Friday, April 24, 2009

It's Not All About Oranges - World Superbike Valencia and 19

I love Spain. As I might've mentioned or waffled on about somewhere else within here, I love everything about the country, the people, lifestyle and culture (although I'm not a big fan of bullfighting but hey..). This was my first trip to Spain at the beginning of the year and the first time covering the World Superbike Series. After having my main suitcase go awol for a few days it finally turned up and I was able to get my life back on track. Still, it gave me the opportunity to go real shopping, to buy shoes, some clothes and other stuff one wouldn't ordinarily buy and interact with folks on a regular day to day basis...Ihad fun. Although, I stood out like a sore thumb, being that I only had shorts, a body warmer and sandals to wear..and it was cold!Onto the race weekend. Fans in Spain, really make covering the event something else, from cheering and clapping as riders race each, to clapping and cheering when a rider gets up after having a spill. It's just so good natured....Well, this weekend was a little more special, as the Yamaha Italia team, and Team Manager Massimo Meregalli in particular have offered me the use of Ben Spies' scooter when he's out on track and during his sessions.So it was with great relief that I head out to cover the race aboard "Number19"..Whereupon I meet fellow photographer Andrew Northcott, with who I have been friends for quite some time.There we are, two burly chaps aboard this scooter when Andrew screams "I'm slipping I'm slipping" suddenly the front comes up and he almost drops off the back! What was really funny though was that the fans who were seated above us, started clapping when I saved it! Truly hilarious. So we drive to the top of the track to shoot some more and then decide to head back down to go through the tunnel that goes under the track and into the middle.As we pass the fans that previously clapped out misadventure, start to cheer and stand and do "the wave". Funniest thing ever. Unfortunately for Ben the weekend wouldn't be as good to him as it was in Qatar, a DNF (Did Not Finish) in the first race, and a second place podium in the second puts him a few points behind Noriyuki Haga. Still, it's a long year with plenty of races to go and things can change..That's all from me this week. I'll try and squeeze in a quickie update about the AMA race at Fontana that took place prior to this event. I also need to update my website too. I'm off to Jerez this weekend for MotoGP then onto Monza for Round 5 of the World Superbike Championship. Be safe and I'll be in touch.