-- Intro - This is another regular column from a former mechanic that many
people in the Australian Superbike paddock would have come across before. Indy
Sam worked for Paul Free and Honda Racing Australia for a number of years before
taking the plunge and heading overseas to gain more experience in the big pond
of World Championship motorcycle racing. This year Indy is off the tools and providing
special tour packages at each MotoGP race event. To book/enquire about the MechMoto GP Tour, please contact
-- Indy Sam - 2013 # 6 - Paradise of Women
Heading up to Madrid for the weekend to do some drifting with Ale and Ant in his newly painted matte grey S15, there were some big changes to take note of. Ant had put in some new bucket seats, a new steering wheel and he was removing the air conditioner the night I arrived to allow for some extra cooling. Most bike racers in World Championships are also passionate about cars, but obsessed about bikes, that's the difference between fans and people involved in the sport, it's our life while cars are our hobby. I can’t tell you how much fun it is being in a car which is driven like its stolen until the tyres blow out, obviously even with a pro driver like Ant I was still prepared for the worst like a high speed roll. In between sessions he got to practice on his Super Motard and learn how to drift that into corners but after a while in the sweltering heat, he decided it was best his girlfriend Ale practice her drifting instead. I’ve never been to Madrid in my four years of living in Spain, or two in Italy, and I’m starting to think that it has a much higher percentage of hot women to men, Ant didn’t realize this in the six months of living there which I’m sure Ale is happy about either way!
I left for Germany on Wednesday and went to the tidy Sachsenring circuit from Munich by train which took me 8 hours. Luckily I got a lift back with Ol’ mate Aussie Mick Hams on Sunday night as there was no way I wanted to catch another German train again for a while!
My mate Marc Cañellas was still waiting for his bike of Tito Rabat to get back from the test they had in Argentina with a few other MotoGP teams and riders including Cal Crutchlow, Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista. He had quite a bit of work to do with the change of engines, removing the test engine on Thursday, changing a destroyed engine after a super mega crash on Saturday’s P3 which also bent the chassis, and changing to new engines after the Sunday race for the American Indy race after the month break.
Riders in MotoGP are now jumping on board the elbows out riding style of Lorenzo, Marquez, Redding and Esparago. Leather suit companies such as Furygan of Tito Rabat are making different thickness elbow sliders for riders as pictured. It’s growing quite popular in Europe with these four stroke race bikes as riders can gain a bigger contact patch on the exit of corners and endure better tyre life during race distance as well.
Watching the Moto3 race and observing the playful battle between Alex Rins, Luis Salom and Maverick Viñales was so exciting, these guys never gave up until the last corner and none made any small mistakes which cost them time during the race. This level of racing seems necessary to be learnt first before riders are taken to the next stage of competition. It was great to see Rins on the top step of the podium this weekend, I swear this kid never stops smiling when he’s around people, and no he’s not on Red Bull. He’s a Monster energy head but I got him to taste Scott Redding’s ARMA energy which I think is much better, while he still tried convincing me that the other Monster energy flavours kick its ass. Either way, Red Bull still remains champion in my books and is the only energy drink I’ll pay money for because as Ant West told me, the money goes back into motorsport.
Ant had a strange start to the race, nearly getting cleaned up by another rider trying to T bone him in a straight line, he then fought his way from 21st to 8th whilst also making the second fastest lap of the race.
Scott Redding had huge tyre issues as did a few other riders, but they managed to hold it together until the end thankfully. Thomas Luthi did his first race weekend without pain injections, he didn’t complain at all and held it in like Tito Rabat did. Tito crashed heavily in P3 and broke whilst also fracturing another bone in his left foot, although this was unknown until Monday. He changed gears extremely bravely in qualifying and throughout the race with a huge swelled foot and Marc said there for sure were tears from him during the race, these young soldiers are so determined to achieve their goals it is quite inspiring.
Lorenzo unfortunately bent the plate which was holding his collar bone together in a crash during practice and was deemed unfit to race. His doctor told me that when they had flown together to Barcelona for surgery after his Assen GP crash a week earlier, Jorge was so determined to race that he understood once again, it is only the mind which declares the results for these athletes. And the same he said goes for normal people, it is the choices we make and how much we actually want it which determines our actions and therefore our success or failure, sickness or health.
I managed to grab hold of Marc and Alex Marquez’s dad who kept pointing at me yelling ‘you’re a champion’ in Spanish when riding past while I yelled back that he was the champion having two absolutely brilliant sons who are so down to earth and happy go lucky kids, this type of personality is so important as it sets an example to many others. Last year I asked him to quickly get Marc to sign two posters for me as it was for my old boss Paul Free who gave me my first opportunity in this racing world. He came back four minutes later explaining to me that Marc signed the two posters while wearing his gloves as he was getting on the bike for the warm up session, only his dad could and would do that, and only a kid like Marc would sign a poster before heading out to risk his life. He won the world championship two hours later as it was in Phillip Island last year when this happened, and Lorenzo signed the two posters a few hours later when he won the championship as well!
My Spanish is getting better finally, I now can point and explain things in some sort of Mexican language or ‘Spanglish’ which the whole paddock understands, or at least I think they do..
It was a fun end of weekend as I got to hang out with my old buddy Max Neukirchner who I used to spanner for in the Moto2 2011 season. We chatted about old times while Mick Hams chatted with his papa who he used to be a mechanic for back in the day! Then we took the five hour drive back to Munich and had a good night’s sleep before I took the plane today back to BCN. I’m on the plane back to Australia tomorrow and did I tell you that I am excited, well I am so excited that I actually cannot sleep and am writing this at the crack of dawn! Ant is also on his way back now to Australia and we got some cool plans for the month break which I’ll keep you in tune with, he’s got a stopover in Japan and is getting me some cool stickers for my car and maybe an oil cooler too, yeah maan!
-- Previous Indy Sam Columns
-- Indy Sam - 2013 # 1 - Marinating In Jerez
-- Indy Sam - 2013 # 2 - Fried Frogs in Le Mans
-- Indy Sam - 2013 # 3 - Ant never gives up
-- Indy Sam - 2013 # 4 - Over Cooked and Carbon Black
-- Indy Sam - 2013 # 5 - Girls Just Want to Have Fun
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