Kevin and I headed up on Saturday to watch the motorcycle races. I bought infield passes and drove my truck through the tunnel to the infield.
http://www.robsdyno.com had a portable dynamometer trailer in the infield used to test and tune motorcycles under load. We watched the black Ducati Diavel being put through its paces. I asked Rob about the most hp and fastest bike he had tested. He said it was a 348hp CBR1100 Black Bird turbo with a top speed just under 200mph. I would like to have seen that dyno test.
There are stands set up in different areas of the infield to watch the races. 13 races were scheduled for the day. There were many different motorcycle fields including Vintage, Sidecar, Supersport, Supertwin, Middleweight, Unlimited Superbike, Formula 40, etc.
There were crews set up in the garage area and throughout the infield working on the motorcycles. As with skydiving parachutes I like colors and many motorcycles were impressive. My favorite was the Orange bike at the top of my blog. (My wife hates orange but loved the bike). I felt I was impartial even though I was wearing a bright orange AMA Hillclimb shirt I bought a couple days before.
We walked around the garage area looking at the bikes being worked on. This was the first time for me in the garage area so first thing that caught my attention was the dressed up tires. I start thinking socks, mittens, a take-off on a man bra, little booties … no … no … no … and no … the only name I heard was electric tire warmers.
I had to ask and was told they warm up the tires to around 180 degrees so the tires have grip from the start and they can set hot tire pressures for the race. You need traction immediately because of the aggressive riding and many corners on the course. Who knew!!
There is a 5 minute call for riders to assemble on pit row waiting to go onto the track. Riders are given 1 practice lap before they line up at the Start/Finish line.
From the infield I crossed over the pit wall, crossed pit lane, and was able to lean over the inside race wall of the track to take pictures. I remember the NASCAR cars doing 158mph on the straight going into turn one. The layout of the road course is a bit different. I should have asked how fast they go on the front straight before breaking for turn one.
Coming out of a corner onto the back straight the riders go very fast. We were in the stands watching. Some riders were very aggressive with speed and braking before a sharp right turn to go up the hill in front of us. I thought several times someone would miss the corner. At the last second some applied the brakes so hard Kevin and I saw their rear tire come off the ground. EEK … If the difference between winning and losing is approaching a corner so fast and breaking so hard your rear tire leaves the ground, I would lose!
The track goes up a hill to a crest then descends to a big left hand corner. We saw several front ends off the ground coming off the crest descending down the hill to the big left turn. It was a good place for pictures.
They come off that curve and snake their way to another corner. They go the rest of the way down the hill and go by where I parked my truck. When I parked I backed up to the chain link fence so we could stand in the back of the truck and get a better view. A great move …
When the race is complete riders take a cool down lap and show their appreciation to the fans (wave, feet up, wheelies, tricks, etc.) before going back to the garage area.
We headed back to the garage area to look at more bikes. One rider just finished a race and pulled up next to us. Kevin and I watched the heat waves pouring from the engine. It was HOT … If you like motorcycles it is a good place to see them being worked on.
We headed home late afternoon. Kevin was disappointed we weren’t going back for the final day. Tough to say how many spectators attended because the place is so big. I will plan better next year and take the whole family, a grill for a cookout, etc.