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Most of the regular readers of this forum know I'm a pretty big cheerleader for MV. It's nice to both give and get in times like these!

I'll leave the photos for the album link at end in large part. There are too many great ones to post embedded. Post em up if you have a question or comment though.


11am Thursday Mar 8. Sms'd local friends to see who would accompany to Florida for the weekend. Spring break meant flights were unavail so rental car it would have to be. I've just finished weeks of moving houses, horses and farm equipment LOL and am way behind on preplanning this commitment. I've made the trip plenty of times inside fast cars and towing cars alike so knew what to expect. FSL, Indy, Carly-amaflattrackergirl, HusqvarnaSMTodd, and I. My HUGE racefan wife has to stay at home to take care of the animals since we've just moved last week and have no arrangements for care, especially with 1hours notice!

By 12 all arrangements were made and all that was left was the actual distance. Minivan at the ready by our man FSL the hotelier.

6, ok 630am Friday and we are off. I've moved well outside of the city now so was up at 430 for this endeavor and out by 5 -oh, so was my wife who dropped me off the 1.5hr away! LOL. Next stop 1350mi/2300km. Plenty of room in the minivan right? Friend's are helping with our arrangements while we're on the road. We make the requisite cracker barrel brunch on Louisiana 49 which spans I20 to I10. We're averaging a tank per driver so about oh 5hrs per shift? Clear and calm but Dayton'as 40% showers doesn't sound too inviting. Mid Fri afternoon we get a call from Larry Ferracci checking in to ensure we are all safe and well and wishes us a continued safe trip. I think we were in Mississippi somewhere, most likely pretty backwoods and humming deliverance tunes since by now we'd already heard Indy's 5 cd's worth of music 6 or 7 runs through.

We stop again at the next required eating establishment. Sonny's Real Pit BBQ in Talahassee FL by maybe 9pm? It's been 5 months for me so I'm shaking real bad. Also at that exit was a convenient liquor store 'up the road' so one of the attendees got his bottle of Scotch for later. A THE Glenlivet 12 - and their inventory didn't accomodate much more expansive tastes than that. They had a laugh, the two old bitties at the checkout, and one probably won a bet about finally getting rid of that single malt inventory that had been wasting away on their shelves. I think Indy came up with the jilt that it was most likely a THE Glenlivet 17 by now HAHA. Rural Florida doesn't seem to consume much of the stuff.

We arrive in Tampa and are asleep by maybe 2 or 3. After some partaking in THE Glenlivet of course - we needed help to get us to sleep ;) Will be an early morning as it's now the Eastern Time Zone so we've lost an hour then of course Daylight Saving's had to end this weekend as well so we're in rough shape waking up at 0630 EST. On to Daytona. We arrived outside of Daytona for gas then to the track by 930-10am? Luckily Indy and Carly were both AMA racers with credentials enough to go around and we just drove through the back gates, tunnel and into the infield to park among the busses and RV's - just behind the MV (DKNY Husqvarna Semi) team truck. We [nervously at first] walked through the pit gate and onto the hot pits without incident or loss.

A bunch of googly eyed MV Corse wearing weirdo's standing a few feet away from the team must have looked conspicuous and Larry Ferracci came out to welcome us. His gracious offer of time would become the norm for the weekend. A number of others in the team did the same and I wish we had had all day with each one. In times like these you can never get enough. Eraldo Ferracci and Mr. Lynn gave up some of their precious prerace minutes and Matt and Luca as well. I was really hoping to not bother them but they probably couldn't help but oblige. Some of us wondered the hot pits and others just hung out at MV trying to stay out of the way.



The grid was formed and the roll off carried out.




I'm sure you all saw the race. There were a lot (A LOT!) of nervous hands. We watched the race from the pits as places were made and rhythms established. I haven't been able to see it on TV yet but from my perspective it was settling down to a satsifying race about mid way through. The incidents were unfortunate and pain was evident. I wasn't expecting to see much pit action but from that perspective we did get a first hand view of what happens under the circumstances.



We followed as the pits were cleared and wondered off to grab a bite in the shade. Oh, did I mention there was no sign of that 40% we were warned of. I've been to the 24hrs of Daytona for endurance car racing and have been miserable just a few weeks previous to this timeframe. The day was idylic from a weather perspective and we even appreciated the partly-cloudy during the 200.

For the 200 we moved to some infield grandstands just after the horseshoe. This provides views of Turn 1, horseshoe and both straights. Racing looked great from there and the crowd was behind Chaz Davies..and seemingly Duhamel had some fans. I havent' seen this on TV yet either but the action we saw was pretty intense. We were maybe 50-70ft away from the braking zone just after the horseshoe straight.

After the races we milled around and caught up with the team as they were packing the semi. Met several factory guys and again the team was gracious with swag and an offer.

Later that evening we decided we'd get some Tshirts of Daytona Speedway 2007 and write some messages to Matt and Luca. I jokingly requested an autograph on them, which they would have given, but instead we had some messages of thanks and encouragement for them. Cheesy but hopefully well received HAHA. The colour was horrible but was some sort of Daytona official colour so at least it will be memorable. Hopefully they don't feel compelled to wear them HAHAHAHAHAHA.

We hijacked even more of their precious time for dinner that evening and had a great meal. I wasn't sure if I should mention that so expectations weren't set but I can't help but thank them in public for the hospitality.

We were back to Tampa after dinner and breakfast the next morning with my Mother and Brother. All that way and I was in their hometown to see them for maybe 1.5hrs!

Our way back we decided to split the trip and stay at Beau Rivage Hotel Casino (MGM Grand property) which was damaged heavily in Katrina. Just as a form of giving to the community of course. Lots of alcohol and food later, and for some of us craps and roulette, and the night was over. Next morning we headed out and arrived back in Dallas by 10pm or so and I was home way out in the country by 1130pm. We probably totalled 3000-3200miles/5000km over the weekend and I think we all agree it was well worth the time.

Faisal(fsl), Todd, JamesC, Carly, Mike(Indy)





In a sense after these years and exposure I think some of us have become jaded with really wonderful interactions with MV, both USA and Italy. This experience topped them all. The people of MV really go out of their way to include and beat expectations and among this group of owners that really takes some effort!

Here is the, as yet unfinished and unorganized, album 103 pics so far. Take your time, there are some really special ones in there of us, racers, bostroms, schwantz, on the grid, team work, bikes, etc, etc:

http://corell.smugmug.com/gallery/2577134#135739468
 

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Thanks for sharing- really glad to know that MV welcomes all of us with open arms.

Those are some great photos, would be nice to have some high-res versions for some new backgrounds! Any chance to throw some high-res to the mv.net photo album?
 

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Well said James. Thanks.
That spontaneous road trip was a great idea by James. Faisal, thanks for getting the minivan and the bottle of Scotch, and then drinking the bottom half. Todd, thanks for having an Ipod to cover my little 10 CD selection. Carly...well thanks for not being a normal 'chick'. :)
I've never driven a minivan at 90+ mph for 18 hours. (And probably never will) Thanks also to Garmin and Valentine for GPS and anti-police ticket duties. That was a long and entertaining trip with some really fun people. My head still hurts from 4am craps and Patron during casino night!! Did someone say BARBER??? :f4:

But most of all, BIG THANKS to Ferracci, Luca, and Matt for being so giving of their time. Especially in the evening for dinner after the race, when their family, friends, and teammates deserved that time much more. Larry and Eraldo went above and beyond in their generosity for us tired, googly-eyed, MV Agusta owner/groupies. I'd guess Ferracci may have future plans to allow some pit access for MV owners, but at least at Daytona with our AMA badges we managed to spend a little time in Ferracci's tent along the hot pit wall before and during the race. Watching with the MV Agusta team as Matt and Luca moved up the field. This was a rare and very special moment for all of us.
The race results don't reflect the future of this FBF-MV Agusta team. Just simply consider the bikes arrived in the US less then seven days before Daytona and some of the engine/wheel 'management' functions weren't optimized or even utilized yet. (not giving away any secrets)
Luca and Matt's performance made the other factory teams along the pit wall take a long look. You could see it in their reactions during the race. A lot of heads turned and watched the red and silver run past start/finish each lap. GREAT JOB!!
:highclap: :highclap: :highclap: :highclap: :highclap:

I believe the real AMA roadracing does not start until AFTER Daytona.

Thanks again Eraldo, Larry, Luca, Matt, and the MV team!!!
To the rest of you: "YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!"

GO MV, GO!!!!
Mike "Indy" Rawlings


PS: MV FANS. As an old racer and now spectator, I suggest to please be considerate when you are around the pits and teams. They have a job to do and we are not that job. We were lucky at Daytona to have credentials and a rare team invitation. Don't expect this to happen at every race. When it does, be humbled, gracious, and never be in the way. It is very special. (Quietly giggling like a little schoolgirl is OK too) :smoking:

Very sad this picture didn't come out. Maybe next time Larry?? : )


 

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Very cool that you guys & gal got some time with the team. Great pointers about staying out of the way.

Can't wait to see what you do for Barber!

That should be a GREAT track for the F4R's. Look out AMA regulars!

Alex
 

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Sorry James, but this is my favorite pix. Thanks for not deleted from the site. (like a few needed to be done...) :)


"James, seen here checking fluffy pastry air/fuel mixture."

 

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Soooo Mike, lookin' a little chuby there! might be time to get away from poolside :f4:

Nice to see a picture to put next to names (screen names), not at all what I imagined BTW. Sounds like a fantastic roadtrip, wish I could have made a spontaneous trip to daytona as well. Great to get to hear about it so I can live vicariously through you guys. :yo: :drummer: :yo:
 

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Glad you all had a good time, see you all at Barber.
Matt said it was cool to meet some real MV Fans, he was amazed you drove all the way from Texas to whatch them race.
 

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Your welcome James and friends.

Great report! So nice to see the faces with names attached.

Guys, if I can facilitate the MV.net folks having a positive experience at the races this year, please feel free to contact me. MV owners are a PRIORITY this season. Events will be happening.

Peter
 

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What a trip simply awesome time thanks y'all for a great time. James thanks for the idea. After Indy and James writeups I do not have much to add so I add some new pictures in album. It was a blast.

Special thanks to James Mom for letting us crash at her place, Larry Ferracci, Luca, Matt and other team mates for awesome time It was lovely to meet you guys in person whenever you come to Dallas give us a call thanks for your hospitality.

Race start from my "Eyes" Video:
http://www.fototime.com/0A4489B96BFC901/conv.wmv













All of my other pictures are in the link poasted by JamesC.
 

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Nice write up boys, thanks for that, also a rare privilege to get so involved with the team etc, one to remember I would imagine:)
 
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