Destination Malaysia – Day Six: Race Day

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Time of day is no escape from the heat and humidity of Malaysia, and it’s no different here at Sepang on race day. I could wax-poetic about how the extreme temperatures here at the track change the smell of the four-stroke exhaust fumes.

Or, how the humidity, which leaves you with a constant layer of sweat on your skin, changes the thunderous sounds of the 1,000cc MotoGP engines, but it would be a lie. It’s just hot here, and your body braves its exposures to the outside world only if you make it the future promise of air conditioning.

I have no idea how the fans pack the stands here at Sepang International Raceway on race day, but they do. They come in droves, and many ride here. Large convoys of bikers make the trek from nearby countries even.

Southeast Asia is rampant for GP racing, and it shows. Attendance on Friday is non-existent, Saturday is modest, at best, but the come Sunday, 80,000+ Malay, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Burmese, and countless other ethnicities line the track. It’s a spectactle, to be certain.

Back in a more journalistic mode, with our day primarily devoted to just being at SIC, I took the chance to shoot the warm-up session. There’s an irony to that name in Malaysia, of course. The sun beats down on the circuit with terrific heat, and temperatures on the track are well over 120ºF.

A few feet farther away, behind the armco, things are a little cooler, but not by much. I don’t know how many gallons of water left my body, but I knew that when I stopped sweating, I was in rough shape.

I have a new-found respect for photographers like our Tony Goldsmith, who braved the conditions here for three days straight. The photos don’t do justice to the conditions, and the fact that any photos were even taken is a feat worth mentioning.

It comes as no surprise then that we watched the Moto3 race in our hospitality, and the Moto2 and MotoGP races from the media center.

My big regret from the weekend is not being able to meet up with A&R’s many readers in the area, though it was a pleasure meeting the few who recognized the Asphalt & Rubber logo on my shirt, while I was milling around the paddock.

The enthusiasm of fans here in Malaysia is infectious, and easily makes all the hard work worthwhile. With that feel-good moment in the bag, it’s back to business…click the ads please.






Day Six by the Numbers:

  • Sketchy passes witnessed in Moto3: 7
  • Shady places near Turn 3: 0
  • Race day spectators: 81,896
  • Number of GP World Champions singing Tito Rabat’s praises: 3

Dinner Conversation Topics:

  • Riders for Health
  • Drunk French
  • Other peoples’ money
  • Parking Tickets in foreign countries
  • 2.5 inches
  • Tommy Aquino, RIP

Photos: © 2014 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0