INDIANAPOLIS Grand Prix 17-19 AUGUST 2012
“I am so happy I cannot speak! ”

(- Maria, Ecstatic mother of Moto3 winner Luis Salom, on her son’s first GP victory)

We have been coming to Indy since it started in 2008, and we consistently come home to emails and comments along the lines of “best event I have ever attended” “super weekend” and “what a great place”.

The star here is Indianapolis itself.  We couldn’t name a destination that is more welcoming to visitors, more helpful and well-organised and exudes the feeling that the entire city is imbued with the attitude that every person should feel like a VIP.

While the track itself comes in for a bit of criticism (not entirely justified) the facilities are second to none - from the huge choice of viewing, sublime hospitality and plethora of things to do, merchandise and entertainment. It is more than a race, it is a spectacle.

Thursday afternoon a few of us took a visit to the track and paddock; to enjoy the legendary ‘brick yard’

Our now-traditional Thursday happy hours at the Conrad hotel ensures we get off to the right start, always staying for the trademark awesome steak dinner at the hotel’s restaurant the Capital Grille.

Friday is always a great time to explore the circuit.  Indy has a wonderful VIP - all VIPs get paddock access!  We visit a number of pits and riders; including that of our sponsored wild card team GP Tech and rider Aaron Yates.

In case we left it in any doubt, this is the BEST VIP Village in MotoGP.  As the biggest agent for the VIP Village and personal experience of every one of them, this is not a light statement!  Paddock access, superb viewing terrace, awesome food, professional bartenders, the list is endless...  We bring up many guests to the suite (easy since it is just above the pits) over the weekend. 

Friday night we have a special dinner in honour of the birthday of our sponsored rider from South Africa, Brad Binder.  After dinner we hit the town to experience the “Motorcycles on the Merdian”.  Indy closes about 4 city blocks, permitting ONLY 2-wheeled traffic (well, and the occasional trike). Lined with pubs and people, this is a real treat with the usual healthy dose of Indy charm (see sidebar for more on this).

Saturday couldn’t have been a more perfect day.  Dani Pedrosa continues his domination of the weekend with a pole position. We get all over the paddock, pits, track; and have a few young guests join us in the suite: Nick McFadden (age 15) WERA 600 Superstock leader & more; Jake Lewis (age 16) current leader in AMA supersport.

What better way to close a brilliant day at the track but with a brilliant night at another track!  We are referring of course to the legendary “Indy Mile” flat track racing. Truly American - and about as far from MotoGP as you can get and remain on two wheels! We are able to take our guests into the paddock, and not only backstage, but ON stage (photo taken from stage). One of our guests sits down next to Valentino Rossi...   We bump into many GP riders and teams there. You just gotta love this place!

Race day was yet another perfect day. The Moto3 race was especially thrilling as we are hanging out in the garage of RW Racing - with our sponsored rider Brad Binder. His team mate Luis Salom runs an incredible racing, making a magic pass in the final corner to snatch victory. The atmosphere in the pit was explosive (see video).  It is moments like these that really make this sport!

The MotoGP race wasn’t the most exciting - Cal Crutchlow crashed out, and Dani capped his domination of the weekend. Sadly, our sponsored wild card Aaron just misses a point, taking 16th.

We close the weekend with our traditional meal in the local micro-brewery.  I make good on my offer to buy Aaron and his family beers...  We carry on our love affair with Indianapolis.

One of the best bits of news from the event was the announcement that the MotoGP will stay at Indianapolis for the next 3 years. Hooray!!!



Our special birthday gift to Brad Binder - a MotoGP review book signed by our customers


Photos marked:

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

PH: Pauline Holmes, PPT customer

MGP: Courtesy

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Welcome to Indianapolis!

Luis Salom wins Moto3 race, the garage goes wild.  This is the first victory ever for the team RW Racing, whom we have been involved with since 2007...

How to welcome guests to your city (or not)

Meet Indianapolis police Sgt Hanks. On Friday and Saturday nights they close several city blocks to 2 wheeled traffic. There are about 2 police on each intersection. They are far from intimidating - they are helpful and courteous; even to the point where Sgt Hanks permits some of our Aussie customers to sit on his bike and flash the lights!!  Customers holding beers in hand stand around to watch and chat.

Consider the contrast with the event at Laguna Seca in the town of Monterey. Here, on the short stretch of Cannery Row, motorcycles line up and the bars are humming. Not much difference so far... Then you notice none of the bikes are moving.  None are revving.  No one is walking on the street. No one is holding a beer. At each intersection there are 4-5 police on each side of the road, standing shoulder to shoulder, their facial expressions betraying an expectation of an imminent riot. The merest display of slightly drunken behaviour will earn you a reprimand at least, a trip to the local slammer only a snide comment away. Should you step onto the road, you will be manhandled back onto the crowded sidewalk. God forbid if you are carrying any alcohol (even a recorked bottle of wine). An NO ONE approaches the police for any reason whatsoever. This is the town that banned fireworks on 4/July, and forbade a charity auction

Now which city would you rather spend a holiday?

Sgt Hanks, we thank you and Indianapolis for displaying the charm and welcome that the American Midwest is so famous for!  We’ll all be back!