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Once 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!

Wes starts as he means to go on, and get circulating in the pits!

Wow! It soon comes round! My annual trip to the Czech Republic for the GP is here already; will I be ready in time?
This 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.
It 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.
It 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.
I 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. Chaz gettin' it on in qualifying!
I 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.
Next 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.
Among 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.
I 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 after 1:00am.

We 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.

Chaz 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.
Sunday: Race Day.
You 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.
The 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!
Although 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.
Oh! I nearly forgot! There was another race after the 250s - it was of course the four-strokes (bore-strokes! Ed.). 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.
As 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!
We 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?
Dave Booth.
Click for larger image...Click for larger image...Click for larger image...
250 grid...Spot the family resemblence?!Click for larger image...
Click for larger image...After a quick "on the spot" test, Dave decided these guys seemed to have a clue what was going on!!Our reporter's hero makes his way onto the grid...
Click for larger image...Nice shirts boys!!One too many I'm thinking!!

Watch out for Dave's next report from the BSB at Oulton Park - coming soon!!

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