You’ve been invited to an event at Silverstone for the first time, in this case the MotoGP, and you’re working out what it will be like and what to take?
The MotoGP World Championship is the premier class of motorcycle road racing and is currently divided into three classes: MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.
MotoGP – this is the “F1” of motorcycle racing with engines up to 1,000 cc.
Moto2 – four-stroke 600 cc engine motorbikes.
Moto3 – four-stroke 250 cc engine motorbikes.
“Moto” bikes are purpose-built racing machines that aren’t “road legal” and can’t be bought by the public, as opposed to production-based racing such as the Superbike World Championship and the Isle of Man TT Races that feature modified versions of road-going motorcycles.
Here’s a little list that might help you if you’re a Moto GP “newbie”:
- Oh my God – it’s LOUD! I initially laughed at people wearing the type of ear defenders you’d see at B&Q but then quickly wished I had a pair myself! A little more subtle were small orange/yellow foam devices that you’d buy at Boots when trying to get to sleep on a plane. They were given them out for free at the track entrances but take your own along just in case.
- Still talking about the LOUDNESS the rules limit MotoGP bikes to 130dB, but the smaller Moto2 bikes seemed louder as they had a higher pitch. Check out my cideo above!
- A seasoned pro behind me said he never wore any ear protection as he wanted to soak up the full effect of the race – however he did have to say “Pardon?” after every one of my questions and admitted it had made him go slightly deaf!
- Each stand had tannoys systems but you really can’t hear them when the bikes whizz past. I had a little DAB/FM radio to listen along to the identical radio commentary on to the tannoy systems on the local Silverstone radio – 87.5FM. However unless you have a killer set of headphones you still can’t hear what’s being said very well although some people were listening with in-ear headphones “underneath” big ear defenders – maybe that’s the combination to go for!
- It was a drizzly day, and we were undercover in the Woodcote stand, but still take something warm and waterproof (plus an umbrella) as the stands are fairly open and the rain was misting in over the front few rows. Also you’re going to be walking about outside.
- Binoculars – I tool a little pair of 15×21 ones to view the action but the bikes are so fast moving they weren’t of much use. However they were handy to pick out the numbers on the front of their bikes/helmets to determine who was who, and also to view the action/positions on the various big screens that were just a little bit too far away to view properly with the naked eye.
- Take enough cash with you. There are ATMs on site but they charged £1.60 for the privilege.
- You’re not going to get out of the car parks very quickly so just chill out and take your time, or wait for the traffic to die down and watch some of the smaller races that take place later on in the afternoon.
- So a great first experience. Most of the crowd were bikers wearing biker gear plus baseball caps/tops showing allegience to their favourite riders. ’46’ being 9x world champion Italian Valentino Rossi and ’93’ being Spanish rider Marquez. It was a very friendly and knowledgeable crowd with experts in the stands gladly telling you who was who and what was happening between the bouts of noise.
- And how quick are the bikes compared to F1? Well this is an F1 car up against a superbike, so not the Moto GP bikes I saw on show but it gives you an idea of their speed off the line.