He laughed and asked me if I would go if I had free tickets.
Well heck yeah!
My pal Brian (whom I'm blatantly patting on the back here) had a few guest passes furnished through his company and was being kind enough to give us the hook up for the race.
During our phone call he also asked me if we'd be riding up, I told him I really hadn't given that any thought and he told me that we really should. "They treat you special when you ride in."
Well OK then. Enough tickets came my way that Bryan was able to come, plus we invited Tim and Bryan's pal Kel from school.
Bryan nor I had ever been to a motorcycle road race, but as my young'un told his Granddaddy one time, "We have a passion for anything with two wheels." so we were both pretty excited to have the opportunity to be able to go. Especially to an AMA Pro National at that! Niether of us had ever been to VIR either and had both heard great things about it and were anxious to see it as well.
That Sunday Tim, Bryan and I left the house riding up I-85 to Greensboro, the took US 29 north. We stopped in Brown Summit so that we could meet up with Kel and another friend in Kel's car, and JP Wise a friend and co-worker who was riding his super sweet Ducati 1098. Once we all gathered up we headed out on 29 again, heading for Danville, Va. and VIR.
VIR, or the Virginia International Raceway, is located outside of Danville, just off hwy 158. We had directions, so it was easy to find. It wouldn't have been a problem if we hadn't had them though, all we would have had to do was follow all the motorcycles that were on 158!
As we rode up the driveway to the facility I couldn't help but be amazed, it was more like a country club than a race track. Freshly paved roads, cut and trimed grass along the side, natural wooded terrain on either side greated us and we hadn't even gotten to the ticket booth!
Once we did, there were a few cars and trucks in line ahead of us. I was about to pull up close to the truck in front of me when a couple of folks at the ticket booth walked out from the building, pointed at us and motioned us to get out of line and pull forward. I did, and the rest of the gang, except for Kel and his bud, rolled right up to the gate and after showing our passes, were motioned through ahead of everyone else!
We rode for what seemed like a good ways down another beautifully landscaped area on a new road, at each intersection and turn were VIR workers who were waving and speaking to us as we rode past. I noticed a bridge ahead and what was obviously the facility on the other side of it as well as parking. Crossing the bridge I first noticed that we were going over the race track, then two bikes came flying by and passing directly under us! I keyed up the CB and asked Bryan if he had seen that and he told me he definately we did and that we needed to go park, fast!
Hot Damn! Racing!
As we crossed the bridge more workers were there and motioning for us to keep going. We kept going past where all the cars were being parked and kept getting closer to the race track and pits!
When we came to the vendors area there was a sign that said "Motorcycle Parking" but there was a barracade in the drive. A worker came out and told me to keep going, the lot was full, but they had a treat for us. Riding on, and being ushered by the workers, we rode right into the pit area!
As we entered the pits we were motioned over to an open area between paved roads. We were on a really nice hard packed sandy gravel surface that turned out to be unused pit stalls. They were parking the bikes in rows in this space and a worker motioned me up to where he was. As I got closer he spread his feet apart, but kept his heels together making a "V" and pointing at the ground.
"OK dude, if your brave enough..." I thought and put the Nomad's front wheel directly between his feet. "Hey! How ya doing?" he asked and then moved to put a kickstand pad benieth my kickstand before I even made a move for it.
How cool! Everyone else came in too quick for him to position like that, but he hurriedly went around to our group offering pads and welcoming us to VIR.
I was impressed, and I hadn't even gotten off the bike yet.
After taking afew minutes to change into some walking shoes, stow boots, jackets and helmets and get out camera and phones, we were ready to go.
Now, I'm not going to pretend to know anything at all about road racing or the players in AMA road racing. So I won't even try to give a race recap or report. You can visit the AMA website for that. Instead, I'm just going to share some of the photos we took and comment on them as we go.
Lets go racing!
This building housed the concession stands, restrooms and offices.
They're from Wisconsin. Could you tell?
At one point as we cruised the pits I looke over at Bryan and apologized for getting him into off road racing instead of road racing. He looked at me kinda funny and I explained that I had no idea motorcycle racing could be so... clean.
There was the usual (we understand) gathering of pit tootsies, race queens and umbrella girls.
A local motorcycle shop co-sponsored the event and used this Kawasaki Mule to transport VIP's around.
Yes, we really did see some motorcycle racing. Some impressive motorcycle racing. We had no idea what to expect really, and had a ball taking it all in.
Bryan and I both shot a ton of photos and I shot a lot of video too. In the end we both got some good shots I think, but we also shot a bunch of misses too! It was really hard trying to stay with them in spots trying to get a clean picture.
The photos below are some of the ones that I took and thought were worth posting.
As you can tell, we had a ball. I now have even more respect for road racing and road racers. The bikes bristeled with trickness, the speeds were eye wateringly fast, the lean angles in the turns insane, and the talent these riders posess amazing. I'd go to another in a heartbeat.
Bryan mentioned on the way out that he wouldn't mind doing a track day if he had full leathers and other protective equipment, but he didn't think he'd care to actually road race.
I'll have to agree, but can't imagine that they make a one piece racing suit in size triple fat, so I don't imagine I'll see that any time soon. ;)
In the mean time, we'll just keep riding and having a ball.