British Grand Prix 15-17 June 2012

“And a spirit'll always Rise Again

I know this life is not the end”

(- Martin Finnegan, lead singer of the rainband, sings the first public rendition of his tribute to Marco Simoncelli: “Rise Again”  )

Okay, the weather may be rubbish, and the track a bit of a yawn (unless you are riding it!!) but Silverstone never fails to deliver a brilliant weekend in any case, and this year was no exception!

Silverstone always starts early with the hugely fun “Day of Champions” - the main annual fund raising event for Riders for Health.  Many things going on, and it always draws out the weird and wonderful! The event raised £189,489 overall. We were privileged to provide a few donations of our own which contributed a small fraction of this.  Gordon even was seduced into conducting one of their auctions on Saturday!

Afterwards, a number of our Day of Champions customers and weekend Team Experience customers drank all the beers from various hospitality units, some settled in for a few drinks at out Happy Hours, whilst others raider the Team Gresini refrigerator for some more drinks and a fascinating tour of the Gresini garage as part of our “Insider Night”, not to mention meeting Gino Rea and other riders...

As usual, we don’t report the racing results apart from notes about our sponsored riders.  We are pleased that for some events Harry Lloyd writes a special report for us - see this.

Friday evening we had our traditional “British Young Guns” reception - now in our 6th year! Six GP riders made it, along with Steve Parrish as guest panel leader, and numerous paddock folk; along with 80 or so guests...  A great opportunity to meet some of the rising stars and talk about the state of British motorcycle racing. (Not too bad at present!)

Saturday we managed to dodge the rain and everyone but one person had a great day out.  Sadly that person was our sponsored MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow, suffering a nasty high side on his home track.  It didn’t look good for him competing on Sunday, we were all deeply concerned.  Unusually, we helped keep people AWAY from Cal that afternoon & evening as we wanted to see him race!

We got our first taste of racing in the afternoon with the Red Bull Rookies Cup race 1. These are ALWAYS thrilling, and with the top 4 finishers all within 1 second, it was edge-of-seat stuff!  We were immensely proud that 2 places on the podium bore the Union Jack as our Friday guests Bradley Ray and Kyle Ryde took 2nd and 3rd.  Well done boys!

Saturday night a group of us joined Team Honda Gresini for dinner, and we managed to poke our noses into quite a few garages and hospitalities in the almost festive atmosphere of the paddock.  One of our donations to Riders for Health was a pair of tickets for this dinner. The winner was serious Marco Simoncelli fan Simon and it was a delight to introduce him to team Gresini and Marco’s pit crew. Here Simon shows off his ’58’ tattoo...

Another top VIP guest was 4 year old Hayden (yes, named after...) He tried bikes of all classes.  Moto2 was his favourite (Moto3 is “too small”).  Kids under 10 are free entry to the paddock and our paddock dinners...  Great value for both of us!  Be sure to see his pics with Casey Stoner in the paddock.

Sunday threatened but never delivered on the promise of rain.  Just as well, as this might have made an incredibly difficult task impossible.  The hero of the weekend was without a doubt CAl Crutchlow who even though he couldn’t qualify, started the race riding on a fractured ankle from the back of the grid and took a phenomenal 6th!!

That evening at the bar, his dad Derek Crutchlow tells us that in order to pass the morning inspection at the clinic and be cleared for racing, he had to demonstrate that he could walk on the ankle without undue pain.  He actually performed this test and pretended  that he felt little pain when in fact he was in agony! Legendary stuff.  We are proud to be associated with him!  Photo is Dek and Cal with two “Cal Crutchlow Experience” guests.

The VIP in Silverstone is stunning - a beautiful setting with a terrace overlooking the main straight, as well as a private grandstand; and of course superb food & drink.  We always have a special guest or two drop in, this year we were honoured to welcome MotoGP legend and 6-times champion Jim Redman.  Jim is amazing - he is 80 years old and fitter than most of us...  He still competes in bike racing - usually on classics.  He was a fount of anecdotes from GP, Isle of Man TT and more.  We could listen to him all day!

The racing in all classes was excellent - we were shouting ourselves hoarse at Scott Redding in the Moto2 - didn’t get the win but can’t really complain about a 2nd place!

The Moto3 was a 3-way fight for the win.  Just the way we like it!  Luis Salom - the teammate of our sponsored rider Brad Binder - took a well-earned podium 2nd; 3rd place Cortese was just 1 second behind winner Vinales!

The MotoGP race showed us a great fight between Stoner and Pedrosa for 2nd, but as implied, our eyes were glued to “The Dog” as Cal put in the performance of a career!

The 2nd Red Bull Rookies race was probably the best race of the weekend! <1 second separated the top 5 finishers! (Bradley - pictured with customers - & Kyle take 6th and 8th)  What a GREAT way to finish a weekend at the track!

We close the weekend as we do with dinner at a local Indian in Banbury for our Classic package customers, while we close the bar at the Whittlebury Hall righting the wrongs of racing and the world in general and glowing after another marvelous Silverstone Grand Prix....  See you next year! :-)

Silverstone, UK

Our ticket & programme for the evening


Photos marked:

GH: Gordon Howell, PPT guide (and photos not marked)

CRM: Cormac Ryan Meenan, PPT photographer (more)

CK: Cherie Kennedy, PPT customer

PH: Pauline Holmes, PPT customer

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the rainband performing Saturday, lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Martin Finnegan singing his Simoncelli anthem “Rise Again”. The weather was appropriate to the band... :-)

Our opening "British Young Guns" reception at Silverstone 2012.  The evening is held at the Whittlebury Hall near Silverstone circuit. About 80 people attending, mostly Pole Position Travel customers and a lot of invited guests from the paddock.  The evening programme was:

- Drinks reception & mingle

- Welcome & Rider panel session

- Q&A

- Dinner (and more drinks...)

This video is the Welcome & Rider session.  Apologies for the somewhat amateur quality (and ignore Neil Spalding talking in the background :-)

Riders attending were (l to r):

Bradley Ray (Red Bull Rookies, arrives a little late)

John McPhee (Moto3 wildcard, with KRP)

Fraser Rogers (Moto3 wildcard, with KRP)

Danny Webb (Moto3, Mahindra)

Bradley Smith (Moto2, Tech3)

and the interviewer is Steve Parrish (BBC, world champion)  Red Bull Rookie Kyle Ryde made it later - not on the video

Since I (Gordon) tend to rabbit on a bit.. :-)

Useful timing points on this video:

03:07 - Introduce Steve Keys and his charity project Viva Valencia

08:05 - Call riders to stage; introduce others in crowd

09:19 - Introduce riders

11:40 - Steve Parrish conducts interviews of each rider

See race reportSilverstone_race_report.html