Last weekend the best riders from around the world gathered in Indianapolis for the 12th round of the 2011 MotoGP season. For three days the MotoGP, Moto2, 125cc, and XR1200 riders entertained thousands of fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while companies like KTM, Yamaha, Ducati, and Honda, kept the party going on the inside of the track. Here are 10 reasons why you should have gone to Indy last weekend.
1.) The Racing – Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. It isn’t often that the world’s best racers come to America for a weekend of racing. Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi are reason enough to travel to a race, but to be able to cheer for homegrown heroes like Ben Spies and Colin Edwards, there’s no reason not to.
For the MotoGP, there was never really any doubt that Casey Stoner wasn’t going to win. The Repsol Honda rider was on his A-game from day one and blew away the competition during the race. So fans didn’t get to see a wire to wire race, but I didn’t hear too many complains.
2.) The History – The Brickyard has been around for more than 100 years, and although MotoGP racing is relatively new at the Indy circuit, there is plenty of history for any racing fan to get lost in. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum sits right in the middle of the track, and welcomed fans throughout the weekend.
The MotoGP only has three years in the Brickyard, but Harley-Davidson, which also raced at Indy this weekend, first raced at Indy in 1909. Of course, the booming Harleys haven’t been back inside the brickyard since.
But last weekend at Indy the XR1200 class brought Harleys back to Indy for the first time in 102 years. Fans may have come to watch the MotoGP, but the closest racing action of the weekend belonged to the Harleys.
3.) The Market Place - There was plenty of action on the track this weekend, but the real party was on the inside of the track. Honda, Ducati, Yamaha, Suzuki, KTM, BMW… All the major manufacturers had huge displays at Indy.
Fans could checkout the latest models, buy the latest products, and talk to the people who make it happen. The vendors market also had smaller booths from companies like Go-Pro, Arai, and Oakley.
4.) The Diversity – A motorcycle race is not the most diverse place in the world, in terms of black and white, but people from all walks of life entered the brickyard to watch the MotoGP. Walking through the infield you’d hear people talking in Spanish, German, Japanese, English, and some cockney version of English which I believe was Australian.
Fans hung flags and wore their country colors. They Painted their faces and hoped that their rider would represent their country well. Thousands of people from all over the world joined together in Indianapolis to watch motorcycles. It was a true example of unity in diversity.
5.) The Motorcycles – The MotoGP showcases the capabilities of the modern engine. A MotoGP motorcycles is the pinnacle of racing machinery, but that wasn’t all that Indy had to offer. Indy also put out a few classic motorcycles on display on the lawn behind the museum.
These throwbacks were being constantly photographed by people walking by, as dads told sons about how racing was in the old days.
6.) The Giant Turkey Legs and Personal Coolers - One thing that I loved about Indy was that there was no one checking your bag as you entered. They didn’t care if you brought in a sandwich, some snacks, or a cooler of beer. In fact, it was encouraged.
I can’t stand sporting venues that ban you from bringing in outside food and drink just so that they can force you to buy $4 bottles of water.
Of course, if you didn’t bring in food and drink, Indy had plenty there to keep you satisfied. From Italian sausages to giant turkey legs, from bloody mary’s to Fosters beer, the vendors were lined up around the track providing everything you could need.
7.) The Girls – A motorcycle race just isn’t complete without beautiful girls. The Red Bull grid girls were shockingly beautiful as always, but they stayed teasingly protected by the VIP wall. But other companies, most notably SpeedTV, had gorgeous girls frolicking through the fields. Enticing customers to stop by the tent and posing for photographs.
8.) The Stars – If you want to get up close with MotoGP stars like Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, your best bet is to show up at a race. Not only will you be able to see these riders race live, but there’s also a good chance you’ll get to see them around the track.
Yamaha hosted a few Q&A sessions with riders like Ben Spies, and Suzuki held an autograph session with Alvaro Bautista.
9.) The Parties – Indy also did a great job of entertaining after the races. Indy After Dark, and Indy After Darker, gave fans a chance to show off their motorcycles, drink a few beers, and listen to some music. The party started at the track with a band on the main stage, then continued down in downtown Indianapolis on Meridian Street.
10.) The Motorcycles – I know that this was on the list before, but it deserves a second mention. Not only were there historic bikes at Indy (as mentioned above) to see at Indy, but fan motorcycles, too.
You can’t call it an official motorcycle show, since there were no prizes, but walking up and down Meridian street you were able to see some amazingly cool custom motorcycles. From the pristine, to the neon green, to the “is that a crocodile head on your handlebars?”
If you’ve never been to Indy, it’s definitely worth the visit. The MotoGP hasn’t signed a contract yet for 2012, but let’s hope that the world series returns to the Brickyard for at least one more year.
Did you go the Indy GP? What did you think?