On the tarmac and below the surface, with a few pictures along the way.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Laguna Seca MotoGP 2009

This years MotoGP at Laguna Seca could not have come at a better time. Besides it being on 4th of July weekend, I just really really needed to get away and take a mini vacation.

There is a saying that goes "Sometimes it takes a full tank of gas before you have a clear head". This could not be more true. It wasn't until I stopped in Ventura for coffee and gas did I finally start to shrug off all the stress and hoopla I was trying to leave behind.

This year Mega couldn't make it, so I was riding north by myself to meet up with Denny and Mike who were riding down from Corvallis Oregon. It wasn't until I hopped on the 33 and headed north did I finally have a clear head and really started enjoying the perfect weather and awesome ride.

Along the 33 I stopped at Pine Mountain Inn, and actually got to meet the owner and he Assured me they will be opening soon. The place has been closed since I first saw it over 3 years ago, with a sign that said "Opening Soon".

I took the 33 north to the 58. Which along the way you go thru the town of Taft, Ca. The sign at the city limits says "Taft, the best of places!". I thought to myself if Taft is the best place you have been, you really have been in some really crappy places in your life. It also reminded me of the movie "Best of Times" with Robin Williams and Kurt Russel. Funny movie if you ha vent seen it.

From the 58, I took the 101 north till I hit our base camp of Soledad. Another beauty! Its town sign says "Its happening in Soledad!" I'm not sure what it is, but its a lot of nothing if you ask me. This is the best shot I could get of the town. Notice, how the Ducati just makes everything better?

The reason we decided to get a hotel in Soledad is 1st because everything close to Monterey was book or real expensive, and 2nd because of Carmel Valley Road. We took this road everyday last time we were here for the MotoGP. Its a 56 mile ride, one way to Laguna Seca from Soledad taking this route. And it is a great road. In decent shape for being in the middle of nowhere and hardly any cars on it at all.

Saturday morning we got to Laguna Seca right as Free Practice 2 was starting for the MotoGP. As we were walking close to the track, you could hear the bikes warming up. You could actually hear the bikes from beyond the parking lot, because they are so freaking loud. But its a beautiful sound and gave me goose bumps!


Nicky Hayden

The Little Pecker that ended up winning.

Chris Vermulan

In the infield of the track, there are so many booths of everything motorcycles you can think of. California Superbike School was there and I got to meet Keith Code. An awesome guy and I really want to take his school...soon.

Of course the CHP had a booth too. Here's a cop in full leathers on a R1. Pretty cool bike and would hate to see this guy coming up behind me on Angels Crest.

Of course no MotoGP is complete without Ducati Island. This is truly and prime example how Ducatisis are different from other motorcyclists. The passion in Ducati riders is something unmatched by any other rider. And it shows how this little Italian company repays its owners and sets up a hospitality tent for them that gives out free water, coffee, snacks and sunscreen. You would never see anything like that from the big 4 Japanese manufactures.

On Ducati Island they also have a mini Ducati Museum with some pretty cool antique bikes.

After checking out the Island and all the other booths we headed to the World Famous Corkscrew to watch the MotoGP Qualifying Practice. The corkscrew is one of the most famous corners in all of racing. It is a tight S turn that drops over 5 stories. To watch these guys take the corkscrew and full speed, is an amazing breath taking sight.

A couple of times a day, they allow everyone to cross the track. Now at first it doesn't really seem like a big deal. But once you step onto the tarmac and feel how smooth and perfect it is under your feet and look down to the corner and imagine coming around it at over 100 mphs, its an overwhelming feeling. And to think of the legends that have raced on the very spot under you feet, its truly a simple and exciting privilege.

After the day at the track, we headed down to Cannery Row in Monterey. They close down the whole street to cars and only allow motorcycles and people in. There are bikes line bar to bar all the way down both sides of the street. And the street is filled with people as if its Mardi Gras in New Orleans. We hung out there for awhile then headed back to lovely Soledad, cause according to the signage, it was Happening there!

The next morning before the races, Ducati made a couple of announcements. 1st was that the new Ducati Streetfighter was voted as one of the best bikes of the year. And 2nd they brought and Nicky Hayden to unveil a limited edition 848 with a custom paint scheme and each hand signed by Nicky himself. They are only releasing 150 of them in the US. Call now while supplies last!!!

And finally it was Race Time! For the race we like to hang up on the hill that over looks the whole track. If you want to watch the entire race, its truly the best spot in Laguna, in my humble opinion.

Pedrosa got the whole shot and led the pack into turn 2

Rossi was 2nd going into turn 3

A couple of laps later, Stoner moved into 2nd and here heading into turn 4

Rossi did sit in 3rd for long, before moving back into 2nd and almost passing Pedorsa on the last corner of the last race. It was one of the best races I have seen in person.

Pedorsa ended up winning and Stoner came in 4th, with Nicky getting his best finish of the season at 5th place.

After the GP, we stuck around and watched the Daytona and the Superbikes races. But we moved around a lot since most of the place had cleared out. But we were able to get close to the track and get some better pictures.

As I was trying different angles on the Corkscrew, I just set up in this spot when there was a crash during the Daytona race and I was lucky enough to catch it at the right time. Or actually wrong time if you ask Yamahas Josh Hayes.

It was a great weekend, one that I really needed. I have been friends with Mike and Denny since high school and it was awesome to hang out with them again and to ride everyday. Till next time guys.....

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Anonymous andrew said...

nice pictures,great effort

Great contents. It's pretty uncommon to see such quality posts on blogs these days.

10:30 PM


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