again, our intrepid reporter Dave Booth reports on another
MotoGP. This time it's Brno in the Czech Replublic. As he
mingles with the stars past and present, he gets a few scoops
and a chance to watch some superb 125 and 250 action!
It soon comes round! My annual trip to the Czech Republic
for the GP is here already; will I be ready in time?
year only Wes and I were to travel over to the Czech
Republic. My Missus and other son had “been
there, seen that, got the cap” and had therefore
decided to stay back in Blighty. My brother Mo and his
family were vacationing in Prague though, and so I was
to hook up with him. He and his eldest lad, Josh, were
to join myself and Wes and journey by car down to Brno
for the races. Wes and I flew out on Thursday PM and
arrived trouble free at Prague airport. We bundled our
gear into one of the tourist mini buses, sharing our
journey with a bunch of Asian lads who were over for
a stag weekend.
was fabulously warm in Prague, and we dumped our clobber
at the Hotel and spewed out onto the bustling streets.
Prague is going 24/7 and there are lots of sights to
see (as well as the ancient buildings). Anyway, I closed
my mind to those thoughts and found Wes and myself a
restaurant to unwind in. I took a call from Mike (BGPSC)
whilst we were eating; he had been at the circuit for
the last two days and told us it had been 34°c that
day and to make sure that we brought sun cream with
us! We left the restaurant around midnight and I am
certain that it was now busier than before. As we were
enjoying our stroll back to our hotel, large drops of
rain began to fall. We quickened our stride and had
nearly reached the hotel when the heavens opened! This
extraordinary downpour lasted all through the night,
keeping me awake.
was still chucking it down the next day when I met our
kid at the car rental depot. I was to be the driver
as I had previous knowledge of the journey down to Brno.
It was a laugh a minute with Mo, for our rental car
was a Skoda with 130,000km on the clock, no power steering,
clutch on its last legs, brakes that were hard to believe
in, and bumps and knocks all over every body panel.
With trepidation, I manoeuvred the Skoda out of the
city centre and out on to the motorway. Visibility was
at times down to 50 metres due to the terrible rains.
had hoped to arrive at the circuit for 11 am for
I had been promised two passes for Friday and
Saturday. I was keen to get chatting with as many
riders as was possible on the first day. Saturday
is final qualifying and most of the riders are
focusing on putting in a positive time for their
particular race and are in no mood to have interruptions
from excited enthusiasts. Because of the wicked
driving conditions we arrived at the track later
than anticipated. The 250’s were out on
track, we all sprinted track side to hear and
smell those glorious stink wheels.
waited until well after the 250’s had finished
before contacting my host, who gave us two very desirable
passes for the paddock. Wes and I both wore are Fortuna
shirts for the day! I had an appointment with Roby and
wanted us to ’look
the part’. I got several strange looks
from members of the Fortuna pit crew (they must have
been wondering who the handsome bloke with the 2004
crew shirt was). Roby’s manager spotted us, and
although we were not allowed access into the garage,
he kindly went inside to get Roby for us. My hero appeared
in his racing gear and we chatted for quite a long time
about different aspects of his season. I felt really
honoured to be stood quietly talking to Roby for he
genuinely found the time in his working schedule to
stop and spend some time with his ‘biggest fan’.
A racer's diet would
sort that out Dave! Ed.
on my hit list was to find our ‘adopted
son’ Chaz Davies. Chaz also took time out
from his busy schedule to talk with Wes and myself.
Chaz was not enjoying the wet qualifying and was
further down the grid than he would have liked.
While chatting I discovered that he had had a
previous test on a Honda and felt that it was
to short for his tall frame. The current works
Hondas all have the same Chassis dimensions, he
says, and that they were developed for the ‘short
arse’ Danni Pedrosa. This is one of the
reasons that Roby is struggling on his machine
this year. So, sorry NSR boys! It does not look
like Chaz will change teams to ride a Honda. I
was also privy to some inside information regarding
Chaz’s future in G P’s and it appears
to be rosy.
the many faces I saw in the paddock was the very
cheerful Lucio Cecchinello. I asked him about
his retirement from being a racer/manager into
solely being the team manager. His reply came
straight from his heart, he regretted very much
at not racing but the stress of running the team
and being a racer had given him very bad stomach
ulcers and trying to do both was making him ill.
He invited both Wes and I into the Carrera pit
garage and we enjoyed chatting to the other crew
members as well as the racer Mattia Pasini. Mr
Locatelli and Mr De Puniet were not around at
this time, but never the less we thoroughly enjoyed
our visit into this hallowed area. At lunch time
we dined in the paddock hospitality suite. We
were seated at a nice comfortable table and were
warm and dry, whilst those miserable reprobates
who did not have access to the paddock area looked
on with envious eyes. The rain was off and on
all day and we spent long periods sheltering under
the awnings of various team tents. I looked at
my watch and was amazed to discover that it was
almost 6:30pm. I found my host and returned the
wonderful passes. Although I could have used them
again I declined stating that I needed to be trackside
to view the actions of the “pilots”.
I also did not want to intrude into peoples lives
during this hectic period.
was to stay at the Hotel Amphone this year which was
bang in the centre of Brno. I had been recommended this
establishment by Douglas and his wife Elisabet (from
Sweden). The hotel gets fully booked very early each
year but I had reserved my accommodation in plenty of
time. I was informed that the majority of the guests
are Germans who return year after year. On arrival at
the Amphone I could hear revelry coming from the bar
area. The “square heads” had got a karaoke
going and were well in the groove. I declined to join
in with their merriment and hoped that they would “burn
out” for later in the evening… No Way! We
returned back to the hotel after eating elsewhere at
around 11:30pm, they were still at it! Those Jerries
certainly can “supp”. We had a few drinks
ourselves and watched the shenanigans. There is a grassed
courtyard adjacent to the bar area where you are able
to sit outside and relax, not so tonight! As a security
precaution you are permitted to park you motorbike in
this area. There were around 30 bikes parked up here
and the party goers decided to fire their bikes up and
run them until their rev limiters cut in. The motors
were screaming and back firing, this went on until well
travelled back to the circuit for the final day of
qualifying; the rain had now stopped but had been
replaced by a biting wind. Wes and I were now adorned
with our NSR World team shirts and several people
asked about them. It was astonishing to learn that
these same people who had come to watch the races
did not know what a Honda NSR 250 road bike was! Jeff
my German friend was also here and he had a humorous
decal on his Tee shirt for my wife.
And that message would be?... Ed.
really did not improve on his Friday time by much today,
but what is not generally known is that his team do
not have the resources to kit his one bike out with
an endless supply of qualifying tyres as do the works
outfits. Therefore Chaz chose to set up his bike for
race conditions and set consistent laps. That is the
main reason that he never places high up on the grid.
Roby is parley to the luxury of two bikes and also special
qualifying tyres and he ended the session on the 2nd
row where as Chaz was 6 seconds off pole time back on
the 5th row.
will by now, most likely already be aware of the results
of the races. For the 125s we decided to stroll around
the perimeter access road, and watch this event from
several different vantage points. We witnessed first
hand the excellent scrap that unfolded for the lead
in this race and made it back to our seats at the finish
area in time for the final lap, phew! What a close result.
250 race was where I lost my voice, Roby got off
to a blinder! He was mixing it with the other
championship contenders for several laps before
settling into his own rhythm to finish a well
deserved 6th place. Chaz made an average start,
but gradually made up places. At one point he
was harassing Pogialli for several laps. The “Poge”
was able to pull away on the straights but Chaz
would be right up his Chuff on the twisty stuff.
Chaz made a daring pass on the works Aprillia
rider and made it stick and then gradually pulled
an ever increasing gap on him. During this time,
Wes, Our Kid, Josh and I, and various other well
wishers were screaming every time Chaz flew past.
We really did get people in the grandstand to
be vociferous for him. He finished in a hair-tingling
8th position, his best ever; boy, did I feel proud!
we were travelling on different airlines on our return
to the UK, his flight was at the same time as ours and
I really wanted to meet up with him and his family to
pass on my heart felt joy. It was very unfortunate that
his departure lounge was different to ours and we did
not have the opportunity to converse.
I nearly forgot! There was another race after the 250s
- it was of course the four-strokes (bore-strokes!
Apart from several passing manoeuvres on one lap, it
was very much the same as previous Moto GP races. The
one special quality regarding this event is the aural
sound that 20 odd racing four strokes make. We had a
special interest in this race for James Ellison was
standing in for the injured Chris Burns and our kid
had known James long before he became famous. Although
he was at the rear of the field, we all cheered as he
passed each lap. He ended up riding on his own for most
of the race and I do not know what happened but somewhere
on the very last lap he crashed and DNF’d. What
a terrible thing to happen! Anyway a big up to James
for taking the time to talk to us in the paddock and
we wish him well for his continued success in the domestic
championship back home in the UK.
a pure bit of fantasy on my part, I struck up
a conversation with Jake, a mechanic with the
WCM squad. He was telling me all about his dream
job. Peter Clifford has taken him on as a junior
member of the team, but has the opportunity of
travelling around the world with the team to all
the GPs. While doing this he is learning all aspects
of management and mechanics. This certainly beats
working at McDonalds!
spent one more night in Brno before journeying back
up to Prague to meet with Carol and Harry and spending
the day shopping in the capital. One thing that left
a deep scar on my mind happened as we drove back up
the motorway. We encountered a slow moving traffic jam
which was very frustrating. Slowly but surely we inched
forward. After a while we heard the Whoosh, Whoosh,
Whoosh of a low flying helicopter, this disappeared
from our line of sight. A short while later we spotted
it. It had landed on the other side of the motor way
and was slap bang in the middle lane of the south bound
carriageway. The oncoming traffic had been halted and
then we saw why, a motor cycle had been in collision
with a van and both pillion and rider were being airlifted
to hospital what a tragic end to their weekend away
at the GP. The sight of the smashed bike and crumpled
van left us all very silent for quite some time. Now
I am back in the comfort of my favourite chair I am
making plans for next years GP’s… now, where
shall we go?
out for Dave's next report from the BSB at Oulton Park -