Race Day

Sunday was again a beautiful day. I left very early from Firenze to try to avoid the traffic tie-ups. I did pretty well until I got to the track area. Lucky I had a grandstand ticket to "drive in". I parked where I'd parked the day before but already that lot was much busier. Outside the track enclosure, people were parking MILES away.
Take a good look at the crowd on the other side...
... Already there were at least three times as many people as the day before.
I went to my seat in the Materassi grandstand and watched some of the warm-up before going down to get something to drink. (Hot!) I met this gentleman who was a "host" for a company with guests sitting in the section. Each of these guests got "swag" and because I was from Canada, he gave me one of the caps advertising his company. Red, white and green, of course!!
In the other half of the Materassi grandstand, there were cheering sections for Ben Spies (pictured) and Casey Stoner.
Even though Valentino wasn't racing, there were MORE #46 signs than the day before!
And him not racing didn't mean people didn't wear their yellow!
In fact, a highlight for all the people in yellow (and in red) was an interview with Rossi from his hospital room over the PA system. The Ducati section did a big cheer for Rossi as well!
Once the races began, I was glued to my seat.

Sitting in front of me were the self-named "Austrian Bastards", led by Manuel (brown t-shirt). Manuel was a very funny and interesting fellow. Upon learning of my Italian tour, he told me how he had travelled all of Europe on his 50 cc scooter. He told me he'd send me a photo of that scooter via email so I could link to it on this page, but unfortunately he never did.

Sitting to my right was Taryn and Natasha from South Africa in Italy for holidays and big MotoGP fans as well.
Sitting to my left was a couple from Spain. I never did get their names but they were very sweet and had lots to cheer for in Mugello.

In the 125 class, it was a GREAT race, back and forth, pass, pass... Marc Marquez (Spain) came in first, Nicolas Terol (Spain) second, and Pol Espargaro (Spain) third.

In the Moto2 class , Andrea Iannone (Italy) ran away with the race, Sergio Gadea (Spain) was second, and Simone Corsi (Italy) was third.

Finally, in the MotoGP class, Dani Pedrosa (Spain) won the race by a good 4 seconds (wasn't close), Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) was second, and Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) was third.

Honestly, the MotoGP was the least exciting race, partly because the riders were so widely spaced and partly because my favourite rider wasn't competing. I'll just have to come back for another Italian MotoGP race to see Rossi before he retires.

One of the highlights of the day was the excited PA announcer who kept yelling "Attenzione" to let you know when there was a change in the riding order or " Mama Mia" when there was a real battle going on.

Follow these links to a bit of video I shot at the track:

In no time, the races were over. The "Austrian Bastards" were having too good a time to leave right away...

... as was much of the crowd. I was surprised how easily people got onto the track on foot AND on bikes after the races were over.
Traffic going out was nuts.
I wasn't in any hurry to join the MESS the traffic was at the beginning.
Even when it had "quieted down" enough to leave, the traffic was still heavy. I took my time and watched out for would be racers.
I took a slightly different route back to Firenze but took the time to snap a few pictures of the lovely scenic route I had travelled during the last two days.
When I arrived back at the Salesiani, a group of students, parents (?), and teachers (Fathers) were outside chatting. I joined in the conversation. They were (somewhat) impressed that my Italian was fairly decent (I could make myself understood). They asked about my other travels by bike. When I talked about Laguna Seca and San Francisco, one man pulled out the business card of his son who has a restaurant in SF.
A little later, I went out for dinner. My restaurant of choice wasn't open yet so I explored the neighbourhood better.
Cool chandelier, isn't it? And just WHO is that in the mirror below it? :D
I guess a lot of buildings were constructed during medieval times. Look at the crosses on the rooftop...
... and the castle battlement look.
Neat shutters and balconies!
I finally got a look at the church from a different angle.
I had not noticed the clock on the school's wall before this.
Looking up towards my room. It would be the one with the flowers in front just to the right of the tree.

At the track, I spent the entire day at my seat in the Materassi section circled in red, below.

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