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Stare into me...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back in the first generation of Wristtwisters, Kevin asked for some on-location reporting from anyone who might happen upon any of the races…….

So here goes nuttin….a little taste of Daytona, race scene and otherwise.

I got the chance to go to Daytona this year. It’s rare that I vacation in March, but this has been a crazy coupla years for me professionally, so I went for it when I had the chance….
It would be the first time I ever got to go to an AMA national, and I was stoked.
My plan was to visit my Mom on the Southwest coast, rent a car, stay in Orlando (Daytona hotels priced me outta the market), roll into town on Thursday, and meet Jetblast just in time to see the Supersport/stock races…..

Everything went pretty smooth except the commute. I thought Jersey had traffic. I got to the speedway and called Kevin. Turns out part of the traffic was because of some huge chemical spill. Kevin saw it on the news and bailed out. He had a track day to prep for anyway. So I was a lone wolf until Friday, when Moto was rollin into town. I took Kev’s advice and hit the infield. I had a “Super-duper” all-inclusive ticket. Nobody at the Speedway had any clue what it entitled me to. As a result, I sweet-talked my way into the garages. Daytona 200 qualifying was just starting. I walked around a bit and then nonchalantly walked past security into the hot-pits. I then proceeded to walk up and down the pits and try to look official. I got to see all kinds of cool stuff. The session got red-flagged a coupla times, so I saw the riders come in and go through their rituals of talking with the technicians, getting a swig of water, playing kissy-face with their girlfriends----whatever. I saw E-boz come blazing in one time, dismount, run (and I mean run) to the Spot-a Pot (Think Nicky pisses in a Spot-a-Pot?) then run back out to his bike and take off without saying a word to anyone. I got a good chuckle.

Later on I watched the Thursday races. I sat near the remains of the old “Horseshoe”. It was a good vantage point. For Superstock, I got to see DiSalvo rip a wheelie (mid-race) with Hacking in tow. They’d all but checked out. He was giving him the “let’s go”. Glad he got beat. Yates’ performance was impressive as well. For Supersport, I got to see Roger Lee jam it up in on Jamie twice. The crowd was really pulling for Rog. I know I was. The amount of people on the factory teams is unbelievable. Later on that night I walked around the garages. You peer through windows like a fishbowl, watching them scurry around. I was impressed to see no less than seven guys on the Parts Unlimited team, pouring over information on their laptops. We're talkin' two riders here, two bikes for each. It's just funny to me, a guy whose only real concerns ever were tire pressure, tire condition, and gearing. It's really sool to see how they micro-manage every little thing. I saw Zemkes bike in a complete state of tear-down. All that remained was the frame and brake calipers, some hoses and such. The motor, suspension etc. were all being ripped down at various stations in his garage.



A few things I noticed:
1. There was no sign of the AMA, except for the merchandising trailers
2. Today (and all weekend) the Speedway was dis-organized. Nobody knew anything about where you could go what you could do. It didn’t really matter b/c nobody really wanted to get in to the Speedway anyway. The amount of spectators was a joke.

That night I hit Main Street. What a scene. Lotsa Harleys. Lotsa slutty chicks. And I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but I was still surprised that most of that crowd was AARP eligible. But it was nice to see so many people together in one place having so much fun………even if it was in kind of a white-trash way! At one point some lady grabbed me from behind and wanted me to kiss her……I offered up my cheek, which kinda pissed her off, but I didn’t want to make out in the middle of the sidewalk with the slutty, drunken skank lady. Sorry.

I also noticed:
3. The two-wheeled presence was impressive. Lotsa bikes. No room to ride them. I got to see the aftermath of two of the fatalities. Speed, and a shortage of attention and SPACE were definitely a factor.
4. 1 in 50 MIGHT be wearing a helmet
5. I was actually OK with having a rental car. If stopping for 5 minutes moving 19 feet and stopping again is what you like, then bring your bike to Daytona. I’m sure there’s places to ride elsewhere outside the town, but I’m not convinced it’s all that. Parking would be easier, though.

On Friday, I spent the day looking at all the ‘06’s and getting autographs. I got all the Yamaha, Kawi and Suzuki guys. Unfortunately, I missed out on Honda. When I got to the end of the Suzuki line, I told Matt that I enjoyed reading his column on Superbikeplanet. He looked at me kinda funny and grunted. I’m not kidding. Whatever he said was unintelligible. That guy oozes personality. I had a funny moment with Tommy Hayden, discussing the amazing set of cans on the girl a few people in front of me. He was all “Gosh golly shucks”. That night I met Moto for the Supercross. I’m not a big fan, but by the time he explained all the heat races and who was who, I was into it. Supercross is kinda like WWF. They really GET the crowd into it. There’s mad fireworks and stuff. It was great to see Carmichael win it when Bubba Stewart did his best “Miguel Duhamel”

Again:
6. I longed for the sound of a 2-stroke
7. The place was as packed as I’d ever see it for Supercross
8. Huge stage, huge production, huge names, good racing
9. The Superbike Show could learn a thing or two from Supercross…they found a way, why can’t we?

For me the whole trip revolved around Saturday. I wanted to see Superbike so bad. Once I figured where my “Super-callafrag….” ticket could get me into, I realized it sucked. All the good box-suites were taken, or over-crowded. I was pissed. So I went in the back door of one of the “forbidden” suites. The guy asked me to sign in and got me a drink. Later on the wait staff asked me how I knew the “Valvoline people”. I just bull-sh1tted them all. They put out a nice spread. I was again very proud of myself for being somewhere I shouldn’t be. Good race……..Ben Spies IS the next Nicky. And I think he might contend this year……and good on Kawasaki. They’re gonna finish in front of Honda and Ducati this year, at least some of the time.

Next me, Moto, and his lovely girlfriend (way too hot for him, BTW), walked around for about two hours looking for a cable so he could tie–off his helmets and crap and not have to carry them while he----get this-----walked around. After this adventure we went in for the 200. For this race I wanted grand-stand seats, close to the action…….I will NEVER forget the feeling I had when the first pack went past…………To watch the racers come off of NASCAR turn 4 at speed, and arc thru the kink in the “Front Stretch” all at 17x MPH, is truly POETRY IN MOTION. It is a spectacle. Put a pack of riders together and it is controlled chaos. The noise is deafening, but it’s so melodic, it doesn’t really hurt your ears……the rush of air, the tail-wind behind the bikes has an eerie sense to it, like a black hole chasing elusive prey……it’s nuts.

It made me realize:
10. Speedway racing is crazy. Motorcycles have no business being here
11. Someday, I will dust off my leathers, to come here and “turn a wheel in anger”. I, for the moment, feel the need to bear witness first hand.

Shame about the race eh? The AMA really blew this one. If they had just put the car WHERE IT BELONGED, nobody’d have any real gripe. Right wrong or indifferent, I get the feeling that Ron Barrick guy was having a stonking good old time out there in the pace car, and that it may have clouded his judgement. If you wanna avoid a re-start, bring ‘em in and re-grid. It would have taken 15 minutes. Then you could have your rolling start. Or just re-start the damn thing. Here’s a news flash: Red Flags are part of racing. Gimme a 200 mile race and I’ll give you a handful of red flags. Period

Finally:
12. Nobody in the stands, for either race Saturday….because
13. nobody really knew which race was the big race. No BS. The “Class Confusion” continues. It’s also quite possible that nobody cared anyway. A million people outside that raceway………

On Sunday I did Universal. A word of advice: Do the Incredible Hulk. Do the Two Dragons. Just don’t do them back-to back, with a slice and a beer in between.

I almost honked all over the kid in front of me.
 

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nice. Thanks for the write-up.

And your perception is right. Skanks abound, and no place to ride, even outside the city, unless you like straight line. I keep trying to talk my buddies out of riding bikes to the events.
 

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Great write up and awesome job on "looking official" to get into places!
 

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Stare into me...
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was standing right next to King Kenny in the Honda tent. He's a little runt. He's still in pretty good shape though.

Here's a pic of the KR. BTW there was no sign of the JR or Kurtis either.
 

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Stare into me...
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There were so many pics I thought I had taken, of the Honda and Ducati guys in particular, that never came out.

My own fault for being so excited and so digital-camera-illiterate at the same time.

To make up for it, here's a pic from my boat ride through the Everglades...
 

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Hey Greg, Nice write-up, very informative with good photos. It is a shame the low turn out they get for the races, those stands were empty. On a sad note, I heard it was the deadliest Daytona bike week on record. The FL Highway patrol reported 18 deaths I wonder how many were alcohol related?

http://www.wluctv6.com/Global/story.asp?S=4620016
 

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Cool write up!

Thnx for the memories, I skipped CCS weekend this yr but had a blast there the past 2 yrs. I experienced my first AMA weekend at Laguna Seca last yr, it was really cool but I think the presence of the GP kinda killed the aura for them, at least it did for me somewhat. My pit pass got me some decent pics of quite a few of them and if I had expected these guys to just walk around the way they do or on their scooter I would have had more.

Heres a few from that weekend! http://www.pbase.com/fortisi876/05_usgp_
 

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Living the dream
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Good write up. I wa shocked how easy it is to find and talk with guys at my first race.

I like talking to the Factory guys, but privateers are fun to chat with too. Then you wind up swapping tires for them and miss races...but anyway.

Glad you had a good time. Never been to Daytona but hope to make it eventually.
 

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here ya go Midwest... here's one from Bikeweek..


now make sure it's a glossy pic before you wack to it...
Attached Images bike week 06 2.jpg (77.0 KB, 18 views)
MY EYES!!!!!!!!!!!!! What was THAT hideous creature?! MY EYES ARE BURNING! Was that the devil himself wearing a red hat?



I see what you mean about the Ms's Moto.... she just screams "butt crumbs"!
 

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Awesome write up Greg! Keep saying "I gotta get down there one of these years"......
 

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I see what you mean about the Ms's Moto.... she just screams "butt crumbs"!


mmmm... finger lickin' good...
 
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