blog for the website. I guess it’s because I’ve written two in the past 10 months.
Thought I wrote more than that for some reason.
There’s really not a whole lot to say about the first half of the race season. And I swear I already wrote about it….strange (I later discovered that I had started a blog about these races, but this one was farther in than the first version by the time I realized it). Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, we follow the entire AMA Superbike Road Racing Series throughout the summer. After the first race in Daytona, there is a lengthy break until the race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. During this break, Rob was stuck in Georgia for a few weeks, for reasons I won’t get into. That led to even less time than usual to prepare for his 3 month trip across the country and back. As usual, we worked like crazy to prepare and left for Barber with little time to spare. We drove overnight to get to Alabama and arrived early Friday morning to set up.
As far as the layout and scenery, Barber is one of my favorite tracks. It really is
beautiful there. I’m not too crazy about the set up they have for vendors. They
have us down in a “hole” where many people pass by, probably without even
realizing we are down there. We have recommended some other locations, but
beyond that, it’s out of our control.
The nice thing about Barber this year is that the weather was actually nice.
Seriously. Sunny and warm and breezy all weekend. No rain. No hail. A rare
occurrence for Barber. Unfortunately, attendance actually seemed down.
Maybe all the people who came in previous years were sick of the rain and hail
and decided to skip it this year. Who knows?
There also seemed to be a lot less vendors this year. I can understand why,
seeing as last year we literally had to plow through mud to set up our booths.
Not to mention the fact that we are in the aforementioned “hole”. One vendor
that did make it out was Chevrolet. Since they had a microphone all weekend,
they were nice enough to advertise for all the vendors that were set up. Of
course, it got under my skin when they mispronounced Arai all weekend, but
what can you do? We told them the right way to say it, but considering a nice
percentage of Arai owners mispronounce it, I can’t really blame that guy for
saying it wrong. What I can blame Chevrolet for is the awful, repetitive music
they played all weekend. Ugh. I was going crazy. Apparently the people around
me had no trouble blocking it out, but I for some reason, am incapable of doing
so. Needless to say, I woke up with that Carrie Underwood song in my head one
day, and Akon song in my head the next. Awful….haha.
We did get to see some friends and regular customers at Barber, which is always
nice. Other than that, nothing too exciting.
On Friday night we went back to our hotel, all exhausted from the overnight
drive on the previous evening. Rob and Austin fell asleep almost instantly.
(Austin is the newest addition to TSP’s staff) This was Austin’s first experience
seeing Rob in his sleepy/delirious mode. I think he was pretty scared, haha.
Once Rob falls asleep, he tends to wake up at the slightest noise or movement
around him. So he was basically waking up every few minutes feeling very
confused. I’m pretty sure he called Austin some names at one point, to which
Austin didn’t know how to respond. Of course, Rob had no recollection of this
in the morning.
After Barber, Rob headed to California for the race in Fontana at the California
Speedway. Again, attendance seemed low. Nothing out of the ordinary at this
event. The vendor area seemed to be set up strangely, without a nice flow to it.
There was a stunt show set up in the vendor area this year. Normally you would
hope that this would be a good thing and a draw to the vendor area. It probably
was, but the part that baffled me is that they put on a stunt show DURING THE
RACES. They did stunts throughout the day, but why on Earth would you have
that going on during the race? I just found it very strange.
The exciting part about Fontana was that we had a family vacation planned that
was to begin as soon as the race weekend ended. Actually, our families flew out
on Saturday of the race weekend so that they could come out to the track and
see what we do on Sunday, as well as catch some racing. Rob, his father
Dennis, and I were already there working. My mom as well as Rob’s uncle and
aunt flew out to join us.
We spent a few days in California doing some sightseeing. Went to Disneyland
one day, L.A. another day. Managed to sit in on an episode of the Tonight Show
with Jay Leno, which was fun. It’s always interesting to see how different it
looks when you are there, compared to the way it appears on TV.
After spending a few days in California, we made our way to Las Vegas. The
drive was beautiful. It also gave me the chance to get in some reading. I think
that sometimes Rob gets bummed that I read a book instead of looking around
and taking in the scenery. I definitely do my fair share of looking around, but for
me, reading is total relaxation. When I’m home, I often don’t have to time to sit
down and get engrossed in a book as much as I would like, so having the time to
just sit and read for a while is a nice thing. Especially when I can look up and
see amazing mountains. J
Las Vegas was great, as usual. It was a lot of fun getting to see it with my mom,
since it was her first time there. At times I felt bad because I think I was rushing
her when she preferred to spend some more time checking things out. I think I
was just overwhelmed by the amount of things I wanted to show her in the time
that we had there. Regardless, we had a great time. Lots of sightseeing, took in
a Vegas show, and did a little bit of shopping and of course, gambling.
Our next even was at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. This event usually
doesn’t have great attendance. For the past few years there has been a
Motocross race going on nearby as well, which forces people to choose which
race to attend. I do like this event, however, because Sonoma is a beautiful
place! Rob probably isn’t a big fan since his allergies are out of control at this
track. For some reason my allergies don’t get to me when I’m there.
Nothing terribly exciting happened at this event. Once again I was baffled by the
incredibly poor planning. Allow me to explain. There was a band there over the
weekend. I can see how this would be thought of as a good idea. It provides
entertainment for people when nothing is on the track, or when they just don’t
want to watch what is on the track. And they put it near the vendor area,
probably thinking that it will draw consumers to the vendors, thus increasing sales and encouraging vendors to come back the following year. There’s just a few problems with this. First of all, the band was REALLY loud. It doesn’t really
make it easy to communicate with consumers when you have to yell over the
sound of a band. It gets even worse when said consumer is wearing a helmet
and I need to get their feedback. Fortunately, most people are understanding. I
guess I’m just not comfortable yelling at people that I’m trying to help. It just
doesn’t seem polite.
However, the problems with having a band extend beyond the perspective of a
vendor. There were a number of spectators who unimpressed because the band
played DURING THE RACE! I just don’t know what the promoters are
thinking. At least at the California Speedway you could hear the race announcers
while the stunt show was going on. At Infineon, you couldn’t hear anything but
the band. I’m there working, but it is a motorcycling event. Which means I
want to hear bikes. Not music overpowering the sound of the bikes and the
announcers. I realize that I have complaints about nearly every track, but this
just seems like common sense to me. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the
majority of people loved having the band there. Somehow I doubt it.
While we were working one day, our friend Molly Culver stopped by. She
invited us to come over and watch the 2007 Kawasaki Mini Masters race that
was going on nearby. We decided to stop by for a bit and then head back to
the hotel and grab some dinner. Well, within 30 seconds of getting there (just
enough time to view the track and say hi to Molly), Rob said “I want to ride.”
He managed to sign up just in time to head out for a practice session. He said
that he just wanted to go out and run a few laps, there was no need to actually
ride in the race. Luckily, he and Molly wear the same size MX helmet (and yes,
it was an Arai) so he was all set to head out.
After practice he came in excited and with a big smile on his face. I knew then
that there was no way we were leaving anytime soon. So we stayed and had an
awesome catered dinner (seriously, that was the best catering I’ve ever had). A while later it was time for the heat races. Rob was put in the expert/advanced class. They had a 4 lap heat race. While it would be fun to win the race, he
really just wanted to go out and have fun. He was excited to be racing against Jimmy Filice, whom is an old dirt tracker, National Road Racing Champion and internationally known road racing star. Plus there were many other famous
industry names. Only the top three finishers qualified to the main event. He got 2nd! Some MX racer was waaaay out ahead.
After the heat races Kawasaki opened the desert bar. Mmmm that was good. Then the lined up the main events. Rob heard that is was going to be a 10 lap final, he seemed slightly intimidated. (Since he was tired after 4 laps!) So the
race began. Rob started out somewhere in the middle of the pack, if I remember correctly. It was so much fun for me to watch him out there (and no, Rob, this doesn’t mean I think you should start racing again!), having the time of his life. Well, fast forward to a couple of laps later, Rob was passing people left and right and suddenly Rob is in second place! In that bunch of people he also passed Kawasaki’s Drag Racing star Ricky Gadson showing everyone he can ride more then staright lines. But Rob was in second battling with Jimmy Filice for first.
Eventually, Rob pulled ahead and took the lead! It was a great battle, but Rob
stayed in front and won the race!!! It was awesome. I have pictures of Rob on
the podium with a big smile and a #1 number plate. It was a really great night.
Well, that’s all for this installment. I know I still have a lot of catching up to do.
I’ll do my best!