MotoGP at Indy: Friday

Heya folks!  It’s 7pm and Dys is already out cold; possibly for the duration, we’ll see.  Me, I’m sitting here at the desk with a short glass of bourbon in my now-dry clothes, busily uploading a schload of pics to my Flickr account.  Many (most?) of them suck, but at this point I figure WTF, I’m uploading them all and deleting the crappy ones later.  In the meantime, as megs and megs of photos chug their way through this 50′ ethernet cable I happened to bring with us, I’ll start ye olde post and come back and update with a few photos in a minute.

We got up, ate breakfast, and GTFO out Dodge about 45 minutes later than we planned this morning, getting to the track at about 8:30 or shortly thereafter.  It was really humid and already felt pretty damned hot, but we were excited.  Okay, I was ecstatic, Dys was happy and tolerating me good-naturedly.  We exchanged pleasantries with a few people in the campground, crossed the street (eventually) and headed into the track.  We had a lot of things on our minds to get done today, and holy crap was it all crammed in there together.

First, we hightailed it to the Yamaha tent to stock up on our Rossi gear.  Boy got a new t-shirt, Dys (thinking of the forecast) bought a sweatshirt, grumbling only mildly about how she thinks she looks in yellow, and I got a big friggin’ flag to hang from the rail on the upper deck.  We paid up and hauled ass all the way across the track, pausing for a brief moment to ogle the Rossi replica helmets in the AGV/Dianese booth and say hi to Earl and Rose Hayden (Nicky’s parents) again before heading to Ducati Island, where we took some photos of the sea of mostly-red Ducs (particularly the new Nicky Hayden edition 848 – niiiiiice) and searched the tent for some Nicky gear.  Dys particularly wanted a visor and a lanyard – but except t-shirts, all they really had were general Ducati or Ducati Corse things, so she bought a couple of Nicky t-shirts and we called it even.

As soon as we left Ducati Island, we were crossing traffic near the entrance to the motor homes when a big black Denali went by.  I glanced…and hurried to catch Dys.  “You see that SUV?”  “Yeah?”  “Tommy Hayden is driving it.  Nicky’s in the passenger seat, and Roger Lee is in the back.”  Dys doesn’t even pause, she whips out the camera and starts to haul ass.  She got some shots, but it turns out you can’t really see ’em in the truck, though she got some pics of Nick and Tom walking away from the parking spot.  We then cut back through the vendor display, and noticed that there was a screened fence there – on the other side were racks of wheels waiting to have the official race tires put on, so at Dys’s insistence, I held the camera up over the fence and took a few pics.  At one point, she said “I swear that’s Dovi.”  [Andrea Dovizioso]  Looking at the photos, she was right.  Good eyes, that one.

We then headed over to the 6th Street Stage near the back straight, where a big crowd was already gathering out in front.  We snuck in over to the side, where just a few people were, and stepped up to the rail just in time for the Rizla Suzuki boys, Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen came to the stage.  The event was a fundraiser for Riders for Health, a charity that buys and equips motorcycles to allow medical personnel and supplies to reach remote villages in Africa.  So each rider, alone or in pairs, came up to answer a few questions from the hosts, a few from the crowd, and provide an item for auction.  Afterward, they circulated around the crowd for a few minutes, signing autographs until they ran out of time.

No comment on the rumors that Dys flashed Nick to get him to look our way.  But you’ll notice that big smile…

Toseland and Edwards

Another big smile for Toseland, while in the background to the right, Colin looks like the Terminator.

Since they usually started in front right of the stage and we were off to the left side of the stage, several riders didn’t make it around to us, especially Hayden and Rossi, the two guys whos autographs we wanted most.  (But, of course, the same applied to the whole damned crowd.)  We were a little bummed, but we still managed to get some great photos, and get autographs on our race program from  Capirossi, Vermeulen, Andrea Dovizioso, and Jorge Lorenzo.  AWESOME.  (Dys is still talking about how gorgeous Lorenzo’s eyes were.)  Better yet, they raised a ton of money for Riders for Health – a paddock pass set plus a ride around the track in the safety car (pace car equivalent) for two brought $2k, the watch taken literally off Nicky Hayden’s wrist brought $2k from a guy who was standing right behind us (and he let us see it later), and a GORGEOUS canvas-printed photo of Rossi, together with a slide-show type print of his infamous pass of Stoner in the Laguna Seca dirt last year, brought $8500 frickin’ dollars.  Rossi actually signed that one personalized to the buyer.

Lines of the Q&A?  Host:  “I think you and Ted Nugent would make a great political team.”  Colin Edwards:  “I need to work on being as politically correct as him.”

Colin Edwards, on the tiff with James Toseland over the crew chief switch in the offseason (much rumored bad blood there, in short) – they were seated right beside each other.  Colin:  “Nah, we’re good.  I still think his crew chief is an asshole, but we’re good.”

Female fan in the crowd, to Randy DePuniet, as the auction was going on:  “I’ll bid more if you take your shirt off!!!”

Fan to Nicky Hayden, doing the Chris Farley show thing:  “Hey Nicky!  You remember in 2002, at Mid-Ohio, when you rocked the cornrows and kicked Mat Mladin’s ass?”  Nicky:  “Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking with those cornrows.  I’m not that gangsta, I look at those pictures now and think, uh, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.”

Line of the Q&A: Sitting next to Randy DePuniet, who’s sponsored by Playboy, Marco Melandri offers up a pair of gloves for the auction.  Marco:  “The last time I used these, I was sitting on the toilet, reading Playboy.”

We then swung back by the Indy gift shop – outside there was a stunning display of action GP paintings.  When we came back out of the shop, the artist, Bill Patterson, was standing there so we talked to him for a few minutes.  DUDE.  He says he did this painting in 45 minutes, with an audience.  He said “I find that the faster I paint, the faster it looks.”  Wow.  Makes me wish we had the $4k he said it sold for…  I’ll have to find his web site and link to it pretty soon.  Look at this thing.  It’s about 3.5 x 4 feet!

We then hit the tiny restaurant over by the Hall of Fame museum to cool off for a minute and get some food.  I stood in line while Dys snagged us a table.  She ended up in an animated discussion of GP racing with a couple of guys who’d ridden in from New York the day before – and Dys being Dys, she made friends.  So much so that one of the guys insisted that we come outside and see his bike parked nearby – it was a BMW K1200, with a paint job to resemble Rossi’s “GO!!!!!!!” Gauloises Yamaha paint job from 2004-2005.  Cool stuff.

We then took up our same position from last year, inside the fence at the apex of turn 6b, just as the 125cc practice ended and the rain started to come down in earnest.  We got thoroughly wet, but we also took a ton (a TON) of pics, some of which even turned out awesomely.  Rossi didn’t come out until late – we were actually starting to get concerned, although it turns out from reading after we got home that he was trying to conserve his engine since the introduction of the new engine limitation rules – but we got to see him up close and personal several times.  From our vantage point, at turn 6, Lorenzo looked like the fastest man on the track – fast early, and fast throughout the session.  Nicky Hayden also looked really, really good – smooth, quick, and confident.  Rossi started very slow but was looking good by the end of it.  Also, the Repsol Hondas were demonically loud.  Last year it was the Ducatis – this year those Repsol bikes were even louder.  Holy shit.

After the GP practice ended, we copped a seat in the nearby bleachers, at turn 7, and watched part of the 250cc practice.  At one point I heard a “thump” by my foot…it was my earplugs, which had fallen out of my cargo pocket of my shorts.  So I picked it up and put it back…then heard “thump thump.”  It was two canisters of film.  I looked – HOLY SHIT.  The stitching had come out of the side of my pocket, so there was a 2″ gap in the bottom of my pocket.  We frantically counted our film containers and found we hadn’t lost one, which was a great relief – but there were a few minutes of panic that we’d lost some of the Q&A film.  We then noticed that the sky was darkening again and since we’d mostly dried off, we decided to strike the tent and head for home.

We stopped by Wal-Mart here in Brownsburg, only to find out that Wal-Mart doesn’t 1-hour process 35mm film anymore!  So we’ll just have to wait until we get home to see Dys’s oh so antique 35mm shots.  I’m betting that, just like last year, they’ll be teh awesumz.

For now I’m going to take a shower, relax a bit, and get ready for another badass day.    I actually got to exchange a word or two with several riders – I told them all good luck, and stay safe.  Even though it was hot, and then wet, this was a great day.  Hell, for a moto geek like me, it borders on priapism.

More to tell tomorrow, I’m sure.  Wish y’all were here.

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6 Responses

  1. Having come back to the realm of the living after my nap (sunburn and water kicked my ass today), I’ll add my 3 cents:

    about 45 minutes later than we planned this morning
    We? If this part of we was involved, it was under the guise of, “honey, if you think we should definitely leave the room at 7:30 in the God awful morning, just go ahead and snore at me …. cool.”

    and tolerating me good-naturedly
    Have you ever been with a 15-year-old boy in a room full of bare-breasted women? It’s kinda like that: The rampant, oh-my-God-is-this-really-happening-holy-shit without the expectation of getting any.

    how she thinks she looks in yellow
    no one looks good in Rossi yellow but Rossi. Okay, maybe crossing guards.

    Re: The Ducati Island picture
    Say what you want about them otherwise, but no one at a race takes cares of their patrons like Ducati – no one. These Ducatis belong to race attendees – who drove their bikes right into the infield area and are parked with care and covered gear check in Ducati Island. That pavement in the back? That’s the TRACK. The parked Ducatis have a killer view of the race.

    though she got some pics of Nick and Tom walking away from the parking spot.
    When TB caught up to me, I was able to tell him that Nick had gotten out of the truck and waved to all of us. “Wow, did you get a picture of him waving?” “Umm, no. I waved back, because I’m an idiot!” Seriously, when he turned and waved with a big smile, I felt a little like a 12-year-old girl getting to see her favorite rock star. I’m positive that I mentally skwee’d.

    No comment on the rumors that Dys flashed Nick to get him to look our way.  But you’ll notice that big smile…
    It would have been a look of shock and awe if I had. 😉 He did look our way for a good long while at one point though, and ladies, with eyes and a smile like that, it’s hard to (a) feel like he isn’t looking right at you and (b) remember to point and shoot. Damn. The boys of GP are actually a pack of fantastic smiles, and up close (ish)? The eyes, oh my God at the eyes.

    Makes me wish we had the $4k he said it sold for…  
    I asked him what the pricetag was, and he said it would have been $4000 but it was sold before he even did it. The Speedway bought it, which thrilled me (not having 4 G’s to put it over my own mantle), and I really hope that it will be in the Hall of Fame Museum there next year.

    Repsol Hondas were demonically loud.
    in a nails-on-the-chalkboard way though – OW. Hurt my ears every time those screamers came by. The Suzukis and Ducatis have a nice lower, growling sound — well okay, the ‘zukis are more of a purring kitten sound compared to the Rottweiler sound of the Ducs, but those damn Repsols were high-pitched and painful. Actually, to put it more appropriately, the Ducati sounds like power, point blank, in-your-face power.

    since we’d mostly dried off, we decided to strike the tent and head for home.
    …and proceeded to get halfway across the infield area before the skies opened up again and, this time, drenched us like we were standing in the shower with our clothes on.

    My favorite things of the day, in no particular order:
    Nicky’s smile – and faux hawk.
    Jorge’s eyes.
    Killer art and photos being sold and displayed all over the track.
    The 99.9% awesome fans and photographers: Not quite as good as on Friday last year, when it was really only the die-hards around, but in general, just a great bunch of people.
    The kids – from babies to teens.
    Earl & Rose Hayden.
    My husband who carries the backpack FULL of stuff.
    The air conditioned grill where we eat lunch.
    WATER (the drinking kind more than the drenching kind).
    …and did I mention Nicky’s smile?

  2. You two are a riot…I hope you have this much fun together. It sure sounds like it!!!!!

    Except for the ~30m or so in the morning that I was completely ready and so full of nervous energy that I was vibrating at about 4000 Hz and Dys was still attempting to wake up, we did. 😀

  3. Oh My LORD!!!! You have no idea how insanely jealous I am!! Phwoar, how cute does Nicky look in that photo *melts*, he’s such a cutie!! And Rossi!! Arrgghhhh!!!!!!! You guys have VERY inspired me to get my arse down to Philip Island ( I say it every year and never make it, it’s my dream), well done!! The photos are fantastic, great shots!! Must have had an absolute ball!! When I get a spare few minutes will have a good proper look through Flikr. Well done you guys!!

    My wife was equally swooning over Nicky and the faux-hawk there. 😀

    On Sunday she was saying, “It’s just so ridiculous that we only do this once a year. Let’s make a fortune so we can spin off to Spain or Italy and see races there!” I said, “Damn that, I want to go to Philip Island. That place is beautiful!”

    • I would love to do the Dutch TT, or maybe the Motegi race- the Japanese go APESHIT for the Doctor!! And rightly so!!

      I still say Philip Island, but my wife says Mugello or Misano – something in Italy. I’d think the Spanish races would rule as well – Valencia or Jerez, perhaps?

      I’m reading Vale’s autobiography right now. 😉

  4. I noticed your photos of Bill Patterson’s work and thought you might enjoy some more of the work he did in front of thousands on race day.

    http://facebook.com/theartbank

    Awesome work by the MAN.

    I’m not a facebook member (still resisting assimilation) but thanks for the link – Mr. Patterson’s work deserves the added attention!

  5. […] order.  It still didn’t diminish our (okay, my) giddiness at the whole situation.  I think Dys’s comment comparing spending the weekend with me to being with a 15-year-old boy in a room full of […]

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