More From Jerez . . . . the Red Bull Rookies!
On Saturday evening, I finally caught up with Norm Viano, who is managing Red Bull Rookie's Cup riders, Cameron Beaubier and J.D. "Jiggy Dog" Beach. Norm is the manager of current AMA riders, the The Bostrom Brothers, but he's also set his sights on helping to raise up some of the "new breed", in this case, two of the youngsters who are competing in seven different MotoGP support races. Only Kris Turner, the third American competing in the Rookie's Cup was missing, but I'm sure I'll get a chance to say hi in person at some point.
After a few emails and some international text-messaging, I invited the kids over to the garage to check out our Ducati Desmosedici GP7's, and get some more of the inside line that would hopefully encourage them to keep working hard and staying focused so that one day they might be able to play with the big boys. Their Target: World Domination. Just kidding, haha. At this point, it's important to keep everything light-hearted, and the true goal should be to simply have a good time, absorb as much as possible, and thank Mom and Dad for helping to put them in such a lucky postion. How many other kids get a chance to go globe-trotting at such a young age - and to rip around some of these racetracks in a real race?!? Fantastic! I'm envious as hell. . . scooters just don't compare!
While Cameron can't quite reach the clutch lever, he's well on his way to reaching the top levels of this sport. If not for a rough elbow during Sunday's race, he would have been in contention for the win. Six races left!
Norm joked that there are now 18 or 19 Americans involved at the GP races, and that reminded me that brother Mark was just next door in the Marlboro Ducati garage, so we got him to show us their pitbox as well. Mark and the guys toured through our garage, and it was fun to watch the kids and see what they naturally looked at - of course they were checking out the bikes!
We spent some time with the Satellite machines, then went into the Factory box while Mark explained some of the interesting facts about the creation and evolution of the Desmosedici. When the kids asked about the space-age heat protection fiber under the seats and near the fuel cell, Mark would rattle off stories of Loris in 2003, flying into the garage after a race and ripping his leathers off to reveal a red, rosy bum and thighs. Or how his hands would be fried from the heat emanating from the F1 derived engine. Italian cooking at it's finest, haha. Such issues were quickly sorted out with additional venting on the side-panels, and Mark was cool enough to describe in more detail some of the changes the bike went through during successive years in GP competition - the kind of stuff you can't read about! I don't know if Cam and Jiggy were able to soak it all in, but for a sponge like me, it was great hearing about it straight from the source and Mark's laid-back style and fun loving attitude hopefully rubbed off on the kids. We let them get up close to the machines, and because my camera wasn't working well, Norm grabbed a couple pictures. How close are we to the action? Look in the background, behind J.D. to spy Casey Stoner, his new wife, and BeefCake discussing their plans for Sunday's race. At this point it was after 8PM, and Casey was still working. That is great stuff, and it's this kind of dedication that I trust will pay off for him in the future.
Big thanks to Mark Elder, and to Norm Viano, for going above and beyond to help inspire our next generation of U.S. riders!