Excited to get to Indy, I left Le Claire early. There was a beautiful sunrise over the Mississippi River as I rode into Illinois. I would be slabbing it on I-74 all morning to save time. It wasn’t very exciting.
When I arrived in Indy, I got a bit turned around. I had been given GPS coordinates for the north entrance of the track, but mis-entered them so I ended up in the wrong part of town. Eventually, I figured it out and found the speedway.
While sitting at a stop light a few blocks away, I could hear the howl of the MotoGP bikes. The sound brought a giant grin to my face. They have a very distinct sound that I immediately recognized after watching so many races on TV. I was going to see them live!
I made my way around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the north side where they have free motorcycle parking. It was surreal to be riding in. I followed the waving arms of the local security dressed in their yellow shirts. Following their direction, I entered the Indy oval between turns three and four and start riding the back part of the track towards the oval turn two. There were already several hundred, if not a thousand, bikes already parked on the back part of the track.
As I approached the security guys tossed a puck down, so my side-stand didn’t damage the track.
A shot of the bikes on Friday afternoon. I like this picture.
I wandered around looking at the bikes as I made my way to the track. I could hear that the MotoGP bikes had left the track, so I wasn’t in a rush.
A nice pink bike.
A very shiny Ninja
I thought this was too ugly not to take a photo.
A well prepared BMW rider. Notice the little rain covers on the boots.
The free gear check was just a short walk from the parking. They had large bags to put all your riding gear in. Very nice. My cases were mostly empty, so I could pack all of my gear into my bike.
By the time I made it to the track over looking turns 7 and 8, Moto2 was practicing.
The pros got to stand with a clear view of the track. Those lenses look heavy! (but I want one) haha.
View of turn 9 from the bridge. This is the start of the back straight.
I wandered around the infield for a while looking at the vendor areas. I think Yamaha had the nicest setup with bikes to climb on and take photos of in addition to the large store of memorabilia and their new models.
They also had a custom bike contest. This is a 1980 XS650. It looked very slick.
Yamaha also had a learn to ride track setup for kids. Watching little kids ride is enjoyable. My wife gave a little squeal when she saw this pic. She thinks little kids in helmets are cute.
The Honda NC700X. Notice anything missing? After I sat on it my left foot was pawing the air looking for the shift lever. It’s an automatic...
Cycle World had a vintage bike contest. They all looked alike to me, so I didn’t spend much time gawking. First Thursday here has more variety.
I had two brushes with greatness. Ben Spies on the back of a scooter just leaving his autograph session. I missed it by minutes. Dang! I also saw Dani Pedrosa on his scooter zipping around.
Ducati had a massive set of tents and stuff.
I liked their line up of bikes.
There was a charity auction later for Riders.org. Lorenzo (left) and Spies (right) put up a signed t-shirt and photo.
The wheelie truck. So cool. They have a bike setup in a pretty safe manner to try doing wheelies. It was fun to watch, but the line was a bit long to do it myself. Maybe next time.
At the end of the day, they let ticket holders ride around the track in a parade lap (Video here). I’ve done several track days before, and this wasn’t that. It was just to see the layout of the track from the rider’s perspective at slow speed. Nice to do once.
I was happy I brought good walking shoes. Lots of walking, but a great way to spend Friday afternoon. More MotoGP fun Saturday and Sunday in the next posts.