The races themselves were fantastic! There were 2 races on Saturday (KTM RC cup and Supersport/Superstock) and 4 on Sunday (2 Superbike, 1 Supersport and 1 KTM RC cup). The week/weekend is absolutely rammed with action and there’s very little time where there’s nothing happening on track. Even watching the riders walk the track on Thursday is pretty neat. The races meant that my job changed again. After warm ups I didn’t have to check rolling tire stickers anymore. For the rest of the day on Sunday I was logging sticker numbers while the bikes were gridded up. This was AWESOME!!!! The bikes did their sighting lap and then got to their grid positions. Then it was my job to go out and confirm what sticker numbers the riders were using for the race. WAY less stress and very cool for sure. The mood changed again tangibly for the races. There was a formalness, a pageantry… an emotional quality to the races that was unique. The whole track was buzzing at a higher frequency than before. Being out on the actual racetrack with the bikes was bananas. I was in disbelief at what I got to experience just for donating a little bit of my time. I kept imagining there were people who would pay a ton of money to get to experience I was having!
I started to realize what the phrase ‘in anger’ meant. The bikes sounded exactly that… ANGRY. The noises alone deserve more words than exist. I kept thinking of how to describe the sound alone. I thought of the word ‘snow’ and how I’d heard that Eskimos have a zillion words for ‘snow’ that describe different variations of it. I imagine racers might have a similar number of words that describe the noise that the bikes make. The sounds are beautiful. A symphony of exploding fuel. The differences are incredible and awe inspiring. The R1’s sound the most brutal leaving pit lane but lose some body when flat out. They’re still impressive and brutal but the ‘boom’ has a little less body. The KTM RC 390’s sound incredible, regardless of their lack of power (a 390 cc single cylinder engine). Idling they sound mean as could be. Flat out down the front straight they sound like a crop duster (I don’t mean that as a negative, it’s just the feeling I kept getting each time they’d come around). One actually did a practice start at the end of pit out and I looked up into the sky for a plane! The Aprilia’s are, for me, the most amazing sounding bike on the grid. Whether the Aprilia is in first gear leaving pit lane or in 6th gear ripping down the front straight the sound is mesmerizing. They sound lethal. The Suzuki’s have an awesome ‘howl’ and they ‘scream’ more than the others like a cross between a 600 and a Panigale. Toni Elias’ GSXR 1000 has these insane cracks and sizzles and pops when downshifting and I can often tell when he’s going into turn 1 just by the sound. I LOVE it. I’m literally glowing (mostly b/c of sunburn but, in my mind, it’s because of how incredible my current reality is). I wish everyone could experience this.
I left right after the last race to go meet up with my friend from Boston. 4 days felt like 2 months and I had a mixture of emotions leaving. I was grateful for what I’d gotten to experience. I was excited about how incredible the whole trip had been. I was sad that it was ending. I was missing my family. I was glad I wasn’t at work. I was looking forward to seeing my friend who I hadn’t seen in maybe a year and who I admire very much for lots of reasons. I was exhausted. I was sunburned. I was getting back on the road!!!!
I could have high-fived Josh Hayes here:
A fellow Kawi rider and our very own Backmarker:
Toni Elias’ GSXR-1000
Me checking tire stickers:
The KTM RC Cup:
Video of the RC 390’s https://youtu.be/x66TtVQin4Y
Wayne Rainey and Jake Gagne
Shirts for my family
The corals as they got busier on Sunday:
Toni Elias and Roger Hayden:
2015 MotoAmerica Champion Cameron Beaubier (who also just bagged a 10th place in World SBK at Donnington Park!!) and Multiple AMA Champion Josh Hayes (who also has a MotoGP 7th place finish to his name)
Wayne Rainey’s custom motorized transportation. His has better suspension than mine!
Now I’m outta here. MotoAmerica…. THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME!!