Things we think of while riding down the road

world superbike

Wise old saying…

There is a romantic old saying “if you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you it is true love”. However, those of us that race and ride motorcycles know the saying actually goes,

“If you love something set it free. If it comes back to you, it means you high sided!

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Tommy Aquino; RIP

I have been interviewing motorcycle racers for a number of years now, some interviews are notable for how good they turn out and a few are like “well, there is a half hour I’ll never get back”, and then there are the ones that just make you feel good all over, you’re laughing your ass off through the whole thing and you talk about it months and years after. My interview with Tommy Aquino was one of the latter.

Picture 3We were at the AMA races at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California and Kevin Foley of Yamaha set up an interview with the ‘Young Guns’ Tommy Aquino and Josh Herrin.

When I arrived at the appointed time and place (the Yamaha mega trailer) I met the two while they were playing video games. Mind you, these were not motorcycle video games but your basic shoot ’em up games and they were having a great time. The interview was conducted with all kinds of distractions, background noise and a lot of fun. That interview has been a consistent favorite of The Motoworld Podcast. I spent nearly an hour with the two of them and found them to be very fun, welcoming, smart and above all else, they loved racing motorcycles. They also were great teammates.Picture 2

Being a follower and reporter of motorcycle racing, and specifically a follower of those we have interviewed, I have kept track of Tommy’s career. Tommy moved on from AMA racing to the British National Series in the 1000cc Superstock class, which is a stepping stone to British Superbike which is THE stepping stone to Worlds Superbike and MotoGP. In 2013 he had a good season, he was on his way. Sadly, Tommy’s career was cut short while training at a local motocross track.

Piru motocross track is only 9 miles from my home and I happened to be riding by the track at about the time of the incident, it wasn’t until the next morning that I heard the news that Tommy Aquino had died. My heart was broken and my thoughts and prayers went out to his family and friends. Tommy was only 21 years young with so much ahead of him.

Racing has lost a wonderful young talent and the rest of us have lost a wonderful young friend. To hear my interview with Tommy go to
http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/9/1/6/916a618f12b8306d/02_The_Motoworld_v6.2.mp3?c_id=2339164&expiration=1391535561&hwt=933c1e5c47989befd848dd66d2c9686a

Good-bye Tommy you are missed.
Paul


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.


Just because you’re not paranoid…

…doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. I read that on a fortune cookie at Folk Yews Szechuan Buffet in Walla Walla Washington one evening after a long days ride. When I got on my bike to head back to my deluxe accommodations, room 116 at the Motel 6, I looked over each shoulder, twice…I checked the mirrors, twice…when I got to the street I looked up and down and over my shoulders again. I knew they were out there. Waiting for me.

More and more you see them, or actually you don’t and that’s the idea. The ‘stealth’ cars. The unmarked cop car that oh so casually pulls in behind you and then fills your rear view mirrors with pretty red and blue lights. “Damn…where’d he come from?” Next thing you know a smiling officer is handing you an invitation to contribute to his states general fund. Isn’t that special.

Unmarked cars are nothing new, state troopers have been using them for decades, I believe Arizona was one of the first, clear back in the early ’70s…take a guess as to how I know. Wow, good guess. Early stealth cars were the standard highway patrol cruisers, the lights were tucked in the windshield (but still pretty noticeable), some even retained the push bar in the front. They weren’t too hard to spot, if you were paying attention. Over the years, law enforcement agencies have been getting sneakier when it comes to unmarked cars. Is it because we as drivers / riders are getting smarter? Look around you next time you’re on the road and you’ll know the answer to that question is no.

Coming home from the World Superbike races in Utah a couple of years back, we were just droning along I15 listening to Rush Limbaugh or some other loudmouth spouting off his views of the world on the radio, when we got passed by a little Toyota econobox doing about 85. As the Toyota was disappearing into the scenery, we were passed again, this time by a sweet looking Mustang GT. As I watch the GT motor off, I was thinking ‘people in Utah like to drive fast’, cuz I’m doing 80 and getting passed like I’m in second gear?! A little farther up the road we pass the Toyota and the Mustang like they were standing still, they were. The Toyota and the Mustang were pulled off on the side of the road and the driver of the Mustang, looking pretty spiffy in his Utah State Police uniform, was asking the other driver for the usual paperwork that means this is not a social visit.

State law enforcement agencies say they use unmarked cars for safety reasons citing speeding as a major cause, if not the major cause of highway fatalities and that by using unmarked cars they can catch more speeders, therefore making the highways of this country safer for law-abiding citizens like you and I. What a bunch of hooey…in my opinion. Here’s my thought, you knew you were reading this for a reason, if states really want to keep the highways safer, make sure all the cars are marked in such a way that it is painfully obvious that it, the car, is a highway patrol vehicle. The reason I believe that is very simple. All of us, whether we are in a car or riding a motorcycle, if we are speeding and we see a police car, we slow down…right now, even if the cop has someone pulled over on the other side of the road! None of us wants to pay a ticket and have our insurance go up. If we see more highway patrol cars and see them more frequently, we will all (well, most of us) be motoring along a little more safely. The mission of the state troopers has been accomplished. Is it really that simple? No.

More speeding tickets means more income for the state where the ticket was issued. State police ‘stealth’ cars are nice little revenue generators. The states all say no, that’s not the reason for using unmarked cars, it’s all about safety. Again, I say hooey. Every state in this country is in fiscal trouble (except maybe Tennessee) and they are raising money any way they can. Catching more speeders with unmarked cars may slow them down for a moment and bring more money to the state, but if highway patrols would show a greater presence, drivers and riders would be more aware of their speed at all times. Not just when they are getting a ticket.