On Friday 4th November at silly o’clock, the two 2011 Rev-up4DSI prize winners Willie Purcell and Joe Swords flew out to the final Moto GP of the year in Valencia, Spain. As per previous year’s, Gordon Howell from Pole Position Travel sponsored the winners’ prizes of a full VIP weekend, with paddock and pit access thrown in!
The Friday night is always the opening night party with an auction of signed merchandise, the proceeds of which go to Down Syndrome Ireland. For 2011 the DSI crew were joined by BBC’s Matt Roberts, Red Dwarf’s Danny John Jules and ex-racer Steve Keys collectively and better known as the ‘Viva Valencia’ crew. The three lads had ridden all the way from London on R1’s to raise money for ‘Riders for Health’ and had brought some goodies to strengthen the auction. Some of the lots already up for grabs included a trackday onboard a Moto2 bike (bike value is €100,000) courtesy of Kevin Coughlan and his manager Angus which went for €2,000, a signed Valentino Rossi helmet courtesy of Bridgestone Ireland and Moto-Direct which fetched €1,400, and some Marco Simoncelli items courtesy of Gordon himself. As usual, the free bar went down a storm and enticed some to loosen their ‘purse’ strings considerably, resulting in the final figure raised being in excess of €11,000 which shall be divided between the two very worthy causes.
Saturday morning saw the PPT gang bussed to the Ricardo Tormo Circuit to watch qualifying. Willie and Joe being VIP guests got to watch the action from the inner sanctum of the VIP Village where they were literally waited on hand and foot for the day. With qualifying over, and after dinner in the town, ‘one or two’ beers were had, to aid with sleep of course!
Race day saw the ‘Dynamic Duo’ ensconced in the VIP Village once again and with a cold wind and some showers forecast, they were glad of their new found celebrity status. After Kevin Schwantz had led the lap of honour in memory of Marco Simoncelli, the greatest Moto GP Champion that never was, the huge crowds got to pay their respects with two minutes of noise, which left very few dry eyes around the amphitheatre like stadium. In the races themselves all three classes threw up great racing, but noone will ever forget Casey Stoner’s last gasp move on Texan Ben Spies to take the win in the Premier Class, not to mention Alvaro Bautista’s ‘off’ that took out Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Randy DePuniet!
A late night was followed by a leisurely breakfast and a wander through the older section of Valencia with its recently renovated Bullring and the Estacio del Nord. This part of Valencia with its narrow streets and cafe’s is in stark contrast to the newer section with its ultra-modern Opera House, Arts Centre and F1 street circuit, but they seem to co-exist quite well.
An uneventful evening flight from Barcelona saw all home safely and already planning for the 2012 event.
Will Rossi get the Ducati on the top step? Will the CRT bikes become competitive? Will the cardboard Gorilla be returned to the hotel? For the answers to these questions and more, come to Valencia in 2012!
Huge thanks to Gordon and the Pole Position Travel team and to all who donated items to the auction or dug deep on the night to buy them.
Photo’s from the weekend: