9AM I can’t take being cramped laying in the backseats so I try to see if we can possibly get into our room. The receptionist at the Holiday Inn is nice enough to let us check in much earlier than normally allowed, this lets us get in some rest, though I can’t really sleep now as the excitement is building up.

In the early afternoon we head over to Ducati Indianapolis, which was hosting an open house, meet and greet with some lunch for all the Ducatisti coming into the town for the GP, as well as to pick up our all important parking passes for Ducati Island. We ran into many friends and acquaintances from all over, from previous events. Local friends from DESMO, as well as people from Ducati Monster Forum (old DML), Hoosier Hooligans and Ducati North America. We met up with “Revv Monster” (Steve Perry) an old friend from Massachusetts we met in 2006 when our Monsters were competing in the Monster Challenge in NYC. His Monster took the “People’s Choice” in that round. He continues to tell me how much he wants to marry Terry and I if we should ever do that. Yes he is a reverend, and a cool one! I assure him that if Terry ever asks, and if I accept, that he WILL be the one to do the ceremony, he tells me that he would love to do a bike wedding if we wanted, again IF that were to ever happen. ;)

That evening we go out for sushi with Steve and some more new friends, including some guys from South Carolina. I couldn’t understand about half of what one of the guys from SC was talking about because of his thick accent, but he was soo funny and exciting telling us about blowing up things (he’s has a license for demolition but was learning about making explosives as early as high school) as well as telling us about life in SC, that the laughter was infectious. We headed back to the hotel after to try to get some sleep in as it would be an early start the next day.

Friday, Aug 28, 2009

We roll into Ducati Island to start our Volunteer shift at 8AM. Terry and I agreed to volunteer for 2 shifts (Friday and Saturday mornings), in exchange for 2 tickets for the races which we gave to his dad and step mom who came down from Chicago for the weekend. I worked in the gear check which is cool because I get to meet a lot more people from the Ducati community, as well as catch more old friends.

Unfortunately the schedule of events had changed from the format from last year. Last year the Speedway was open on Thursday for spectators to come do the pit walk, and see the rider interviews, and the vendor areas were all open as well. This year this was all scheduled for Friday, as well as the free parade lap around the course. So we missed all these events while we were volunteering. BUT at least we got to do them last year. Ducati Island was bigger than last year, and definitely THE place to be. The grand stands were moved to give us not only a better, clear view of the jumbotron but also a much better view of the riders coming into Turn 1, keeping the same great views of turns 2 and 3 as well. Once again I have to say that Ducati hospitality at events like this is one of the perks of being a Ducati owner, and not throwing my monster in the Hudson when I wanted to lol. We are the only owners that get free parking near our seats, free gear checks, and the hospitality tent had free espresso, pastries, juice, bottled water, and candies ... I like candy! And it couldn’t be done with all the volunteers and clubs. I’m not aware of any other of the manufacturers offering hospitality services for their owners.

When not volunteering, I’m wearing a T-shirt I made at the hotel with iron on transfers. It’s a plain T-shirt which states “DON’T BAN MOTORCYCLES IN NYC” on the front and on the back “STOP 416A”, with a logo I made, and “DON’T BAN BIKES IN NYC”. I got a few people that asked me about the shirt, and even sometimes when I wasn’t wearing the shirt, they remembered me wearing it and asked me about it. I just figured it was another opportunity to inform the national (and global) motorcycle community about not only what is going on in NYC but the country. I also informed them how NYC has been the only city to so far successfully stand up against the growing wave of EPA label match up bills which have passed in Denver, Boston, and other cities around the country, only because we, the independent riders have come together with the patched biker clubs, as well as patched sport bike clubs to work together to fight for ourselves.

Some shots from Friday:

Carbon blinged out Streetfighter, I was told it belongs to the owner of Shift Tech... makes sense.

anxiously awaiting his dad.....

of all the blinged out 2 wheelers I saw through out the grounds.... my favorite was this Rukus!

Friday Afternoon….

Dark clouds roll over the Speedway bringing light rain/steady drizzle. Now you can add free plastic rain ponchos to the list of hospitalities. We watch Practice in the rain, and once again I’m reminded how LOUD the GP bikes are!! They sound like fighter jets as they come around Turn 1! Practice is over for all the classes and the rain looks like it’s lightening up so we take off. Did I say it looked like it was lightning up? It DUMPED on us as we rode back to the hotel. While out in Indy I was pretty much a squid with a helmet (BTW no helmet law in Indiana) mesh jacket, sometimes shorts with leg armor, and sneakers! Needless to say I had puddles in my shoes on the ride back.

We change into some dry clothes and Terry’s dad came to pick us up and head over to the Ducati dinner at a neighboring hotel. After dinner we go back to our hotel and find the washer and dryer so we can dry our soaked clothes. I decide to throw stuff in the washer, but when it was time for the dryer they were taken by other motorcyclists drying their gear. The hotel workers were nice enough to throw our stuff into their dryer for us and brought it back for us. Thumbs up!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Once again we roll into Ducati Island to volunteer. I stay in gear check since we had a good system going, and Terry goes from parking assistant to barista at the espresso table.

We’re done with our shifts and then head out to explore the rest of the grounds.

We check out the new BMW sportbike, and a couple of other small displays, from Yamaha, Honda and KTM, we scarf down some bratwurst and fries (both are YUMMY) and head back to the Island to see Qualifying. Our bikes are parked in front of the grandstands, and as I pass mine I quickly notice a white tag on my bike. It was picked to enter the Ducati Island Showdown! Woo Hoo! There were 5 classes, Best Air cooled, Best Superbike, Best Vintage, Best Modified and Wildcard. Mine was picked to enter the Best Modified competition. The Showdown would take place on Sunday, I knew if it was a “modifications” competition that I had a very good chance of winning lol. My bike isn’t the prettiest, but modified it certainly is!

we kept finding people taking photos of Terry's new artwork!

We hung out with Terry’s dad and step mom during qualifying, and then afterwards we ride over to the Indy Mile flat track races at the Fairgrounds about 3:30pm.

Saturday evening- A review of motorcycle racing history.

out in front of the fairgrounds for the Indy Mile

the crazy flag man

I got some great seats, in the the 8th row from the track and in front of the starting grid. We watch the qualifying heats for the expert twin classes as well as the new pro singles class. Larry Pegram is racing on a Duc again, and there are a lot of Ducatisti in the house tonight. I think this was one of his best results, and just misses the cut for making the main event. He placed 4th in his heat, but they’re only taking the top 3 from each heat.

Larry Pegram on his Duc

I was rooting for Chris Carr again, only because I did American Supercamp a few years back and he was the guest instructor, and he is a really nice down to earth guy!

After the Indy Mile he tells the spectators that he’s headed out to Bonneville with the Bubb’s streamliner for a crack at the new record.

It's Nicole.. YOU GO GRRRL!

As we get closer to the main event, I look across the track and see a Fiat team. Jorge Lorenzo is with his buddies watching, and we can tell he’s remarking at how crazy these races are!!

He’s shaking his hand, gesturing , “HOLY SHIT!!”. They’re all looking at the flag man. HE IS NUTS!! This guy is just feet away from the riders who are doing triple digits down the front straight. He has his choreographed flag dances that he does.

I see other GP teams on the other side of the track in the paddock watching as well. A few minutes after Lorenzo leaves, Rossi is up there with his entourage.

And again, you can see them all watching not only the race but the crazy flag man. Rossi and his entourage leave, and clear the platform where he was hanging out. We see some new people come out, and one is rolled out in a wheel chair. Terry quickly asks, “is that Wayne Rainey?” Holy Shit! It is!

They introduce some other famous racers from the 70’s. But when they finally announce Wayne Rainey’s presence, the entire grand stand explodes with excitement with everyone on their feet!

Afterwards there’s another race. And then again, the racing is stopped to announce someone else who is here tonight with a very special motorcycle. You can hear the distinct 2-stroke sound and Kenny Roberts comes out riding the TZ750. He goes to the end of the straight, turns around…. Is that all he’s gonna do? Is he too scared to rip on this bike? NOPE…. He’s just warming it up. He takes off and rides full throttle around for about for 3 laps!! When he goes down the straight, he is remarkably faster than any of the racers tonight!!! H O L Y S H I T!!! He was ripping!! I nearly get whip lash looking at him as he rides across us. I look at Terry and we both bust out laughing! Unbelievable! As he makes his way back to the start finish, Valentino Rossi is putting on his Yellow Yamaha jacket and jumping down from the platform and onto the track. He presented Roberts with some award from Yamaha, but none of us could see since the press photographers and people from the paddock all swarmed around them.

here's a free video from MotoGP.com

Eventually it’s time for the main event. They grid up and take off… a few bikes came together as they came up on Turn 1 and one of the bikes flew up in the air, bounced off the top of the fence and jammed itself in between the perimeter fence and the air fence. It was now 11:30pm, way past my bedtime, we got to the fairgrounds at a little before 5pm, and had seen plenty of racing as well as history. As the track workers were trying to figure out how to get the bike out from between the fences we left to get some sleep, and missed the main event.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

We roll into Ducati Island at about 7:30AM. We go and get more free goodies and giveaways. I’ve now collected 4 free T-shirts, a hat, visor, bag, kick stand plates, a Ducati towel, visor/lens cleaning cloths, and other assorted crap.

Terry goes and test rides a KTM Super Duke, which he likes. All of the KTMs are way too tall for me to feel comfortable test riding in the street. He comes back and tells me it’s ballsy everywhere.

Back at Ducati Island they call the contestants for the Showdown to bring their bikes and park them around the fashion show stage. There ends up being 24 bikes in the show down. Everyone has their cans of “Shine and Go” polishing their bikes and making them shine. I remark to some people that if I tried to clean my bike now, I would just be smearing dirt around. lol.

The judges from DNA come around and ask me a few questions, I don’t even have the chance to get into the real history of my bike. One of the judges, Rich, tells me he was the one that tagged my bike and loved it. I tell him how the only thing left stock on the bike is the plastic piece which surrounds the ignition switch. I spend the morning talking to various people eyeing my bike and answering questions, and general BSing. I’m then told we don’t have to stay by our bikes anymore and we can leave, they’ll call us over when they’re ready. So Terry and I make our way over to get some Bratwurst now, as we know we won’t have much time when the races start to eat. We’re about to sit and eat when Terry gets a call from his dad, they’re calling the owners back to their bikes on the Island. So we rush back still wrapped bratwurst in hand, and they announce the winner of the Best Air-cooled. Next they announced the winner of Best Modified which I didn’t even hear at first as I was still catching my breath from trying to get back. And they called out Michelle… and some version of my last name lol. I got up and accepted my bag of goodies! Woo hoo! I won a nice black canvas and leather Ducati backpack filled with: the 2008 Ducati Yearbook, which is an entire book dedicated to the entire racing history and life(so far) of Troy Bayliss, the 2008/2009 World Superbike book which is published by Perelli, as well as some Perelli stickers, patch, hat and sticker set, a $50 gift certificate for Puma, and a pair of Oakley – Ducati sunglasses which I quickly swap on and love!, I also got a year subscription for Motorcyclist (which I already get for free lol).

Ims da famous: http://www.ducati.com/od/ducatinorthamerica/news/detail.jhtml?newsId=30081

Before the GP race, Kevin Schwantz did a few laps on his 1993 Suzuki RGV 500. I think we were all suprised at how QUIET the bike was in comparison to any of the modern bikes running this weekend.

Here's the Red Bull.... hmmm... I don't even know what to call it. It's an industrial music making vehicle. I WANT ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The GP race was a bit boring after Dani and Valentino crashed out. Valentino crashed in front of us, and we could see that he ran Turn 1 wide trying to match Lorenzo's speed, and then lost it entering Turn 2. Though in a way I was glad that not only Lorenzo won, but that with Valentino not finishing, it makes it more interesting for the next races.

Nicky put in a valiant effort for the Ducati fans finishing on the podium, I think if the race lasted a few more laps I think he would have lost position to Dovisioso since Nicky seemed to be losing steam.

I guess Red Bull does give you wings!!!!

After the race, we said our goodbyes to Terry’s dad and step mom, made our way back to our hotel and caught up on much needed sleep.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Heading back home to NYC: We both have tomorrow off from work as well, so we’re taking our time back home and we’re stopping by the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pinkerton, Ohio. The museum is conveniently right off the highway.

So we stopped by the museum/Hall of Fame. We checked out the bikes on display.

hey it's Lorenzo's bike!!

and the view from the cockpit

Will Smith's MV Agusta and leather jacket from I, Robot.

yeah, I think my arms are just little short for Will Smith's jacket!

Right next to the museum is the AMA headquarters. I walked in and took a chance to try to speak to someone about the situation in NYC. To my surprise, Mr. Imre Szauter, who is the AMA Government Affairs Manager, quickly came down to meet me. I had read/heard his name tossed around as the person that was collecting accounts of police harassment in NYC. I knew he was somewhat involved with our fight against 416A but I didn’t know what they, the AMA were really doing for us if anything. He quickly knew who I was when I told him that I was the person that created the power point presentation. He told me that my presentation played a key role in planting a seed a doubt in Boston, and that they are in the middle of negotiations trying to get the courts to revisit the issue. I told him I’m currently working on a revision of the presentation, as well as a short video, and assured him I would send him a revised copy, which includes new models which work to our advantage. He asked me several times if there was anything that they could do to help us which was reassuring that we indeed do have their help when/ if we need it. I told him that I get the feeling that we have a forward momentum to squash 416A entirely. He told me the same as we’ve been trying to tell people in NYC, that we all need to continue to call our Council Members!!! Tell them that you are a registered voter and constituent, and that you want your Council Member to vote no to 416A!