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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Motorbikes & More at the Assen MotoGP 2015


Have just returned from Holland where hubby & I spent a great few days at the Dutch MotoGP in Assen, staying in Groningen,  & in Amsterdam.  Thought some of the stuff we found out might be handy for others planning a trip there next year - I did a bit of online research before our trip & found out some good information which was really helpful for us.  (LOL This is of course a departure from my usual blog posts about sewing but hope it is of help to other wives & partners who accompany biker Other Halves to Assen in the future!!!)

We had general entrance tickets for Friday (practice day) & Saturday race day.  On Friday, the track was busy but it was possible to sit in the stand seating on the De Bult Tribune (be warned, I found the steps & seating quite steep, well I was carrying a coffee & sandwich at the time & proceeded with trepidation as I did not fancy falling latte over ham roll down the steps in front of several hundred ever so slightly boozed up Dutch bikers ...)

Following a tip off from a kind Scottish racegoer, when we arrived at the track on Saturday we marched off purposefully to the left, past the De Bult Tribune stands (you had to pay to get in there anyway) and right down to the Mandeveen "loop" at the end.  This section has a grassy bank where lots of fans were seated, but we put our chairs (yep, it really is worth having folding chairs with you) right up against the metal fence at the front just a couple of panels in from the entrance to this section.  We set ourselves down at 10am & stayed there until after 3pm when the GP had finished.  Because we were near the entrance to this section, it was easy for one of us to go out for drinks/food/loos leaving the other with our chairs.  We had no trouble at all & a nice family next to us.  Some others in our group in other viewing spots had trouble with people spraying them with beer or chucking litter at them (beer did form a large part of the proceedings for many) but our section seemed more family based.  You can see from this photo how close we were to the track - I could even see the numbers on the bikes without binoculars & we saw some thrilling racing as the bends here are really close which allowed Rossi to overake Marquez in front of our eyes.

Of course, being so close to the track meant we got filthy, absolutely covered with dust, the collar of my shirt looked like it had never been washed EVER!  I would recommend wearing boots or trainers, not just because of the dust, but as the ground is quite sandy there are lots of ants!

Not a great choice of food, mainly Becker burger stands but we had some lovely rolls & coffees from the Croissanterie stand (15 euros for 2 of us).  Of course lots of beer & cola/drink stands - I saw a guy carrying about 10 plastic cups of beer in his bare hands, a finger in each cup!  Others have specially adapted beer carrying paddles like planks with cup shaped holes in them, so they can carry up to about 20 cups of beer at a time ... you get the picture.  

Keep a few euros of change so that you can use the white toilet blocks, 50c a visit, which are nice & clean.  I reckon the (free) portaloos were probably not for the fainthearted like me, and lots of men just found a spot near a hedge, fence or stream & ..., so I decided it was just a more sensible ploy to keep my eyes trackwards at all times ....   The litter is a shock, there are no bins, and it is a massive contrast to the rest of the country which is wonderfully clean, but I think they just send in sweeping machines afterwards & clear it all up.  Be warned, after the main races are over, the temptation to set fire to litter is too great for some of the attendees, although marshalls swiftly arrived to deal with this.  Hubby & I are probably a bit too old now for some of the high jinks which no doubt continue well into the night as evidenced by the guys we saw asleep on a sofa on the roof of a caravan when we arrived on race day morning (and that was only the morning after the night before the racing took place, goodness knows where that sofa ended up the morning after the actual race ...)

The racing was thrilling.  I really wanted Marquez (or Bradley Smith) to win, but given that about 95% of the crowd were behind Rossi (that guy's fan base is incomprehensible until you witness it yourself), it was probably just as well that he cut across that last gravel corner & won!  Great weekend.  We might go again x