• Ryan Gabel

The Infield on Race Day

Probably against Dustin’s better judgement, he had stayed out until around 3am Saturday night and had a little bit of difficulty waking up Sunday morning for the final round of MotoGP in Valencia Spain. I had already been down to the lobby a couple of times to distract myself from waiting for him to recuperate enough to drive us to the track in our rented BMW. There was a line of green and white taxi’s outside waiting to ferry race fans to the circuit and I could not wait any longer for Dustin to get going. I told him I would just meet him at the track and hopped into a taxi.

A half an hour later, the driver was trying to navigate the immense amount of traffic to the circuit which had not been there the day before. Police were everywhere attempting to funnel race fans into the track including closing a lane on the opposite side of the highway. This was mostly futile as traffic was backed up so bad, I actually got out of my cab about 2 miles before we reached the track because I could half run half hike faster than the taxi could navigate the columns of cars.

Finally, after walking through parking lots filled with motorcycles as far as the eye could see, and navigating buses and car traffic through the haze kicked up by the vehicles, I made it to the entrance.

I skipped quickly past the VIP concessions and our assigned seats that Dustin and I checked out the day before and headed straight for the lightly guarded pit road leading under the track to the infield.

I kept my camera wrapped tightly around my neck half blocking my pass as I made a left onto the road and quickly strode down the hill toward the tunnel. Once I could make the right under the tunnel and blend in with other traffic headed to the infield, I knew I was home free.

Walking through the tunnel to the inside of the Valencia GP circuit for the final round of the MotoGP championship is exactly what I would imagine walking through the pearly gates to heaven feels like. The bright light from the sun made me squint as I found myself exiting the tunnel into the crowd of people shuffling about, many with a purpose because they were employees and fan’s aren’t typically allowed on the infield.

Dustin and I met up a while later just before the main race and we spent the entire time on the infield watching our favorite racers battled for the title of Moto GP champion.

In the end Dani Pedrosa won the race, but Marc Marquez had the points to take the overall championship. Dustin is a huge fan of Marc Marquez and I was happy to see the excitement on his face as we made our way onto the track to watch the awards ceremony. None of this trip would have been possible without Dustin and I will always be grateful to him for convincing me to go and footing the bill for far too much, including our VIP tickets.

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