DIY motocross races

It’s a crisp cold autumn day in Northern Italy. Summer is over, the fields have been cleared of all the corn, it isn’t raining nor snowing yet, and everyone wants a last hurrah before the motorcycle season is over and the cold winter arrives.

Why not throw an impromptu neighborhood motocross race in one of the neighborhood fields? If you get the word out soon enough, a few volunteers will step forward and before you know it, you’ll have everyone in the neighborhood racing. Just follow these simple guidelines:

  • Erect signs so that people will know where to find the race.

  • Tape off areas for spectators, or find a natural barrier to separate spectators from the track.

  • Tape off a starting grid near the main spectator area for maximum impact.

  • Make sure your volunteer race director wears a timer around his neck to look professional.

  • Hire a food truck for hungry participants.

  • Put a few seats out so elderly spectators can enjoy the races comfortably.

  • Tape off a course tight enough to create some racing action.

  • Provide a jump or two, even if you need to build them by hand.

  • Don’t forget the kiddie class.


Salone del Gusto. Part II.

We had just finished sampling some chocolate in the last post, right? Let’s move onto some of the more unusual stands.

How about some oysters?

Mutant lemons soaked in booze?Waffles.Oh please, more cheese! (Inserted here to demonstrate the overwhelming variety of cheeses showcased at the Salone)Fish fries:This photo is a little blurry, but these cakes are rounds of cheese. The one in front is covered with porcini mushrooms, the small one to the right is covered with salmon, the cakes behind offer grapes and strawberries.Speaking of mushrooms, there were lots.My favorite part of the entire show were conceptual portable food holders.

Behold the “snack holster”:

And do not overlook the utility of the “beer walk”:

I suppose the “beer walk” would be great if you were sporting a full right-angled arm cast. But regardless, how are you supposed to drink your beer without flinging your nuts and chips all over the front of you?

It’s random photo time again

Day to day, the images pile up on my iPhone. I mostly look at them at some later point in time and delete them, shaking my head at why I ever thought whatever it was would make a good photo. Walking through the narrow streets of Barcelona and passing a bright and colorful bakery display always makes me pause, something about the symmetry and order and variety of the displays makes them forever interesting to me.  And apparently to my mom, who also likes the food pictures.

So without further ado, I present the next installation of random images, the theme this time being bakery displays. I know I’ll have at least one interested reader, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Giant meringues - this image doesn't do justice to the actual size of these.

Plates of food made of candy. Doesn't a candy steak sound delish?

Coal for kiddies shoes at Xmas. Personally, I would dole out real coal but that's just me.

Chocolate pastries...nom nom.

My personal favorite, candy poop served in little toilets and bedpans.

Jerez, the finale

We last left off in this little story at the end of the second test day in Jerez, which incedentally was Thanksgiving Day in America.

I took a half hour walk from my freezing hotel to the swanky hotel that my Dorna friends were staying at. Of course, halfway through I had to stop off and fortify myself with some nutritious wine and olives, both of which are most excellent in the Southern Spain region. Thus, I arrived at the hotel happier and warmer.

We went down the road to an old traditional Andalusian restaurant, complete with awesome antique bar, chummy waiters and a table full of Japanese MotoGP folk. (Evidently they always dine together.) Our table consisted of yours truly and 5 Spanish camera dudes. We ate meat and many, many fried things, including the plate of whole fried fishes that was my main T-day dinner course. They were surprisingly tasty and I would eat them again. Nothing says Thanksgiving like battered fried fish with skeletons intact. Supplemented with a couple gin and tonics, of course.

The bar/wait staff recognized one of the Japanese at the other table as Yuki Takahash, a former 250 rider now signed to the Scot Honda team. I believe they got his autograph.


From there, we moved across the street to a bar. Being Thursday in a relatively small town, I expected a mellow-ish evening. That´s where I was wrong. The place was large, packed to the gills with dolled up locals (normal for the area I hear) and featured a local band playing Spanish music, including traditional Xmas songs that the entire place sang along to.

Drinks were cheap and we ran into an Austrian based GP journalist (oooh sorry, cant remember his name!!) who insisted on supplying everyone with some version of a vodka margarita, many, many times over.

nameless journo and me

nameless journo and me

Around 2:30am we lost a soldier or two, but friends, the night did not end there.

the drinking, it continuecd


I am glad I had my camera, I might have forgotten such moments as these.


When this place shut down after 3 something AM, we headed over to a nightclub. Again, packed. Everyone quite well dressed and the men all sported stylish hair-do´s. Don’t know why, but this is what I remember. That, and we invented some incredibly hip dances, such as “pitching hay”, “squint your face up with feeling”, and my personal favorite, “robot goes crazy”. We left at 5am, and the place was still packed.

The next I flew back to Barcelona. Jorge Lorenzo was in line behind me for my flight along with his…manservant or whatever, who is now his press officer employed by Yamaha. A new post for him, as last year I think he was just plain manservant. (Manservant helped me into the Redbull party at Laguna, since I had worked in Jorges garage scanning tires there.  We have spoken a few times, and did so at the test as well. )

That was the test for me. Not sure if I will attend the 125/250 test in January in Valencia unless I have a real meeting set up.  I did send out my CV (or had it sent by others) to several teams and companies.  So for now, I wait. And continue to enjoy my crazy weekends here in Spain. I´m responsible like that.

Valencia GP

I took the train out to Cheste, on Thursday from downtown Valencia. It was maybe 30 minutes and there is a stop directly at the racetrack. Problem is…the racetrack grounds are HUUGE. I exited the train and saw only miles and miles of rental cars and basically no one on the roads! After walking in the general direction of the track, a girl on a scooter took me right to the front of the entrance.

It took a while but I figured out where to pick up my pass for the weekend. I hitched a ride with some Italians to the administration building and eventually made my way in…

The first pass, later upgraded for an even better pass. Notes for the italians - that's a drawing of a tire, part of italy and all our names

Once there I met up with my friend Francesco who runs the KTM 250 team and he gave me a Redbull hospitality sticker for my pass. I spent a lot of time there and it also got me into the Redbull rookies cup area.

Redbull station was spacious and served free booze

Since there are no bikes on the track on Thursday, it was a day spent meeting with people and collecting phone numbers of people who could potentially help me with a job. Buying that phone was the best decision ever because I filled it with numbers!

Thursday evening I met Olaf, the European Arai rep in my hotel. He ended up driving me to and from the track for the next couple of days. He snuck me into the press conference for Sete Gibernau’s return to GP racing with the Onda 2000 team Friday night. I also attended the 10 year track anniversary party, which was really nothing more than opportunities for the press to take photos of the riders and some important people together, along with some kind of stupid statues that were supposed to be the riders but looked nothing like them.

Olaf and some other Dutch journalist at the press release

Olaf and some other Dutch journalist at the press release

there are important people in this photo

there are important people in this photo

Marc showed up late Friday night from France, and Melissa and Josh Hayes drove all the way out from Portugal Friday night/ Saturday morning and stayed in my hotel. Marc, Olaf and I met up with them at the track on Saturday.

Marc and I were able to watch Saturday morning practice from the Tech 3 Yamaha garages, and qualifying from KTM red bull 250 garage. Later that evening we visited in the Tech 3 garages and saw some interesting things on the bikes.

Filling pneumatic valves Saturday night

Lead weights for balance

Saturday qualifying from inside the circuit:

Saturday after qualifying, the technical director Mike Webb escorted me into the Fiat garages so I could say hello to Jorge Lorenzo’s team that I worked for at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis. I needed an escort as the crowd outside the Fiat garages waiting for a glimpse of Rossi was so huge it was literally inaccessible at all times. The team was surprised and happy to see me, and amazed that I was speaking Spanish (albeit fairly basic and broken). I didn’t stay too long but it was a highlight of the weekend just being able to chat with those guys again.

The rest of the weekend I circulated and met with people, as this was my main reason for being there. I also ran into plenty of people I knew and caught up with them.

Scott from Honda, Britt and Josh Hayes

The races I got to watch from inside the track which was a treat for sure, though the premeir class race was fairly uneventful. Mike Webb gave me two tickets to the staff end of the year party, where I met Charley Boorman and (from Long Way Around/Long WAy Down movies with Ewan MacGregor), all of the Dorna guys I met at Laguna Seca, etc, etc. I stayed at until 5am, and when I left it was still in full swing…