Jerez GP Zero, Sunday

This post is titled Sunday because Saturday I woke up late and was feeling terrible (drinking sometimes does that). It wasn’t until the middle of the afternoon I even got out of the hotel, and then I didn’t feel like spending money on a taxi to go to the track.

I know that sounds ridiculous, I had access, I was in Jerez and paying to be there, but it was the GP teams first day of testing and the people I wanted to speak with would be incredibly busy so I wouldn’t even contact them until later. So I walked around town a bit and enjoyed the nice weather and sent text messages to a few people I was meant to find at the tests, asking them if I could stop by the next day. I recieved gracious and positive responses.

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Church in the center of the old part of Jerez. Why it's lit up all heavenly I don't know, I'm sure many evil things happened in it's name

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Rossi's other ride

In the evening I went to a tiny traditional bar for dinner. Southern Spain has really. really. good. food.  And amazing wine. While I was standing at the bar, some silent procession went by outside in preparation for the Semana Santa. It’s essentially a week (and then some), where they parade giant effigies of bible scenes and figures through the streets and get very emotional, sing spontaneously with lots of Southern Spanish clapping and flair, usually accompanied with crying, and generally flail about at the feet of “their” Maria -each town has their own statue thing of the virgin Mary and the details about how it looks seem to be something people are proud of and identify with, as if they were acutally different goddesses to pray to.

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Semana Santa procession at midnight. How those kids resisted torching everything sight with their giant candles I don't know.

Sunday I headed to the track in the late morning.  I was absolutely shocked at how many people there were there to watch testing. There were no jumbotrons, but there was an announcer. And the stands were totally full.

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In the afternoon some ominous clouds appeared on the horizon. A mass exodus of people who rode motorcycles there followed (and there were a lot of them).

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Parked bikes as far as the eye can see. Note rainclouds in the sky.

The rain and wind came quickly. The temperature dropped around 10 degrees (Celsius) and all the bikes went in the garages while it poured rain. I hung out in the womens lavatories with my hands under the hot air blower. A woman with a radio show in Madrid joined me under the dryer for around an hour.  Bikes ventured onto the track a bit later, and Casey Stoner won a BMW. (I’m sure he had been saving for one for months.)

I stopped by the garages I needed to and received word that someone was looking for me, that they likely had a job in the Redbull Rookies Cup for me. I nearly ran over there, and met with Jose whom I had exchanged maybe one or two emails with, introducing myself as a friend of Eduard (whom I met on the return flight from Italy). He told me he had emailed me and did not know I was at the track, so was very happy when I introduced myself in person. And he did have a job for me as an assistant with the Rookies Cup, for the year. He just needed to OK it with the rider and the bosses (Note the foreshadowing in this last phrase…).

I don’t think I need to tell you that I was excited. This would mean working at 6 European GPs for the year, an opportunity that in nearly April was very rare indeed.  So I agreed to talk more about it on the phone.  Meanwhile, I found Anscari Nadal, who was there to help out the US Rookies cup rider Benny Solis (whose dad I raced with a couple of times), and who eventually gave me a ride to my hotel.

When I spoke with Jose later, he asked if I could stay longer and come to the track on Monday to help him out with the Rookies tests. I walked around thinking about what this whole thing could mean, and went for dinner at another bar (the total was 3 Euros for some amazing fish, patatas fritas, bread and tea). Dudes, did I mention I love the food here? Well I also love the prices.

Monday morning I got up early and as I was getting ready to head to the track, Jose called and told me…there would be no job after all.  “They” didn’t want to pay, and a rider’s father was going to attend the races to work instead. I had already told a few people that I had a job offer from the Rookies Cup, as I do have a hard time keeping quiet about things, hence, this blog. (It took me a little while to figure out who “they” were, but when I had dinner with Jose later to cry on his shoulder, he told me who, and now it all makes sense. I cannot divulge here though, sorry!)

Remember my friend Gerard’s tires? Well I picked them up and checked them as my baggage on my flight back to Barcelona Monday. I wish I had gotten a few photos of this. Then I saw Gerard and his crew in the airport, looking quite the worse for wear. They had stayed out until 6 in the morning, after several very long days and not much sleep each night. I wish I had gotten some photos of these guys as well, and I am positive they are glad that I did not.

It didn’t hit me until the next day back in Barcelona how disappointed I was. A job in the GPs in my hand for 14 hours and now nothing. I needed to move out of my flat soon, I needed some kind of job to keep me in Spain longer while I worked on an employment position in racing, I was running out of money, I couldn’t sell bikes at home because the titles have been lost in the post,  I still hadn’t heard from Alpinestars about a second interview, and to top it off, it was raining when I returned to Barcelona. It was a depressing week, but there were many good things about the weekend as well (and more than just the food).

I met a lot of good people and I was reminded that anything can happen. Things can change overnight, and often do when you keep trying (more foreshadowing here, people…) I also have a new friend here in the form of Jose, who has worked in the US with the AMA and with the Spanish championship and the GPs, and is interested in helping me out. Awesome. He makes a kit for the new 450 single racers and is invloved in all kinds of racing (His company is . He also drives a pickup truck in Barcelona. Dude has some serious street cred.

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