Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rossi, Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Hayden and Spies. Arabian Knights part two, out for the camels..

Weird. The night racing was cool, a lot of fun.However, for me it made me feel like I was being forced to live through real time jet lag. I knew it would be weird, however, for someone who really does have a hard time grasping time and continuum it threw me a wobbly.I had a a great week exploring, going shopping, dealing with the worlds hottest parking lot (in the mall that contained Carrefour) and meeting some really really kind, and courteous, locals. On Thursday we headed to the track early afternoon so that I could pick up my credentials. It is always a thrill to go and pick up my "official pass" as I have never taken any of this for granted. This year however, I do not have to ask for the "vest" at each race. I have been given my own personal bright orange "MotoGP" vest to take to each round as I travel. I am officially photographer 058. Back to Thursday. It's pretty much a day of re-acquaintance, snagging a locker for your gear and making sure you get the desk that'll be your office for the weekend. Thursday afternoon is the 125 and Moto2 team shoot and then we're done.
Friday starts late with the group shot of the MotoGP riders as the sun goes down, then it's kicking tyres for a couple of hours before we get some track action. With the 125's heading out with it just getting dark, we're treated to really nice comfortable working conditions. Moto2 and MotoGP bikes hit the track and then we're done. Time to drive back to Andrew's Arabian Palace and call it a day with a nice can of non alcoholic Moussey..Saturday rolls around and I have already decided that we need to visit the Islamic Museum of Art (image above shot at night). What a trip! If anyone goes to Doha to cover MotoGP you must, I insist must, visit this fantastic museum. Chock full of truly interesting artifacts, books, sculptures and just about everything that takes your breath away. For me, the only sadness I has was the fact that Emily wasn't with me. So much stuff to see and absorb. We could've stayed longer but we had sandwiches and food for later on that night to purchase. So we headed off to the City Centre Mall, and the worlds hottest parking lot and bought food.Did I mention you really have to visit the museum?Saturday was the usual race deal, with of course Casey Stoner snagging pole position, and the usual suspects being up front. Ben Spies managed 11th in qualifying but that would eventually change as the race on Sunday progressed and he'd make up 6 places to finish fifth. Casey would crash out giving Rossi the win. Nicky Hayden did a bang up job to finish fourth battling with Dovizioso who would finish third after the man who likes to hurt himself, Jorge Lorenzo. Ben battled with Pedrosa and passed him up the inside right in front of me at the first corner. Not your usual Qatar race to be honest. So fortunately Casey wasn't hurt by crashing, but it did mean we didn't really have a snore fest race from Qatar with someone running away in the lead. Valentino Rossi ran out of gas on the cool down lap and made a local super happy as he rode his scooter back to parc ferme. I almost got annihilated by Dovizioso's crew as they became crazy dudes over his third place finish...With that, hours of editing took place and we left the media centre as some ungodly hour after 4am. Watching the sky, daybreak happen made me feel sort of panicky. Weird I know, but I had been up since 9am the morning before because I really cannot sleep past 8am and so being awake for over 18 hours (we still had to get back to "The Palace") was making me feel a little freaky. Insomnia freaky.Monday rolled around and so we thought we'd visit "the souq" during the day, have some lunch and wrap up our Arabian adventure....I walked around the souq during it's "siesta time" so most places were closed. I decided to have some lunch. For me it was Couscous Royal, semolina, steamed vegetables, mutton, chicken and merquez sausages. Yummy. Whilst we were sat eating we saw Arabian horse mounted police and a little while after were joined by Gordon Howell of Pole Position Travel for a Turkish coffee. We sat around and had a chinwag before deciding we need to head back to base, finish packing and get ready to leave. As we walked through the souq taking our final photos we were invited to sit with two local Qatari's to have our photo taken. I'm still amazed at the courtesy and kindness I have witnessed during my week here. Needless to say I haven't felt so sad about leaving a destination since leaving Spain, which happens every time I leave Spain...I did mention to my wife Emily how much fun I had in Qatar, to which she answered, we're not living there..but she is coming with me next year!!I simply cannot wait to come back. Contrary to what others said about going to Qatar I found the extra day or two to be helpful (even allowing me the time to replace my power supply for my laptop that decided to go "phht" and give up the ghost!) but it also allowed me to get some sort of feel or insight into the people and culture.Valentino Rossi Qatar Andrew Wheeler AutoMotoPhotoI can't wait to catch up with the museum in 2011. Oh and the camels...? Whist we were heading back to our car in the souq, Gordon Howell shouted out "watch out for the camels!!" to which I went yeah yeah.....! Low and behold...Next race for me. MotoGP from Jerez...


resmith1000 said...

Andrew, I saw you on TV being mobbed by the adjacent Honda crew at the end of the race. Gotta love wide lenses for those moments.

Glad you had a great trip.


Andrew Wheeler said...

Thank Ryan!!

Derek said...

Hi Andrew,

I saw you in the Jerez paddock (my first ever MotoGP) and was hoping to say hello but you quickly vanished (obviously a busy man), maybe next time!

Keep up the great work, very inspirational images.