Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Paella and Air Horns - The Last Gasp - Valencia MotoGP

This was my second trip to Valencia to cover the final round of the MotoGP World Championship, sadly without my wife. Nonetheless, I love coming to Spain, the scenery is very similar to California, the food and the people here are truly wonderful. I stay roughly 30km from the track near a town called Macastre in a cottage almost at the top of of a mountain that could be as far away from the excitement of racing as is possible, thus allowing me to simply unwind at the end of the day away from the noise of the track and the busy work in the media centre. With supermarkets in the nearby town I am able buy produce to cook dinner and it allows me to mingle with the folks who live there. To feel less of a visitor. Race day arrives at the Circuit Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, just outside of Valencia and it is always a feast for all of the senses. The ampitheatre creates a canvas which is painted with bright colours, yellows, reds, blues and greens of people supporting their favorite riders and teams.Loud air horns and chanting fill the air with excitement. Paella, a combination that can include shrimp, rice, chorizo, chicken and rabbit; cooking on open burners fills the air and taunts the appetite with it's complicated aroma masked only momentarily by the smell of the 125 and 250 two strokes during warm up.The GP bikes are racing. Fans stand and clap as their favorite riders Pedrosa, Rossi, Hayden, Lorenzo and others pass them each time. Air horns blare in some oddball symphony and flags wave in the warm Spanish sun. We have a race as the main dish and the fans are eating it up. But as with all good things they come to an end and all the race are run, and the dessert is a firework show that sends vibrations through your core with each explosion. Valencia is special. As it's the last race of the MotoGP calender on the Monday following, riders who are changing teams are on track on their new machines. Nicky Hayden has moved to Ducati, Marco Melandri has moved to Kawasaki and Sete Gibernau is back. The number one plate has left it's previous owner Casey Stoner and has disappeared once again as Valentino Rossi has won the championship and proudly wears the number "46" of his father on his machine and has done for each time he won the Championship. He wears a number "1" on his leathers.Before I go, I'd just like to say a quick "Thank You" to Ian Wheeler, Steffi and Matteo of Kawasaki Racing for their kind hospitality, wonderful coffee, company and food during the race weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing you again somewhere in Europe in 2009.

Oh, and Go Nicky!Next up, the Dunlop tire test from Daytona.