Friday, June 27, 2014

Motorcycles 'N Music Make Austin's MotoGP weekend a Gasser (Con't)

No Fenders Head Scribe Tomaso's new ride, a shiny black Ducati. (The Tomaso Collection)
And since I've still got miles to go, hopefully before it becomes just another fleeting memory, or my Confuzer' goes wonky, since it's been making some NASTY noises for awhile now; URGH! As typical, I've decided to stretch this story into two parts instead of one; viola!

Like I said, its A-L-L slipping away, as I think it was Friday when we met a delightful couple from Bloody 'Ol England, yeah it was Friday? Err; actually believe it was Saturday afternoon instead, or does it  really matter? But first it was off to Ducati Island after having watched qualifying from a much more crowded vantage point...

After Saturday morning's practice session, Claudio' and I were  off to Ducati Island where we  met a very nice  Ducati employee named Eric I believe? As he was ultra kOOL! By gladly handing me bitz 'N pieces of their display engine, may be a cut-away? As next thingy I knew, I was holding an aluminum  piston, which was followed by an aluminum cylinder liner - made out of 7075 aluminum, which I noted is used widely in commercial Aeroplanes. Then he told me to put my hands out wide before handing me a Magnesium valve cover to hold; Eureka, it's so lite!

And then it became "Strike-the-Pose" time Motorcycle pics  aplenty! As your No Fenders scribe went into total "GQ" mode; Hya! Having my picture taken on a variety of  two wheeled machinery.

Some sorta weird Scooters' contraption; think it's a Motis powered racecar? (The Tomaso Collection)
The photo-shoot began with two pics  on a red Ducati followed by two more upon a black & gold 'Duc. (Ducati) Then pictures in front of what was described to Mwah as a "mini" racecar with prominent DO NOT TOUCH! Signs placed upon it. As the vehicle in question turned out to  be a Motis-mobile racecar propelled by a motorcycle 'lump I presume, since I must confess I never actually saw I-T! Although it makes me conjure up mental images of the Indy Racing Experience's single seater's Yuhs can drive around the Speedway.

Then another duo of pics upon a YamaHopper' before we got into line for me to have my picture taken on the replica #99 Yamaha MotoGP bike of Double World Champion George Lorenzo, as a nice man helped me get seated upon the diminutive bike, which I was absolutely blown away at how far the front end was pitched down, as I was basically leaning forward - which I'd ARSE-sume is just another trick at aerodynamics, although I never found out if this was a true representation of how the riders ride those amazing Scooters' or not?

Even funnier yet was how Claudio couldn't manage to input his email address correctly, as the photographs were being sent electronically, so NO picture upon the race bike, but at least I got to sit on one!

Then I sat inside of a quad runner that Claudio forgot to tell me to duck my head when entering - whoomf! As I smacked my cranium against the roll cage as Claudio commented on how there was even a spot for your gun...

Along with more pics snapped upon the 'lil Yamaha training bike of which nearby was a miniature riding track complete with hay bales set up for aspiring young riders to ride around. Whilst somewhere else  we stopped at a stunt bike section, yet the wind was Uh-blowin' too hard for the riders to do any jumping!

Utilizing some small signage for shade in relief to the sun, we ate our lunch in the somewhat deafening silence as  Claudio took a nap while awaiting the start of qualifying, before moving our way towards a portion of the last straightaway prior to Turn-20, or is it 19 before the front straight and Pits?

Blue #99 Yamaha tribute bike with George Lorenzo poster in background. (The Tomaso Collection)
As we'd secured another partially shaded vantage point, albeit the wind was still Uh-blowin' as we were constantly peppered by loose dirt; Aye Karumba! When a very cheerful sounding woman asked if it was ok to sit alongside us? While her husband wandered down to the fence-line to see the Scooters up-close.

The woman introduced herself as Susie, although not in Wolff; Hya! As that Susie was most likely some where's back in Europe, perhaps doing a bit 'O simulator work?

Shortly afterwards we were engaged in a very enjoyable Chin-wag' (chat) as good 'Ol Derek Daly would say; Hooah! As Susie exclaimed to Claudio's Questione about being Formula 1 fans: Oh NO! MotoGP is far more exciting than F1! As let that sink in a moment, eh? Yet, I could agree with her point since there's so much more passing on the bikes vs. Formula 1...

Silverstone was their home track, as I think she said they lived just a scant 10-miles away, but had also been to Mugello and now COTA for MotoGP events.

Being British, I asked Susie who was her favourite rider - to which she had the most entertaining answer for. If it's just looks than definitely Cal Crutchlow! If its results then Bradley Smith, but definitely Crutchlow; Ooh la-la, Mon Cherie!

And sensing I was having trouble picking out the riders, Susie proclaimed "There goes one of the Aliens!" To which naturally left Claudio & Mwah perplexed to which Susie quickly explained used to be Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi and George Lorenzo but now is  obviously Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo, as these former and current trio of riders are simply from another planet in regards to the way they ride their motorcycles and how FREAKIN' FAST they are!

As I've purposely not described any of the on-track action 'cause Marc Marquez was simply in his own Zip code A-L-L weekend long, as not surprisingly, the 21yr old Spaniard took Pole once again.

And although Austin wasn't holding the typical excellante F1 Fanfest style party downtown this weekend, nevertheless  Claudio pronounced that we were going to the Crawfish Festival after the day's track activities - after first a quick trip to the swimmin' pool to cool down from the day's hot  & dusty weather, having been nearly 90 degrees-f that day!

Tomaso's "Seeing-eye Guide Dog" (Person) Claudio' hard at work at the Crawfish Festival. (The Tomaso Collection)
The festival was a fundraiser which included all the Crawfish you could eat while we waited patiently for our second musical act to play, as it was a band I'd heard of over the years but never seen, as Buckwheat Zydeco finally took the stage for an enjoyable set of music before we made our way home...

Sunday was nice since we elected to not get-up so damn early as the previous two days and slept in before being dropped off at the track, where naturally the crowd's size had gotten larger, although not nearly as many as the F1 race.

As I've failed to mention how the three classes 'O Sccoters', i.e.; Moto-3, Moto-2 and MotoGP all have their  very own distinctive sounds, as the Moto-3 bikes for lack of better word, sound like a bunch of angry Harley's or Hornets. While interestingly, if you let your imagination wander, the Moto-2 bikes sounded very similar to last year's Formula 1 racecars, while I cannot put my finger on what the 'B-I-G BOYZ sounded like, except they didn't seem remotely as loud as I'd remembered them being at Indianapolis, although perhaps part of this is due to the wide open spaces of COTA?

As don't get me wrong, they're definitely loud, but not as bad as I expected along with a  rather pleasing audio-tome to Mwah, just can't remember exactly what I'd likened them to...

Between the Moto-3 & Moto-2 support races, I think they had thee "Doctor," nee Valentino Rossi on the "blower," i.e.; track's PA system, to which was 'Uber annoying where we were seated near Turn-1, as there were two opposing speakers that weren't in synch, and thus it was  pretty pretty annoying annoying to hear to hear everythingy everythingy repeated twice repeated twice!

But back to who I think was Valentino? Who was asked the ridiculous Questione of which he preferred better: Blondes or Brunettes? To which in delightful Italian accented English he replied: "When I was young definitely blondes, but now that I'm older I'm more interested in brunettes..." Yuck-yuck-yuck!

And just before the Moto-2 race began, it started sprinkling lightly at the track, the first time it'd rained all weekend long; delaying the race's start as they waited out the mini rain burst before going Green! As unfortunately our 'Yank rider Josh Herrin went down right in front of us before picking up his bike and riding the rest of the race upon his own.

Then it was time for the featured event, to which George Lorenzo jumped the start, which I suppose was his only chance of getting ahead of the mercurial Marquez who's simply untouchable so far this season! As after that, the race was effectively over with Marquez leading Wire-to-Wire, as we ended up moving about to various vantage points around this GURR-REAT!!! Walking track, which makes me think of  Spa-Francorchamps... Even though I've never been there, I've heard many times over the years how it's also an excellante walking track for spectators.

And thus, standing along one of the straightaway's, where the Duc's' throatier engine noise was clearly audible to Mwah, as perhaps a side effect of Ducati's Desmodromic valvetrain? I marveled to Claudio how the Repsol Honda Boyz, who were running 1-2 reminded me of the "Big Bulls" (Red Bull) at last year's F1 race where Seb' Vettel had simply walked I-T en route to his record tying ninth win in-a-row!

Although I suppose Y'all could say the Repsol Honda's dominance is akin to this year's  Silver Arrows Juggernaught, eh? As to date Marquez hasn't lost a single race, going six-for-six, with the 21yr old Spaniard leading by a country mile over his Wingman Pedrosa, who was a further 5-6+ seconds ahead of eventual third place finisher 'DOVY, nee Andrea Dovizioso, scoring Ducati's first podium since 2012; Aye Karumba!

But our day wasn't over yet, as  our favourite local Homeboy Bob Schneider was playing the Post-race concert! And although I'd hope to hear my favourite song of his; Ready, let's Roll! Nevertheless I understood why he didn't perform it at the track, although he and his band were very enjoyable - even if I can no longer remember what all they played, other than ending with a very entertaining rendition of Tarantula! Oh yeah, and another enjoyable song titled Bullets; Yuhs know: "You bring the bullets, I'll bring the wine," before it being time to call Nelie to come pick us up at the racetrack, followed by a very lazy evening...

Waking up Monday morning it was amazingly cold! As we marveled to ourselves how Austin, COTA and MotoGP had all lucked out as a nasty weather cell moved in 12-hours after the event. As a thunder 'N lightning storm caused the mercury to plummet five degrees  in just moments down to  a chilly 47deg-f as Claudio told me that it was HAILING! Even going so far as to fill up all of his outdoor plants  with mounds 'O white pellets 'O Hail; CRIKEYS! All of which we watched from inside; whew...

But afterwards the sun came back out and for the evening's entertainment, we went to a local bar where Claudio had been talking up the performer for awhile, proclaiming that D.C. Clark was Austin's version of BB King, which to no fault of his own, Mr. Clark got scored as my fourth favourite act out of the four groups we attended over the weekend. And then it was all over as it was time to fly home Tuesday afternoon, as I can't wait going back this Halloween for the Formula 1 race! While I wouldn't mind attending another MotoGP race there either...

Kudos to Claudio & Nelie for the GURR-REAT!!! Weekend + pictures...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

More COTA MotoGP weekend Pictures

A few more pictures taken during this year's MotoGP outing at COTA, nee Circuit Of The Americas...

No Fenders Head Scribe Tomaso tries on a YamaHopper' training-mobile.

Yamaha riding course for aspiring riders.

Country Bumpkin' grocery getter.

An RSV Aprilia black bike with red accents on elevated ramp lurks behind No Fenders Head Scribe Tomaso.

Tomaso's brand new shiny "Arrest-Me Red!" Ducati scooter.

All pictures courtesy of Claudio & Nelie, my most Affable Hosts in Austin, Texas...