Having only had three days at home in the four weeks between Qatar and Austin meant it was nice to get back and recharge the batteries prior to going to Jerez.
The bags were soon packed, and I was ready and looking forward to Jerez, but the fickle Manx weather had other ideas. When I arrived at the airport in the Isle of Man it was a beautiful sunny day: an hour and half later and a thick blanket of fog had settled over the airport.
The plane due to fly me to London was unable to land and my flight was cancelled, meaning I was not able to make my connecting flight to Malaga. I got straight on the phone to EasyJet who kindly changed all my flights and a few more hasty calls to sorted the car hire a hotel at Gatwick for the night.
My rescheduled flight off the Island was not looking good either but the fog magically lifted at the perfect moment and I finally made it away at 6 o’clock in the evening.
My original plan was to spend an evening in Malaga, giving me Wednesday to drive to Jerez, find my digs and stock the fridge with supplies for the weekend.
This all went out the window, thanks to the Manx weather and I ended up arriving at Malaga at 10pm which meant that that my first foray onto the Spanish roads was in the pitch black!
Around two and a half hours later I managed to find my apartment in what appeared to be a field in the middle of nowhere, but in the sunlight the following day it proved to be quite close to a little town.
Beautiful, blistering sunshine welcomed me to Jerez on Thursday morning and I made my way to the track to pick up my credentials.
Once settled into the Media Center I decided to go for a walk around the track access road to map out my plan for the weekend.
After getting about half way round I was ushered away by security as the road was to be kept clear while the Dorna track inspection took place. I was a little perplexed as to what harm I could do from the access road, but I did as I was told and wandered back to the Media Center to take some shelter from the sun and to wait for the pre-event press conference.
Once the press conference was over and my commitments for the day were completed it was time to drive back to my apartment and pick up some supplies. That would prove to be a problem as everywhere was closed apart from the Repsol station near my apartment.
I found out the next day that it was the 1st of May bank holiday, thankfully I was able to stock up on Friday so didn’t have to subsist on gas station supplies for the whole weekend.
The weather for the weekend was fantastic, if not a little too hot. The Spanish turned up in the droves and went home happy with another dominant victory for Marc Marquez, as well as a second for Valentino Rossi.
The Spanish are crazy for MotoGP, and I don’t think you have fully experienced MotoGP until you come to a race in Spain as the noise and the color is a thing to behold. They really crank the atmosphere up to 11.
There was however one guy in the main grandstand who drove me insane. He had a megaphone which he was shouting into all day on Sunday, in fact if you watch the MotoGP podium you can hear him.
Next up after Jerez was Le Mans, and I decided to mix things up a little and travel there by the Eurostar from the center of London. To save some money, I had decided not to hire a car for the weekend and instead use the tram from the center of the town to the track.
This worked fine over the weekend apart from on Thursday, my first day in Le Mans, and my first trip to the track.
Having optimistically stepped from the tram at the station closest to the track, I then ended up hiking for nearly an hour with all 35 lbs of camera gear on my back in search of my nemesis: the accreditation center. Finally, I admitted defeat and called a friend of mine who gallantly came to my rescue – thank you Scott Jones!!
Le Mans is a legendary name in motorsport, best known for the 24 hour car race. The Bugatti Circuit layout used for MotoGP only utilises a small section of the famous old circuit but it still has huge appeal for the fans, the vast majority of whom choose to camp.
I have heard tales of some of the campsite antics, and while I didn’t witness any of this first hand I did see some sorry states wandering around. Particularly when leaving on Thursday afternoon when I encountered three very drunk gentleman staggering around hand-in-hand. The hand holding appeared to be required to keep all three of them upright and moving in the right direction.
On Saturday Clare arrived to spend a couple of days with me. It was nice to get out for a meal and explore some of the beautiful cobbled streets of the old town and its stunning 11th century cathedral.
Marc Marquez once again was unbeatable although he did decide to give the others a chance before clearing off. The biggest surprise of the weekend was the weather. Le Mans has a reputation for being cold and wet, but we were blessed with warm sunny days.
Up next for me is a few days in Italy for my Mum’s birthday followed by the Isle of Man TT with Mugello thrown in for good measure.
Photos: © 2014 Tony Goldsmith / TGF Photos – All Rights Reserved
Tony Goldsmith is an Isle of Man based freelance motorcycle racing photographer specialising in the Isle of Man TT races. He has also covered selected rounds of the British Superbike Championship and MotoGP. His online archive is available at www.tgfphotos.com and he can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.