During the weekend of September 12th to the 14th, I covered the inaugural return of MotoGP and motorcycle racing to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. Like many others, both professional and fans alike, I was excited. The last time I attended a race meeting at the IMS, (aside from testing in late July this year) I was with my wife Emily. In 2001 we attended the inaugural return to the US of Formula 1 and again in 2003 and 2004. It was at the same of the year, the level enthusiasm was the same and I was just a fan, sitting and looking on from the other side of the fence and barriers with a video camera, instead of Valentino Rossi being the man to watch, we had Michael Schumacher. In 2004, with my wife Emily and I pressed firmly against the crowd fence during the pit walk, Renault factory driver Fernando Alonso approached us. I turned and looked towards a photographer taking pictures of the fans from inside the barriers and said in passing to Emily, "you know, wouldn't it be wonderful to have a job like that?" Almost 4 years later to the day, here I am, in that same spot the photographer was working covering an event with as much gravitas as Formula 1 in a place with history oozing out of every piece of concrete and steel and for a moment, I was overwhelmed and humbled by the fact that I had been granted the ability to cover this event, sadly not being able to share this with my wife Emily a she had to stay home. Over the rest of the weekend, meeting folks back at my hotel, around the race track and even in the parking lot, many of which had *never* watched a motorcycle race in their life, I sensed a similar level of enthusiasm and enjoyment, regardless of the weather. Seeing people having this much fun at a time when there really isn't much to smile about, with big grins on their faces, with little kids and grown adults wide eyed as Rossi, Stoner, Hayden and others aboard their uber powerful hi-tech machines showing off their magnificent skills and hearing the oohs and aahs from behind me as I worked made the weekend something special.I hope some of the 174,000 people who attended this wonderful weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can realize their dreams, no matter how small just as I did. Odldy, I didn't manage to grab myself a smoked turkey leg. There's always next year, and fingers crossed, let's hope the rain stays away!
Last round of the AMA Superbike Series (maybe forever?) from Laguna Seca in Monterey, then we go to the land of Rolf Harris, kangaroos and Fosters "beeyah". One last thing before I go, I'd like to mentioned a solid "well done" to Ben Spies on his performance at this event.