My USGP @ WW Observations/Thoughts

Related:
Create New Tag

9/4/2017 10:50 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/4/2017 10:55 AM

Overall scores on a 1 to 10 scale.

Track Condition: 8
Parking: 4
VIP Parking: I never found it
Food in VIP tent: 9
VIP Private Restrooms: 2 (Portacans)
VIP Skyboxes: 7
Racing: 10
Overall Experience: 7.5

So, race fans, everything considered, I thought it was strong first effort out of WW. One thing I don't understand after having paid $420 per ticket is the parking. Honestly, I can't say if our tickets - the most expensive available - promised me VIP parking - but I do seem to remember that being part of the deal. The map of the facility certainly listed VIP parking, but when I asked as we encountered people parking cars I got, "There is no VIP parking."

The skyboxes were OK. One, as you all saw, was behind the start. Not much of the track could be seen from up there, though it WAS AWESOME watching the start from there and being able to interact with Lisa Leyland and Romain Febrve. There were other folks up there, but I'm not an autograph chaser and will only try and interact when it seems natural. Romain walked right by so I said hello and told him the truth - that he has been my favorite MXGP rider since I saw him finish a race with his bars all bent up in sloppy conditions (where was that race anyway, and was that his championship season?) He thought that was pretty cool and signed my program over his rider description.

Also, yesterday, I was standing directly over Fred Noren as he staged his bike and said, "Hey Fred, good luck today." He looked up and smiled and thanked me. I then told him that I thought MXGP was getting more and more popular here in the states and "we're watching." He was pleased by that and gave me a thumbs up and a big smile.

The other skybox was just after the Fox Holeshot line. We had a pretty good view from there, and it was controlled by the local police. They did a good job of keeping the masses out of there. I don't mind rubbing elbows with the masses. I am usually part of the masses! However, after paying what we paid, we expected and got a high up perch and were right in front and never really had to battle with anyone to get right in front. We couldn't see the whole track at all, but it was still pretty good. Plus, I knew I could come home and watch everything on MXGP TV.

Basically, Saturday was fairly unorganized, but by Sunday things were clicking a bit better. I know that the mud made it difficult for the staff to find parking - especially on Saturday. Yesterday was actually a fairly great day weather wise. I was surprised to see Eli in his post race interview. I don't recall ever seeing him shirtless pouring water all over himself while being interviewed. He looked really hot, and I can testify it was freaking humid yesterday. I really thought it would strike the GP regulars, but TC and JH handled it well in the second moto.

I met Paul Walker and his son #184. I thought he acquitted himself quite well for a college student driving up from Ft. Myers to race. Also got to meet Brolatm and son from Texas. Cool people! Thanks for the good conversation and laughs, Texas Bro!

We really enjoyed ourselves and were glad we spent the money on the tickets. The VIP tent food was very good. The drinks were good and the staff kept them flowing. Plus, it was air-conditioned! It was a great weekend and if they come back, you can bet that Harry, Harriet, and son Shaggy will be spending the cash for the VIP tickets. I suspect next time - if there is a next time - the whole experience will be even better.

I'm not much of a photographer, but here's a few from when we were in the start skybox.


Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

|

9/4/2017 11:12 AM

Great story, glad you had a blast!

|

9/4/2017 11:32 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/4/2017 11:49 AM

Thank you for your the analysis and also the photos! I was also there, but couldn't afford those tickets for this trip. My cousin and I went and We paid $40 x 2 + $10 parking. This was my first pro race other than Daytona so I'll tell you how my experience went:

We arrived right around 10 am, which was a mistake I don't think we'd make again. We waited in line for a while to park, even out on the main road. An officer offered parking across the street for $10 with a free shuttle to the gate. I asked how much regular parking was and he said $10. So we just drove in. The ladies collecting the money were a little frantic which was understandable. The lady that collected from us said $20, and we said, the people back there said it was $10. She then went to the other lady asking if it was $20 and she said no, it's $10. She said "Oops! I've been charging everyone $20 and they were all telling me it was supposed to be $10". All I can say is Bummer......

We got in, parked where they told us to on one side of the grassy field turned swamp/mud bog. We had a cooler and folded chairs with us but left the cooler because we knew we were going to be mobile most of the time. We decided to daringly trek through the field and we really should have just walked all the way around the parking path. We both had our shoes fully submerged before we even made it to the track.

We had no umbrellas, no sunglasses, no sunscreen, or anything. (We're geniuses). We walked around during practice, trying to see the best spots to watch for the racing. It was a little difficult to walk due to the slippery ground, but smelling the race fuel and watching the bikes race through the air made it all okay.

We wanted to get pit passes, and tossed the idea around for a while, but decided to spend $50 on 2 umbrellas instead just to survive. It was extremely hot, and if it wasn't for the great track and great racing, the trip would have been a bust. We now know for next time we are taking a pop up tent, a cooler, and chairs, and we are marching to the infield as early as they'll let us in to pick our spot unless we save up and go with the Air conditioned seats! haha

I think that WW, MX Sports and youthstream put on an amazing show. Most of all I'm appreciative of them coming to FL and hope to see some Nationals here as well.

Here's a video I made from my infield view to give you an idea of the different views I had:

&t=3s
The clip of Tomac Scrubbing at 1:36 is one of the nastiest things you will ever see.
|

9/4/2017 11:44 AM

Broseph, check your link. Other than that, thanks for the input. Glad you enjoyed right along with us! EPIC WEEKEND!

|

9/4/2017 11:51 AM

Harry Backmon wrote:

Broseph, check your link. Other than that, thanks for the input. Glad you enjoyed right along with us! EPIC WEEKEND!

Thank you! oops. haha should be fixed now!

Here it is again:

?ecver=1
|

9/4/2017 11:54 AM

Few more things I gotta note. I watched Jasikonis climb onto his Suzuki. It was like he was stepping over a curb. That dude is huge. When he sat down on his Suzuki his feet were flat on the ground and his knees were bent. Haha!

Bloss is a big dude too.

Yesterday at the podium ceremony, there was some big, dumb neck from hell trying to get the crowd to get into his "USA!" chant. Didn't work. Disrespectful as hell if you ask me. Sure, when Eli is getting his trophy, but to keep yelling at JH and TC...to be honest...embarrassed me. Those two rode their hearts out yesterday and showed everyone why they belong on that podium, and they did it in humidity from hell.

|

9/4/2017 12:33 PM

In my honest opinion, pure speculation, Herlings was the man yesterday. Moto 1, while he was landing the table top to my right, he kept his eyes on Eli coming over the roller to my left. He was making ground, but I think he knew it wasn't enough, and saved it. Eli had the better start and bested him while he had to work through the pack. In Moto 2, Herlings made quick work through the pack and put the pressure on TC who held him off for a while but had a tip over. Eli was losing about 1-2 seconds on those guys every lap and I think he, like Herlings in moto 1, settled. Either way, whilst not getting the battle everyone hoped for, those guys all rode their tails off and it was impressive to watch!

We didn't stick around for the podium but I would have been embarrassed as well. Probably the same idiot that ran out on the racetrack.

|

9/4/2017 12:39 PM

Spot on review Harrybro!

It was great meeting you, Harriet and Shaggy as well. Your braids are luscious

BTW we lucked out this morning at the airport. Look who we spotted! Peace ✌️ Photo

|

Only 2 things that money can't buy, thats true love and homegrown tomatoes.

9/4/2017 12:41 PM

TexBro! You ran into Eli. Did he have anything to say? I say he ran out of gas - physically. Stay in touch ya ole Marine. You know how.

|

9/4/2017 12:48 PM

It was very early! No one uttered words. The kid spotted him and went bolting for a selfie. He smiled said sure and that was it.

He was behind us on the plane but everyone was tired. Let em rest and come back at the MEC swinging.

Enjoy retirement Harry!

|

Only 2 things that money can't buy, thats true love and homegrown tomatoes.

9/4/2017 1:20 PM

brlatm wrote:

It was very early! No one uttered words. The kid spotted him and went bolting for a selfie. He smiled said sure and that was it.

He was behind us on the plane but everyone was tired. Let em rest and come back at the MEC swinging.

Enjoy retirement Harry!

Thank you, sir! Vid I shot yesterday of 450 second moto start.

|

9/4/2017 2:30 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/4/2017 2:34 PM

Wasn't there, but followed it online while I was working and watched the second moto last night.

I liked the signage they use for the gps much better than non stop repeater. It just looks tidied and I think the individual sponsors stand out better. I also think it helps it look more like motocross when you can see unobstructed views of the track.

I think the podium thing where the riders come out was cool. It would have been nice to hear some interviews there.

And I don't want to offend anybody, but playing the national anthem of the country where the winning motorcycle was made is just a tad bit goofy. I almost expected the bike to leak antifreeze because it got emotional. I also have a hard time picturing Austrians high fiving each other while watching the camera pan over a ktm with their anthem playing. My secret fear is that discussions will start breaking out about how only austria, sweden, and Japan have awesome cnc machinists and fabricators.

It was an awesome first effort in stressful conditions with the changed venue and then the rain friday. I hope they are able to make it an annual event and I hope the owners escape the tales we hear about past us gp promoters.

The gp riders are impressive. We often see how hard it is for ama privateers, but can you imagine the journey to the top of the gps when you are from someplace like Slovakia?

Glad that nobody picked up the chant during the anthems.

Wonder if any of the euros asked to go a walmart to see if there are really 300 lb women in cheetah print thongs or any of the other crazy stuff they look at in those "people of walmart" things online.
I know most of the riders understand English but it would be funny as hell to see the asking someone in a blue vest "where is the mule ett"?

|

9/4/2017 2:37 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/4/2017 2:38 PM

Cool story!

It was just good to see that Eli was backing it down and didn't forget how to ride!

|

9/4/2017 3:40 PM

I just want to know is Lisa Leyland is cute in person ? LOL

|

9/4/2017 3:41 PM

To play off if the OP

Track Condition: 9
Camping: 7
Food: 6
Restrooms: 5
Viewing areas: 6
Racing: 10
Overall Experience: 8

To lead off, I've never been to a GP, and haven't been to a national in a decade. When the race was announced at Gatorback I was stoked, I've raced there and know it is spectacular for spectators. I was more than a little bummed when the change was announced, but was still happy to be going to a GP in my own state.

The track was very very good for being on a flat piece of property like it was. The dirt was spectacular, a lot of tracks could have gone to crap with as much rain as we got Friday but it held up well. I would like to see what it would look like if given a full year to prepare.

We debated on coming in Friday or Saturday, and chose Friday morning, and I am glad we did. There were plenty of spots available, and we got pulled into a spot with only a handful of campers around us. We were impressed with the field, dry ground and pretty even, and it was located in close proximity to the track. Of course that changed Friday night as we got DUMPED on. When we woke up Saturday the entire place was wet. Luckily our spot had no standing water but others weren't so lucky. There were some that were ankle deep when they stepped out, but those were obviously low lying spots. Obviously there was not much the organizers could do about the rain. The one thing I think could have been done better was parking the campers. We were left to our own, like you would normally see at a local event which works fine. But the camping area was finite in nature, and some people left awkward distances between each other, which led to a lack of spots. There ended up being campers blocked in, and people pulling in too small or awkward spots. But overall I thought the camping area was a win.

The food vendors were great, the only negative is there just wasn't as much as needed during the event on Sunday.

I would love to have seen the nicer portable trailer bathrooms at a high level event like this. But there were plenty of porta john's so that was a plus.

For being a flat location I thought the viewing areas were pretty good. The in field area was excellent. My big gripe was the lack of areas to watch the finishing section. Unless you dropped 400 for he skybox you just weren't watching the last few turns, which was a major bummer. There were plenty of areas in the back of the track you could watch from, but they were not open to anybody. The gatorback club was also disappointing. It was just some metal bleachers in an ok viewing area. Never bothered using them. They did intend for them to be shaded which would have been a major bonus but the weather Friday put an end to that.

Overall I had a great time and will definitely be back next year. It was a great event. I have no idea how big the crowd is, but it felt like a successful size to me on Sunday. Enough of a crowd where it was pretty hard to grab spots in the good viewing locations.

|

9/4/2017 3:49 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/4/2017 4:00 PM

Awesome event and well done by everyone that had a hand in making it happen. We had a great time and will be back next year if it returns. And on that note, bring a National there! I'll add my random thoughts in case the powers that be see them:

- I hope Junior makes the investment to put in a raised road (crushed limestone or something) around the track. A saturated field of grass simply can't withstand the amount of foot (and vehicle) traffic that an event like this brings. The mud was a mess and smelled like shit in places. That or maybe it was the shit.

- Put a drink vendor on the infield spectator portion of the track. There were enough people in there to justify having one. Plus, it was hot and I'm lazy.

- Have more than one person taking credit card payment for tickets purchased on site. That and figure out the WiFi so that the chick taking payment doesn't have to walk 30 feet away for the transaction to go through.

- Maybe the parking process can be sped up by directing cars in two different directions on the property at the same time. It was cool seeing the property on our driving tour of the north 40, but we really just wanted to quickly park and watch the first 250 moto. It took us an hour from the time we hit gridlock on the road until we were parked. I understand that some of the closer fields weren't useable due to mud, at least not in the Prius I was in.

- Edit: Add a recommendation to get large TV screens in a few select locations. I realize this isn't Formula 1, but at car races I've been to in the past, they had screens so that the spectators can actually follow the race instead of just listening to the announcers and seeing the riders come by the same section of track for 35 minutes.

Also, when the announcer came on and said "Please no drones. Get the drone down before we do it for you." I want you to know that it wasn't me, dudes.

|

9/4/2017 4:05 PM

Glad everyone had a good time. Bummed i didn't get to meet you guys but met a ton of new moto friends and saw probably 100 guys i have raced my whole life. I agree with everyones views. J.R. had his work cut out but he and the crew did a great job. I lucked out in parking as i parked right on the side of main dirt road in and was right out both days. We did some loops around the track, checked out all the teams and checked out all the viewing spots but settled on the farthest right corner in the skybox at the start closest to the track and Fox box as possible. It was the best spot in the skybox and Sunday I stayed put about all day. Had Reed next to me for some time and we chatted it up quite a bit as well as Marvin, RC and Savatgy. Then Ellie Reed, Jill cox 222 and Ms Musquin were watching next to me and were so nice and we joked and laughed together and some hi 5s.
I told Chad that I was surprised that Jonas staged outside next to Seewer because Seewer is a maniac and one of my favorites but he won't let off and could come over on him. Chad said that's where he would line up because of Seewer starts and then they hooked up right out of the gate and Jonas went down. oops
The track is awesome. Viewing was a bit tough but you could see action everywhere. The track was prime on sunday for sure. The VIP tent was nice with cold ac and a nice food spread and my wife was happy. When we first went to the skybox Saturday morning, no one was up there except Paul Malin interviewing Eli, Herlings and RC. I knew right away it was going to be good and DC came on up and i gave him a thumbs up and told him i was thinking about him as we passed the antique sign shops on the way in. He is a busy guy that's for sure and everywhere, maybe at the same time it seemed.
Those guys are so pinned out there in that cake. Its hummbling. Track looked really good and so fun. Great for Convingtin who won the qualifier easily and looked really fast and controlled all weekend except a bit of heat and a error here or there. I think he wants to show that he is a great pick for our team and i agree. He was very impressive. Eli rode so great in that first moto. He was the only one hitting the 1st breaking bump up the mountain and clearing the whole top for the first half of the first moto. When he first tried it, he went way too far and almost flatlanded. It was fast and awesome. That quad in the back and table were huge as were most of the obstacles and I'm a guy that likes big jumps. Herlings has the edge on speed and fitness at the moment and congrats to him in the well deserved win. Guy is on it. The gp guys are animals and impressed me very much. Great racing for sure. Rj looked awesome and was railing and had great style. Being eye level at that finish line as they styled over it was awesome. And what a start from the far outside gate for Hampshire . Just wow, held it pinned around the outside. Great for him. Value rising. AC222 was awesome to watch. His style is excellent and calculated. I'm glad he didn't ride to conservative to hold his points lead. He is top class. It was a great mx USGP.
My wife and i kind of splurged and got a beachfront room on Amelia Island and although the waves were small the hotel was great. Sushi, drinks and dj's every night and midnight shark teeth hunts were fun and we decided to stay another day. Just home now after 6 hours on road so excuse my long rambling post but i am happy we went. Now doing hurricane prep. Good times. I have a ton of video to go through but here is a few pics.
Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

|

I don't have to be as smart as you hope to be some day anymore. wink

9/4/2017 4:21 PM

brlatm wrote:

Spot on review Harrybro!

It was great meeting you, Harriet and Shaggy as well. Your braids are luscious

BTW we lucked out this morning at the airport. Look who we spotted! Peace ✌️ Photo

Eli just went up three notches of coolness. Wearing a t-shirt with a Bultaco on the front! :-)

|

9/4/2017 4:52 PM

Was going to text you tonight Harry and ask how everything went. Glad I read this instead....because that would of been one long text!! The story here was much better , with the pics and everything. Glad you guys had a good time brother!

|

And there goes Jeffro. One of God's own prototypes. A super high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.

Pimpin' Ho's , Rollin' fatty's......drinkin' beers , beers , beers!! ~ Ja

9/4/2017 4:55 PM

Bultaco wrote:

Eli just went up three notches of coolness. Wearing a t-shirt with a Bultaco on the front! :-)

And who is that on the Bultaco that is about to go over the bars?


Photo

|

“Adhering to 1970’s Standards of Political Correctness”

9/4/2017 4:55 PM

My $.02 now that I finally quit traveling all day and just got to work.

The parking was damn horrendous for those with or without VIP. I know they can fix it for sure and make it run smoother.

I bought a Gatorback pass for one of my kids friends and my kid went to sit with her in the section, he got booted out because he had a VIP pass and not a Gatorback pass....say what? So they had to watch Saturday from the Monster Energy section.

The crowd was really awesome and loud, lot's of people from all over the world that came in to watch people race a dirt bike. It was really hot/humid on Sunday, I was glad HarryBro kept volunteering to go get us adult beverages!

Awesome event and awesome time, we will sure be back again. Cheers from a dry/hot desert.

|

Only 2 things that money can't buy, thats true love and homegrown tomatoes.

9/4/2017 5:28 PM

mb60 wrote:

I just want to know is Lisa Leyland is cute in person ? LOL

In my opinion, she is very pretty. Beyond that, she's like the girl next door. She really did not mind chatting with me for a couple minutes. If she did, she put on a great act.

Honestly, I was impressed.

|

9/4/2017 7:07 PM

Reese95w wrote:

And who is that on the Bultaco that is about to go over the bars?


Photo

Gary Bailey

|

9/4/2017 7:25 PM

Eh, I guess I'll dump my "review" in here too...
If you are wheelchair bound... stay at home and watch it on TV. They don't care about you. Well, unless you have a name or know someone.
Had to go through a mud bog with my car to access the handicap parking. Which I was expected to wheel through after I parked. Not sure if the guy just didn't believe me when I said I have a wheelchair or what. I've been to enough nationals to know that those conditions can happen. And I don't want to sound "entitled". But I would have thought they'd have enough sense to park me somewhere better than that. I know there wasn't much they could do with the rest of the facility. There were some deep spots I had to get through, and that's on me. I only ended up in the mud once. I'm thankful to all the help I received from people walking about.
I never did find a handicap viewing area though. It was marked on a track map, (and one of the main reasons I decided to go in the first place. As I know from experience that it can be difficult to find a spot to watch from a sitting height) but the fence around the entire place was lined with people standing against the fence, or even sitting on it. After searching for someone to ask (fail), my wife, baby, and I decided "screw it, lets go into the VIP area and hope we find a spot in there". Which we did manage to get some help from other spectators to clear a small spot along the fence for me (there was a table and something else blocking the way). Meanwhile all the MXsports people were sitting in the bleachers. Had a little run in with them after they sent their security pitbull over to me not once, but twice. (Keep in mind, at this point there was only 1 1/2 motos left. And we didn't take any of their food or drinks). So after the first time they knew that I had a problem but yet didn't care enough to actually come to me and see what was up until I waved the one lady over. Here is me, looking through my viewing window...
Photo

And heres the baby laughing She was cheering for Tomac.
Photo


|

9/4/2017 8:36 PM

Wow that's a bummer. Gives me the red ass

|

9/4/2017 9:32 PM

mb60 wrote:

I just want to know is Lisa Leyland is cute in person ? LOL

I can tell you right now......YES!! I met her and talked with her for about 1 minute at the 2015 GH GP. Gawd I love that woman. She was just walking with another gal from the tower to the start line and nobody there seemed to recognize her. I sure did....and I can tell she is not only beautiful , but super cool. Oh yeah.....even her sweat smells like roses haha.

|

And there goes Jeffro. One of God's own prototypes. A super high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.

Pimpin' Ho's , Rollin' fatty's......drinkin' beers , beers , beers!! ~ Ja

9/5/2017 8:09 AM

GLAD to hear most everyone had good experience , I watched on tv looked like they dumped dirt in big parking lot and made a track

|

SHORTER OF BREATH
ONE DAY CLOSER TO DEATH

9/5/2017 9:14 AM

mb60 wrote:

I just want to know is Lisa Leyland is cute in person ? LOL

jeffro503 wrote:

I can tell you right now......YES!! I met her and talked with her for about 1 minute at the 2015 GH GP. Gawd I love that woman. She was just walking with another gal from the tower to the start line and nobody there seemed to recognize her. I sure did....and I can tell she is not only beautiful , but super cool. Oh yeah.....even her sweat smells like roses haha.

Nice !!!!!!! LOL

She is super gorgeous in my opinion but never see her but in highlights.

|

9/5/2017 9:37 AM

Bultaco wrote:

Eli just went up three notches of coolness. Wearing a t-shirt with a Bultaco on the front! :-)

Reese95w wrote:

And who is that on the Bultaco that is about to go over the bars?


Photo

racin mason wrote:

Gary Bailey

On a 76 Pursang? Was Gary still racing in 76? Or perhaps this picture taken during one of his motocross schools?

|

“Adhering to 1970’s Standards of Political Correctness”

9/5/2017 11:05 AM

ATHEIST wrote:

GLAD to hear most everyone had good experience , I watched on tv looked like they dumped dirt in big parking lot and made a track

From the parts I could see, the track looks like it's probably fun as hell to ride. Just from my perspective it sucked for viewing. But I'm also use to tracks like High Point, Steel City, Redbud, Thundervalley etc. This was quite a different perspective than those. You don't have to be right up at the fence to see the track at those places. At WW, you pretty much do. Or drop some extra coin on the VIP stuff (which wouldn't help me, as there is no ramp up). Even with being parked. Most other nationals I've been to have multiple "roads" into the parking area. WW seemed to only have one. And like some have stated, getting parked took quite awhile. I think the location was awesome though. 15 to 20 minutes from downtown Jacksonville. We ended up staying downtown on the river, which was cool. Seemed like most of the GP guys did as well. We saw many of them in our hotel, all eating breakfast together and BSing with one another.

|