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MotoGP Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 12-14 June 2015

My wife and I had never had been to an overseas race event but this trip couldn't have been easier, for anyone considering the trip I've included some detail. I was initially concerned about finding a hotel with good public transport links to Barcelona city centre, the airport and the circuit. However I found a hotel very quickly on the Circuit de Barcelona website - NH La Maquinista at Sant Andreu which is about 15 minutes walking distance from the railway and Metro stations. The airport, Barcelona city centre, Sant Andreu and Montmeló are all on the same line and trains are frequent so the hotel was ideal. Arriving at Barcelona El Prat we found that the train terminal is only a very short walk from terminal T2. We purchased a T10 (Zone 2) ticket at the airport station from a ticket vending machine (English language available) but these can also be bought at the entrance to any metro or train station. This ticket entitles you to 10 journeys on the metro and RENFE trains. A zone 1 ticket is all you need for travel from the airport to central Barcelona. However to include travel to Montmeló a Zone 2 ticket is necessary. At a cost of €19.60 (June 2015) its good value and saves time. A word of warning, its important to buy the integrated T10 and not the Rodalies-RENFE only T10. If unsure there is an English speaking inspector at the airport on hand to help.

Arriving at NH La Maquinista we found a comfortable modern hotel the rooms having free wifi, airconditioning and satellite TV with English, French, Italian and Spanish channels. We didn't opt for breakfast as this is only available from 8.00am at the weekends and we preferred to have an early start. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the hotel was next to La Maquinista open air shopping mall, This was an impressive development with a huge variety of cafes and restaurants on the top floor. I can recommend the Catalan sausages and patatas bravas with local beer we enjoyed in the evenings at The Butipà cafe. Live music added to the atmosphere.

dancers

Live entertainment

Different music each day at La Maquinista

The trains to Montmeló were every 30 minutes and the journey was about 15 minutes. The trains were clean, in good condition, very smooth and came when they were meant to - unlike in the UK. From the station we didn't have to look for circuit directions we just followed everyone else. Many of the local shops on the route were selling bottles of water and freshly prepared sandwiches at the roadside, a far cheaper option than buying at the circuit. However canned drinks were not allowed through the gates so don't get caught out like I and many others did.


Walking to the track

Just join the flow

The walk took around 30 minutes, a shuttle bus was available about halfway into the walk but it just didn't seem worthwhile and there was plenty to take in. Tickets scanned at the circuit gate we then had to queue for a bag search as canned drinks were not allowed. I had the choice of drinking my can of Coke or forfeiting it - I let it go as I'd been drinking water along the way. I saw a number of people taking cans back to their cars. The pain of having a can taken from me like a naughty kid eased when we got to the Monster area as drinks were free.


Monster energy tower

Monster Energy tower contained replica bikes and game stations.

Monster energy girls

A major feature seemed to be the girls……..

Monster Energy Gridgirls

which of course kept the lads happy!!

Monster energy drink tent

On a hot day like this the free drinks tent was busy all day.


circuit de barcelona

The circuit itself is fantastic plenty of grandstands, well positioned monitors and good spectator banks.

rossi fan

You have to admire the lengths some fans go to….

Maverick ViƱales fans

but these Maverick Viñales fans were the most original.

Lorenzo

As for the races Lorenzo won a slightly dull race with Rossi closing him down for second, with Dani Pedrosa a distant third. The best race of the day was the Moto3 event in which the lead was continually changing. Danny Kent always looked to be in control and sure enough crossed the finish line in front of Enea Bastianini. Moto2 was won by Zarco from Rins and Rabat with Sam Lowes just missing out on a podium spot.

I'd definitely go again, travelling is easy, the circuits great and the weather hot but I've never been to Italy…….

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Custom Beckham Bonneville Competition

Just received details from Motolegends of their free prize draw to win a replica of the customised Triumph Bonneville that David Beckham and his pals rode up the Amazon last year. All you have to do is fill in a few details at http://www.motolegends.com/Info/david-beckham-bike.html
Heres part of their press release

The bike is going to be given away at the NEC later this year, in a free prize draw. Many people assumed that the bikes they rode were Triumph’s latest Scrambler model; and that was because, like the Scrambler, those bikes wore a high-level, off road, Arrow exhaust. But, in fact, the starting point was nothing other than a humble Bonneville.Motolegends acquired their donor bike, a 2001 model, from a local ex-policeman. Even though it was over 10 years old, it had been meticulously looked after, and so presented an excellent starting point for the project. The build was actually incredibly simple, and although the end result is quite dramatic, the work is well within the scope of any budding ,‘bike-shed’ mechanic. Part one was the strip-down. Off came the mudguards, the indicators, the rear grab rail, the exhaust, and so on. What was left was treated to a matt black paint job that included the wheels, fuel tank, engine casing, cylinder head and, handlebars on.The wheels were re-shod with Metzler Karoo 3s as per the original bike; rubber fork gaiters were added, the seat was re-trimmed, and a new rear mudguard and number plate holder was fabricated. The pièce de résistance, and the most expensive single part on the bike, was the Arrow exhaust. But it only comes in a metal finish, so it was sent off for a black ceramic coating. A bracket was fabricated, to allow it to hang correctly off the side of the bike. Final touches involved moving the rear brake master cylinder to a new location, as the rear brake positioning couldn’t have been at all convenient on the original bikes. Discrete indicators were then fitted front and back. On the Amazon bikes there were no rear indicators; just front ones. The end result is a bike that somehow seems more than the sum of its parts. There are hugely complicated and intricate builds out there that sometimes fail to hit the spot. This bike is simplicity itself, yet has an undeniable wow factor to it. With the baffle removed, the bike sounds far better than a Bonneville has any right to. Being lighter than the original, it handles well, and the Metzeler tyres give a purposeful look, without any real detrimental effect as far as rideabilty and comfort are concerned. The bike was built by Phil and Graham at FCL in Cranleigh. Including the original bike, parts, paint labour and so on, the build came in at around £10k, although some specialists are demanding £16,000 or more for similar replicas. It’s got to be said that, close as the bike is to Beckham’s, it’s not a slavish reproduction. But it’s certainly not far off!

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