And So It Went, Part 4: USGP Laguna Seca 2011

I had begun speaking to a photographer next to me, whose mounted lens was worth as much as I spent on my vacation. He told me how he had come to every MotoGP race at Laguna Seca since ’88, and I was stricken with how awesome it must have been to grow up near such a cool track AND have the gasoline gene.  I asked him what secrets or tips he had for me, and he gave me the best advice I could have dreamed of. To photograph riders in the iconic Corkscrew, or turn 8/8a, go watch the warm ups, watch the practices, and get my prime location photos then, and skip the area on race day like Tysons Corner at rush hour.  I didn’t do the latter, just to see if he was right, and he was. I had a feeling he would be, so I did do the former, and got my prime-Corkscrew location all to myself. OK, just me and a few hundred of my closest friends, but it was still better than race day.

Everything between there and the end of the race is a blur. I know I went back through the pits, and drank plenty of beer to, uh, stay hydrated. There was a party in the campgrounds that culminated in about 15 police cars responding, and an RV-driver being escorted out for his own safety. There was a pursuit of some drunken sots, in the night, up a grassy hillside, during which two teenage lovers were discovered romping in the tall grass by flashlight-wielding police.  I remember taking two laps of the track in a Robinson R44, and trading tickets to get a bandstand seat just in time to watch the checkered flag drop.

But then it was all over, and I was one of the last in the campgrounds, with nowhere to go. Well, almost. I had a month to kill before the race in Indianapolis… what to do? I packed slowly, and made my way to the coast.

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~ by horizonmanifest on May 2012.

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