There has been a lot happening in the world of DragonMotoTours since our last blog which was back in September following our Wales On & Off-Road tour. We’ve had a tour to Belgium & Luxembourg and Mid Wales and at the end of the motorcycle touring season we took a break to Malaysia and timed it to arrive the day before practice at Sepang.
The hotel we stayed at was ideally located near the circuit and a short drive from the airport giving us plenty of time to unwind by the pool and chat to all the other visitors who had flown in from various parts of the world to watch MotoGP. There were a lot of motorcyclists from Australia who regularly make the trip to Sepang and they were able to give us a few hints and tips on how best to get to the circuit which was via transport laid on at the hotel itself and plenty of suggestions where the best viewing points were over the race track. There were several other people from the UK and Ireland at the hotel and lots of other European accents to be heard. Some had just flown in for the weekend event whilst others were having a few extra days in Malaysia like us.
The circuit is awesome and having watched it on the TV over several years it was far better in “real life”! The instant you go through the entrance your senses are woken with live (and loud!) music blaring from all the various merchandise stands you pass. There were several bike manufacturers there such as Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, BMW and Benelli – although the cost of a new motorcycle in Malaysia is considerably more than you would pay in the UK which surprised us. Having walked through the sales area you arrive at the entrance gate and here you have to discard any drinks or food that you may have in your possession as only that bought within the circuit is allowed…… this is were we thought we might get stung on the prices, but far from it, everything was fairly priced with bottles of water at the equivalent of 60pence GBP and a decent snack meal for 3 worked out at around £10.
We had a three day ticket for the event and for practice day we took advantage of the quiet stands and tested several seating options ahead of choosing were best to sit for raceday. There was a whole stand devoted to Rossi fans at the end of the start/finish straight and as you can see from the photos below it was soon at capacity ahead of the start of the actual race!
Both practice and qualifying days were a lot quieter than we thought as far as numbers of spectators were concerned but this meant we were able to view from the north and south stands and also from turn 15 where the lean angles are something else, although just occasionally some of the riders did get things wrong!!! But thankfully “no motorcyclist was hurt in the making of this picture”…….
For raceday itself, we got there early and sat in the north stand overlooking the starting grid and had one of the big screens directly in front of us to be able to take in all the action as it unfolded on parts of the circuit we couldn’t see. The sound of the bikes as they roar passed on the start/finish straight is almost deafening and thank goodness for earplugs….. this family certainly knew how to protect the ears of one of the youngest Rossi fans at Sepang that day!
We were lucky with the weather over the weekend, we knew that the rain can curtail races as it takes on monsoon qualities at times, but there was only one rain storm which blew in for 20 minutes on practice day and that was it, perfectly dry conditions for both qualifying and race day which was fortunate for us despite going prepared in true Brit style with our umbrellas and rain coats!!
The racing was spectacular and we saw some fantastic action from Moto2, Moto3 and the GP race itself, but it’s some of the sights and sounds going on around us at Sepang which will stay long in the memory such as the cooking going on in huge woks below the stands sending wonderful smells upto us of satay chicken, garlic and spices and the wonderful ice-cream sellers who broke with the tradition of the British ice-cream van and carried everything around on there motorbikes!
If you ever get the chance to visit Malaysia we would highly recommend you time it to be there for MotoGP and you too can experience not only a great event but the fantastic race circuit that is Sepang 🙂