We originally planned this trip to go to the GP in Monza as we had such a brilliant time last year. Thanks to our time spent in Milan during that period, as well as Louise working here at the beginning of this year; we stayed with friends rather than couch surfing.
We split our time over the race weekend between Louise’s colleague, Donata, and Andrea our friend we stayed with for the race last year. As Andrea works a full time job like a “normal” person, we stayed at Donata’s for the Thursday and Friday nights, allowing us to go to the track for these days of racing. Before arriving at Donata’s we stopped off to buy a tank bag for the bike; we quickly realised after starting this trip that we had no space for souvenirs and Louise’s back was getting a bit achy with the laptop and camera in her bag. The bag we wanted wasn’t in stock, so the shop keeper ordered one in for the next day.
We had initially thought of catching the train between Milan and Monza but as you can park a motorcycle seemingly anywhere in Italy, this is how we traveled. We were able to park only a few dozen meters from the gates, perfect for my stupid knee!
As we walked around we saw some brilliant examples of ingenuity from the supporters, not to mention originality when it comes to making costumes.
At the top is a homemade, portable, Ferrari stereo. Made from pallets and a car stereo, these guys pushed their sound system round blasting out tunes all weekend. The guy at the bottom had the best hat we have ever seen, he must have made it himself, the attention to detail was amazing.
On our way back from the track on Friday we stopped off to collect the tank bag, but it hadn’t been delivered yet. A colleague was quickly dispatched to go collect it and we were told to relax, enjoy the air-con and wait ’til he returned. After a few minutes another of the shop owners came through the door with a carrier bag full of drinks, and a beer was quickly given to me.
We didn’t have to wait long before the tank bag arrived, I finished my beer slowly then we paid. We showed the shop keeper our blog and all of a sudden we started receiving gifts, firstly we got the bag at quite a discount and then we were given an extra neck tube and a toe protector for when your ride a bike without proper boots – not recommend but it happens here it Italy. We didn’t feel like we were in a shop, more like a community or club house that also sold things.
Saturday and we’re back at the track, Louise had arranged to borrow a bike to help me get around. Pretty much as soon as we arrived she had to walk a good few kilometers to collect it, thanks so much!
Saturday night we met up with Andrea, his girlfriend Estee and their friends Dani and Stefania who we had met last year. When we were here for the 2015 race with Mark and Lawrence, we ended up walking between Biassono and Monza on the Saturday night – it took 2 hours! This year, it was unanimously decided that we would not repeat this long walk, regardless if my leg!
Instead; Andrea drove us to Monza where we met Dani and Stefania for some street food and a few beers. As with last year the local towns put on a brilliant show for the GP, there are stages for music and other entertainment and food vendors as well as beers-a-plenty for the race goers – but we also noticed that many locals came out to enjoy it as well.
Sunday was race day, and we had planned to watch from the first corner, as did many people. Again we built ourselves a mini grandstand to see over the people in front.
Although the photo’s don’t really do it justice we had a great view of the first corner – and much of the second as well. After being to a few races now I didn’t think I needed so many photos of racing cars.
The other benefit of our chosen position was that we were much closer to the podium for the track invasion. Unfortunately the race was all but over a few laps from the end, thanks to the vast gap between 1st and 2nd, so we made our way to the nearest gate to get on the track.
As you can imagine, getting a bicycle through this scrum was almost impossible. We had agreed that Louise, Andrea and Estee would just go as fast as they could and we would find one another as we made our way to the podium. With some pretty swervey cycling I quickly caught up with Louise – largely by chance – but we didn’t meet the other until after the celebrations.
We stayed at the track for a while taking in the atmosphere and to allow the roads to clear a bit before Louise adn I made our way back to Milan. We took one last group photo before leaving the track and bringing an end to the race weekend.