On the morning of Friday the 22nd June 2007 I experience something that will live long in my memory. Stood alone on the infield slope beside the Craner Curves at Donington Park, wearing shorts in the driving rain, black clouds roll overhead. I contemplate why I had arisen at an ungodly hour, to travel the length of the M1, in order to suffer the discomfort I currently endured.
Between the beating of the rain, in the distance behind me, an engine fires… First Practice for the British GP had begun.
The revs rise and fall, gently at first. Gears begin to shift, the noise grows from distant to cacophonous in mere moments. To this day this may be the single most beautiful sound to ever pummel my ear drums. In the peripheral vision of my left eye a single small red projectile explodes into view. Flicking from side to side, as it negotiates the curves of the Craners. Down, down, towards the Old Hairpin, which on this day resembled the foot of a waterfall. The pilot, fresh from the pit lane moments earlier, is fully committed on the untested surface. Riding the grip of his bespoke Bridgestone wets as they cut through the surface tension of the standing water. The sound by now has reached its glorious peak. I no longer hear it, it is so loud it inhabits my very soul, inside my head, vibrating the fabric of my being from the inside out.
I can only describe the sound thusly; imagine what you might believe to be the sound of sheet metal tearing. Couple this with what can only be described as the ground opening up before you, topped off with a sprinkling of the finest violin concerto ever performed. This, my beloved readership, is the sound of the 2007 Ducati Desmocedici. With a young antipodean, named Casey Stoner, perched atop. You may have heard of him?
After years of following it on TV, this was my first ever sighting of a MotoGP missile in the wild. And boy did it deliver. It was visceral. The volume made it a struggle to concentrate. Stoner tipped into the old hairpin, and accelerating away to my right, possessing no fear in the lack of knowledge of the grip level he might find. The traction control, trying its best to rein in the rampant beast, sounding like a hail of gunfire. Continue reading MotoGP: My First Time…