I never expected to be at the MotoGP 2015 and walking from the car park to the track was a little surreal. Louise had found us £5 parking (bargain, and I really mean bargain), within a 5 minute walk of Club Corner, armed with sun tent, picnic blanket and our packed lunches we joined the throng queuing to get in. Ok let’s be honest it wasn’t the biggest throng I’ve ever seen, in fact as British Sporting event throngs go it was decidedly medium but it was just 9.30ish and I’m not complaining. Never one to enjoy too big a throng it was perfect. Enough already!
Next bonus of the day was a lack of queues for the ladies loo. The just arrived wee was a stress free event, no queue, loo roll, running water and hand dryers – my first impressions of Silverstone were good. The bikes had started around the track and with guidance from Louise we collected earplugs from the hearing protection wheelie bins situated around the course. A choice of orange or luminous green stumped me for a while so of course I had both. I was a little like an annoying kid asking lots of questions of Louise like, why ear plugs? Who is who on the bikes? What size are the bikes? How fast are they going? How long is the course? How long does it take to get round! All this and we had only just rounded the corner to view the track. Wow! It was awesome, the big sail building you see on telly, the sweeping club corner and people, lots and lots of people. The noise too increased the intensity of the whole experience, the MotoGP bikes were on the track and the deep rumble as they braked into club followed by a throaty roar of acceleration was new to me.
We, like most other people, wanted “the Doctor” Rossi 46 to win but again I asked about form and likelihood of this occurrence actually coming to fruition. Not totally ruled out, more possible in rain but I was provided with an overview of the championship stats so far, current trends in performance. I loved the eclectic mix of people, families, bikers, British, overseas visitors gathered to watch the spectacles. There were small tents (like ours) chairs, tarpaulins, dustbin bags and flags. Really tall flagpoles with an array of waving silk. The interesting British trait was the need to display more than one flag, to not want to be seen to pin our colours on just one rider. A Rossi flag but accompanies by Cal Crutchlow because we should. Also football team flags?? I just don’t get it.
Having said that the home from home of carrying your own cave to one of these events is now firmly fixed in my heart. Louise brought us a palace which we set up on the entry to Club like a small living room with picnic blanket, drinks, food and sweet stuff (no not us, a big bag of Moams – yum). I loved it especially as the drizzle commenced a little.
With Silverstone tour guide extraordinaire we set off to have a look round. We had the choice of a bus or walking so we went for a walk. The drizzle had stopped and the edge of the circuit was a sea of interesting things to see. The MotoGP memorabilia was mixed with BSBand I got a little confused but the oracle came to my rescue. The next conundrum was purchasing memrobilia in euros – this gave rise to a sudden surge of mental arithmetic to calculate the winners and losers in the currency conversion game, ah sod it we will pay cash!
The said purchase, a Lorenzo neck tube, will form a blog in its own right but was duly purchased and secreted in the rucksack. Next to the stands to entertain the throng in between races. First was a Bridgestone stand where you could have your photo taken on the podium. Did we? Of course we blooming did – who wouldn’t?
Then onto the tape measure game where we used a super strong tape measure to unhook a motorbike shaped torch from a distance of about 10 ft. First time in the bag, the look of concentration on Louise’s face was brilliant as she too bagged a torch. Onward and upward next we passed a Silverstone memrobilia stand and wait, what did I spy but a traditional foam hand. Yes, that one is for me.
We crossed a bridge over the track and sat on the banking to watch the Moto2. Foam finger assisted the bikes were fast and noisey it was great fun. The crowd was made up of normal people like us ( I use the term normal to indicate a car traveller), bikers in leather, bikers in waterproofs, bikers in shorts and trainers??? Manufacturers families like the Tyco family all in blue, all in matching gear they looked triumphant, I could only wonder at how they distinguished each other’s clothing in the morning as only the size differed. I did at times feel a little left out as I did not have any item of clothing indicating an affinity with a team or rider. But I did have my foam hand!
As the clock ticked on we set off back to Club for the MotoGP.
I took great pleasure in taking a photo of the queue for the men’s loo, this only happens at male dominated events and it makes me happy. Us ladies queue at the loo wherever we go and it is nice to see our male breatheren sharing this joy.
Back to our home from home and the rain started. The big screen that represented the television in our front room told us that the race was dry! Now Silverstone is a big circuit but I couldn’t believe that the climatic conditions could be that different at the start and finish straight. Anyway we were told that the downpour was drizzle, it must be us that had got it wrong huddling in the back of our sun dome. The sighting lap started and my heart was in my mouth and the deep belly rumble of engine braking slowed the riders into club on perilously slippy slick tyres and the spray of the slight drizzle slightly obscured the spectacle. This was a little silly.
The commentator explained that the riders could pull into the pit lane and swap bikes if they considered it wet but that they would have to start from there. We watched on the screen as the images reflected what the distant noise was telling us. Each of the riders in turn took a beeline for the pits and a wet weather set up.
By now we were repelling borders and gathering our possession more closer to us at the back of our dome as the rain set in for the duration.
As all riders were now in the pits and the start would be like a motocross free for all from the pit lane the rules were rewritten in front of us. A delay was announced so that all riders could retake their places on the grid for the newly designated WET race! Well I’ll go to the foot of our stairs someone had seen sense. It was actually quite a relief, as a very new biker with very little skill it is very hard to imagine how anyone could stay upright in those conditions.
As the race started again we could tell when the bikes were approaching in two ways, one was the sound of bumblebees massing in the distance and moving closer whilst the second was the vicinity of the helicopter that was filming proceedings. The pilot must get a little dizzy going round and round for 20 laps, but hats off to them for skill and tenacity it enhances our viewing pleasure.
As the bikes slowed into Club Rossi was in the front, the crowd cheered and whooped and the foam finger went wild. I was drawn to the trackside and ran to see the bikes from closer up. The riders were like spiders clinging effortlessly onto the bike and moving from one side to the other with little friction. Cal Crutchlow came off, or was taken off on the first corner, a gasp went up from the crowd. When I realised what had happened things seemed to slow down until we saw he was up and getting back on the bike. Louise had pointed his dad out earlier on a scooter with the most magnificent white moustache, I felt like family and wished him well.
As the race continued and riders fell the rain kept coming, the drawbridge was up on our sundome and the picnic blanket now quite sodden. Rather than spoiling the day it was brilliant. Rossi continued to lead and each time they passed club the whole crowd held its breath for a second until they had passed. Rossi seemed to slow when Marquez his main rival on the track that day had exited stage left. The others caught up a little and when Louise said you know it’s raining when you can’t make out the helicopter anymore I doubted for a second that Rossi would hold it.
The Rossi fans were on edge and urging him on, and the others to slow down on each repetition. The doctors were there in force, I did not expect the national health to provide such support to a sporting event but here they were with stethoscopes and white coats.
In the end he did it, he crossed the line first, his first win at Silverstone and a result that placed him slap bang at the top of the championship standing. And guess what I was there. The foam hand waved, Louise got giddy and we waited for him to come round on his lap of honour.
We stopped for the MOto3 and got to see Danny Kent win through the spray and worsening conditions meaning the National Anthem was heard at the British GP woohoo loved it. We packed up in the rain and set off for home with smiles on our faces. A just in case wee ( again no queue – I could hug you Siverstone) and a walk to the car park.
The roads were already at a standstill and many a soggy bottomed biker was winding their way through the two lines of traffic. 5 minutes to the car was a success for the resourcefulness of Louise, car park finder and MotoGP oracle. We set off happy to have seen Rossi win and to have experienced the sound, smells and sights of Siverstone on MotoGP day.
Thank you to Gareth for the tickets.