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Scott Barrenger’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 03 Jun 2007

Location: Mugello and Montecatini

MapAn appointment with an Irish Doctor.

Woohoo, well what a few days... I had a fantastic dinner with the Intrepid Group on Thursday night (maybe a new career path?) at a FANTASTIC local restaurant in Lucca, Friday morning I headed on to Montecatini with some trepidation for my rondevous with the crazy Irish, they were late on Friday so I didn't get to meet anyone really, I sat next to some at dinner but decided eaves dropping on their conversation was more fun... I hooked in with 2 fantastic couples and chatted all the way to the track on the bus, lucky bastards being in Europe get to go to a few races a year, if that's not bad enough, Gillian's cousin is a mechanic on Chris Vermulen's Rizla Suzuki team so she often gets pit passes.
We started out a bit soggy (Ken in more ways than the weather) and after taking some cover from the rain in the beer tent (now c'mon, did you REALLY expect anything different) we donned our new protection and baraved the grandstand in the rain. If you think the Irish are nuts, you just have to look at the millions of motorhomes, bastardised scooters and ampty collections to realise the Italians are just plain crazy, balance point wheelies 2 up on scooters, burnouts on scooters, megaphones exhausts on scooters EVERYWHERE. Oh, there was some qualifying too, the Aussies obviously putting in a good show, not that the crowd on Saturday cared for anything not Italian.
I initially promised myself an early, sober, night on Saturday but someone led me astray, maybe it was the beers with cute 'melodies' at the track, or the bundy by the pool at the hotel, or the red wine at dinner, or the Montenegro after, even a swim in the freezing pool in my jocks sometime after I-don't-know-when-o'clock didn't save me and Sunday dawned very cloudy, last of your then is a bus ride, at least I fared better, much better, than Claire and Ken... I think I broke them, especially when an unamed Irish lass went looking for a bag...
Not sure why we bothered with a transfer on a coach on Sunday, The Italians may be able to party but they certainly couldn't organise a passionate union between 2 consenting adults in a house of disrepute with a fist full of 50's... well you get the picture. We had to walk about 6km to the track as they wouldn't let the bus in, this was after a 3hr bus ride to go about 50km... meant we missed the 125 race, plenty of angry people in the group. If Saturday was madness, Sunday was just bedlam. I'm not really sure why, but people kept stopping me to take my picture, have a look in the photo's page... Someone must have recognised me as an Aussie as when I walked into our stand, some fellow quiet Australians instantly started the 'Aussie Aussie Aussie', call. The flag on my backpack must have given me away.
The locals went absolutely crazy when Rossi came out on the track, I mean crazy... fireworks, bugels, horns, cheers, and you could hear it go aroungd the track as he passed. Makes the MCG for the footy seem pretty tame. And what a show the Doctor put on for the crowd (for those not MotoGP savvy, Valentino Rossi -multiple World Champion, and Italian - is affectionately known as 'the Doctor'), from 9th place to first... Shame Casey went backwards after such a strong start and qualifying, but to see the, arguably, greatest rider of our time win in his home country was worth the trip over alone, even Claire got some colour back in her cheeks.

Those poor buggers had to be on the bus at 4.45am to fly home to Dublin, so why then were they still up at 11pm drinking beer around the pool? Beats me but I couldn't be a bad sport and let them do it alone ;)
Racing's in Catalunya next Sunday, which is only about a 50 minute flight from here... wonder if Carl will notice if I don't make it back just yet??????

EDIT: Would you believe this Piece-o-Crap (PC) is still running Windows 98 and therefore is missing the drivers necessary to upload pics... Get a Mac.