NEW! Mugello awarded ‘Best MotoGP event of 2011’.  We are not surprised! More...

Mugello has grown to be our second biggest event - and with good reason! This year the fans went berserk (well more berserk than usual) in anticipation of seeing the Italian on the Italian bike at the Italian MotoGP! And the move of the event to July was masterful, putting it into holiday time and better weather!

Our weekend started Thursday as usual, with drinks at all four of our hotels.  The ‘secret garden’ of our 5* 16th century Residence Moro in the heart of Florence was the perfect place to crack a few bottles of wine; while our guests in the ‘City’ package in the Pendini right on the Piazza della Republica hit the town for a few more... The folk in the Superior package Vill hotel luxuriated by the poolside, and those in the classic 3* hotel  had a session with the Crutchlow family and some of our other supported guests!

We had a LOT of people on ‘team experience’ packages, with San Carlo Honda Gresini, LCR Honda, Cal Crutchlow, Team Ongetta (Jakub Kornfeil), Danny Webb and Moto2 Team Aeroporto Castello. Friday was the day most got introduced and we crawled the paddock catching all the buzz, meeting many of the teams and riders and generally having a ball. Our sponsored rider, 2009 Red Bull Rookies champion Jakub Kornfeil was the proud recipient of a new Aprilia RSA purchased for him by one of our customers - now a top sponsor of Jakub.  As his very first day on the bike, no one expected much. When he took 10th in the race, he turned a lot of heads! (Especially his new, proud sponsors! Way to go Kuba!)

Friday night we held our second biggest party of the year - a joint event with LCR Honda at a 14th century Medici castle! Playboy girls, riders, sumptuous food and unlimited beer, champagne & wine made this an unforgettable evening!  A few ‘hard cores’ stayed on for the late night disco (we hear it finished around 4am...).  Simply awesome.  Come to Mugello just for this event...!

Saturday was a ‘perfect day’. Our VIP suite, right over the pits with a private terrace and of course great food, drink and our lovely hostesses complemented the superb weather. Several special guest graced us
with their presence - Steve Parrish dropped by in the morning, and new bike boy Jakub gave us a talk and shared his experiences on racing, life and the new Aprilia! For an 18 year old, addressing a group of VIPs in a foreign language (although his English is perfect) his composure was perfect and his talk fascinating.

Saturday night we had about 30 people as guests of several teams in the MotoGP paddock for dinner.  This is the ‘home’ event of San Carlo Gresini and they always throw a shindig, with live music, tons of drinks and canapes; followed by a luxurious plated dinner. The dinner was for the top brass of San Carlo, who took the entire hospitality unit bar one table reserved for our top Gresini Team Experience guests. Others enjoyed a fabulous meal with LCR Honda and had a good chat with Toni; and the hard core contingent also paid a visit to Jakub’s team Ongetta where the Czech slivovice was being served... Danger!!

Those not at the paddock took a stroll downtown for true Italian pizza and perhaps a few beers...

Sunday was a classic day of racing. The thing about Mugello is that the atmosphere at the track is so electric that even if no bike was even put on the track, the day would be thrilling.  Of course, we had 3 brilliant races.  In the 125cc, Terol and Zarco battled it out in what is becoming the duel of the series (with a nod to Vinales). In Moto2, Marquez showed why he is certain Rookie of the year and future world champion, beating Bradl by a hair, and battled the entire way by Bradley Smith (who won here on the 125, so loves this track). Nail-biting as all Moto2 is turning out to be.  Just prior to the Moto2 race, we were fortunate to have Cal Crutchlow drop in to talk to us about his rookie year in MotoGP, not to mention sign a few thousand autographs...  Sadly, still hurting from his injury at Silverstone, he will retire during the race.

The MotoGP race proved that Lorenzo is still in the game, beating the two Hondas of Dovisioso and Stoner; and a great battle for fourth between Simoncelli and Spies, Ben just edging past Marco - a great result for both. Sadly the hoped-for miracle for the Doctor didn’t materialise, but you wouldn’t know he wasn’t on the podium judging by the now-legendary Mugello podium rush. Anything that walked, crawl, cried or growled was out there, in what is always about the biggest spectacle in MotoGP!

We finished the weekend at our traditional ‘winding down’ dinner in about our favourite restaurant in MotoGP - the traditional Trattoria Osvaldo (no one ever catches the reference... :-) where no one speaks a word of English and they merely pile up the best steak Florentine you have ever tasted (read: the best steak on the planet) washed down by buckets of yummy Chianti.  Heaven!  Oh, and they have a great selection of rare single malt whiskies!  What a great way to finish a fantastic weekend!

But wait!!  We aren’t finished!! Monday was an official MotoGP Test. We attended this as guests of Honda Gresini and spent the day hob-nobbing with riders, checking out the bikes, learning the inside track from guest guru Neil Spalding, and generally enjoying the great weather.  And, yes, this WAS the event where Karel Abraham confronts Casey Stoner in the pits (click the photo...)

As one of our guests for the day said: “I thought today would be a bit of a come-down from the incredible weekend, but this topped the bill!”

But we STILL weren’t finished...

Over the years we have grown to love Tuscany and have often taken a few days off to visit some of the out of the way spots here. This year we did a pilot 3 night tour to the Tuscan hills, staying at an impossibly charming hill-top wine estate and taking a day trip to the fabulous city of Sienna. The best food in the world, with some of the best wines and terrific company of MotoGP, food and wine lovers - does it get any better!  I’m doing this again next year, whether we have customers or not!! :-) See pics here.


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Gran Premio d’Italia 1-3 July 2011