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The Corkscrew, Ducati, and the Northern Power Grid

You know how you build things up, wait for them in anticipation, jumping at the lead, impatient, and tapping your feet in an incessant manner? That described me, the evening before the Laguna Seca GP. The night drew on, dragged almost, as my eyes drooped. But I stood stubborn.

Superman Returns blared on TV.

Twitter was my best buddy.

Just like Bruno’s Girls – a group of amazing women – who chatted with me, as I waited to see Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso blaze across my screen at 1.30am Monday morning. Time zones suck. But I was ready to give up a few hours of sleep for my favourite riders.

I changed channels at 1am, sleep forgotten. It was bright and sunny at Laguna Seca. The crowd was out. Vale wiggled his fingers at the camera. Nicky and Colin Edwards showed off their helmets. The warm-up lap began soon after and there I was, nose to television screen, waiting for the starting line-up. I didn’t have long to wait. Just as the last light turned red, my television made an irritable snort and went dark. I heard our electricity backup kick into motion, as the slowing fan gained speed.

I sat in front of the television, my mouth wide open. UNBELIEVABLE. Precious seconds ticked by. My mom came in, “What happened?” I looked at her. “The electricity,” I said. Gone. Just like that. “It’ll come back,” she said, but I’d already jumped up. I grabbed my things and ran to my room.

Desperation 1: I am going to just stream it, I told myself. I logged on and loaded the website. The race came on and I breathed a huge sigh of relief as Dani Pedrosa zipped past on my laptop screen, the roar of MotoGP bikes filling my room. A friend texted: Are you watching the race? Phew! Yes, I was, I said, on my laptop. There’s no electricity here.

The battle for 1st position was on. Jorge Lorenzo tried to pull away, but Casey Stoner, overtaking Pedrosa, was hot on his tail. Right behind, the race for 4th was on, as Crutchlow chased Ben Spies, with teammate Dovizioso right behind. Oh this was fun! Nicky Hayden worked his way up to 6th position. Vale was behind at 7th, running a lone race after wiggling past 10th position. The Ducati Jedis looked on in the pits – they so needed the young Anakin Skywalker and his Pod Racer.

Then, my laptop screen froze. I waited. It happens sometimes, but always comes back up. Not this time, though. I took screen grabs to celebrate this momentous occasion. Lorenzo was frozen in time.

Jorge Lorenzo frozen in time. Screengrab from the Laguna Seca race.

Desperation 2: I shut down, and logged back on, waiting as dots ran across the little window, trying desperately to connect to the World Wide Web. The website opened, and froze again. I tried connecting again, and again, all the while glancing at the watch.

My cellphone blinked. Text: Stoner passed Lorenzo.

Desperation 3: Texts flew back and forth.

Spies also down near the Corkscrew.

Pedrosa is about 3 seconds behind Lorenzo.

I think Rossi is catching up to the pack.

Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi try to make up positions at Laguna Seca. Image used with permission from Enel (This image is property of Enel and Dorna Sports; http://www.flickr.com/enelsharing)

Tell me more, I said. The Internet’s not connecting. There was silence then. I waited, watching those dots turn 360 degrees interminably.

My cellphone blinked. Text: Rossi went down.

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. I railed against the Internet provider, shook my fist at the electricity board. Is Vale ok?

My cellphone blinked. Text: Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa finish.

It was over. I groaned. It was over. But, my cellphone blinked one last time that early morning.

Text: Vale’s ok. Nicky is so sweet. He had Vale on the back of his motorcycle after he finished.

I smiled for the first time that morning.

Piggy Back: Hayden gives Rossi a ride down the Corkscrew at the end of the race. Image used with permission from Enel (This image is property of Enel and Dorna Sports; http://www.flickr.com/enelsharing)

POST SCRIPT (OR NEWSY BITS HERE)

I was one of the many millions of people in North India who started their Monday morning in the dark, fretting and fuming. The Northern Grid provides electricity to nine states. All essential services came to halt, and this blackout is one of the worst in a decade. Power came back in bits and pieces, over 16 hours. The Grid crashed again on Tuesday, as States drew more than their allotted power.

Valentino Rossi’s weekend was tougher than usual with his first DNF of the season. He later said in a press release that the Ducati lost its front as he approached the Corkscrew. “…When the bike was vertical, right when I touched the brake, a bit like happened at Silverstone.” The crash was disappointing he said, “because I had done the whole race like the first lap and my rhythm wasn’t fast at that moment.” He also added, “we have a real problem: again today, we had a hard time getting the front tyre to work, and it was like new after 30 laps. Fortunately I’m fine, although it was a pretty hard crash.”

Stoner’s win at the US GP has not put him on the top of the Championship charts. On the contrary, he’s still a long way away. Lorenzo still leads with 205 points, followed closely by (drumroll please) Dani Pedrosa at 182 points and Stoner (173 points). There are still 8 races to go, so the championship is more or less still open. But Pedrosa had it down pat. He said in an interview to MotoGP.com, “You can’t make mistakes and the winner will be whoever commits the least errors.”

The silly season is still on. Vale is holding his cards close to his chest. Meanwhile, Ducati revealed that Moto2 riders Andrea Iannone and Scott Redding will test the motorcycle at Mugello during the break. Let the silly season continue!!

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2 Responses

  1. Loved your account of watching the race ( though I suspect all the power drama may have made the race seem more exciting, so not all bad :) ) I guess the best thing is you got a truly original blog view of the action. I would have gone nuts, I phone the power company all mad if the power is out for 10 minutes!
    Have you seen all the race through in one go now? I felt the race was lacking a little as there wasn’t much overtaking, but that could just be me being harsh after Stoner/Rossi spoling us forever with THAT race!

    How’s the power now? Not been on the UK news since Tuesday so I’m guessing it’s fixed? Demand they give you compensation so you can get the race on dvd!!! ;)

    • :) haha! The power came back and went again, a day late.r But fingers crossed, it all looks good. I still haven’t been able to see the race. The reruns are impossible to find right now, because of the Olympics. So looks like that’s one race I have missed for good…

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