November 03, 2005

Working for Movistar, Valencia GP, '05

Finally! About five minutes after I arrived at the track (which was fast since Raul was doing 180 KMH in a diesel compact!) I had to get to work. I was working for Movistar as the mechanic for one of their exibits, which was a mini-moto event with a nice little track and 7 Polini's.

Anyone that knows me should know that this was right up my alley! I had to assemble the bikes and get them prepared for three days of constant abuse.

Four Speed 110 cc Four Stroke. This doesn't sound like much but the fuel we were using was really toxic. These were fast and wild to ride. I think I replaced about sixty levers this past weekend. And then some!

Nacho swung by and dropped this off. Tha Shizz!

The keys to the good life! Thanks Nacho, Patricia, Rocio, Elena, Bito, Davide, and others, for letting me live like a true Movistar!

I later upgraded to the Gold Paddock Pass, which allowed me to enter the interior of the circuit and view the races from inside the track. INSIDE! Also, I took some time to screw around with some guy's bike. We had a selection of great machines to fill a Museum that Movistar presented. Awesome!

Just an example of how small the bikes are. This is Pedrosa's old 125 championship bike. My hands aren't that big, sorry girls.

Back to working, Thursday night, I still had to prep the bikes. Flat tire? No problem! Didn't have all my tools so I used a #2 flat blade screwdriver and two mini screwdrivers's. Not fun, but I did it!

So everyday I was busy working my "booth" at the Movistar exibit and trying to keep the bikes working correctly. They were getting hammered and there's a definite riding style difference between us and the Europeans. By my standards (or any) it was a tight track. Still, the Euros would go edge to edge and rail the corners with high corner speed. I was more flat track, go sideways, and point and shoot. Lots of traction breaking and "show-boating". Here are some shots of the course and whatnot. The bathrooms were immaculate and there was a bathroom attendant stationed there who cleaned it every hour or so! Not like the "crappy" US portapotties!

Here's a photo of the course. Note the empty parking lot in the background. This was about 6.30 in the morning on Saturday.

Oh, forgot to mention the group of us went out for dinner on Friday night. I thought maybe eat around nine and home by midnight (I was beat!). We ate at ten, finished around one, then partied until five! Just cruising through Valencia we ran into Venezuelen ex-GP rider Carlos Lavado. He runs the Venemoto team in the AMA and is trying to move his boys here to run the Spanish Championship.

And some dude named Angel Nieto! (12+1 Champion)

Here's our bartender at a bar called Las Animas. Find it in in Valencia! This is a poor picture but you get the idea. Just a quick note about that bartender. . . . . She´s a Man, Baby! Apparently the best clubs in Valencia are filled with marraconnes (sp?) and travestis. I´m absolutely positive this bartendress was not what she appeared to be. Last night MilleRBoy wasn´t let into the club because he was wearing white running sneakers. What a Goof! We´re in Europe fercrissakes! We partied through Old Town and did the traditional pub crawl. Everyone got sauced and by 4 or 5 the crew went home. I got in the mood and couldn´t be shut down so I kept on partying until about nine in the morning and then hit a coffee shop. I actually fell asleep before I ordered and and hour later when I shook my head clear enough to order I had two coffees. Now I´m in an Internet Locutario checking my email (for two Euros!) for 45 minutes waiting for the team to get their butts out of Saler and into Valencia Proper. The drinks they pour here are outstanding, meaning the alcohol content in the beers is quite serious and the shots they pour are Eight Count. 8! I remember my first night being amazed at how much whiskey they were giving me. Little did I know that double is the standard!

Forgot to throw this picture up of turn one early in the morning. Absolutely Gorgeous!

Along the course of the day Voo Voo and MilleRBoy showed up. I snuck them upstairs into the grandstands using my "juice". First Barf Social in Valencia!

Second Barfer Meeting! This is Rzypvs from the east bay! He owns a lot of two strokes and is a big fan of the sport. He brought his wife Marta and his Mom!

Saturday afternoon was great! Some 125 riders showed up to check out the action. I threw them on the track with three bikes and let them get acquainted with the track layout and the bikes. Within two laps they were backing it in beautifully, three in a train like clockwork! After giving them some seat time I jumped on a bike to Represent!!!

This is Jorge Cardus, one of the fastest small bike small track riders I have ever seen. He's listed in MotoGP but I couldn't dig up any stats on him. I gave them two corners and started chasing them down. It was a fantastic show for all the people and they were clapping and cheering with every turn!

This is current 125 rider (but I forgot his name)! About ten laps into the race we were all having a great time. I pressured Cardus into crashing out and I then proceeded to pass the other two to take the win! Small bikes are my bag, Baby. The riders were super cool about it, took some photos with me afterwards, and promised to come back on Sunday for a rematch! Later in the day, early evening really, Randy Mamola showed up with his son and I let a couple of the kids ride around for as long as they wanted. Randy was super nice, as was his wife

So Saturday night I was tasked with driving some of the riders to a giant festival in Cheste called La Fire. Cheste is known for building large parade float looking things and then burning them. All the little towns in the area compete for the top prize and it has to do with size, complexity, a bunch of stuff I don't really understand. Movistar commissioned a nice big one (over ten meters tall) since they are bowing out of the championship next year. All the famous Spanish riders went as well as Hiro Aoyama. This was my first time driving an X5 and it was a diesel!

It wouldn't really break loose for me because the tyres were huge. We had a policia escort with lights and sirens blazin' and we formed a six car train that was ripping through the hills behind the track. At one point I was playing Rallye and had two wheels in the dirt. I had to drive Angel Nieto, and since we had met a couple nights earlier he was cool. As in not dismissive, haha.

There were Policia everywhere and they were holding hands and trying to keep the mob behind the little fences they had erected along our route. Thousands of screaming people. I have never seen anything like it. The roads were so tight that people were reaching out and slapping the car and rocking it back and forth as I was creeping through. Here's Sete and Dani and some of the Movistar Staff escorting them to the presentation.

It's a little blurry because everyone is bored and moving around. There was a champagne toast and a small speech by a local official and then we were all hustled upstairs by the cops. I don't know why (and I didn't get any pictures) but some of the local Cheste police were really hot chicks!

This is the monument. It's in the town square and there were thousands of people surrounding our building. The riders threw down t-shirts and hats and it was a huge party since it seemed the entire crowd was tipsy. . .

La Fire. I couldn't believe how much heat this thing was giving off. We were pretty far away but within a minute or two the rooms we were in got really uncomfortable. We quickly made it back to the cars and high tailed it back to the track.

More Later.

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