Monday, September 15, 2008

Indianapolis and The Moto GP

I live in the Indianapolis Indiana area. Which is home of the Indianapolis 500 ,The Brickyard 400 and once again after a 9 year hiatus the Indy Mile also I suppose I should mention as a side note to stay abreast of the local press the Moto GP.
The Motor speedway is privately owned and as a rule does not share statistics, people only guess at the attendance, which is generally, for a good year at the 500 a crowd of between 300,000 to 500,000 spectators. Them’s a lot of people…
The Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400 generate more revenue for the city (each) for the city than a Super Bowl. So now the privately owned unsubsidized business at the Speedway revealed some statistics for the Sunday GP attendance, 94,000+ they had an exact figure but Its so buried in the news now what with the Colts coverage and such that I think 94,000+ will work. I was there I am familiar with the Speedway, the place looked empty, so when you have nearly 95,000 spectators at an event held in the rain with winds gusting up to 60mph. This speaks volumes on the popularity of this sport. I watched both practice and the race (I admit I do not follow the GP on the International scale) rest assured there were millions of people around the globe watching this world class event unfold. Bernie Ecclestone boss of F-1 tried to get Tony George the owner of the track to solicit money from the government to fund his race, Mr. George essentially told him this is the US and we do not ask for government subsidies for our sporting events. Now after the numbers are shown, how does Ecclestone save face and beg his way back into the track.
The Indy Mile on all accounts had a record breaking crowd the night before the GP. Many of the GP racers were there for the event, it was a great race which Chris Carr won. I wish I could have been there but I had complications and did not make it on time.
Why do I find this relevant when I am a dirt trail kinda guy? Well I am not a stick and ball sport fan, and I did grow up with a father who raced Flat Track. I even did a lap on a mile track myself before the officials pulled me and my 60cc bike off the course and made me race in the kids class. The Indy Mile won some Flat Track fans Saturday to be sure, not to mention for Nicky Hayden and his roots to glory.
So once again how does a trail kinda guy find himself singing the praises of GP and Flat Track? Well I suppose it does relate to the image of motorcyclist’s. A week prior to the race I was speaking with an acquaintance who is an attorney and he gave me the inside scoop, the Indy Police force was really beefing up security because of the possible gang violence due to happen at these moto events. I tried to explain to him that this was not a gang sport but he would have nothing of it, he assured me that the police had the inside scoop on some bad stuff ready to go down. So the point is the GP had less riff raff than a small wholesome town, the Indy Mile? Well, it turned into an international event and the evil bikers had to make room for the crowd. I guess it goes back to Bruce Brown’s words “Desert Racers are nice people.”



At 7:55 PM , Blogger The Fool said...

That sounds like quite the event to experience. In all my time, I have found bikers to be very upfront, and without pretense. Yes, desert racers are good people. Best to you....

At 8:09 AM , Blogger Zen Wizard said...

I seem to recall seeing on TV that it is called the Brickyard 400 because the track was made out of real bricks.

That would have been a b!tch to ride on with a motorcycle.


To the Super Bowl's credit, I think that the crowd that a Super Bowl brings to a town is a heck of a lot better than the tightwads who go to an Olympics--and the Olympics in London in 2012 will cost like 10-billion dollars.

At 8:15 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

fool: I did not see any gang colors all weekend and yes deserts racers are good people.

zen:The first race at the Speedway was in 1909 and it was a motorcycle race. Basicaly the surface was gravel with a tar like substance to bind it together. The Indy oval is 2.5 miles long and the race was a fiasco. They ran cars ever since, at one point it was all brick, but they finally pulled all the bricks and poured concrete.

At 11:28 PM , Blogger Cléa said...

I've often thought it would be fun to photograph these events, provided you had a vantage point. Large zoom lens and tripod of course, but nonetheless, it'd be exciting.

At 5:26 AM , Blogger Mom! Toilets blogged! said...

Motorcycle people come in all sorts of genres. Yes you have the Harley trash who muck it up for every body, besides most of them are only playing dress up and are pretty good people. Again a few bad apples....
The Moto GP crowd ride exotic European bikes, class and style on wheels.
You need to compare the crowd that a NASCAR race attracts to the crowd a Formula 1 race attracts, coolers with wheels compared to baskets with cloth napkins and a bottle of wine.
The city of Indpls missed the whole difference, and expected gang violence and Wild Bunch Hells Angles so the police put on their battle costumes and stood around looking stupid.
Super Bowl compared to Speedway events? No contest, I'll vote Speedway every time. Football is too close to the NASCAR crowd, let's paint our selves blue and take off our shirts, and stand by our tail gate in freezing weather. uhhhhhhh. Even having a vehicle with a tail gate is a sign of lower class.
I will give them this though, they get the City to pay for it, which I feel is wrong, but pretty slick.
Maybe next year they could have a Desert Race in Indy, I heard they were good people.

At 3:58 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

clea: Yes, a good lens and tripod and a safe spot,is indeed fun.

Toilets: You are so right. I did see three people all weekend walking around without their shirts,the day of the race and tempest. The rest of the crowd had some form of rain gear.I should bring out the ancient photos of the infield when it was open to the public the days of the snake pit, the dark and dirty days.

At 3:50 PM , Blogger La Cootina said...

"Bernie Ecclestone boss of F-1 tried to get Tony George the owner of the track to solicit money from the government to fund his race, Mr. George essentially told him this is the US and we do not ask for government subsidies for our sporting events."

Really? We sure as heck hand out subsidies for stadiums. (stadia?)

At 4:42 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

la cootina: Thank you my point, nailed straight and true.


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