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There were rumours that this might be the last year for SBK in Monza, so after the somewhat disastrous (for the racing, we had a ball) event in 2012, nothing in the world would make me miss this one!

Also, with just a few customers, it was a very rare and special weekend for me personally as I was able to bring my 5 year old Kawasaki-loving son Alex along!  Mind you, this was in the interests of “research” into how “family friendly” the SBK events are.  One of our other customers also had a boy about the same age; so I am happy to report that the conclusion from Alex, George and their respective daddies is very positive!

After some get-together drinks Thursday with adopted customer Indian journalist Chitra; we made our way to the track on wet and wild Friday. As we were all guests of Kawasaki, we were grateful for the shelter, and felt deep sympathy for Tom, Loris and all the others who had to go ride in this....

Friday evening Aussie Mick, Alex and I headed to one of the most popular restaurants in Monza for a brilliant nosh. Many team and riders there, our table was perfectly placed to badger them all as they came and went!

Saturday finally banished most of the rain, and we were treated to the usual tour de force from Tom Sykes as he took Pole Position.  One of the coolest things is being able to watch the entire session from inside the garage and see how the team manages the rapid-fire Superpole sessions.  Tom, of course, made it look easy...

We get a chance to walk around this historic circuit.  While it oozes character from ever metre, we have to note that it is badly in need of some refurbishment, with overgrown vegetation, cracked buildings and grandstands, fences requiring urgent renewal.  We hope they can make the investment.

Saturday night we hit the paddock show - weird dancers and free beer!  Can’t complain! The rain which has been obediently holding off all day finally strikes... Alex acquires a groovy new “Monza” jacket (later note: this has become his favorite apparel!)

Brilliant racing Sunday!  Tom Sykes takes 2 podiums (2nd and 3rd) and we get two opportunities to get sprayed with his champers!  Sam Lowes wins the Supersport making this a good weekend for the Brits! We also meet a number of the young guns from the Jr Cup, ending up at dinner with several of them, including lone American Alex Wisdom, and promising young Brit James Flitcroft.

In between races, Alex & I take in the Scaletrix motorcycle racing, the freestyle show, the racing simulator, and a titanic hot dog -  more proof of the kid-friendly atmosphere at the SBK!

(Later note: Monza sadly has indeed been cancelled.  We will miss this track; but it’s replacement Misano is another well loved destination!)

-Gordon Howell, Tour Director

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Monza, Italy, 10-12 May 2013

Our hero Tom Sykes does 2 podiums

Kawasaki, and indeed the entire SBK experience, is very child-friendly