I need my own personal jet.
Oh boy....first I'd like to apologise for being so behind in updating to this blog. So without further ado, make a big pot of tea of coffee, find a comfy spot and let's have a trip around Europe and North America, starting with Southern Spain, Jerez, a new track and a new destination for me.Amazing place. The picture above was taken from the window of my bedroom in the heart of the city, and in fact the centre of the flamenco universe. Imagine warm balmy evenings, a soft fragrant breeze blowing through the open windows and sounds of clapping, dancing, guitars and castanets..seriously. Every evening this would be the sounds greeting you. The city itself is becoming pedestrianized and the streets are extremely narrow to navigate with a car..even the GPS cuts out from time to time due to the tall buildings gathered close to the sidewalks. Then there is the food. If you're a lover of seafood, get to the market early, like silly early. You'll have to wait in line for anywheres up to 40 minutes, but the choices are amazing...Don't forget though, this is the home of Sherry (Jerez, Sherry..gettit?!) and a visit here wouldn't be complete without taking one of the many tours of the bodegas that exist within easy reach of the centre of town.Did I mention the race weekend wasn't bad either?You have to experience this racetrack, nothing but colour, and people stacked all around the track, clapping and chanting as only the Spanish can do..it's simply breathtaking, and of course, the crowd love Valentino..who didn't disappoint either...Next stop would be Monza!
Yet another new track and a new destination for me in the world of racing. I was fortunate enough to find a residence hotel less than 4km from the circuit, which meant and easy in and out at the end of the day but also allowed for little side trips into Milan (where I spent an enjoyable afternoon with Ben Spies' Mum and Dad, Mary and Henry walking around the Mall and the Duomo)This racetrack is literally soaked in history. If anyone has ever watched the film "Grand Prix" you'll know what I mean. The banking, albeit sadly crumbling away, is there, the trees remind you that it is still a park where people run, walk their dogs and ride their horses even during the race weekend, all kept in one spot by a 20 foot perimeter wall. But to see the banking gives one goose bumps.This time the hero's of the hour are Ben Spies, Michele Fabrizo and of course, Noriyuki Haga. Haga has everything to lose and Spies and Fabrizio are playing catch up. This being Yamaha Italia's home race (the factory where both the MotoGP and World Superbike Teams are based is literally a stones throw away) and with Ben Spies being made an honorary Italian there's a lot of pressure on everyone. I was fortunate to have been given a tour of the workshops and even encountered Uchio, Valentino Rossi's mate returning with the motor home whilst I was leaving. A quick look into the garage where all the GP trailers are stored revealed a whole collection of shrink wrapped GP bikes from all years. Sadly no photos (they're touchy about that) but still, the visit was worth the time.
Race day, and the weekend in general was a lot of fun. Some folks from back home were there, Andrea, Chuck, Rome and his girlfriend Misa, and with Ben Spies and Jake Zemke (subbing for John Hopkins and both with their respective crew chiefs) it started to feel like the AMA was here..but no. Sadly Ben would run out of gas in race 1 after a race restart following a pretty horrific crash into the first chicane. Race two however, Ben won. All in all, a wonderful weekend, although the banking almost claimed another life, MINE! After slipping on some crumbling concrete, then being whacked in the back of the head by my camera and followed by falling chest first onto an old crash barrier strut left Italy with a few memories I wish I didn't have..!More this week from Infineon and the AMA, Miller and World Superbike, MotoGP from Catalunya and my third trip back to the UK in 20 years, World Superbikes from Donington..all coming this week...