Over the last years, I’ve had to do take-backs on two activities I used to dismiss: boxing and motorsports. Getting a taste of each as a participant made me eat those words.
I’ve been boxing for two years now and love it. But set that aside for another discussion. Today, I want to revisit my chance to live MotoGP for just 7 minutes–two laps on the back of a Honda CBR1000RR Superbike with AMA Pro Superbike champion Chris Ulrich at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) racetrack.
As editor in chief of a local fitness magazine, I was invited to take part in a media experience designed to promote interest in the upcoming MotoGP races. The idea behind the Geico Honda Two-Seat Superbike Ride Program was that, by put journalists (and fans) on the back of a bike driven by a professional, they’ll be more passionate about covering races.** Since I don’t know how to drive a motorcycle and had wanted to experience the COTA track since watching the first Formula One American Grand Prix in 2012, this opportunity was just too good to pass up.
My philosophy is that I’ll try just about any workout, with caveats being that I didn’t participate in the ice skating outing (it was right before my 50-mile trail run, and I didn’t want to risk a goal race), and I drew the line at indoor skydiving (trust me when I say there’s a back story there). So I showed up, the only female among a shockingly small group–there were three of us media folks. I wrote in detail about my experience in this article, “Experiencing the COTA Track on the Back of a Honda CBR1000RR Superbike.”
**This year, the program has a new sponsor in Suzuki, so it’s the GEICO Suzuki Two-Seat Superbike program. Also, Swarts let me know that the team is racing in the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship (more simply called the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship).
Watch My Experience Riding the COTA Track with Chris Ulrich
The two-seater driven by Ulrich had GoPros attached. After my ride, program director David Swarts sent me three files of those two laps of the 3.4 mile circuit: two views that show me and Ulrich (one from the left and one from the right side) and the third providing mine and Ulrich’s view, facing forward. It’s that third one you’ll see here. Watching the video doesn’t adequately convey the experience–the amazing force of the wind on my head, ease and smoothness of Ulrich’s motions, intensity of the lean, or sensation of grace with power–but it does give an intoxicating taste of what it must be like to drive that motorcycle that well. See if you can identify the various track turns and catch the wheelies at the close of the first lap. The end of the video has us coming into the pit lane at COTA, which was thrilling for an F1 fan like me. And yes, if you listen closely, you can hear me saying after I’ve dismounted, “That was AWESOME!”
Experiencing the Ride at 2015 MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
This year, MotoGP starts tomorrow, April 10, and runs through Sunday, April 12. In addition to watching the races, fans can take part in demo rides provided by a variety of motorcycle manufacturers. These demo rides begin on Turn 19 (Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda) and the Support Paddock (Victory, Harley Davidson) before traversing the back roads around COTA for 30 minutes. There’s a required pre-ride safety briefing, and participants must be at least 18 years of age and wear standard protective gear: DOT-approved helmet, eye protection, long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long pants, full-fingered gloves, and over-the-ankle protective footwear. Register onsite. Ticket information can be found at circuitoftheamericas.com or by calling the Circuit sales team at 512-655-6300 (tickets range from $39 to $139, depending on seat location and number of days attending).