Things we think of while riding down the road

Archive for May, 2009

The race is over

CIMG6236Superbike weekend is over, well, not really. The race was over a couple of hours ago but for the media, the day isn’t quite done. Photographers are editing, uploading and sending pictures, websites are posting results and bloggers are blogging away. Race days are long days. This is what we have chosen to do so no whining.

During the day we complain about the heat, the wind and how big this place is, it is a lot of walking, but back here in our little haven there is sense of accomplisment each time we get back from the track. Everyone is looking over everyones shoulder at their pictures and complimenting or giving help. If someone needs a piece of equipment, there it is from friends or strangers. It’s great environment.CIMG6237

So now we are starting to pack up, saying goodbye to new and old friends and making sure we’re not forgetting anything. This the time to thank John Gardner and his staff here at the Miller Motorsports Media Center, for four days they take great care of us in everyway from food to tech you name it and they do it with a smile. Of all the race tracks we go to, this is far and away the best. Thank you John.

Say good night Gracie…CIMG6239


Cruisin’ the pit’s…always fun

CIMG5935We just got back from cruising the pits which I love doing. I love watching mechanics swarm over a motorcycle when it comes in off the track. The rider jumps off, starts talking to the crew chief, the bike goes up on the stands, if it is going back out the tyre warmers go on or new wheels put on, a technician hooks up a laptop computer to download the information from the bikes computer, evrything is checked over, everyone has their job, including the guy that polishes the bike. The rider going back out hasn’t even taken off his helmet and is surrounded by mechanics, tyre tech and a suspension tech. Controlled chaos…I love it.

If the session is over or there is serious problem with the motorcycle it’s less chaotic, but not much. Computer tech plugs into the bike, wheels come off, bodywork comes off and work begins. The motorcycle looks a skeleton of itself. It’s a similar story if the practice session is over. The mechanics still swarm the motorcycle, the computer tech hooks into the bike instantly, wheels come off, bodywork comes off, mechanics are discecting every thing. The bike looks like a skeleton of itself.CIMG5870

This time the riders helmet is off he get’s a chance to sit down and is surrounded by the crew. They analyze the data from the computer,they talk about feel and how to improve the bike. Debriefing they call it and it takes about twenty to thirty minutes. Mechanics are working away and and that’s when we in the media get a chance to talk to the rider about how things are going. This is a great job.CIMG5974


It’s Sunday, welcome to the ‘Church of Speed’

CIMG5928It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here at Miller Motorsports Park and we are in the ‘Church of Speed’. When we came into the track this morning the first thing we heard was not the sound of motorcycle engines at high speed, nope, Ozzie Osborne ‘The Prince of Darkness’ blaring through the loudspeakers here in religous Utah, go figure. Anyway, now it’s time to get the day running. The media center is starting to come alive, one of the support classes are already out on the track for morning warm up and mechanics are in the garages getting Superbikes ready for the big race. It’s going to be a great day.


it’s Miller Time…A day at the races

CIMG5906Yesterday was quite a day for us, some disappointments, some high spots. We finished our day with a good interview with current championship leader Ducat’s Noriyuki Haga and then a nice dinner with a friend.

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here at Miller Motorsports Park and the pace, in all respects, has picked up a lot. Yesterday everyone was serious and working hard but today you can feel the difference. The support classes were on the track good and early this morning, World Supersport is on the track now and the Superbikes take to the track in a few minutes.

The media center is almost empty of photograhers, they are all out on the track. I envy them being out there, I don’t envy them out there in the heat. Moto Sport photography is fiercely competitive yet they are all friends and help each other in all ways. The only ones here in the room are reporters and story writers. But, after the practice sessions this morning end, this room will be filled with millions of dollars of camera equipment and a lot of hot , sweaty photgrahers grabbing as much water as they can.

CIMG5926Today should be a good day for interviews, we’re focusing on the Supersport racers, acouple of Superbike pilots and an American woman, Melissa Paris. Melissa is the first woman ever to compete in the World Supersport Championships and should prove to be a fun interview. Update…interview w/ Melissa was good…end of update…

Success is the pits, I mean in the pits. Short but sweet. Three world class riders in their leathers getting ready to go out on the track were kind enough to each spend a few minutes with us. Then on the other hand, some racers look right at you, you ask for a minute of their time and they just plain ignore you. Oh well, they’re stars. Time to catch up with ‘The Sultan of Slide” Garry McCoy.

Another update…Interview with Garry McCoy was one of the most fun I have done…end of update…CIMG5991Time for Superpole, going to be very interesting…especially with Big Thunder and Big Lightning coming our way.

That’s it for Saturday at the races


Superbikes return to Utah…and so do we.

Well, it was a year ago that we started down the path motojournalism and what road it it has become. The MotoWorld Podcast has more than tripled in listeners, magazine articles being published and more traveling, which brings us back to Utah, more specifically Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UtahCIMG5854

Last year we arrived after midnight, the campground gate was closed and we ended up sleeping in the back of the truck on a windy night. When we got up in the morning to get our credentials we looked like something the cat dragged, at least I did. I’m surprised they let us in. We vowed right then and there the next year would be different. The rest of the weekend went great, we were motojournalists.

This year the preparations were better, equipment better and the trip up much better. A little less than twelve hours drive and we arrive at camp in daylight!!! Woohoo. We caught up with a couple old friends, made plans for a get together, had an evening libation and crawled into nice warm sleeping bags.

This is the U.S round of the Superbike World Championships and really excited about it. This year we know where to go, what to do, how to do it and who to see. The media center here at Miller Motorsports is full of the “Rock Stars” of motorcycle journalism from all over the world. Looking over the shoulders of the best phographers in Moto Sports ia awe inspiring.

Today is Friday, mostly practice and setup for the race teams and the energy level is so high it’s catching. A couple of American ‘Wild Card’ racers including the first woman in World Supersport racing.There are new race teams, new bikes and a great race series going on right now.There is nothing like the World Championships coming to your backyardCIMG5852


Family ties and Vintage Racing

Last weekend was the annual AHRMA Moto Corsa Classica at Willow Springs Raceway here in Southern California. Motorcycle racing, a classic motorcycle show and a swap meet…what else could a proper motorcycle nut want? Great weather (even with the required Willow Springs ‘breeze’..read 35mph wind!!), catching up with old racing friends and making new ones.CIMG5661
When I first started down the dark path of ‘Vintage’ motorcycle racing back in the early nineties, I thought racing a Honda 350 would be an easy and not too expensive way to dip my toes in the water. In my early research I came across the guru of building racing Honda’s, Todd Henning. I spent a good amount of time with Todd on the phone and learned that building a really competitive 350 was not the cheap entry into vintage racing I thought it would be. I learned a lot from Todd and ended up using some of that knowledge on my street-going 350’s. Thank you Todd.

Ten years ago, Todd had a serious crash while racing the AHRMA race at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma California resulting in head injury and a long time in a coma. It took a while, but thankfully Todd did recover. His racing career was over, however. But…the Henning dynasty lives on.

While cruising the pits at the Willow Springs AHRMA races I saw a young man getting into his leathers, the name on his chest, Ari. Next to his truck was a motorcycle I thought I recognized, a very well set up Honda 350. It turns out that Ari is Ari Henning, Todd Henning’s son and it was his dad’s old racebike next to the truck. A quick introduction and asking how his dad was doing, we arranged for a better meeting later in the day. CIMG5660

Ari went on to win both races he was entered in that day. Afterwards we had a good chat about his new career as a moto-journalist with Motorcyclist Magazine and finished up with a call to his proud dad. There is an old racing saying, “age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill”; in young Ari Henning riding his fathers racer it’s the best of both worlds.CIMG5710