Category Archives: superbikes

Never a dull moment

This isn’t really about ‘riding’ with The MotoWorld but it is an adventure with The MotoWorld.

We have been coming here to Miller Motorsports Park for four years now and each trip is different. There are different race events, different racers, different vendors and entertainment. Last year they changed the schedule to hold the Superbike races on Monday, Memorial Day instead of the usual Sunday. It seems to work well for everyone. However, there is one thing that changes like crazy and it makes me nuts, you guessed it, the weather.

When we come to Miller we camp out at the park right next door. It’s a very nice place and you get to meet a lot of interesting travelers coming to the races. The first year we got here so late the first night we had to sleep in the back of the truck in freezing wind. The rest of the weekend was great. Year two was windy but warm. Our third year was dominated by rain, wind, snow, and more rain. It rained so much the second night we had a river running through our tent. Fortunately, we had big air mattress to keep our jammies dry. That same night the snow level was about five hundred feet above track level.

Here we are at year four, we’re pros now; nothing will surprise us. We check weather.com before we get on the road. Slight chance of showers on Friday and Saturday, clearing Sunday and a beautiful sunny day on Monday, race day. The wind, which is almost as normal here as it is at Willow Springs, was only supposed to be 18-20 mph with gusts to 25 on Saturday. That last sentence is why the pretty lady on TV is not to be trusted.

After a nice solid drenching rain Saturday morning which made for some pretty exciting practice sessions, the wind picked up, and picked up, to the point of riders getting blown all over the track and on top of that it was cold. The pretty lady on the weather channel said it would be in the mid 60’s…she lied. Here is where the story gets fun.
We stayed here at the track editing photos and writing stories until about 7pm. Then it was into town to pick up supplies…refreshing adult beverage makin’s. Camping at the races requires a nice cold Martini at the end of a long day. This is Utah, the state runs all the liquor stores, and they only sell them during certain times and certain days. When we arrive at the State store, we find out we are twenty minutes too late – what is a poor thirsty moto-journalist to do? We’ll just go to the market and get a bottle wine. Guess what? You can only buy wine at the State store too. Back to the market for beer. A box of local beer will have to do.

The wind is still blowing pretty strong but nowhere near the velocity of the afternoon. As we pull up to our camp spot I see our nice blue ground cloth with nothing sitting on top of it. “Heather, our tent is gone!” “Shut up, it is not?…where did it go?” I couldn’t help but laugh at the look of utter disbelief on her face…first no martini’s and now no place to enjoy them. Things are from bad to worse and the adventure begins.

Where is our tent? One of our fellow campers tells us that some other camper saw a maintenance guy take it and put it away in a service building. Off to find the gal at the gate; she’s on a break; try to find someone else; no luck; finally find the gate lady; she calls somebody else; then we actually find our tent behind the service building not in it which is a good thing because the man that has the key isn’t there.

We spend the next hour or more finding a better protected spot and repairing all the holes and tears that our poor little portable hotel suffered while getting blown around. By that time we decide against cooking dinner and head for town. But that, friends, is another story.
Finally around 11pm we crawl into our bed only to be blown awake by Hurricane Zelda blowing through a couple of hours later. It was blowing so hard that I truly believed that when I opened the door in the morning, I could look at Heather and say “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”
It was quite the adventure yesterday, but every trip here is.

Pictures will follow tomorrow. Wish us luck for tonight, especially with no martini’s.

Never a dull moment

We have been coming here to Miller Motorsports Park for four years now and each trip is different. There are different race events, different racers, different vendors and entertainment. Last year they changed the schedule to hold the Superbike races on Monday, Memorial Day instead of the usual Sunday. It seems to work well for everyone. However, there is one thing that changes like crazy and it makes me nuts, you guessed it, the weather.
When we come to Miller we camp out at the park right next door. It’s a very nice place and you get to meet a lot of interesting travelers coming to the races. The first year we got here so late the first night we had to sleep in the back of the truck in freezing wind. The rest of the weekend was great. Year two was windy but warm. Our third year was dominated by rain, wind, snow, and more rain. It rained so much the second night we had a river running through our tent. Fortunately, we had big air mattress to keep our jammies dry. That same night the snow level was about five hundred feet above track level.

Here we are at year four, we’re pros now; nothing will surprise us. We check weather.com before we get on the road. Slight chance of showers on Friday and Saturday, clearing Sunday and a beautiful sunny day on Monday, race day. The wind, which is almost as normal here as it is at Willow Springs, was only supposed to be 18-20 mph with gusts to 25 on Saturday. That last sentence is why the pretty lady on TV is not to be trusted.

After a nice solid drenching rain Saturday morning which made for some pretty exciting practice sessions, the wind picked up, and picked up, to the point of riders getting blown all over the track and on top of that it was cold. The pretty lady on the weather channel said it would be in the mid 60’s…she lied. Here is where the story gets fun.
We stayed here at the track editing photos and writing stories until about 7pm. Then it was into town to pick up supplies…refreshing adult beverage makin’s. Camping at the races requires a nice cold Martini at the end of a long day. This is Utah, the state runs all the liquor stores, and they only sell them during certain times and certain days. When we arrive at the State store, we find out we are twenty minutes too late – what is a poor thirsty moto-journalist to do? We’ll just go to the market and get a bottle wine. Guess what? You can only buy wine at the State store too. Back to the market for beer. A box of local beer will have to do.

The wind is still blowing pretty strong but nowhere near the velocity of the afternoon. As we pull up to our camp spot I see our nice blue ground cloth with nothing sitting on top of it. “Heather, our tent is gone!” “Shut up, it is not?…where did it go?” I couldn’t help but laugh at the look of utter disbelief on her face…first no martini’s and now no place to enjoy them. Things are from bad to worse and the adventure begins.

Where is our tent? One of our fellow campers tells us that some other camper saw a maintenance guy take it and put it away in a service building. Off to find the gal at the gate; she’s on a break; try to find someone else; no luck; finally find the gate lady; she calls somebody else; then we actually find our tent behind the service building not in it which is a good thing because the man that has the key isn’t there.

We spend the next hour or more finding a better protected spot and repairing all the holes and tears that our poor little portable hotel suffered while getting blown around. By that time we decide against cooking dinner and head for town. But that, friends, is another story.
Finally around 11pm we crawl into our bed only to be blown awake by Hurricane Zelda blowing through a couple of hours later. It was blowing so hard that I truly believed that when I opened the door in the morning, I could look at Heather and say “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”
It was quite the adventure yesterday, but every trip here is.

Pictures will follow tomorrow. Wish us luck for tonight, especially with no martini’s.

It’s Miller Time…Again. Thank you Jesus

Its Miller time once again, thank you Jesus!
We here at The Motoworld love coming to Miller MotorSports Park in Tooele, Utah for the World Superbike races every year. It’s a chance to see friends that we only see once a year, we communicate all year via laptops and texting, but we only get to see and drink together once a year. We never know what the weather is going to be like, last year it rained and snowed and this year it’s just a little rain…so far. We always come up a day early to just settle in at the track and at our campsite and make the plans for the weekend. Line up interviews, arrange photo shoots and of course, catch the ‘Family Friday’ Motocross races here at the Deseret Peak Complex (where we camp out).

Friday at Miller is usually a pretty laid back day, teams are getting the garages in working order, vendors are setting up their booths, journalists from around the world are starting to show up and John Gardner, the head guy here, is running around like a chicken with its head cut off attending to everyone’s needs and wants. John is a truly remarkable man. But what are the racers doing? Just hanging around in a motorhome playing video games? Not this year.

Racers are racers, it’s a character flaw that many of us are afflicted with and those that love us have to put up with this lunacy, I think in large part with the help of pharmaceuticals. Racers will engage in a foot race, bicycles, scooters, pit bikes, rental cars (the rental car races are the most fun to watch) and go karts. Yesterday was the go kart race.

Miller Motorsports put together a great event featuring WSBK and AMA racers, local celebrities, journalists, and friends. Teams were put together with one pro racer, a local celebrity, a local racer and a military person. Teams were headed by WSBK Champion Carlos Checa, Max Biaggi, Ben Bostrom, Leon Haslam, Tom Sykes, Danny Eslick, AMA Superbike champion Josh Hayes and Former World Champion ‘Mr. Daytona Scott Russell. This was very casual event, except for when Tom Sykes bumped Leon Haslam off the track…good laughs afterwards though. The concept was each team had four drivers; they would each run a bunch of laps and then trade off. The most exciting of the races was the third leg when Carlos Checa, Ben Bostrom and Leon Camier had a great battle which Ben won pretty handily. At the end, they added up the times and the fastest team won. The winning team was headed up by eighteen year old AMA Supersport rider Elena Myers.
It was great to see all the racers just enjoying the time with friends and fans and under no pressure. It was good to see Carlos Checa spend time talking to a few of the military personnel there. All in all a fine afternoon with lots of fun racing, good conversations among friends and much laughter. A fan could meet a racer, get a picture and have a great time too. Next year, if you’re coming to the race, make sure you come on Friday.

It’s that time of year, thank god

Heather and her new lens

Team Motoworld is back at it’s favorite motorcycle event, the World Superbike meet at Miller Motorsposrts Park in Utah. It’s always a wonderful time. Every year when we leave, we’re not even out of the parking lot before we start looking forward to next year, it’s that much fun. Yeah, it’s a lot of work, trying to be in the right place at the right time for that perfect picture, chasing down racers to get a good interview. We each lose about eight pounds each year lugging camera and sound equipment all over the track and the pits. Some years it’s hot and windy, this year it’s overcast and we’re looking for some rain.

We’ve already been out this morning taking pictures with a new lens (to get those really close close-ups), meeting up with friends we only see once a year, catching up on the latest gossip, rumors and news (sometimes the first two get misconstrued as the third?!) and in general, settling into our working home away from home. Yeah, it is a lot of work, but worth every minute of it.

Now back to work.

Getting re-acquainted with an old friend

A couple of years ago I found myself the proud owner of a 1976 BMW R90 S. It’s a wonderful motorcycle. Shortly after I bought it, like a week later, I took off on my ‘new’ BMW with a couple of friends for a two thousand mile road trip. We did all my favorite Sierra passes, saw new places, discovered new roads, got rained on…it was a great trip. And, I fell in love with my R90.

Two months later my friend Jeff called asking if I wanted to take another ride for a few days. His mother had passed away recently and he needed a road trip, leaving the next day. How could I say no. I packed up the BMW, got a good nights sleep and dreamt of twisty roads up the coast and over into the Sierra’s we both love.

I woke up to a perfect morning for traveling. While water is heating up for tea, I rolled the BMW out of the barn, double checked my packing, hit the starter button to warm it up (old BMW’s are quite cold blooded beasts) and…nothing. Flip all the switches again, nothing. Ok, quick, now what? Attach the battery charger, go have a cup of tea, call Jeff to tell him I’m running late and go over the bikes electrics one more time. Well, none of all that helped, the BMW just did not want to go for a ride.

Rather sheepishly, I went back into the barn, uncovered my old traveling partner, my ’95 Triumph Daytona, turned the key to on, pushed the starter button and…the triple roared to life. What a beautiful sound. It wasn’t beautiful just because I had a motorcycle to take this trip on, the Triumph triples song is so wonderful it makes you want to ride.

When I said ‘sheepishly’ it’s because the Daytona has been my traveling partner for many years and I felt bad asking it to be the back up for this trip. I know we all personalize our favorite bikes, some of us even give them names, my old CB350 (with a few mods), ‘The Mighty 350’, and my old ’63 Ford Fairlane’s name is ‘The Fabulous Freddie Fairlane’. I have never named my Daytona, but I hold it as dear as if it had a name. Donna Daytona??? Uh, NO…

It only took about thirty minutes to transfer all my gear to the Triumph, like I said, it and I had traveled many many miles together, so loading the Super Three up for a trip was an auto-pilot event. Jeff rolled up in the driveway and after one more cup of tea we were on our way.

The whole story of this trip of ours (which turned out to be quite an adventure with some long lasting effects) is another blog post on this website, this story is about the Daytona itself.

When we got home after riding through hurricane force winds, the Daytona and I were both stressed out…physically, mentally, and structurally. Blown fork seals on the Triumph, stress fractures on my right wrist (no, I didn;t crash…but there were times it was awfully close…). I parked the Daytona promising it I would give it the care it deserved. Well, that care didn’t come all that quickly…like two years later.

Last month I finally decided the Super Three couldn’t just lounge away in my barn doing nothing, it needed to get back on the road. The forks came off and were delivered to my friend Lance at Thousand Oaks Powersports in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The forks had been refurbished with new springs and all the necessary parts a number of years…and a lot of miles, ago, so the job was not easy. After the rebuild was done I quickly reassembled the front end, made sure the bike was running (it’s been on a battery charger for two years) and rode it to the shop.

I decided that the long way from Fillmore to Thousand Oaks was the way to go. West on Hwy 126 to 12th Street in Santa Paula, a quick left onto South Mountain Road. A few fast curvy miles later I turned right onto Balcom Canyon Rd.. Balcom Canyon is fast and flowing at the bottom then turns tight as you get to the top and down the other side. It felt great to be back on my Daytona. All the little things that make you one with your motorcycle were right there. It was a great ride that morning.

As if I don’t have enough…

…projects. I look around my barn nowadays and all I see are projects. Not just the simple “I’d better get this place organized someday” project, but real projects. The ones like, finish rebuilding the front forks and rear brake on my Triumph, the head gasket on The Mighty 350, put the parts back on my sons CB350 that I pirated to make my 350 run, paint the fairing on the BMW, start my SL Cafe bike build and put a new mandrel on my lawn tractor. Not to mention the brakes on my 1963 Fairlane sitting out front up on jack stands…my wife loves that??!

Oh sure, there are little projects too…like; organize the recycling, clean all the garden tools, put all my extra tools in the other tool box, put my wife’s tools back in her tool box and get rid of yard and shop chemicals that went bad 20 years ago. Small things, all of them really, but when I see the big projects…my ‘A.D.D’ kicks in. I start putting old tools away and then I get to wondering what bike this one tool will fit that maybe I don’t have in my regular tool box? So, I go around to all the motorcycles looking for what this particular odd looking spanner fits. The next thing you know, I’ve put down that tool, picked up the one lying next to the spare 350 engine on the work bench…two hours have gone by and I’m being called in for supper?!. A few weeks later I will remember that the tool I started carrying around fits the chrome muffler bearings in the Fairlane.

So, while I’m standing in the open barn door looking in, I wonder which of my friends I could call to come over and help me with getting this place workable. The type of friends I have are cheap labor. …some free beer, maybe a bucket of fried chicken…I took lessons from Tom Sawyer. Then I got to thinking, always a bad thing in my case…Jeff’s shop is worse than mine, Eric’s is full of too many misguided car projects and a couple of old race bikes stashed away somewhere, Jay’s shop…well, he’s a professional, so occasionally you can see the floor between all the Alfa parts and Suzuki RGV bits, and then there’s Ken’s…well, if you could slide a Honda Trail 50 in there, I would be surprised. Not a group of good organizers in that lot. I need someone to help that knows about a neat and tidy work shop, the type of shop that you could eat off the floor…Craig! Craig is even cheaper to hire than the other guys! A simple sandwich and a sixer of Coors Light, we’re working…but, he’s got too many projects of his own. Craig’s out, looks like I’m on my own.

So, back to the original problem, I have too many projects and, another one just landed in my driveway. A 1970’s something Benelli 250 2C. Great. This is a gift (?) from my friend David. He has had this bike hanging around his house for probably 20 years, outside.It was years ago he told me he had this old bike (didn’t know what it was… he never could remember the name Benelli) in great condition just hanging about and wondered if I wanted it. Sure, I said.

Twenty some years later it finally shows up. So what do I do with it? it’s a very cool little old bike, it doesn’t qualify for the MotoGiro but will still be a great ride around the local canyons. Do I do the full restoration? Make it new again? Knowing myself and my banker…probably not. How about just get it running, put on some new tires, make sure the brakes work, duct tape the seat together and, maybe clean the rust out of the gas tank. I think I’m going to need a repair manual. My new ‘gift’ has only 620 miles on the clock, the tires look new (old, but original), there are a few parts missing (nothing important…one side cover badge and the compression release cable…who needs a compression release on a 2 cylinder 250cc 2 stroke??…maybe I need to hold off on that judgement until I try to start it…!!), all in all not a bad ‘gift’.

Now, as some of you may know, I love Cafe Racers…and this little Benelli is a perfect candidate or maybe a vintage road racer. The more I look at this motorcycle, the more I’m intrigued by what it is and what it can be. It does have a reputation as a good handling motorcycle, it is fast for it’s size, and it is unique..it’s not something you will see every Sunday on your local twisty road.
I can see it now, a hot rod little two stroke hustling up Decker Canyon leaving Ducati 1098’s in a cloud of two-stroke smoke…until the road straightens out, and then well, arevaerdecci…
Pull into the Rock Store, find a place to park, casually pull off my helmet and walk away from my little Benelli. Before I can get a cup of tea, there are at least four guys standing around my little 250…”you ever seen one of these?”, “nope”, “I heard these were a piece of junk”… etc,etc,etc,…I’m very sure that there won’t be another Benelli in that parking lot on that Sunday and to have my ‘piece of junk’ gather a small crowd…well worth the price of admission.

Here’s what I have to start with…should I go for the full resto? should I just get it running? I’ll go with your vote…


Baby Riders

I have spent the vast majority of my life on two wheels. From riding a Schwinn Stingray to school, throwing newspapers onto porches pedaling that same Stingray…well…occasionally the paper ended up on the roof or in the shrubs…”sorry Mrs. Cleaver…”. I wish I still had that Stingray…do you know much that would be worth on ebay right now??!! About the same time I started getting really interested in girls I also got the motorcycle bug. My friend Byron down the street had a Taco mini bike that we terrorized the neighborhood on for years but now, it just wasn’t cool enough. I needed a real motorcycle.

My first experience being on a real motorcycle was when my dad came home from Vietnam in 1966. The first things he did was buy a new car and a new motorcycle. The car; 1966 Chevy Impala SS, the bike; a brand new Honda CB160. Looking back I wonder…why did he buy a big Chevy with a really big motor, I think it was the either the 396 or the 427, and then buy a ‘little’ motorcycle? If you’re goin’ big go BIG…he could have gotten a Triumph, BSA or a Harley… and in the words of the late John Belushi…”But Noooooooo” he had to buy a little Honda.??!!

I was fourteen years old and I was spending a few days with my dad when he took me on my first driving lesson out at the Marine Corps base…I didn’t get to drive the Chevy, I drove my step moms VW, oh well, you’ve got to start somewhere. But then…but then…came, “you want to ride the Honda?”… “gee Dad, let me think about this a whilel, YEAH!!!” I may have called that Honda 160 ‘little’ but when you’re fourteen, sitting on that bike was better than kissing the prettiest girl in school. And what did I do??…I promptly rode into the rear bumper of my dad’s new Impala…yes, I Impaled the Impala…sorry dad. A rather auspicious start to a long motorcycle career don’t you think?

I was fourteen years old when I started riding motorcycles, started racing at sixteen and you know what I’ve learned of late? I was a late bloomer.

In my job as a Moto Journalist I have had the opportunity to interview and spend time with every type of rider. Racers, travelers, industry types, photographers and everyday riders…it’s a great job. There is always one common denominator, the love of riding a motorcycle. Where does that love come from? Usually it’s dad, an uncle or a big brother…sometimes all three and occasionally it’s a friend who goes through the “this is the clutch, this is the brake,shifter…one down and three up” ritual with you. Most women I have talked with got the bug from a boyfriend or husband…I think they got tired of looking at the back of his helmet or, more often, telling themselves they can ride ride better than him.

About a year ago at the AMA Grand National Flat Track races in Pomona, California I was walking the pits doin’ my job…talkin’ to racers. I usually don’t spend too much time on race reports, I like to get to know the racer and the question I ask of everyone I talk with is…”how old were you when you started riding motorcycles?”. Everybody has a fun story about when they first threw a leg over a motorcycle.

On the way home from the race, I was mentally editing the interview’s and one common thread came through…nearly all of the riders I spoke with started riding very,very young. Somewhere between Pasadena and Fillmore I started reviewing all my roadracing interviews as well and I came up with the same thread. I worked through my interviews…MotoGP, World Superbike, AMA Superbike, AMA Flat Track, Motocross and here is what I found. Most all these champion racers were barely out of diapers when they started riding and racing. Take a guess, how old do you think most of these guys were when they first threw a leg over a motorcycle? If you said ‘four’, you win the prize…that’s right, four years old. At four years old pretty much all they could spell was PW50 or JR50 which, were the two most common bikes all these racers started on.

So what have I learned from all this research? I was a racer of no renown because I started ten years too late and that I’m going to have get my grandson a PW50 in about three years. Now if I can just convince his mother…..

A look back at World Superbike in Utah

A week ago at this time, Team MotoWorld was at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah for the World Superbike race. Scrambling for interviews, uploading photos from the practice session, getting ready for Superpole and in general just working like mad people…I love my job. As a former racer and now journalist, I enjoy every minute of my time at the track. The sights, the sounds and the smells get my adrenaline going whether I’m on a bike or have a microphone in hand…I’m still a racer in my heart and soul.

This last trip to Utah for the World Superbike races took a bit of a turn. Racers and racing is always the focus…but once in a while, if you stop for just a few moments, you see so much more. This time we saw racing a bit differently. We looked at those that are part of the racing community but are not the ones piloting the bikes. We spoke with other journalists, broadcasters, photographers, and PR (public relations) people to get their stories and their views of motorcycle racing and racers. Many have come from a racing background, some have never raced but love racing, and for a few, it’s only a business. Stories were told, rumors were spread, and a few lies tossed around just to see who would believe them. When I call it a media circus, you can be sure that is exactly what it is and just as fun to watch as Ringling Brothers.

At any championship race anywhere in the world, the media is going to be there…in force. Television, print, the internet…we’re all there. We want time with racers, team managers, almost anybody that will talk to us and give us the latest information of what is going on right now! It’s always a frantic pace. Photographers are trying to get that ‘one’ great shot, online journalists are publishing updates as fast as they can type, and some are just observing, taking notes for future stories. The days are long, usually twelve hours or more, but not a one of us would trade what we do for another job.

I’d like to take this moment to thank John Gardner and his staff at Miller Motorsports Park for taking such good care of those of us in the media circus. Tech problems were handled with speed and efficiency, questions were answered promptly, we were fed well ( nobody wants a tired, hungry, cranky journalist!!!??? ) and all of it done with a smile. To John, Niki and Annie, thanks again for taking such good care of us. We look forward to seeing you again next year. Actually, we’re thinking about the Rolex Sports Car Series end of the summer….

Paul and Heather
www.themotoworld.com
www.motoworldmedia.com

Where to find inspiration

I have spent the past years going to races, interviewing racers and loving every minute of it…even when my recorder fails me, like it did today. I have interviewed roadracers and flat trackers and they all have one thing in common, a true passion for racing. Passion and the love of the sport is what drives them each and every day. They eat, sleep and breathe motorcycle racing.

On the way up here last week, Heather and I were talking about others that we have met and talked with that aren’t racers but are doing what they have a passion for in motorcycling. We realized that we produce The MotoWorld out love for motorcycling and motorcycle people, my friend Mitch Boehm of Moto Retro Illustrated magazine started the magazine out of his passion for Vintage motorcycles, and another started photographing motorcycle races following his passion for racing.

Normally when The MotoWorld goes to races we focus our interviews on the racers. Once in a while we’ll talk to a mechanic or technician, but ninety nine percent of the time it’s the racers. This time we decided that we would still talk to as many racers as we could, but also talk with journalists, photographers, anyone that is doing what they do in motorcycling for the love of it. It was amazing the stories that were told to me of following dreams, having something just fall into your lap and never let go of it, to see something start from nothing and watch it grow. The look on a person’s face while they’re telling their story is priceless.

I couldn’t have wished for a greater collection of interviews. In the coming weeks on The MotoWorld podcast you’ll be able to listen to life stories from World Champion racer and Speed TV broadcaster Scott Russell; Superbike Planet.com king Dean Adams; world traveler, journalist and photographer Neale Bayle; author, racer, journalist, and philosopher Peter Jones; SpeedTV broadcaster Ralph Shaheen; Spanish TV announcer and former racer himself Dennis Noyes. All of these men have inspiring stories about following a dream to work and the life they love.

As I said in the beginning here, we do The MotoWorld because we love what we do, and after spending time with these men I love The MotoWorld even more. It’s a good thing it is a labor of love cuz there ain’t no money in it.

And yes, there are going to be good fun racer interviews in there too.

The Church of Speed

Welcome to Sunday morning at the Church of Speed. Everyone is dressed in their Sunday best; racers in their finest leathers, photographers with their cameras hanging around their neck like jewelry, journalists writing sermons, and spectators holding their beers like Holy Water. It’s a perfect Sunday for church in Utah; sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and no wind. All in all a perfect day if you have to spend all of it in church.

The riders are running their practice session right now, the pits are in a flurry and the sound of engines warming up is like the cacophony of a thousand church bells ringing at once. The riders go out for a few laps then dive back into the pits, talk with the mechanics, a few quick adjustments are made and the rider heads back out. Four or five laps later this communal ritual will be repeated. The mechanics are like the brothers in a monastery of exotic high speed machinery, the crew chief is the priest who controls all that happens in his church, and the rider is a mere minion. The congregation is starting to file into the church now.

The congregation, the faithful, will receive their reward in the form of ‘Superpole’. This a sacred ritual that determines which riders sit in the front pews and which listen to the sermon from the back of the church. The faithful watch this ritual with great anticipation knowing that the rider who can read the passages the fastest will gain favor with the monsignor and recieve his blessing, pole position for the race.

Today is the Sunday school before the Mass. This weekend Mass is actually going to be held tomorrow, Monday, because of Memorial Day. Often times though, Sunday school is more exciting.