I have taken so many photos and videos I don't know where to start. So will start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.
7:30am hotel breakfast meant we could get to the Riccione station at 8:15 to catch one of the free shuttle busses to transport fans every 15 minutes.
Now think about your last packed bus ride. The one where it was standing room only in a normal city bus. Then imagine 50 more people on that bus, crawling along in the heat, people jammed in the doorways and crushed together. Every 15 mins my arse, the bus journey was impossible as it took hours to get to the track. We, like most of the hot tired passengers, exited the bus one hour into the journey and walked through fields and gravel roads trying to find the track (we followed a stream of people).
Italian organisation proving chaotic again.
Where to start. The people. There were so many. 98000, 88000 of those were wearing yellow and madly cheered every time Vale's name was mentioned and went crazy if he was on the screen. Seriously we were there for 3 races they were there for 1 man - I am in awe of that marketing machine.
Next our seats. Steve had carefully chosen us Tribune C a covered stand on what turned out to be crash corner (awesome) with a massive screen in front. These terribly expensive seats meant we were amongst other foreigners as well as serious Italians. Sadly Misano circuit doesn't allow walking between sections so we couldn't go stare at the Vale faithful in their stand Burtepella - they were shown on the screen often. Opposite us were the Ducati faithful and a small but very blue Suzuki supporter club.
Great seats Steve! especially the plastic chair vs concrete and when it rained.
Cameron your new hat was great thanks, meant I blended in. Only worn once and at a GP.
Right to the racing. It was great having Libby with us as a MotoGP novice, I do hope she could follow our yelling over the engine and crowd explanations of who is who and what has happened.
Moto3 was pretty tame, nothing exciting happened right in front of us. It was a good intro into the noise and we learned things like the helicopter appearing in view meant the lead rider was approaching.
An Italian won so the crowd was pretty happy to hear their anthem.
Moto2 all happened right in front of us. One crash followed by the two leaders taking each other out. Very exciting. The safety crew are amazing and in the case of the two leaders both got back on their bikes - keeping the crowd very happy cheering for them as they followed the race (one of them tried rejoining the pack and got a black flag for being a lap down). Great race with lots and lots of passing and place changes.
In between races we went for a walk to see where we could get to. There were tens of cops, some in a large van who entertained us all at the end of MotoGP with their lap of the track.
We encountered barriers and fences. This is as close to pit lane as I could get.
The loo queues for both the women's and the disabled toilets were long. Very sad to see so many men in wheelchairs - the track is set up well for them.
Right MotoGP. If you have watched it you know just what we went through. Vale and Lorenzo racing each other, ignoring team orders and as a result Vale's lead gone in seconds. Two bike changes - unheard of and wow it's exciting racing and their tyres fascinating to see degrading and in some cases shedding bits onto the track.
The crowd was crazy in a way I can't describe. On their feet everytime Vale came past. Smoke bombs. The helicopter didn't follow Marquez they followed Vale even in 5th place. I took video (see Facebook) and sooooo many photos.
Vale was good and despite the terrible (well points wise ok) outcome took a lap for the crowd who faithfully stood proudly for him. Quite a sight. Very sad thinking it might be his last Missano circuit lap.
Last note. Lovely tributes to Marco Simocelli, Matt, Steve and I were probably the only kiwi's watching his very tragic crash as was on at the same time as the rugby World Cup final. Lovely to see him still honoured and the track named after him.
Luckily the rain held off for part one of the long walk back. We followed the crowds to Missano Adriatico and hot, tired and all needing the loo (thank you Red Bull for the free cans) sat down at a beachside pizza place just as the rain returned.
Stop one over we had 4.3 more kms to go along the wonderful beachfront boardwalk here so stopped again about 2kms along. Libby and Don went off boardwalk and took the sandy route for a while.
Our day wasn't over. The hotel puts on sangria and snacks at 7pm, perfect timing after our very long walk. Then we all changed and headed out for a fabulous dinner to recap the day. Dan, Steve, Don and I all had seafood for dinner something this region is famous for. Lib and Ali had fabulous looking grilled vegetables.
I was completely freaked out by this coming along the road at me at about 10:30pm.