Friday, June 30, 2006

European "Banzai"

My friend Almos is suggesting a very funny video of an European (Austria, Vienna) amateur endurocross race. Somehow it reminds me those Japanese games where the participants are never able to go from one station to the other one without falling ruinously. In TV the Japanese contenders keep smiling and laughing, in this video we cannot tell because of the helmets but my guess is that they are, at least, “displeased” … (LOL).

Video and picture source

Thursday, June 29, 2006

MotoGp Poll: Gas British Grand Prix

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Once again ... I have listed the first 7 riders in the championship as potential candidates. Scroll up and down to read the whole list and click on one of the choices. The poll will be immediately updated.

Last Saturday in Assen, until the end, Nakano (13th in the World Championship) was in 3rd and Pedrosa 4th. They became 2nd and 3rd only because Colin Edwards crashed in the very last turn of the race.

Round 8: A-Style TT Assen

Who needs you? Yes, last Saturday in Assen the Americans run the show … well the Italians were there but in what physical condition? The carnage in Catalunya not only eliminated Gibernau for a few Gps, but also pounded heavily Melandri and Capirossi. Also last Thursday Valentino Rossi too crashed fracturing his ankle, his wrist and bruising his thorax.

Anyhow the 3 Italian riders had better luck than the Spaniard Elias forced to return home after breaking his shoulder during free practice.
The day of the race the final grid saw in order Hopkins, Nakano and Edwards on the first row; Hayden, Pedrosa and Vermeulen in the second row. Surprisingly Melandri was in the 7th position, when Capirossi in 15th and Rossi only in the last position, 18th.
The race was almost tedious: Edwards took immediately the lead that he maintained up to the last 2 laps. During the race only Hayden was able to remain in sight with Edwards, because the 3rd rider, Nakano had accumulated a gap of 5’. It was only on the last couple of laps that Hayden was able to fill the gap and to attack Edwards going into a very fast chicane. The Honda rider took the inside line and Colin was left with no option to stand his bike and going straight down the escape road to get back on the track 1’ behind Hayden.. At that point it seemed that Nicky had the victory in his hand but the Texas Tornado in half lap was able to make up the distance and pass again the Kentucky Kid with 2 turns to go. Going into the last chicane Edwards took the inside while Hayden tried the impossible attacking him on the outside at a speed that could have never managed thru the turn. Both of them, on the brakes with a torpedo attitude, had already missed the turn point area: Hayden suddenly took the gravel area while Edwards off line, missed the apex and running over the cement edge and the synthetic grass, high-sided from his Yamaha. The lucky man, Hayden rejoined the track and won his first race of the season. Edwards was able to remount the bike and finishing 13th. Personally I didn’t enjoy the end of the race, and maybe even the winner felt strange about it because during the comments with the media Nicky didn’t mention at all what happened in the last lap. Nakano got the 2nd place and Pedrosa 3rd after dicing with Stoner and Roberts Jr. in the last part of the race.

And the Italians? Melandri 7th @ 18’’, Rossi 8th @ 23’’ and Capirossi 15th @ 1’ 17’’.
By looking at the gaps among the riders more than a motorbike race it looked like a mountain stage of the Tour de France with all the participants separated by big gaps at the end, but then ,if you analyze the fastest lap of each person you will discover that the injured Rossi’ best time was 1’17’’77 vs. Hayden’s best time of 1’17’10. Let's think about ...

Picture Source

Video 1 and 2 source

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

MotoGp Music : Honda Fortuna #33

Another taste of MotoGp Music, this time offered by Marco Melandri, Team Fortuna

Revving ...too much!

Over the years I have heard about different mechanical accident but never in relation to a piston blowing through the head and ... forearms.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

MotoGp Music : Suzuki Rizla

Music (only with Internet Explorer) for our ears offered by Suzuki Rizla

Picture source

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Round 7: Gran Premi Cinzano De Catalunya

It was supposed to be a turning point in the championship for a lot of riders and it has been ..but not for everybody. Four out of the first seven riders in the world championship did not finish the race in Catalunya. A hecatomb that initiated right at the start of the GP before T1 when Gibernau crossed his line with Capirossi and after hitting his leg, causing him to crash, flied over the handlebars of his bike. The 2 red Ducati, at this point out of control, plowed the group leaving on the ground other 4 riders.
Video 1

Video 2

The race was obviolusly red flagged and after 20’ the riders formed the grid again but only for another delay. Vermuellen had stalled his bike while Hopkins had to stretch his cramping back after his escape in the sand from the previous crash. When the race final started it was spiced up by the 20 year old Stoner that led the group for 8 laps before crashing right after being passed by Rossi. I have read an interview where he claims that he lost his front end, but the impression that we got in TV was that he lost the rear tire as if he was leaning too much. Only 2 laps later it’s definitely Pedrosa to lowside: too bad because it was in 5th position, having charged from 11th in the grid. To my count the young Spaniard Sunday crashed 3 times in less than half race: at the start, trying to jump start the bike and during the race.
From this point on the Gp of Catalunya settled with Valentino in total control of the race, Hayden in a confortable 2nd position and Kenny Roberts Jr in 3rd, back on the podium on a remarkably fast KR211V.
As of today, Tuesday, Gibernau will not partecipate at the next Sunday race in Assen. After the accident he had a surgery to replace a plate in a previously injured shoulder. For Capirossi and Melandri we will have to wait until Friday to find out about their attendance.
The World Championship is still opened for surprises as Sunday race has proved, but Hayden seems to lead with the confidence typical of the person aware that he his riding the upper side of the wheel of fortune: a podium here, a win there, a competitor not finishing a race and … his dream ….PUFF ….will became true.
Like an Aladdin’s lamp the MotoGp is going to create different scenarios in the coming months: last Sunday I noticed two small clouds of smoke during the race: the first one created by Gibernau locking his front wheel before crashing and the second one caused by Rossi spinning his rear tire on the last lap right before raising his left hand indicating that, indeed, he is still the #1 with his … flying yellow carpet.

Picture source

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

For the series … amazing escapes (2)

Another great escape from … an inevitable crash, this time in Summit Point, WV. Beside luck in this case the R6 rider proved to be cold and focused in acting upon the double trap created by the RC51 rider. Not only he was able to avoid to run over the “rolling” body but he also steered clear of the “crossing” bike. His patience showed in T3 with the slower guy was more than rewarded in the fast chute to T4.

Video source

Should Suzuki issue a recall ?

Last year Robert Lombardi came back from a race in Summit Point in West Virginia with two pics: a smiling racer standing in his dusty leather suit and holding, by the handle bars, the front end of his “ex brand new” 2005 Suzuki (I guess it was a GSX R 1000) and another photo with the rest of the bike in horrific conditions laying on the asphalt by his pit area. After inquiring I learned that this guy split the bike in two pieces in a high speed crash during the race. Luckily he didn’t get hurt but the separation of the fork/head from the rest of the frame left everybody suspiciously surprised.
This morning I have received an interesting email from my friend Moe with a video that suddenly brought back to my memory the accident in Summit.
As a result, I decided to search this topic on Internet and I found an article where the dynamic of the accident and the detailed pictures bring up the case of another frame that could have been defective.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

MotoGp Poll: Gran Premi Cinzano De Catalunya

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Once again … but with a change: in the last two races Capirossi came second twice, so from this MotoGp on we will guess the 3rd place rider’s name. I have listed the first 7 riders in the championship as potential candidates. Scroll up and down to read the whole list and click on one of the choices. The poll will be immediately updated.

Last time 56% of people voted for Meladri when only 25% was for Capirossi.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

For the series … amazing escapes (1)

The video is an excerpt from the last 250 cc race in Turkey. Two riders, Hector Barbera and Alex De Angelis, passed on either side of a third rider Hiroshi Aoyama (in a straight going to the final chicane on the last lap) and they end up colliding by crossing their lines. De Angelis was very lucky for having “enough” run off on the side to regain control of his bike that seemed aiming the wall.

Video Source

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Special Day at 666 Cycles in Brooklyn, NY

Today is 6/6/06 …I couldn’t have picked a better day to introduce 666 Cycles located right in the heart of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The owner, Franco Le Piane, or better, Ciccio, is well known in the neighbor after being with his shop on 18th Ave for more than 12 years. His passion for motorbikes started 47 years ago in Cosenza, Italy, when only 14 convinced his mother to sign a "release of responsibility" form to participate at his first race with a Garelli 50cc that was soon modified to 98cc. Shortly he started racing on regular basis restricted only by a volatile budget available for his sport. In any case when only 19 years old, Ciccio was able to race the Italian Championship and share the track experience with the most famous riders of that time. He was racing in Riccione, Rimini (Italy) on 4/4/1971, when under a torrential rain that had already distressed the top class race, Bergamonti Angelo died after loosing control of his MV on a straight. Bergamonti was right behind his teammate Giacomo Agostini, the greatest rider in the history of our sport. That accident marked the beginning of a historical process aimed at improving the safety in road racing.
In 1972 Ciccio moved to the Unites States and after a few years, in 1978 he decided to start racing again. This time with a Japanese bike, a Yamaha 350 with witch, one year later, moves to the Expert class. He raced Summit, Bridge Hampton, New Hampshire and other racetracks, collecting 4 victories and several solid finishes in the top 10. His last race was in Bridge Hampton 1982. Unfortunately he crashed out in the first lap in a 6th gear turn to avoid another rider already on the ground. Physically and financially concerned, he decided to stop racing to focus only on his family. Over the years Ciccio has worked for well known dealers like Cardinal Honda, Crossbay Honda, and Staten Island Kawasaki. In 1994 he opened his first shop on 18th Avenue that eventually became today’s 666 Cycles.
I have posted a few pictures in a sort of chronological order that ends with the last one taken yesterday with Ciccio (red shirt) behind the counter with his crew: from the left, Chino, Almos and Nancy.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Round 6: Gran Premio d'Italia Alice

It seems that my request to the goddess Fortuna to have Rossi to finish a race has been more than satisfied: Valentino has finished the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice in first place!
I think that we should celebrate last Sunday’s race in Mugello for several reasons that, for convenience, I am going to organize by rider.

Sunday, Rossi won his 5th consecutive race in Mugello, reaching a total of 55 victories in MotoGP/500cc. Now he is the second rider with the highest number of wins in this class, right behind the other Italian, Giacomo Agostini, with his 68 GPs won in his career. Also this victory keeps Valentino in race for the World Championship. Well, he has to win all the remaining races but like his grandfather Learco Rossi explained, if Vale last year won 11 races, this year could win 12 races as well, providing that his bike is up to the challenge; and it will be in consideration that right last week Valentino Rossi announced that is going to race until 2007 with Yamaha or, we could say, that he is not leaving us for Formula 1 for another full season!
Capirossi almost won his second race of the season in the Ferrari/Ducati circuit in front a big, passionate and enthusiastic crowd. He was able to overcome a terrible start from the second place in grid that relegated him in 8th position. A dubious choice of tires (hard compound) made the first part of the race very difficult, but once these issues were digested, it didn’t take much for Capirex to get to the front of the group. At the 15th lap Valentino decided to let him pass by going wide at the entrance of a turn (and with Capirossi, passed Gibernau, Hayden and Melandri too) in order to assess the situation. Well, it was only at the last lap that Valentino was able to take back the lead of the race with only a few turns to the end. The Capi-Rossi battle Sunday was epic, breathtaking but fair: on the podium Valentino Rossi hugged and lifted Capirossi stating that both of them have won the Mugello race. Capirossi with 99 points is now leading with Haydens the Championship.
In my opinion last Sunday, Hayden had his best race from the beginning of the season. He got a solid 3rd place right behind Capirossi and if the two Italians in front of him had tangled in a turn, Nicky would have probably won the race. Sunday he was not only fast and consistent: at the end of the race with the tires worn he didn’t make his typical mistake of backing out the bike and sliding it sideway to the entrance of the turn. This is his 8th podium in 9 races having missed one 2 weeks ago in France. If Mugello was for Nicky the beginning of a “new riding level” I wouldn’t be surprised if he will win more the Laguna Seca race during the season.
Pedrosa has passed the Mugello's test: it seemed a bit nervous with the MotoGp bike in this very technical and physically tiring track where the rider constantly has to aim the front end to the entrance of the next turn. He finished fourth in the race and holds the 4th place in the World Championship Classification. Also, he is leading the Rookie of the Year Classification with 86 points, 21 more than Stoner.
Gibernau is back with an incredible pole position and a very authoritative performance during the race. He lead the race for 3 laps and was in 2nd position right behind Valentino for other 10 laps until he lost his toe slider injuring his little toe. Regardless, Sete was able to end the race in 5th position helping DUCATI to celebrate its 80th anniversary by maintaining the 2nd place in the Constructor Classification.
Melandri didn’t seem perfectly “ in the money” after winning the last race in France. He seemed too focused in passing on the brakes or defending his position versus working to get to the front of the race. His tactic would have been more appropriate at the end of the race and not during it: bottom line in one of his late braking actions he could’t make the turn ending in the grass. His final 6th position was overall a good result because helped him to maintain the 2nd place in the Championship.
I would also celebrate the 8th place for Kenny Roberts Jr., using a brand new chassis on his father’s KR211V: quite impressive considering that he finished the race in front Tamada with the Konica Minolta Honda RC211V.

Let's enjoy the last 4 laps of this epic race


Picture source
Video source

Friday, June 02, 2006

"Road" Racing in Ireland

Often I found myself criticizing the safety of different racetracks, stating that it was like racing in the streets. Obviously I have never been at the Cookstown 100 in Ireland!