Motoette -in forward motion

Dorothy as Days Go By

Dorothy all dressed and ready to do to work!

Dorothy all dressed and ready to do to work!

Where does the time go while you’re having fun? I can’t believe it’s been 6 weeks since Matt and I took our epic journey back to Kansas to pick up Dorothy and drive her almost 2,5oo miles back to California– and get married in Vegas on the way! Well, even though it seems like yesterday, Matt and I have done well with our time and have managed to kick some Fahrvergnügen butt and accomplish some impressive goals, at least to us! If you’re diggin’ the scene, then read on my brotha’s and sista’s to find out ……To start:

After three mechanics, two carburetors, one distributor. one float valve and a major brake job, still, the beat goes on! I have another appointment to bring Dorothy to her latest mechanic, Paul to have her exhaust worked on. This will alleviate two problems, one; the low power in low revs problem and two; it will fix the interior heater, which currently is not hooked up because of carbon monoxide fumes it emits into the cabin, making it difficult to drive when you’ve kicked the bucket!. *cough, cough, gag!*

Paul owns Valley Wagon Works, here in San Rafael, I was actually referred to him by a friendly worker at Homedepot. Wagon Works only does Volkswagen busses, nothing else, so that was a really good sign. Matt and I were quickly becoming discouraged in our discovery that there were not a lot of mechanics who know all the in’s and out’s of an air-cooled engine.

Floor before I refinished

Floor before I refinished

Floor after I refinished

Floor after I refinished

We had learned that a really good vintage VW mechanic was a rare find and even more rare the further east you go. This would explain why Dorothy had some rather unusual idiosyncrasies. For instance, her stick shift is way over to the right, making it difficult to find the gears. Matt and I were forever searching for all four of her gears while on our journey back to California. It turns out, her gear plates are in backwards! An easy mistake, if you don’t know what you are doing. Her steering is not set right, the light switch that is triggered by the doors was completely wired backwards (among other things), which is why it didn’t work. She has a new engine, but it’s a 1971 engine and Dorothy is a 1970. These are not big deal items, but just humorous as we learn more and more about her and how she was maintained.

Before I repaired the dashboard

Before I repaired the dashboard

After I repaired the dashboard

After I repaired the dashboard

What Matt & I have done so far:

Rather than spend $600 plus to replace the water stained door panels, we decided we could do a much better job and it would be more durable and tasteful than the standard option of cheap vinyl on cardboard. Matt cut, shaped and glued the fabric on to each of the 7 panels while I frantically sewed the fabric that was to cover them. We picked out a rich taupe ultra suede for the top and a chocolate-brown vinyl for the base of the panels. I put ruche pockets on three of the panels, which was rather challenging with my limited sewing ability!

I have to say, we really did a nice job in how they turned out. Matt trimmed each panel in a chrome trim with matching screw covers that really set it off. We have replaced: two front indicator seals and the two bulbs, two side reflectors, one chrome head light ring and the two rubber door steps on the front bumper. Added an engine seal, replaced driver’s door seal. New glove compartment, new leather steering wheel cover, installed the rubber trim around the pop up that was missing, fixed the doors locks, W-D’d everything! Spray painted just under the ignition where the keys scratched the matte black paint away. Repaired the dash with a vinyl repair kit. Sanded, then sanded again and varathaned the parquet floors.

Matt spent two days under Dorothy wire brushing any surface rust and then painted her underbelly with rust inhibiting paint. Matt also wax oiled all the inside panels to keep rust from developing. He went around the bus and touch-up painted anything that even resembled rust! I took the grill off and cleaned and painted the inside. Squirted the vent mechanism with W-D while I was in there, now the air vent opens and shuts completely now.

photos.14photos7I made new curtains for all the windows and installed the curtain wire that was missing. I could literally stand the old ones up they were so old and stiff! I made matching bolsters for the seat in the back. Replaced the old gas fireplace with a new electric one, so cute! Sanded and cleaned the two aluminum louver windows. Removed the decorative chrome head lamp covers and then scrubbed the rust off the glass of the head lamp it had left. We could not understand the function of these covers, since all they did was reduce the intensity of the beam of light in which to see at night! Whatever!

We washed and waxed Dorothy and polished her Porsche chrome wheels. We have cleaned under and over everything inside and out and managed to cure most of the squeaks that she had accumulated from her aged body!

What still needs to be done:

Her exhaust and a new ignition. I would also like to have all her spark plugs changed. Steering, gears are a must and that should pretty much cover it for the time being.

Because she will be shipped to England, she needs to pass the MOT. A mandatory annual inspection that is required in order to be able to drive your vehicle legally on UK roads. This means, replacing the rear lights and installing independent amber indicators from the brake and rear lights. The heater needs to work in order to get air flow to the windscreen in dealing with condensation. The windshield wipers need to operate properly as well as the windshield washer, which doesn’t work at all. We are still dealing with solving rust issues and poor Dorothy has an unsubstantiated amount of orifices for water and moisture to find their way in and therefore, creating RUST! So, this is an never-ending challenge for us, but one we happily take on!

Inside of the old door panel Yuk!

Inside of the old door panel Yuk!

Matt works his magic in creating new panels

Matt works his magic in creating new panels

What’s next:

Matt has been creating Dorothy’s Website http://www.moonstruckvw.co.uk/ together we both have been adding content and pictures. It is still a work in progress, but at least we have something up and running, next we will be adding a Facebook page. Okay, so I admit, it’s a small set back having Dorothy still in the US and the business in the UK, but we’re working on it! Our goal is to have everything setup and ready to go, with Dorothy and with the advertising. We are scheduled to have our first official gig in May chauffeuring our good friends son and his bride-to-be to their wedding. We are really hoping that Dorothy can be a part of this very special day.

Our projected time to ship Dorothy is the end of February, which will roughly bring her into a UK port at the end of March, just in time for the kick-off of the wedding season. If the there is an abundance of interest beforehand, then we will have to rethink the shipping date. We are waiting to ship for a few months to avoid additional fees, but if there is money to be made, it only makes sense to send her on and we’ll make up the added costs in revenue. It’s a no brainer!

New door panels and steering cover

New door panels and steering cover

 

Closer look

Closer look

A ruched pocket behind the passenger seat. This is where the new fireplace will go.

A ruched pocket behind the passenger seat. This is where the new fireplace will go.

  

 

 

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December 3, 2013 Posted by | 1970 Vintage Westfalia VW Bus, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 1 Dorothy’s Blog – A One Way Ticket to Wichita.

IMG_1735

I think Matt and I woke up before the birds did on Saturday morning excited and also behind on all the packing we needed to get done before the taxi arrived at 8:30 AM. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the good sense to mail the tools, bus manuals, travel books and an assortment of engine lubricants on to Dave prior to our enterprising journey. Needless to say, this caused a slight overload in our weight allowance with our cases! Oh well hindsight, we just made it work!

The taxi ended up arriving 30 minutes early, but we were pretty much ready to go, so we hopped in the Prius taxi and silently coasted down the hill to the air-porter, ten minutes away. An hour later we were at the San Francisco airport and things were pretty uneventful until we got to Las Vegas where we were to meet up with Sherrill, Dave’s wife.

As I mentioned before, Sherrill was coming from a two-week stay with friends and family in San Diego and her connecting flight was the same as ours in Las Vegas. Right on schedule, she called my cell and we met her at our gate. We said our hello’s and retired straight on to the bar where we treated her to the promised vodka and tonic while we got to know each other.

The three of us chit chatted about all sorts, including Dorothy while sixties music reverberated off the narrow walls in the crowded airport bar. When I first met Dave and Sherrill at Eric’s house last April, I didn’t get to spend any time with Sherrill other than a brief how-do-you-do, so it was refreshing to find myself conversing with her like I did with her husband. Definitely two separate people in their own right, but both radiating that same open and friendly energy.

All three of us ended up sitting on the plane together on our final flight into Wichita. Matt dozed off for an hour or so, still fighting off the jet lag and a relentless cold that wouldn’t go away. This gave Sherrill and I some “girl time” and we didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity. We talked about everything from the transition in moving from her home town in San Diego to Wichita to the TV show Top Gear, trying to name all the “best of” shows we could remember! I had fun and it made the short flight seem even shorter with our extending conversations.

Soon we were on the ground to be greeted by Dave, who stood leaning against the far wall sporting his favorite suspenders, as we approached the baggage area. Again, we said our hello’s as we progressed to the baggage claim area and continued to get to know each other as we waited for the pint-sized airport to spit out our luggage from behind the rubber curtain. Sherrill, Matt and I were growing weary from traveling all day, so it was a smile of relief on our faces when our bags came out in procession a short time later.

Dave and Sherrill kindly gave us a quick lift over to the Hilton Double Tree, located a stone’s throw from the airport entrance….and I’m not joking when I say, a stone’s throw! We parted for the night with the plan to text message each other in the morning about plans for picking up Dorothy. Matt and I literally threw our stuff in our room and went to the restaurant in the lobby for a quick and light meal. They were serving an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. I don’t know if was because I was so tired or that I have issues with eating sea inhabiting creatures that can’t be found no less than a 1000 miles from Wichita! Thank you, but I think we’ll pass.

Scanning the limited menu (because we were not sea going folk) we managed to find some soup selections. Our tired eyes lit up when we read “ Yorkshire Meat Soup, a British favorite”! Well, after a good, laugh, Matt insisted on trying the Yorkshire soup, since he grew up there and for all those adolescent into adulthood years, was never aware that it actually existed and was a “British favorite! He found it to be tasty and certainly filled a vacant spot, but said upon me impatiently asking, “well, how was it?” His reply, “It tasted like Oxtail soup.” Feeling a little ridiculous, we both couldn’t resist and took pictures of the mysterious soup with our iPhones!

Now that we’re here, I have to admit, I’m very excited and amazed that this moment has actually come to fruition, but nervous and a little scared at what the future might hold for us. Not to say I don’t have positive thoughts on how our incredible trip will go, but I guess that’s just part of being human…and part of living life. Regardless, you just have to go for it!

Tomorrow, will certainly be another day!

September 29, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized, Volkswagen bus | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An emotional prelude into Misano

Misano MotoGP pre race review:

This Friday fast forwards the 13th round to be hosted by GP Aperol deSan Marino a della Riviera di Rimini in picturesque Italy. The unusual “T” shaped fast, technical 2.6 mile circuit with its 6 left and 10 right turns holds 60,000 fans and was designed in 1969, but constructed in 1972. A popular hangout in the 80’s and 90’s, it wasn’t until 2007 when the MotoGP returned to the Italian track after several modifications were made. Extending the length, widening the width, reversing the direction and implementing new and improved safety features. This was largely inspired by a career ending accident with American 500cc World Champion, Wayne Rainy on September 5, 1993.

Ironically, in 2010, Japanese Moto2 rider, Shoya Tomizawa died on the very same day and at the very same track after losing control of his bike, striking two other riders.

Wayne Rainy will be returning to Misano this week for the very first time since his tragic accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. In his honour Yamaha will be hosting a special event in the paddock for the famous rider this Friday 6:30 to 8:30pm.

The Repsol Honda Team holds fond memories with Misano. The current “top dog” and leader of the pack with a 44 point lead, Casey Stoner, achieved his seventh win for 2011 at Indianapolis and brought home the trophy for Ducati in 2007 at Misano. Indianapolis marks the 30th premiere class win for the untouchable Aussie. Teammates Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, currently in 2nd and 5th, have also had good results dominating pole positions at Misano and Dani landing on the podium the last two years in a row and set a new speed record in 2010 accelerating his bike close to 175mph.

Casey Stoner:
“I’m looking forward to going to San Marino and seeing how competitive we can be. In 2007 and 2008 we were fast there, then I missed 2009 and last year we struggled a little so we’ve had a mixed bag of results. It’s a nice track, I like the two corners off the end of the back straight, they’re a lot of fun and very fast.

Dani Pedrosa:
“After the good race we had at Indy, we arrive at Misano in a very positive mood. The circuit is so different compared to Indy, but last year we had a very good race there and we will try to repeat this. We must be a little stronger on Saturday and prepare for the race the best we can. Misano is a track where you need good acceleration and hard braking, so this will be our priority to start working on with the bike setting.

Andrea Dovizioso:
We will continue fighting and we will give our best every race weekend, because we believe that second position in the World Championship is not impossible. Last year in Misano I finished fourth behind Valentino. This year we want to take the next step and get the podium spot. I’m sure that with the experience gained this year, we can be strong at Misano. I don’t live far from Misano and after the podium finish in Mugello I would love to have another good result in front of the Italian crowd.”

Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo now down by 44 point to leader Casey Stoner, has his work cut out for him this round, as the GP season will soon be coming to a climax in who will hold the title of World Champion. The steadfast Mallorcan faces a repeat from last year at Misano in his battle with Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner. The three riders are tied for 12th for most wins across all classes. Let’s hope he can be successful this time around at the Italian circuit.

Jorge Lorenzo:

I hope to leave this race behind us. We go straight to Misano now, a track I like and where I have won and got some podiums. My team and I will try to come back to the top and continue to fight for the podium!”

Teammate, Ben Spies, needs to improve his plan of attack when launching off the start line in regards to last weekend, but lets face it, it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t go that thang, and Ben, in the end, has it all going on!

Ben Spies:

“It’s pretty tiring heading back to back across the Atlantic, but I have always enjoyed racing Misano. I had a really good fortune racing there in my World Superbike year and enjoyed some great battles last year in my first year in a MotoGP race. We are taking the confidence of the podium finish with us from Indianapolis. So, I’m looking forward to setting up for Friday and tackling the track on a Factory bike for the first time.”

San Carlos Honda Grisini’s Marco Simoncelli will be performing for his home town crowd after his transatlantic trip back from the US of A. Even though the husky haired Italian lives within a few kilometers from the Adriatic track, he amazingly has stated it’s not one of his favorites.

Marco Simoncelli:
“Indianapolis was a tough weekend. I was excited after warm-up but it turned out that the improved performance of the tyre was down to the lower temperatures in warm-up. I hope I can ride like I did for those five laps throughout the entire race. Misano has not been that good to me in the past but there is a first time for everything. It is not one of my favourite circuits but the motivation is there and I will give it my all. I live just a few kilometres away and the atmosphere will help me.”

Seven-time World Champion, Valentino Rossi is warning his home based fans not to get their hopes up this weekend in his dwindling performance with Ducati this season. Rossi admitted he would like to be visiting his local track for the first time representing Ducati under better circumstances. Most recently at Indy with a qualifying crash and gearbox issues that sent the usually upbeat Italian, back to a debilitating 10th place.

Valentino Rossi:

“We’ll be racing in front of our home fans at Misano, and obviously we’d like to do better than we have at recent races. Indianapolis was very difficult, and we would have preferred to arrive here in better shape, but we’re aware that much of our work is aimed toward the future.
“For the moment, we must take into account the possibility that our results won’t be satisfying, first for us but also for our fans. We’re all working at our maximum, both at the track and in the company, and in the meantime, we’ll try to do as well as the current situation allows.”

Ducati still remains undecided about racing in Japan’s Motegi this October. They worry about possible elevated radiation levels being exposed to their riders from Fukushima Nuclear Plant as a result from the destructive earthquake, this last March. Ducati promise to make an announcement at Misano this weekend on their decision to go or not.

Nicky Hayden, holding in 7th position in standings, right behind his teammate, Valentino Rossi, has been sporting a “Just Married” sign on the back of his Arai helmet. But, not to worry girls, the Southern hunk is advertising his sisters recent nuptials and not his own…just yet! The American premier rider also has mentioned his concerns with the Ducati and its rigid frame. Commenting that the problem is the fact that the engine is integrated into the chassis, making it almost impossible to alter. Ductai promises for a more conventional chassis set up for 2012. If this happens, things could get very interesting for the Ducati duo.

Nicky Hayden:
“Indy was a bad race, but some how, some way, you’ve got to try to get over it and move on. Misano has been a tough track for me, because it seems like I can’t ever get through the first corner. It would be nice to catch a bit of a break, because I don’t feel like we’re always getting the results we deserve.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards had a brilliant seventh place finish at Indianapolis last weekend, pushing the American up to eighth in standings. Not bad for a veteran non Factory rider! The eternally optimistic Texan comes to Italy with a feeling of coming home after living there for a brief period of time with his family back in 2004.

The veteran rider finally admitted that he will be leaving the Yamaha team as a GP rider at the end of the 2011 season, but is working to negotiate to stay within the French-based company in another capacity. It isn’t quite clear what that might be, but speculations have hinted towards designing and building chassis’s for the Moto2 squads. There will be a formal announcement tomorrow night at Misano. It has also been rumoured that Yamaha’s WSBK rookie, Eugene Laverty might be filling the Texas Tornado’s boots. And now the plot thickens…

Colin Edwards:
“Misano was the first track I ever went to with the Yamaha World Superbike Team way back in 1995, so the circuit has always been a very special place to me with a lot of fond memories. It was obvious in Indianapolis th at we lack a bit of engine performance, but I still beat a lot of guys on factory equipment, so that proves what a good job we are doing. The goal this weekend will be the same as always and that’s to qualify on the second row and finish in the top six. We nearly managed both in Indy, so I’m determined to make sure it will be mission accomplished in Misano. I won’t be riding at Tech 3 next year that’s for sure. I’ve kind of known I wasn’t going to be here for a while. I got big ties with Yamaha throughout my career so we are trying to put something together. The pieces of the puzzle are sitting there but we’ve to sort it all out,”

Teammate, Cal Crutchlow made up for some of his bad luck this past season at Indy last Sunday by staying in the game and coming in at eleventh. The British rider has a successful past record at Misano in the Supersport division, winning in 2009 and just seconds off winning the podium in 2010.

Cal Crutchlow:
“After the positive result in Indianapolis I’m really looking forward to Misano now. The first objective in Indianapolis was to finish the race and learn more about the bike, and we accomplished that. That’s given my confidence a lift and it wasn’t only good for my morale but it was also good for the morale of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team, who have supported me fantastically.

Pramac’s 38 year-old Loris Capirossi announced in a tearful press conference on Thursday that he will be retiring for good at the end of the 2011 season. Misano will be his 325th start and Valencia will complete the affable Italian’s longest career in GP history. He will be greatly missed by his fans, as well as in the paddock. I know this fan will.

Dorna’s rule of a 5 to 6 engine limit per season could be a potential problem for some of the GP riders as the season nears the end. The Factory Ducati boys could be at the top of the list with Nicky Hayden on his last and final Desmosedici engine for the year. Teammate Valentino Rossi is close behind Hayden using his 5th GP11 engine in the last 3 consecutive races. LCR Honda’s Toni Elias and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow has also completed a third round on their 5th engines. Talk about cutting it close!

On race day, it will be exactly 28-years (1983) since American-born Freddie Spencer became the youngest MotoGP premier class champion.

Be sure to tune in and join the rest of the GP gang this Friday, September 2, commencing at 10:10am (GMT+2) with the first free practice round.

In addition:  follow @girlracerlive @girlracerWSBK and @girlracerMotoGP on Twitter for all your racing news updates, and for racing information in its entirety, check out Girlracer.co.uk and our fan based blog on Girlracerlive.com

MotoGP World Standing 2011

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Casey STONER Honda AUS 243
2 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 199
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Honda ITA 174
4 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 130
5 Ben SPIES Yamaha USA 125
6 Valentino ROSSI Ducati ITA 124
7 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 105
8 Colin EDWARDS Yamaha USA 84
9 Marco SIMONCELLI Honda ITA 80
10 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 77
11 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 62
12 Alvaro BAUTISTA Suzuki SPA 49
13 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 46
14 Toni ELIAS Honda SPA 46
15 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 39
16 Loris CAPIROSSI Ducati ITA 29
17 Randy DE PUNIET Ducati FRA 27
18 John HOPKINS Suzuki USA 6
19 Kousuke AKIYOSHI Honda JPN 3

September 1, 2011 Posted by | Alvaro Bautista, Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Colin Edwards, Dani Pedrosa, Ducati, girlracer, Indianapolis MotoGP, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jorge Lorenzo, Loris Capirossi, marco simoncelli, Misano Italy, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, Nicky Hayden, Uncategorized, Valentino Rossi | Leave a comment

Estoril MotoGP Post Race Review

 Bwin Grande Prémio de Portugal played host to the 3rd round after a 4 week hiatus due to the reassignment of the Japanese Motegi circuit, now scheduled for the end of  September. The august country was afforded more time by the World Championship in an effort to recover from the natural disaster that struck the diminutive island this past March 11th. We, at Girlracer continue to send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the people of Japan, and hope for a quick and opulent recovery.

The coastal Portuguese circuit kept to its reputation as being one of the least popular tracks because of the consistent inconsistency with its cool and wet weather conditions. Right on cue, the bulky black clouds hovered over the riders for most of 2 days during the free practice and qualifying rounds. But on Friday afternoon, the ominous skies could hold back no longer, inviting massive amounts of hail entangled with thunder and lightning illuminated the track after the 3rd free practice round. Lost power and an actual bolt of lightning were caught on video hitting and damaging the track within feet of the Rookie riders qualifying practice session.

Despite the unsettled weather and turbulent over-heated egos, the MotoGP boys managed to squeeze in some of their best pre race lap times. The welcomed four-week break enabled the premiere riders to physically heal, improve bike set-up’s, and to decipher the proper tyre choices for the probable perilous atmospheric changes.

Saturday afternoon’s QP final and grid positions:

Estoril, Saturday Qualifying Results, April 30, 2011

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 298.3 1’37.161  
2 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 305.3 1’37.294 0.133 / 0.133
3 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 302.1 1’37.324 0.163 / 0.030
4 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 300.3 1’37.384 0.223 / 0.060
5 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 307.3 1’37.866 0.705 / 0.482
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 298.8 1’38.073 0.912 / 0.207
7 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 299.8 1’38.080 0.919 / 0.007
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 298.8 1’38.189 1.028 / 0.109
9 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 301.4 1’38.271 1.110 / 0.082
10 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 292.4 1’38.363 1.202 / 0.092
11 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 296.5 1’38.497 1.336 / 0.134
12 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE CardionABMotoracing Ducati 285.5 1’38.786 1.625 / 0.289
13 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 306.0 1’38.922 1.761 / 0.136
14 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 305.3 1’38.934 1.773 / 0.012
15 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 293.9 1’39.172 2.011 / 0.238
16 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 295.9 1’39.378 2.217 / 0.206
17 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 307.9 1’39.894 2.733 / 0.516

This afternoon’s World Championship welcomed mostly sunny skies and noticeably warmer temperatures, granting the riders a huge sigh of relief.

What looked to be a strategy of lying in wait for most of the 28 lap race, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa sailed over the finish line just over 3 seconds ahead of leading World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo. All the while continuously breaking lap times and claiming his first ever Estoril win of his GP career.

Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was once again first on the grid at the coastal circuit and retained his position just in front of Dani Pedrosa for most of the fast paced race. But with 4 laps to go, the visibly aching Pedrosa passed the fellow Spaniard flawlessly down the long straight. Breaking Lorenzo’s 3rd in a row winning streak at Estoril.

The race was off the an exciting start in the opening lap with high sides from San Carlo Honda Grisini’s Marco “crash” Simoncelli and Mapfre Aspar Team’s Hector Barbera, initially dazing both riders and forcing a DFN. Soon after, Cardion ab Motoracing’s Karel Abraham went off the track and out of the race, making it his first non finish,

Pedrosa’s teammate, Casey Stoner took a lonesome 3rd place finish, just over 7 seconds behind Pedrosa. Another Repsol Honda rider to make into the top 5, was Andrea Dovizioso, narrowly passing Marlboro Ducati’s Valentino Rossi in the final milliseconds of the race, pushing Rossi back to 5th after a back and forth scramble mid-way through the race.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s jovial Colin Edwards had a good weekend overall and pushed for a 6th spot on the leader board. Picking up the pieces for fallen Simoncelli, was teammate San Carlos Honda Grisini’s Hiroshi Aoyama, placing a respectable 7th in standings by putting in a good effort against the former Superbike rider Cal Crutchlow. The 8th place rookie Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider is one of several recovering from surgery and had an incredible weekend making leaps and bounds up the time sheet.

American Ducati rider, Nicky Hayden crossed over the finish line in 9th in the top ten, rounding it off with Pramac’s Randy de Puniet, in 10th, who is also recovery from a leg injury.

Yamaha’s Ben Spies had to accept a DFN in his 3rd Factory race of the season, disappointing himself and his fans by going down in the 12th lap. Rizla Suzuki’s sole rider, Alvaro Bautista returned to the track after a 6 week break to the day, recovering from a badly broken leg, but managed to stay upright and complete the race in 13th.

 Estoril, Sunday, Race Results May 01, 2011

Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 153.2 45’51.483
2 20 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 153.0 +3.051
3 16 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 152.8 +7.658
4 13 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 152.3 +16.530
5 11 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 152.3 +16.555
6 10 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 151.4 +32.575
7 9 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 151.1 +38.749
8 8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 151.0 +40.912
9 7 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 150.2 +54.887
10 6 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 150.0 +59.697
11 5 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 149.9 +1’00.374
12 4 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 149.8 +1’01.793
13 3 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 148.6 +1’24.370
Not Classified
    11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 149.8 16 Laps
    17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE CardionABMotoracing Ducati 136.6 27 Laps
Not Starting
    58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda   0 Lap
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Look for more racing excitement 2 weeks from now, when France hosts the next MotoGP extravaganza; Monter Energy Grand Prix de France at Le Mans, May 13, 2011

May 1, 2011 Posted by | Alvaro Bautista, Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Colin Edwards, Dani Pedrosa, Ducati, Estoril, girlracer, Jorge Lorenzo, marco simoncelli, Motegi, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, Nicky Hayden, Randy De Puniet, superbike, Uncategorized, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha | 1 Comment

60 Years of history in the making: MotoGP

 

With less than two months to the launch of the 2011 MotoGP season, set to kick off at the traditional Qatar race circuit on March 20th, it’s only fitting to talk about the future of MotoGP. But, after the suggestion by my friend and teammate, Matt at Girlracer about doing a story on the history of MotoGP, I had to agree, it was good idea. Especially after I asked him where the first Grand Prix was held and he couldn’t tell me! Ok, granted, after doing some digging I discovered it wasn’t an easy question to answer and I certainly didn’t have a clue!

So, in the paragraphs to follow is a summary of how the MotoGP got its start. Highlighting some of the chosen few from the many inspirational riders that have made the Grand Prix what it is today and how it has amazingly evolved over the last 6 decades.

In the Beginning

In its rawness, the Grand Prix actually dates back to the early 1900’s and was held in various countries. The accredited officials that directed the Grand Prix prior to the FIM, had announced an all new European Championship in 1938, but, it was postponed due to a lack of fuel after the start of the Second World War.

The first formal World Championship Grand Prix’ series (MotoGP) came into existence in 1949 with its inaugural race being held at the Isle of Man TT, followed by Bremgarten, Switzerland, Assen, Netherlands, Francorchamps, Belgium, Ulster/Clady, Northern Ireland and Monza, Italy.

The fledgling GP consisted of four classes, 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and the premier class 500cc’s (coined the “Queen Class”).The first champions to pave the Grand Prix in the first year was British rider Leslie Graham (500cc) on a AJS motorbike. Another British rider, Freddie Frith took a first place world title on a Velocette in the 350cc class. Italian natives Bruno Ruffo claimed victory on his Moto Guzzi in the 250cc division and Nello Pagani on a 125cc Mondial.

Sidecars were also participants of the GP racing circuit and dominated the power-band with the largest displacement of 600cc’s, which later was reduced to 500cc’s in 1951. Few might remember that sidecars were a part of the GP class up until 1996. After a long successful union, the following season evolved into the Sidecar World Cup in 1997 and the sidecar became history on the GP provisional calendar.

The 50’s

The Italian manufactures seemed to have the market on the GP grid and dominated the World Championships for the majority of the 1950’s. Companies such as Mondail, Moto Guzzi, Gilera and MV Agusta reflected the strength of the industry and clearly had the edge on the 500cc class. MV Agusta in particular was exuberant late in the decade, taking all the World titles across all four categories for three seasons, from 1958 to 1960. Their dominance was not relinquished in the 500cc class for 17 years, from 1958 until 1974.

Without a doubt Umberto Masetti was the man of the hour on his Gilera, winning titles in 1950 and 1952. His persistence paid off for him in both races, keeping a marginal lead over his rivals, Geoff Duke and Les Graham and went in for the wins.

Britain’s Geoff Duke got his revenge the following year in 1953, by achieving four titles in five years, piloting his Norton and Gilera. The British continued to dictate the 500cc class with John Surtees riding for MV Agusta and claimed another four titles of his own from 1956 to 1960.

The 60’s

This was the era of achievement and laid the foundation in what the GP is today. The 1960’s introduced the Japanese motorcycle manufactures such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha, escalating to a World Championship in the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc classes. Suzuki in particular did very well in the newly added 50cc class, which was introduced in 1962.

But as quickly as they came, they left. With the rising costs associated with the Grand Prix, most of the Japanese manufactures were forced to withdraw from the competition and Yamaha was all that remained at the end of the 60’s.

To counter balance, the FIM introduced new rules which limited the bikes to single cylinder engines in the 50cc class, two cylinders in the 125cc and 250cc and four cylinders in the 350cc and 500cc class, enabling the struggling teams to make a comeback.

This was also the decade that acquainted us with MotoGP legend Giacomo Agostini. Riding for MV Agusta and his last year with Yamaha, he was the most successful rider in the history of the World Championship competition. These were the days when it was not uncommon for one rider to compete in multiple classes. Agostini took 10 of his 15 titles in five consecutive seasons as a double champion in the 350cc and 500cc classes.

The 70’s and 80’s

As the 60’s ended, so did the 4-stroke engines and the 2-stroke started to emerge. They were first implemented to the smaller categories like the 50cc and 80cc classes, but gained popularity and expanded into the 125cc and 350cc classes. The 2-stroke engines took the seventies by storm monopolizing the industry. Re-emerging after a 12 year absence from the GP, Honda was the only factory left to hang on to the 4-stroke engine, which led to disaster in 1979. By 1983 they changed their philosophy on the 4-stroke engine and created a 500cc 2-stroke bike, known as the NS500. Freddy Spencer went on to bring home the title for the Honda team that year.

Britain’s Phil Read and Barry Sheene held the UK on top in the 500cc class for 5 more years (1973 to 1977).

The 80’s was a time when American riders and Japanese manufacturers started to break into the lime light. With riders such as Kenny Roberts (1978-1980), Freddy Spencer (1983, 1985) Eddie Lawson (1984, 1986, 1988-1989), Wayne Rainey (1990-1992 and Kevin Schwantz (1993).

There was a whole new playing field as well in the 500cc class, with Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda taking the center podium through the eighties.

The 350cc class had now been retired along with sidecars and the 50cc class had been replaced with the 80cc class, only to be dropped a few seasons later by the FIM.

The 90’s

By the mid -90’s there were only 3 classes in the World Championship, 125cc, 250cc and the Queen Class 500cc.

There was no mistaking; the 500cc displacement 2-stroke engines brought the fans to the stands with its greater power output. But, in the commercial industry, street riders were being offered larger displacement engines and the crossover into MotoGP only made sense. The 500cc was replaced by 800cc 4-stroke engines, giving the riders and the fans a whole new experience.

The 90’s gave way to the land down under with Australians like Mick Doogan winning 5 championships in a row for Repsol Honda (1994 -1998) before being force to retire prematurely from a shoulder injury. In his short career, Mick was the first to be inducted as a MotoGP legend and was honored at Mugello in May 2000. Alex Criville and Kenny Roberts jr. also won titles after dealing with adversities in the 500cc class.

 Into a new Century 2000

The turn of the century was also a turning point, re-naming the World Championship to MotoGP in 2002, the introduction of 990cc 4-stroke engine and a fresh new racer, an Italian by the name of Valentino Rossi. Rossi implemented a new kind of insouciant attitude towards racing in the MotoGP, taking to the 990cc like a fish to water, even though, he was the last to win the 500cc title in 2001. Rossi went on to win four consecutive titles, two with Honda and two after an astounding move to Yamaha.

Unfortunately, the 990cc class only lasted five years and in 2007 the official premier class was changed to 800cc. leveling the playing field.

This was also a time when the rules started to change, incurring new restrictions by the FIM. The qualifying sessions were altered, requiring MotoGP one session and the lesser categories taking two practice sessions. In 2007, new rules were enforced on the restriction of tires used on one consecutive race weekend.

American rider Nicky Hayden landed his first title for Repsol Honda in his home-land at Laguna Seca in 2006, breaking Rossi’s winning streak. Aussie rider, Casey Stoner with Ducati- Marlboro, emerged as a standout racer with a 2007 World Championship. But, Valentino Rossi was soon back on top again, taking his sixth premier class title, leaving Stoner as a runner-up.

In 2009 the tire rule was altered once again with a single manufacturer rule making Bridgestone the only tire of choice for the factory teams.

Rossi took another title battling it out against teammate Jorge Lorenzo, making it his seventh, just one short of the legendary Giacomo Agostini.

But Lorenzo laid in wait for the 2010 season and won the World Championship, breaking records in the process.

Moto2 was brought into MotoGP in 2008 to replace the 250cc for the 2010 season. This new category was to be a less expensive copy of the premier class. The 4-stroke 600cc class is unique in that all Moto2 teams can only use one type of engine and tires on their chassis. The Honda engine and Dunlop tires make it a real challenge for Moto2 teams to create the perfect prototype chassis; suspension and variable parts to work synonymously with the FIM regulated engines and tires.

There has been talk of inducting a Moto3 class in 2012, replacing the 125cc class. A 4-stroke single cylinder engine with no more than 250cc.

Epilogue

Looking back at the days of yore in the sport of MotoGP, it can be said; there have been as many twists and turns throughout its 62 years of existence just as the capricious circuits they ride. As one of the most spectacular international competitions in the world of motorsports, MotoGP has earned the ranking of becoming the most popular motorcycle racing event to date, even over World Superbike and continues to grow in popularity ever year.

As a sport based on a points system on the fastest lap time and finishing placement. You might sumarise to say, the real nitty-gritty of a MotoGP race is how a rider copes with speed, tire, track and weather conditions on a highly specialized maximum capacity, factory racing prototype.

So what is it about this particular racing class and its riders that draw fans for more than half a century?

 A question that could just take another 60 years to answer.

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Casey Stoner, Ducati, girlracer, history of MotoGP, Isle of Man TT, Jorge Lorenzo, Laguna Seca, Moto2, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, Nicky Hayden, superbike, Uncategorized, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha | 4 Comments

Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix Round 11 Press Release

Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix – Tuesday, August 24th Preview

#99 Jorge Lorenzo Laguna Seca '10

The 2010 season continues its march towards the decisive part of the season with round 11 of 18 taking place at Indianapolis this weekend, and all eyes will once more be on Jorge Lorenzo as the Fiat Yamaha rider aims to maintain his phenomenal form this season. Victory last time out at Brno made the Spaniard only the third premier class rider in history to have placed inside the top two in all ten opening races of a season, and few would bet against him extending his win count this season to eight at a track he was victorious on last season.

With a 77-point advantage over Dani Pedrosa in the standings the Repsol Honda man will be eager not only to halt his rival’s run, but also to make up for last year’s Indy outing. Pedrosa dominated the weekend and started from pole, but crashed early in the race and eventually placed tenth. Fresh from second place in the Czech Republic he will be targeting a third win of the season, which would be a first treble of premier class wins in one year for the 24 year-old.

Casey Stoner’s consistent podium finishing over the past five rounds has lifted the Ducati Team rider to third overall, and still in search of a first win of the season the Australian will also be looking to make up for last year’s absence from this race due to illness. He will also be expecting a front-end improvement on his Desmosedici after testing new forks at Brno. Just four points behind him in the standings is Andrea Dovizioso, and the Repsol Honda man will want a solid result after his first DNF of 2010 in the last round. The Italian has finished fifth and fourth in his two rides at Indy, and will expect to go one better in the battle for third with Stoner.

#27 Casey Stoner Laguna Seca '10

Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi continues to go from strength to strength as he regains full fitness, and has winning form on the track from 2008. Two points off the Italian in the standings is his prospective team-mate for 2011, Ducati’s Nicky Hayden. The American – still in search of a first podium of the campaign – will be desperate for a strong home display and will hope the injured left hand he sustained in Brno does not hinder those aspirations.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Ben Spies will have identical aims to compatriot Hayden on home soil, whilst Randy de Puniet’s incredible return to action at Brno just four weeks after a broken leg will take its next step as the LCR Honda rider attempts to regain the highest privateer honour. Italian Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and another proud American Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) complete the top ten as it stands.

Rookies Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) will all want positive first premier class runs at the circuit, whilst those with previous Indy experience in Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and Pramac Racing pair Aleix Espargaró and Mika Kallio will look to pull on their knowledge in search of good results.

#46 Valentino Rossi Laguna Seca '10

Having ridden at the Brno test for the first time in two months Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team) could make his return to action, but is waiting to make a decision. In the case the Japanese rookie does not, Alex de Angelis will continue as his stand-in on the satellite RC212V.

August 24, 2010 Posted by | Casey Stoner, Ducati, Indianapolis MotoGP, Laguna Seca, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, Red Bull, Uncategorized, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha | Leave a comment

My first in person interview~ a life altering experience

#21 Elena Myers at T2 at Infineon

As always in working with Moto Race Reports for these past 6 to 8 months, I tend to get a little over zealous about taking my assignments into my own hands. Approaching, arranging and finally interviewing the professional women racers that have impressed me the most when it comes to being icons, representing women in professional racing. 

My interviews have been primarily over the phone and via email, and that has worked fine given time lines and schedule restrictions, up until this past weekend. I had done my usual “take the bull by the horns” approach in contacting the next female racer on my list, Elena Myers through one of her Websites, requesting an over the phone interview. I received an almost immediate response from her media coordinator, David Swarts, telling me Elena would be more than happy to accommodate my request.  We were in the midst of scheduling the interview when I realized she was to be racing in the Young Guns Supersport division at the West Coast Moto Jam at Infineon Raceway this last weekend. Literally 20 minutes from my house! I got back on the computer and sent out another email to David, suggesting that if Elena had a few minutes to spare, we could do a quick interview at the track. 

With another quick response,  he obliged, agreeing  it was a better idea. In the span of  less than an hour, I went from a phone interview to my first in person interview by my own doing! I didn’t know if it was excitement or pure panic that was getting my adrenaline going! Now I had to be poised and know my stuff,  in the attempt to not make an ass of myself and Moto Race Reports! 

I was to call David at 7:30am, the Saturday morning of the race for further instructions on when and where to meet with Elena. I did so at 7:31am, as not to look too anxious!  David was giving me all these options on when I would like to interview Elena, this was confusing the hell out of me. How would I know? I was as green as the spring induced hills outside my window and desperately trying to conceal my inexperience. Finally, I just leveled with him and told him to give me a time and place that was convenient for Elena, and I would be there. 

He  decided that 9 am was the best time, right after her qualifying lap times, which I roughly knew about from receiving all the press releases through Moto Race Reports. 

Mark and me at the Wine Country Winner's Circle

 Before my bright idea to interview Elena in person, I had invited my long time friend’s husband, Mark to join me to Infineon. He was a fairly new rider, preferring his Harley to a sport bike and was a huge fan of Nascar! He had no clue about professional motorcycle racing and was kind of curious about it when I was talking to him about it, after running into him at our local gym a few weeks back.  I extended an invitation to him at that point, but never really thought much about it after. 

He called me the day before I was to go to the race track telling me he wanted to go with me to Infineon. With my interview in place and frozen in fear, I told him to meet me at my house at 7:45am and informed him that he would be assisting me in my interview with a 16-year-old professional AMA racer…and she was a girl! I don’t think this tidbit of information really sunk in with Mark until we actually met Elena. Because later, after  the interview, he just kept going on about how young she was! Elena was a year older than Mark’s own daughter. 

 Mark and I rode on down to Infineon Raceway, our 20 minute ride, he on his Harley Davidson Softtail and me on my BMW , cruising down the highway. We parked the bikes and went out in search of Elena’s van to get an idea of where it was. It was after 8am at this point, and the bikes should have been on the track doing their qualifying laps, but the track was desolate. This concerned me, I was now getting the feeling the 9am set interview time was not going to happen. I soon received a phone call from David Swarts, confirming my suspicions in the delay and he suggested I come back at 10am, after Elena rode her qualifying laps. I replied, saying, no problem. 

This gave Mark and me a chance to see her in action for the first time. She was very impressive and Mark couldn’t get over how fast the racers were, comparing it to the numerous Nascar races he had attended at Infineon, so many times before. He found it very different and more extreme in intensity. Because of the change-up in the scheduling of my interview, it brought to my attention the two days I had spent creating questions for Elena was not going to work. I had to go with what was going on today, right here, right now. Reluctantly, I threw my cue card of questions in the bin, they were now useless to me. I was in full-blown panic mode, I had no idea what I was going to ask Elena in the next 15 minutes! My first in person interview was to be impromptu! 

We sat in the grandstands until the time came once again to meet with Elena. We found her M4 Monster Energy Suzuki van once again, catching a glimpse of her as we walked up. I thought to myself, “oh great, there she is” but what seemed like an easy find, turned out to be a full-out hunt for a good 10 minutes. She had vanished! I asked a woman worker passing by, and she located Elena for us. Elena came out of the van to greet us, a pretty, petite, long-haired blond, that looked barely 16, if not younger. I introduced myself and Mark, and we decided to go into the van, where it was  little more quiet, to conduct the interview. 

Immediately I noticed Elena had a reserved and demure way about her, but still maintaining an undeniable level of confidence at such a young age. She was articulate and versed in her responses and it was evident to me, she was not affected by her rare talent and growing popularity. Her calm and unassuming presence relaxed my frayed nerves, allowing me to flow right into my interview. I don’t know how exactly,  but I eased into my procession of questions seamlessly, going from one question to another in our less than 7 minute interview, without missing a beat. I was truly amazed with myself! 

After thanking Elena for her time, we left her to prepare for her first race of the weekend. After lunch, Mark and I headed up to turn 2, up towards the top of the road race track. The location had a great, up close view of the track and an over view of the last portion of the circuit below. In her bright yellow leathers and Suzuki GSX-R to match, we watched Elena consistently and flawlessly lap the 2.52 miles of undulating tarmac, in what was to be an 18 lap race. With less than half the race completed and 2 red flags, Elena went for the finish line after her main contender, Joey Pascarella, lost control of his Ducati at turn 10. Making Elena the first female in history to win a AMA Pro Road Race! 

Overview from Turn 2 at Infineon Raceway

So, not only did I get the opportunity to speak with Elena Myers before her first race at Infineon, but also, to be able to witness her victorious first win and making history while doing it! I love it when a plan comes together! 

I ran into Mark at the gym today, both of us, like two little kids, excitedly reminiscing about our day together and what fun we had. It’s funny, I had not thought of it before, but I have known Mark for over 20 years and never spent more than 10 minutes talking to him at any one time. Spending the day, getting to know an old friend was just icing on the cake to a great day! 

Cindi~

May 19, 2010 Posted by | American Motorcycle Association, BMW motorcycles, Elena Myers, Harley Davidson, Infineon Raceway, Moto Race Reports, Moto2, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, supersport, Suzuki GSX-R 600, Suzuki GSXR, Uncategorized, West Coast Moto Jam | 5 Comments

Elena Myers Interview ~ Making history…again!

   

Elena Myers at the Wine Country Winner's Circle

After establishing a Daytona first just weeks ago by becoming the youngest female to race the circuit. Elena Myers, the 16 year old petite blond, surpassed her expectations this past weekend and made history once again!This time keeping it in her backyard, she took possession of the winners cup in the Supersport division this past Saturday, May 15th at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma CA; becoming the first female to ever win in the AMA pro road race.

With a red flag less than halfway through an 18 lap race, Elena managed to hold her vacillating front position with her main contender, Joey Pascarella, for most of the race. Unfortunately for Pascarella, he went on to cause the second red flag by losing control of his Ducati at turn 10, a couple laps later. Leaving a clear path to the finish line for Elena’s Suzuki GSX-R.

Moto Race Reports, Cindi Servante was granted a few minutes to chat with Elena in her Monster Energy Suzuki van before going on to claim her history-making victory center stage at the podium.    

 

 

 

MRR- How did you feel this morning going out on the track for qualifying times?    

Elena Myers- I placed 7th overall from yesterday and the final today, but something is going on with my foot. An injury I had from Road Atlanta. Today I got a cortisone shot in it and its feeling better. Yesterday, it hurt and I couldn’t put any clean laps in and this morning it was cold and damp, so I was worried about increasing my speed and going faster.    

MRR- Do you think your foot injury is going to hinder your performance today and tomorrow?    

Elena Myers- I thought about it, and it seemed that every 6 laps it starts bugging me. But I got the shot, so hopefully it will feel a lot better for the next two days. I thought my foot was completely healed from Road Atlanta, but it’s a nerve injury and I guess it takes a little longer to heal.    

MRR- Can you work past the pain and still able to obtain your goals for this race weekend?    

Elena Myers- I think I can. It was just really cold and damp this morning and so it’s hard to tell right now.    

MRR- How does it feel to be racing at Infineon as an AMA Pro Road Racer?    

Elena Myers- I haven’t raced here before, but I think it’s good. My family has come out here today to watch me. I think it’s going to be a fun event; I’m looking forward to it.    

MRR- How do you like the Suzuki GSXR over the Kawasaki ZX6R? Have you had to make any adjustments in how you ride and approach the track?    

Elena Myers- The Suzuki and the Kawasaki are two totally different machines, they handle totally different.  With the Kawasaki, it seemed to have constant “chattering” problem, so I’m glad I don’t have to deal with it this year. I’m working on my riding to take full advantage of the Suzuki, because it’s a rider’s bike. The Kawasaki reminds me of a 125cc, you really have to get on the throttle.    

Elena Myers Infineon Raceway

MRR- How is it going with your new team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki?    

Elena Myers- Suzuki is great! With my team, I have the best technical support system behind me; they definitely know what they are doing. I made a promise to John Ulvich when I was 10 or 11 to race for his team one day. I knew he had also signed successful racers like John Hopkins, so it became a goal.    

But, Kawasaki was my start, they signed me at thirteen and without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.    

MRR- How did it feel racing Daytona and becoming the youngest female to ever compete there?    

Elena Myers- It was a lot of fun. The track has some great things about it; there were things I had to learn about it, though. The banking was pretty crazy the first day out, but once I got it down, it was a great weekend!    

MRR- For half of your 16 years, motorcycles has been a part of your life. How did you get into motorcycling and on to racing?    

Elena Myers- My dad has a great passion for motorcycles and introduced it to me when I was eight years old.  He was a racer too, but only as an amateur, he actually raced with the AFM here at Infineon, so, it’s kind of cool that I am here today.    

MRR- With your career accelerating by leap and bounds this past year, what are your goals for next season?    

Elena Myers- Next year I have thoughts about going to Daytona Sportbike or maybe staying in Supersport. We’ll see what the sponsors want; right now they want to be seen on TV and in the big show, and that seems to be happening.    

I would like at least be in the top 3 for the championship, but I’m taking it race by race and not really worrying about it.    

MRR- Do you see women racing in MotoGP in the near future, lets say, in 5 years time?    

Elena Myers- I haven’t really thought about it before. Maybe by the time I’m twenty one. I would love to get into Moto2 and use it as a stepping stone to get to the level of the GP. The whole series that they have going on there is far superior to what we have here. The MotoGP, to me, are the best riders in the world, all competing together. But, even if I made it to the Moto2, it would be an amazing experience.    

 We congratulate Elena Myers in her exceptional win at Infineon and wish her the best of luck with the remaining races on her provisional race calendar for 2010. But somehow, we don’t think she’ll need it!    

Cheers Elena!

May 18, 2010 Posted by | American Motorcycle Association, BMW motorcycles, daytona 200, Elena Myers, Infineon Raceway, melissa paris, Moto Race Reports, Moto2, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, Road Atlanta, supersport, Suzuki GSX-R 600, Suzuki GSXR, Uncategorized, West Coast Moto Jam | Leave a comment

Mark Gardiner ~Riding Man~

Mark Gardiner Isle of Man TT 2002

 

There are a vast array of personal stories behind why so many privateer racers compete in the death-defying challenge of the Isle of Man TT, but one in particular intrigues me, Mark Gardiner. Maybe it was because I had the opportunity to meet him in person at a book reading at my local BMW dealership.  But, more importantly, maybe it was to find out why a man who had a life and career, would risk everything on a historically dangerous road race thousands of miles from his home.      

Who would have known that the soft-spoken, slight, mid height man, who had given up riding in his twenties due to his lack of confidence as a proficient rider, was to come back 20 years later to witness his 2002 CBR 600 sitting in the parc ferme in the Isle of Man TT!  In the intimate gathering at Moto Marin, he went on to confess how truly bad he was as motorcycling, but because of his love of motorcycles as a boy, he went back to riding to find himself being motivated by the sheer “thrill” of it after an intense crash on the track.  Beginning his new found racing career in Calgary , he was finding his attitude turning more towards not giving up with each progressive race, and gaining an insatiable appetite to get to the next level.     

In 2002 Mark Gardiner was a 47 year old Canadian embarking on his childhood dream to ride the Isle of Man after a few short years racing professionally with an expert level CMA and AMA Pro license. As a successful business man, he put his life on hold, and in 2001 sold everything he owned and moved to the Isle of Man with only what he could carry and a bicycle. As a Manx resident, Mark spent the next year eating, breathing and cycling the 37.7 mile course to learn as much as he could with the intent to memorize the course foot by foot, perhaps conferring an advantage that would make up for his own inner insecurities.      

Mark and I at MotoMarin BMW

 

In his book Riding Man, a memoir invoking on his journey thematically starting from his childhood curiosities into the world of motorcycles and ultimately the Isle of Man through a volume of encyclopedias his parents bought him.     

Forty years later he takes the reader on an adventure back and forth, vacillating in time from his days as an advertising director to his relationships with his family, co-workers and friends, and ultimately to his dream of conquering the Isle of Man TT competition.     

With days to go and no guarantees of an ACU race entry, no bike and no back up plan,  he manages to buy a Honda CBR 600 locally and qualifies for two classes, Production 600 TT and Junior TT. His small pit crew of two, a good friend, Paul Smith and Kris Gardiner, his nephew, struggle with unpredictable bad weather, regulating tires for atmospheric conditions and ongoing unstable damper issues all the while having to memorize the road race circuit like the back of his hand. Like he paved the course himself.     

Through all his trials and tribulations, with risks, rewards and inevitably some regrets, Mark obtains his goal, to take part in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race, an experience few will ever know. 

Mark is also the author of “Classic Motorcycle” , focusing on the social, political, and the cultural history of Motorcycles.  He is also a successful journalist, having his work featured in Advertising Age, Canadian Business, Classic Bike and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Racing, which he was nominated for a Canadian Magazine Award.  Along with being a contributing editor for magazines such as, Road Racer X, Classic Bike and Motorcyclist,  Mark currently resides in Southern California,  where he still dabbles in the advertising world and enjoys his new passion in surfing.     

I highly recommend this book to all motorcycle enthusiasts and to those who just want to experience the bravery of one mans dream.     

To quote him: “The deepest regrets are always risks not taken.”     

Footnote: Mark Gardiner was one of the first participants in the Isle of Man TT to have an acclaimed documentary made, ” One Man’s Island” directed, filmed and edited by Peter Riddinhough     

~Cindi~     

January 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A prelude to the Isle of Man TT

Up close and personal with the riders

Even though it is 5 months away, I feel compelled to write about the Isle of Man TT, a 107 year old road race that up until recently, I knew little about. My fascination with the Isle of Man TT began several weeks ago after meeting Mark Gardniner, a Canadian who competed in the TT in 2002, and just recently, interviewing Scott Harwood, one of a handful of Americans to be competing this coming May 2010. I will be  expanding more on Mark and Scott in my next blog, but first, a brief introduction into the history of the TT and why it has become one of the most exhilarating and risky road races in history. 

The Isle of Man is a self-governing wee island that lies equidistant to Ireland and Great Britain in the Irish sea.  An island 32 miles long and 14 miles at its widest point with a population of over 80,000, baring an infamous reputation for having the fiercest, unpredictable weather around, it’s hard to believe it can entertain one of the most internationally acclaimed road races in the world.   

The TT is held annually for a fortnight at the end of May, beginning of June on a two lane public road course which consists of 37.73 miles of undulating roads with deceptive tight corners often named after the riders that lost their lives on the treacherous turns, such as Birkens bend, named after Archie Birken, who lost his life in 1927.While witnessing the riders taking in over 200 bends, converging from sea level to an altitude of over 1,300 ft,  fans are able to stand all along the billowing roadway within arms distance of the rider, it can be as perilous to the rider as to the spectator, clearly, the TT is not for every average motorcycle enthusiast!          

In the 107 year continuance of the TT (as a time trial format race), it has managed to evolve with each decade, making revisions such as altering the road race course, classifications, motorcycle modifications, change-ups in manufactures, safety provisions, interruptions with WWI and WWII, qualifications, and race schedules, to name a few.  But, still manages to retain a timelessness in its original goal and that is to have the race experience be competitive against the clock, rather than each other.          

Being one of the oldest motorcycle circuits to exist, it’s mind-blowing to think about the first winner of the TT, Charlie Collier back in 1907 riding to victory on his Matchless motorbike in just over 37 minutes, per lap totaling 10 laps,  averaging a speed of 38.21 mph on a course that was at that time, 15 miles long!       

Now, in the recent past, we are witnessing riders like John McGuinness setting speed records of 130 mph, with lap records of 17.21 minutes per lap on the 37 mile plus stretch.   The most successful rider has been Joey Dunlop, who has won 26 times in various classes from 1977 to 2000. The first woman competitor to ever participate in the TT as a side-car passenger was Inge Stoll, in 1954, and most recently in 2009, Jenny Tinmouth of GB, taking the podium as the fastest woman on her Honda Fireblade, beating Maria Costello’s record from 2004!           

This past 2009 the first zero-emissions TTXGP motorcycle race was held, which could mean all and any electric motorcycles are eligible to enter for future TT competitions. So, it’s perceivable to think there will be more changes for the future of the annual TT road race adventure, which to me, is a good thing!          

I look forward to one day attending the Isle of Man TT road race, a mountain circuit that is without a doubt, the greatest challenge any racing motorcyclist or enthusiast can take on!          

           

Cindi          

              

 
 

              

January 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments