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.
We 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.
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.
Yesterday 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.
Today 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…Time 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
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, Utah
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 backyard