Well, it’s a long story, so I’ll start at the beginning. The ride up was hot and uneventful until George got bit by the schoolbus corner on 58. He wasn’t the first and surely won’t be the last to refuse to beleive that “15MPH” sign really means it… Luckily only his ego was bruised, but the new 999 didn’t fare as well. The pickup truck with an empty bike trailer that we had just passed was nice enough to pull over when we asked them to, and gave George a ride to the hotel. Good thing this happened on a weekend when thousands of other bikers and their support vehicles were making the same trip. The next day we suffered the injustice of having to ride to damn near san Jose and back to get into the track, someone’s cockamaney idea of “race traffic control”. More like “revenue control” considering the majority of the trip was through the deserted Army base where the speed limit is 30 MPH, and thoroughly patrolled. But just in case that wasn’t enough to keep your speed down, the occasional shuttle bus would come through in the oncoming “lane” at well over 30 mph. Yet another example of people being scared when I get mad…the ticket guy who got to hear my wrath invited me to stop and continue the discussion. I told him I was already late and didn’t want to waste any time talking to him. Later, George told me that he was scared the guy was gonna beat us up or not let us in or something. I ain’t skeered of no SCRAMP volunteer thug. Leaving that night, I saw every CHP officer in Monterey county lined up on Hwy. 1 handing out tickets like there was no tomorrow. I was glad I had taken the shortcut I’d seen on the map, so they didn’t catch me with their stealth overpass radar positioning. Ha!
Saturday, I rode alone to the track, and it was all good until about a mile before the entrance. Stop and go bike traffic made my bike heat up as much as 253 degrees, and stay over 240 (the absolute maximum, turn the engine off NOW! temperature) for a few minutes. It was either that or push it up a hill in 5″ heels and leather pants in 100 degree heat. God, I hate global warming. Luckily, the SCRAMP fools did one thing right. They positioned the ticket-checkers at the bottom of a ~1/4 mile hill. So the last bit I got to coast. But the bike was still very unhappy. The road toward the Paddock parking entrance was blocked, because of course these halfwits were too stupid to allow motorcycles with paddock parking to use the main gate that all the cars with paddock parking got to use. So I was directed down another road which is blocked, and then was supposed to turn around and go back the other way to the paddock. Because there were oncoming vehicles, I knew the road ahead went somewhere. So I took it. The last guy who tried to stop me may still be in that ditch, for all I know. Just kidding. These guys have nothing but their annoying voices, so are incapable of actually keeping anyone from getting by.
The road was EMPTY (because the fools have no way of communicating with each other, to re-direct traffic) so I made it to the paddock in easy time, and my poor, overheated baby was finally able to rest. I ran to the air-conditioned pit suite which would have paid for itself at twice the price this weekend and tore off the leather pants in exchange for short-shorts. Kept the heels on, of course. Not all the competition takes place on the track, you know. I knew I brought the right clothes when Ben Bostrom told me he liked my getup. He’s so gorgeous, but I never know quite what to do with him. Traditionally, women simply throw themselves at him, but I don’t really do that much, all I could do was tell him I’m glad he’s back racing in the USA. But when I saw him at the party on Sunday night, I had nothing left to say to him. I couldn’t remember his race result from the day before, and well, what am I gonna say? “Hey, Ben, you’re cute, wanna date?”
The party….OK, so I was bummed about not being a Red Bull vip this year, but not too much, since I did have a nice air-conditioned room and the company of two of my favorite people in the world (George and Greg) to make up for it. But on the way out of the track, I found a Red Bull pass on the trash can, and snatched it up, knowing it would be useful later that night. After heinously poor service at El Torito (never again!!!) and the extreme lack of taxis leading the fabulous parking attendant at the Monterey Plaza Hotel to give us a ride to our (nearby) hotel HIMSELF, I finally headed over to the Red Bull party. Different organizer, different venue. This year, instead of the glamour of an evening at the aquarium, it was the charm of an evening in a “barn” at the fairgrounds. Sawdust on the floor and everything! Here’s Melandri on his tippy-toes, I kid you not. the man grew a few inches the minute the camera came out!
This is where I met Melandri, came in with him and his people, as a matter of fact. The guy working the door heard him talking and said “Are you Italian or something?” I said “Of course he’s Italian, that’s Melandri, you fool!” They had just waved me in. I probably didn’t even need the pass after all, judging by the ratio of men to women. My kinda party. Met Fabio, which was kinda funny, since all these guys wanted pictures of him “for their moms” and I never even did the whole Harlequin thing. I went straight from Judy Blume to Jackie Collins. I just told him “I’ve heard you have a lot of bikes” Mini me was also there, and perhaps some other actors who are known by their own names and not the name of one character they played once. But you know, the freaky ones stand out. Someone said they saw Pam Anderson at the races on TV, and I don’t know about that. All I know is that I’m bummed that Adrien Brody didn’t make it this year. I saw Rossi’s manager and some other familiar faces, but my main man did not put in an appearance, even though I waited up waaaaay past my bedtime, knowing that he’s a real night owl. I guess that DNF really hit him hard. Man, if I had been Rossi, and my tires had f-ed up that badly, the tire technicians would be feeling about as damaged as the tires themselves. Grrrr. George had a close look at Colin’s tires when he came in and they looked like swiss cheese. Literally. Which means Rossi’s must’ve been even worse after all the work he’d done to get from 10th to 4th.