Monday, April 4, 2011

A Day at the Races

Yesterday saw a day out at the races for me. Not to watch the gee-gees, the mounts I saw being raced had a lot more horsepower. Yes, along with a few mates, we all set off nice and early (wow, Sundays at 0800 is so quiet on the roads here) and rode on our bikes from the Costa, up the Autovia de Jerez a Algeciras (A381) to Circuito Velocidad de Jerez to watch the Spanish MotoGP. What a day!

The weather wasn’t too bad to start and in dull sunshine we set off on nearly empty roads. I had never ridden the A381 and it is a fantastic road. Through beautiful scenery, mountains, lakes, bridges. Lovely. About half way there we stopped at the service area at the Alcala de los Gazules exit and whilst we were standing around our bikes having a coffee and a chat it started to spit with rain. That set the tone for the day and from then on it pretty much got worse and worse, turning a nice ride through stunning Spanish scenery to a ride through grey mist and intermittent heavy rain. It didn’t dampen our spirits though and we pushed on until we arrived at the circuit. It’s not too far at all from where I live, probably took about two hours including the fuel/coffee stop.

The motorbike park at Jerez circuit is huge. There must have been about 50,000 bikes there. I took special note of the surrounding area to make sure I would find my way back to my bike when we were heading home later and then it was down to the track. We headed initially to the collection point as our tickets were supposed to be waiting for us. After a short panic where they couldn’t find them, all was OK as they looked in the first envelope they had previously checked and is by magic they had appeared. After trolling the stalls for about an hour and a stopping to eat a burger we headed in to the circuit to get settled for the first race. Yes I know it was a bit early for a burger, but hey I was hardly likely to find somewhere at a race track that would sell granola and yoghurt for breakfast now was I?

The weather was pretty changeable all day, from high winds to heavy rain, to drizzle, to grey skies but dry. That made the racing extremely exciting as the track surface was very changeable and not predictable in anyway. So many riders were caught out this weekend and binned their rides into the gravel. Three crashes at the end of the first straightaway (where I was sitting) were particularly memorable. First in the Moto2 race, Spains hero Marc Marquez was smashed in to from behind by Jules Cluzel and both crashed out unable to retrieve their bikes. The atmosphere in the stands took a turn for the worse as the Spanish adore motorcycle racing and their ‘Moto heroes’ are almost Godly in status here. There was much grumbling and shouting at Jules Cluzel, who to be fair made a mistake and was gracious to Marquez in apologising. Marquez dealt with the situation in a very grown up manner for an 18 year old.

The second crash of note that occurred right in front of me was when the race leader of the MotoGP race went down, annoyingly with no one behind or pushing him and with a 4 second lead. Yup, Marco Simoncelli, the Italian with the crazy hair was having a barnstormer of a race when he binned it in the unpredictable conditions. The bad thing about this? Well for Simoncelli it was the way the race marshalls dealt with his situation. Not only did they only give a half-hearted attempt at helping him, but they nearly pushed him in to a line of still racing motorcycles, then abandoned him to try and push start his bike..uphill. When he finally got their attention they went to help him out and nearly dropped his bike.

The third and most controversial crash of the day was when Rossi went for a very ambitious move up the inside of Stoner and lost the front end, crashing and sadly taking Casey Stoners bike out from underneath him (again happened right in front of fact if you pause the action on TV you can see me holding my head in my hands in disbelief in the crowd). In the end it was a racing incident and these things happen. A big shame though and to be honest the media circus after this incident was way over the top. Again for this incident the marshalls actions were questionable when they pretty much ignored Casey in favour of helping Rossi when they were both on the floor.

Anyhow, all in all a fantastic day, even the ride home in the wet did not dampen the mood. Oh, and in case you were wondering, my super navigation skills found me my bike straight away.

Be well.


  1. Sounds like you had an awesome day mate! Pictures? :)

  2. Glad you had an awesome day Bro, btw, how do you like your burgers?

  3. Thanks guys. yeah, was an awesome day thanks. Piccies will be going up but they will be official ones as I didn't take my camera (on purpose - last time I spent so long trying to capture the action, I missed watching half of it).

    Hola Jahf! Hope you well bud. Burgers..that particular one was only half cooked and had me worried about worms, hehe..good ole race track food. But normally, quarterpounder, with cheese, salad, pickles! LoL.