Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Barney, George, Blue Bonnets and MotoGP...

One of Austin's famous blue bonnet flowers. (The Tomaso Collection)
Nah! That AIn'T Barneey the Purple Dinosaur I'm referring to 'Thar; Hya! Whilst which George will become obvious in part Doce... And Nelie sez' I should title this piece the Blue Bonnet Grand Prix, although my thought was Blue Bonnet MotoGP; as Y'all can play along below whilst I reminisce 'bout attending this year's Scooters' race in good 'Ol Austin...

Left Seattle in the rain Tuesday afternoon (April 7th) before arriving in Austin at 11PM, in order to acclimatize thyself to the whims 'O Austin's climatic norms, along with the two hours time change, hence just taking it easy over a very lazy Wednesday's morning 'O lounging around...

Barney Frank
Unexpectedly, Claudio asked me if I wanted to go hear Barney Frank speak? As the first openly Gay Politician, the former 16-term Democratic Representative of Massachusetts            was speaking at Austin's Bookpeople book store, promoting his new book titled: Frank: A Life in Politics From the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage, Wednesday, April 8th in Downtown Austin.

Frank, now 75, who proclaimed he was tired, having become somewhat afraid to answer the telephone - which influenced his not seeking re-election in 2012, when he married his longtime partner was a most enjoyable speaker, and brought continuous laughter to the entire audience, especially when proclaiming he didn't want to be confuzed with being the most powerful Gay Man in Washington DC by noting he wasn't more powerful than J. Edgar Hoover, which brought immense laughter!

As naturally I was intrigued over his thoughts upon Indiana's abortive RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) bill, which Barney frankly pointed out how he was amazed how badly the righteous Republican Governor Mike Pence's attempts to placate the religious right's base had backfired!

As Frank said, he knows the issue over Gay Rights has "Turned-the-Corner" most notably by Mainstream Business's telling the Politician's: Leave Us Out of Your Fight! As DON'T put us in the middle of this issue, as its BAD for our Business!

And although great strides have been made over this long nefarious "Wedge Issue," with seven openly Gay Politicians now serving, which Frank noted were all Democrats, not to mention the first openly Gay elected  Mayor of Seattle and Oregon's female Governor. But obviously there's still Miles to Go over LGBT issues and their subsequent equality.

Retriever's, Scooters' and Records...
Leaving for the track Friday morning, the weather didn't look promising after two days of being sunny & warm, in the High-80's. (Fahrenheit) As Claudio, my "Seeing Eye Guide Guy" opened the door he proclaimed, it's raining; WTF!

And it was just solid precipitation all the way to the track, arriving "Justin-time" for Moto3's first practice, we elected to sit in the car in vein hopes of the rain stopping - whilst I decided it was prudent to change out of shorts!

As Claudio pronounced how he wanted to S-E-E the MotoGP Boyz', we hesitantly left our dry shelter and entered the track with Claudio saying let's try the Grandstand, eh? Where we sat in a very empty Turn 12-13? In the stadium section which is likened to being akin to Hockenheim, with perhaps 50 odd Diehards total (along with us) enduring the wet stuff as the Scooters prattled by at obviously reduced speeds!

Then the most bizarre thingy occurred, when somehow a Golden Retriever dog made its way onto the track! Which I've never witnessed in the flesh before, albeit I do recall being privy to a  Deer impeding the Molly Stone's vintage race at Sonoma many Moons ago.

Whilst naturally the canine crusader's impeding FP1 (Free practice) made me think of Bruno Senna's unfortunate collision during the 2008 GP2 race in Istanbul, which saw the Dog lose the race!

As the session was immediately Red-flagged, for what I swear felt like a 30min delay! Probably due to the fact that we were  getting wetter 'N colder constantly and the rain wasn't letting up!

As the corner workers to NO avail could capture the frolicking Retriever, who was apparently alluding them with grate ease, as the track's PA Announcers: Brian Drebber and Jason Pridmore noted with twinges of laughter in their voices how the action was bringing smiles to the MotoGP riders relegated to the Pitlane while awaiting the apprehension of said canine!

Thankfully, NO Animals were Hurt during thy B-I-G' DAWGS' (MotoGP) Friday FP1 session, and action resumed On-track finally...

As Claudio described to Mwah in amazement how Marc Marquez had done a complete Cartwheel five feet off the deck, landed  on his bum and simply popped back up and walked away! Which he'd witnessed on one of the "Jumbotrons;" Err video screens nearby us. As we left immediately after the session's conclusion - with my teeth chattering as we walked back to the car in order  to go home, change into dry clothes and have lunch...

Wet session, delayed by an hour due to track personnel issues then interrupted by a red flag due to a dog on the track.

HRC test rider Hiroshi Aoyama is replacing Dani Pedrosa for at least Austin and Argentina while the Spaniard recovers from arm pump surgery...

1. Andrea Dovizioso, 2. Marc Marquez, 3. Scott Redding, 4. Valentino Rossi, 5. Danilo Petrucci, 6. Bradley Smith, 7. Pol Espargaro, 8. Cal Crutchlow, 9. George Lorenzo and 10. Yonny Hernandez.
 (Source: crash.net)

"Mountain Man" Claudio and No Fenders scribe Tomaso pose with some of Austin's myriad 'O blue bonnets. (The Tomaso Collection)
After our brief respite to change and eat, we returned to the track for the afternoon activities, which was now dry, albeit somewhat cool and enjoyed watching the Moto2 practice and unbeknownst to Mwah, the debut of MotoAmerica, which is the revamped attempts to stimulate the AMA's Superbike and Super Sport categories, and hopefully propel aspiring Yank riders  to go Across-the-Pond and compete better against their European rivals. As reportedly Wayne Rainey has been enticed to lead the effort as president.

Watched the entire MotoGP FP-2 session with NO surprise that Marc Marquez returned to the top of the time sheets and was feeling good after five laps on the drying track, whilst Nicky Hayden, "The Kentucky Kid," once a Factory Honda rider himself was en route to making a bit 'O history this weekend when he'd be starting his 200th Grand Prix, which I was unawares' of, along with the fact that he would be joining some pretty elite company. With "The Doctor" (Valentino Rossi) leading the way with 314-starts; Alex Barros 276 and Loris Capirossi with (217. As Hayden becomes the first American ever to reach this milestone, along with only the fourth rider to do so!

As Nicky would have a fairly decent outing, taking top honours in the Open Class Sunday as its highest placed rider in Austin when he finished 13th...