The Need for Speed

It was a perfect Sunday morning in Valencia, the sky so obnoxiously bright and blue that I could finally understand why those moaning Brits on reality shows always migrate without job prospects or knowledge of basic Spanish. We were crammed on a train platform with thousands of locals, all headed to the track for the Motorcycle Grand Prix.

It's a whole other entry altogether to explain how my ridiculous obsession with MotoGP began, but after seeing Dead Lenin on Red Square there obviously was a void to fill. I began watching the races with Gareth out of pure politeness, but within a few weeks I became Miss Tragic Bike Geek and convinced him that we HAD to go to Spain to see a race FOR REAL, otherwise I would become very difficult to live with.

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Valencia was the final race of a cracking season. Italian superfreak Valentino Rossi had already secured the title at Phillip Island a few weeks before, but now the Spanish fans were out to see if their local heroes could save face. We were but two pale and pasty foreigners amongst a manic crowd of over 200,000. Just imagine the craziness of a rock festival, but bigger and louder. The air swirled with dust and smoke and the smell of petrol and spicy sausages. Security guards patted people down and confiscated beer bottles and jars of olives.

I'll never forget the roar roar ROAR of the bikes as they hammered past our corner for the first time. You could feel your lungs rattle against your ribcage. It was quite primal. It could warm the loins of an elderly nun. Ooh yes. We jumped around and screamed and took shitty photos and joined in with the Mexican waves. They're just so 80s, don't you know, but you can't just sit there when 200,000 people are getting into it.

Rossi was the eventual winner and Australia's Troy Bayliss romped home in third place. Only then could I tear my eyes from the action to take a loo break. There were half a dozen blokes in the ladies bathroom, leather pants round their ankles with the stall doors open. They cheered and waved their willes, apparently unable to decipher the triangle/upside-down-triangle symbols on the doors.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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11 thoughts on “The Need for Speed

  1. Off Topic (relating to current obsession) – Whatever happened to Jim Waley. Well Brian Henderson retired from Channel 9 news Sydney and Jim Waley took his place therefore leaving the Sunday program. As far as I know he’s still doing the news in Sydney (but I’m in Melbourne now and he may have exploded?)

  2. jim waley just got the sack last week..
    not that this has anything to do with motorbikes
    btw congratulations miss pussycat, hope you find a dress. It may have to be made out of thermal material due to the weather there. They do a lovely job with rainbow stripes in that thermal stuff now you know, unless you like navy.

  3. I just noticed the current obsessions comment.. I was wondering where the random jim waley reference came from.

  4. The Waley stuff is slightly more interesting than that. Have a look at if you want the update. He got axed because he doesn’t appeal to the chicks apparently.
    BTW – you heard it hear first. Crikey has been sold . Can you believe it, all that from three blokes sitting out the front of the imperial hotel in Melbourne, thinking what the hell are we gunna do with our mate Stephen. (He’d just been axed from the AFR)
    life just moves so fast (or slowly – it actually took five years).
    And yes – motorbikes are cool. And scary and fun.

  5. there is definitely something to be said for fast loud mo-beeles squeeling round a track – it’s good fun for all!

  6. oh of course! thanks for explaining the Jim business. i remember Hendo retired but i didn’t realise Jana was back…

  7. I’m SO glad someone else finds those Atomic Kitten posters disturbing. And all the other milk posters are nearly as bad. Wipe your mouths, people!

    (The fact that I loathe milk undiluted by coffee may have something to do with this, but not everything.)

    I will e-mail you, Shauny. I’m feeling much better (but very ungrateful) although I’ve barely got on the computer all week!

  8. You know, hon, ever since I’ve known you, more and more you keep on going places and doing things and being increasingly in love with life. It’s brilliant and we’re lucky that you count us in! Good shit, mistress, don’t stop.

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