Events

A view from the paddock

Saturday we drove up to the Ciudad del Motor de Aragón for the MotoGP as Bob had a meeting there in the afternoon. It is about a two-hour drive from our home and it is a really pretty drive. I told you a bit about it in this post here.

It’s funny but these days we would much rather watch the races from the comfort of our living room.  I think many of our friends who have worked in motorsport events like we have but no longer are probably feel the same way. Kind of been there done that. I remember when I was the ticket manager at Laguna Seca Raceway my friends thought it was wonderful because I got to be at all the races. But when you work at a race track or run the event like we have you don’t see much of the racing because you are working.

The other thing is that we are not star struck/celebrity worshiping people. Motorcycle racers and racing drivers are people. They are either nice people or they are not. No ego or ego. Bob and I can both share stories of racers that are worshiped by the public that are jerks when you meet them. This really struck me this time as I watched the few general public fans that had the coveted paddock passes trying to get a glimpse of their favorite rider let alone an autograph.

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The “paddock,” the area behind the pit building has evolved in an interesting way over the last 40 years or so. Way back when the public were allowed in the paddock to get close to the teams and riders, often paying a fee to do so. That can still happen at racing in lower classes, but as the sport became more professional so in the eighties it became a closed area with few outside those working gaining admission. Within the paddock it was still pretty open, with access around the trucks, and hospitality like the Marlboro area being a canopy and low fence, so riders could still be seen eating lunch or meeting friends. The sport has continued to grow and now hospitality is conducted in huge buildings transported in pieces and assembled for each race, or provided by overseas promoters. Team Sponsors invite large groups of guests, just about everyone walking around on Saturday had a Guest Pass. So now the paddock is crowded again, so what do the teams do? They circle the wagons, barricade the front of the trucks and control access to the back of the pits. Riders walk between the pit and the team truck to debrief, with only a glimpse being available to a lucky few fans.

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A noticeable change in the paddock was the addition of umbrella dudes.  We’ve all seen the umbrella girls in their usually skimpy outfits wearing extremely high (read: uncomfortable) heels. I say uncomfortable because we saw the tissue padding under the balls of the feet and the ones with a half a dozen band-aids on them. And it was only Saturday. I’ve never understood the desire to be an umbrella girl and it isn’t because I have never had the body for it. I just don’t understand why they want to do it. Yes, I can think of some reasons but I still don’t understand it.

Anyway, now Movistar has both male and female umbrella…ummm…people. I say it is about time. There are a lot of female fans and why shouldn’t they get the chance to have their photo taken with the umbrella…ummm…people? Here’s to diversity. Please note that the guys get to wear regular clothes and comfortable footwear. Okay, so maybe this diversity needs some work. 😉

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