Most people think the racing at Indianapolis is all about cars, but they’re wrong, as it all started with bikes.
When MotoGP came to Indy, it was a return to a tradition that went back to 1909, when motorcycles were the first machines to race on the bricks. Now, 102 years later, the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP is an international scene with four days of motorcycle events that range from GPs to flat track racing, and it’s that diversity that draws bikes of every style, brand and vintage. The result is a unique scene where you’ll find vintage bikes kickstand to kickstand with the new ones.
There’s plenty to do all day and well into the night, as this professional race town knows how to keep gearheads smiling, like renaming the streets after racers, including the old time greats. Where else could you find yourself on the corner of Valentino Rossi and Kenny Roberts?
Must do’s include checking out the Hall of Fame Museum and its section devoted to motorcycles. There’s the nightly downtown gathering on Meridian, where from Thursday night on it is two wheels only. Saturday night is the flat track racing; don’t be surprised if you bump into Nicky Hayden or Valentino Rossi in the paddock there, and that’s all before the big GP races on Sunday.
The classic Ducati scene is strong here. Old Italian beauties roll in from far and wide. The special section for rarely seen bikes on Ducati Island fills up early, and at the Ducati Club hotel you’ll find a 1940s Cucciolo and a 1950s 125 Sport in the hotel lobby and the front entrance ringed by a host of historic singles and twins.
Best of all, by MotoGP standards, the weekend prices are a deal. Reasonably priced hotels are plentiful and race day admission can be found for as low as $40. For 2011, the Indy GP is scheduled for Aug. 26-28. Join us for a sunny pilgrimage to the high cathedral of racing. It makes the coming of the end of summer something to look forward to! MC