Monday, August 29, 2011

More at Indy......

We thought that Christian had made a wrong turn somewhere out west, but then we figured out it wasn't him; the 'Stich was far to clean and yellow.

Bikes on Meridian Street, downtown

125cc class racer

Race Boy Rob

Little Timmy is all about the free swag. In this case, he got a straw hat from Kymco.

Not race is worth its salt without a Moto GP lawnmower

Images of Indy 2011

Official Indy GP Fan Photographer yells at Bill for taking a picture of her trying to take a picture of us.

Rob, all excited about his new camera, explains how it all works to Speed Channel umbrella girl, who takes great interest in hearing all about it.

Official Ironworks tat on display.

There is nothing like spending 60 bucks on a ticket and getting so wasted on light beer in front of a large crowd.

Notes, Observations and other true stories from Indy 2011.…

The Indianapolis Moto GP 2011 is one for the books. Held at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend, the greatest riders on the planet make their second stop in the US as this race series traverses the globe. The race on Sunday was won by Australia’s Casey Stoner, who set a track record while qualifying on Saturday. At one point during the race, he was clocked at 200 mph down Indy’s front stretch. The weekend also include GP races in 125cc class and Moto2 class (600cc), and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XL1200 series, which showcases Harley’s sported up Sportster.
Though Stoner ran away with the GP race, Texan Ben Spies captured a podium finish, taking 3rd. A good showing for this up and coming racer, though fan favorite and local hero Nicky Hayden of Owensboro, Ky. finished 15th and was hampered tire issues. While Moto GP packs a lot of star power onto the starting grid, to me the best racing comes from the smaller displacement classes where there is more passing, more dodging and weaving, and in my opinion, more excitement. Sure the big GP bikes power through the corners and down the straights at blinding speeds with a roar of an F-15 fighter plane, but there is nothing like 30 to 40 125cc class riders elbowing each other on passes, bobbing and duking it out for the next position. It’s simply skin-of-the-teeth, white knuckle racing that fans love.
How many more Moto GP’s at Indy? My guess is with a track being built in Texas specifically to woo and cater to GP racing, it won’t be long before its gone from Indianapolis. From reading comments in the papers, it does not seem many riders like the track’s surface, and because of it’s enormity, the seating is not the greatest with many sightlines obscured by track infrastructure. This is a car track, obviously, not a motorcycle track. I get the importance of a GP race at this historic venue, but there are probably better places in the US to race motorcycles.

Race planners also have to factor in that Indianapolis is not a glamorous place. The downtown is simply beautiful, and the bike festivities on Meridian Street on Friday and Saturday nights great fun, but it gets a knocked by the countless homeless people panhandling on the sidewalks. And once you go outside the downtown boundaries, the rest of the city is rough around the edges, to put it mildly.
My hat is off to the AMA Vance & Hines XL Series. The concept is that riders all compete on nearly identical Harley XL 1200 Sportsters. (Spec racing). This keeps the competition close and, in this day and age, affordable. Race One on Saturday resulted in a harrowing crash in the first turns and which many riders went down hard. It is amazing to see these guys put their ass on the line for not a lot of money and glory. Glad to say that everyone walked way relatively uninjured. Can’t say that was so for the bikes.

We stayed at the Indy Ramada Airport again this year. And fortunately, no bikes were stolen. Hotel staff were tolerant of our Red Wing Ironworks Motorbike Club reception party we staged nightly outside the front entrance. It was good to see some old friends and to meet new ones. And it was certainly great to see our friends from Kansas again this year. We owed them plenty of beer from 2010. Hopefully, we will see you next year.

Speaking of friends, here is to our new best friends that we met at Indy in our beloved hotel:

Pocono Paul, the very chatty secret government agency employee who wheeled up to the hotel entrance on Friday and said, “Howya doing, give me a beer.” And with that introduction, the stories from Paul rolled late into the night. And continued on at breakfast the next day and again at that night.

Daniel from Brazil, who did his best to interpret out English and we his Portuguese. Needles to say, we communicated well on three distinct subjects that he was interested in: women, cigs and beer. Oddly, the next day with his father in tow, he did not have much to say to us other than a curt “hello.”

Mike, the track corner worker from Detroit. He had such a good time shooting the bull with us that he came back on Saturday to hang out even though he was staying in a different hotel. We caught him at the track on Friday and said his corner team got to help in one crash, a high side, during AMA Vance and Hines XL1200 practice session. No one was hurt, fortunately.

And most memorable of them all is Mr. Nutsack, a former Texas resident, who in his drunken state provided comic relief, with his ballsy act. Ahem.

Beloit, Wisconsin is still a suck hole. Here’s why: it’s Wisconsin’s version of New Jersey. Dirty, stinky and earning a reputation for lousy customer service. The Road Ranger Travel Center in South Beloit was so disgustingly dirty, I had to walk out of the store. The bathroom is one of the nastiest out there. The store itself looked like it hadn’t been cleaned for years, over flowing garbage cans, caked-on gunk on surfaces where goods and food are displayed and two coffee machines that dispensed a black clot of goo with a distinct “plop” into my coffee cup. No thanks. My travel mates risked eating at the Subway there; sorry I just couldn’t bring myself to do so. There was another Road Ranger on the other side of the road with a McDonalds, though it looked newer, the customer service was not so good. Three cups of coffee were ordered and the help still didn’t get all the lids on securely. And she told us, after taking our money, that the coffee wasn’t so fresh. Nice.

Why do people from Chicago and California make it a point to tell you that they are from Chicago or California upon introducing themselves? Or they make it a point to tell you even if they currently live somewhere else, or they make it a point of telling you even if you didn’t ask?

Bikes on Meridian is certainly worth seeing: This is the nightly bike gathering on Friday and Saturday in downtown Indy. For once is it was refreshing to go to a gathering where “freedom loving individuals” all riding the same black colored Road Kings were not the majority. Good to see that most of the bikes presents were sport bikes, standards, old iron and the whatnot. Be warned, it’s crowded and loud.

Official beer of the Ironworks Motorbike Club at Indy? Schlitz Tall Boys.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Little more than 12 hours to departure.....

 for great times at Indy Motor Speedway and Moto GP racing. Please, enjoy these pictures from last year's race.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

MotoGP, Ironworks style.....

Heading off to Indy on Thursday for the Red Bull Moto GP at the storied Indy Motorspeedway. No bikes this year; piling into the van to make getting to Indianapolis that much more bearable. If you've ever riden there on a bike, you know what I am talking about. It's a butt ugly ride from Madison south; it's always hot, and there is only so much corn a guy can appreciate for 600 miles. This year we've got a few GP newbies including Little Timmy (aka Race Bannon); Mohawk Boy and Cole. Sure, we'll miss  the ride around the track on the bikes, but we are going more for convenience.It's a pain to lug Aerostich's, helmets and boots to the check-in when you are parked three miles away down the backstretch. Plus, I gotta put that new cooler  - advertised to hold a whooping 90 cans of beer -that the Fair Marie picked up at Target to good use. Should be a busy weekend chock full o'events and we are looking not only to the races, but scoring as much free swag as possible, and don't forget the shots with the umbrella babes. And as a further plus, the forecast for Indy looks very nice. Mid 80s and sun forecast for Thursday to Sunday.

From The Dept. of Stuff To Do

This afternoon at 5 p.m. be at the Red Wing ELC (Environmental Learning Center) to hear about Doug’s motorcycle trip to Vietnam last summer....