Tag Archives: world supersport

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.

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

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.

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

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