I wasn't sure if the editor of Road Rash would print this and a few friends thought I might as well let y'all take a look at it. Enjoy, laugh, cry, feel sorry for me, make fun of me........
I Got back from Daytona ahead of schedule. Actually, I had blown the original schedule right out of the water and what you are about to read is a quick glance at what went on during my four days of travel and work.
On Monday the 3rd I knew I was in trouble. The previous addition of Road Rash Atl was supposed to already be in Atlanta and circulating by the 3rd. The press broke and everything was off schedule. Todd was going to be making this trip with me and covering the Strip and Destination, while I covered the events around the Speedway. Well, Todd didn't get to go because he had to deliver the magazines and I made the trip alone. No problem.
I got on the road at 11:00am on Wednesday morning in a chilly 39 degrees. All in all, the trip was very uneventful on the way down. I made pretty good time and was at the Credentials Office by 6:15pm. Not bad, except the Creds Office closes at 5:00pm. Disappointment washed over my face. I would have felt better with a beer in my hand, but it was too early and I was still 50 plus miles from Cocoa Beach. Kenneth Moore, a customer of my insurance agency, offered to let me hang out with him, his family and friends for the weekend. Thanks Kenneth!
The house was in the Indian River area, right off the waterway. It was "historically" old. Not hysterically- y'all be nice. According to Helen, Ken's mom, the house is about 125yrs old and has character to spare. BTW- Helen is 74yrs old and a MENSA member. She was listening to Pink Floyd's Momentary Lapse Of Reason when I showed up- Yep, I was surprised, too. She was very nice and I really appreciated the hospitality.
Onward to the events: Thursday morning was an early start. We left the house just before 9:00am and headed to the track. If you use Mapquest and were wondering, the trip time should be a little over an hour. Kenneth, however, rides faster than most and we made it in a little over 30 minutes.
I figured I was in trouble when I started running into problems with access on the track. Security wasn't too keen on me parking my bike by the garages and I had to do a little shuck and jive just to get it into the gate. I, originally, intended to park by Larry Pegram's hauler. When I pulled up I was greeted by Ed, Larry's business partner, and told that Foremost Insurance had a problem with me parking there (my bike has a custom paint job with my ACE logo on it). Funny how that works: I produce more money for Foremost than most insurance agents put together in the state but they have an issue with me. Ed told me I wasn't even allowed to do the associate sponsor deal this year. Sad for me, but petty for Foremost. Anyway, I like Larry and Ed and pulled my bike to the security gate as to not cause any problems with them and the sponsor.
I walked around and said hello to some friends and racers that I've interviewed in the past, but it was hard to accomplish my task. Daytona isn't set up in such a way as to get access to riders. At Road Atlanta and Barber, even Laguna Seca, the layout of the paddock lends itself to easy access for fans and press. Daytona is much more secure. If the racers weren't in the haulers hiding out they were on the track practicing. I wasn't sweating it. I figured everything would come together as the day progressed. It didn't really get any better- though. The AMA ended up changing the schedule though out the morning and what started as a standard day one on the track wound up being practice then qualifying for Supersport, Superstock and Superbike. They were suppose to run Superstock and Supersport on separate days, but someone was watching the weather and decided it would be a good idea to run the 'Sport & 'Stock races on Thursday afternoon. Well, needless to say, all hell broke loose in the garage area and riders and mechanics were running like crazy to adjust to the schedule. With all the changes in schedules my attempts to get in the interviews that were scheduled were completely abandoned. I was pretty bummed out. I rode eight plus hours to get a job done and was denied by circumstance. I tried to put a good spin on some of the day and actually got some decent shots of the pit and garage area, but how can you feel good about only doing half a job?
PT 2 to follow