It's pretty hard to find much to fault with the race weekend. Getting that number of people in and out of the track is never going to be fast, but for the most part things always seemed to be moving, even the massive lineup for the shuttles after the race. We left our seats at Turn 6 right after the podium ceremony, and didn't get to my car in the parking garage next to the 15th and Trinity downtown shuttle spot until 3.5 hours later. At least an hour of that was simply getting from out seats to the line for the shuttle, which was another 1.5 hour wait.
It does seem as though the shuttle dropoff at the track could have been closer to the main entrance, but based on the exodus at the end of the race perhaps the long walk just helps to spread everyone out a bit instead of having them bottleneck right outside the main entrance.
I thought the most frustrating part was getting to my seats, which were on the backside of the track, and took an hour to get to once we hit the main entrance. I would like to see some sort of a trolley system or something that circles the perimeter with stops at every 2-3 corners. This get everyone a lot closer to their seats without them having to plow through the middle and across the two bridges.
They need a LOT more vendors, and they need to have some people who know what they're doing handling the food and drink stuff. For the most part it seemed to be stoned kids who operated in slow motion and couldn't do basic math. The guy at the Gyro stand fancied himself some of artist and what should have taken ten seconds turned into painful minutes of him contemplating each Gyro like he'd given birth to it. It was maddening to wait in line for water, only to find out from the kid at the stand that they haven't had any beverages all day, but they didn't feel the need to put up a sign or cover the water on the menu sign. Yes, I'm pretty sure I've turned into an old prick at 46!
They definitely got the bathroom thing right! Anywhere on the track you were within 20 yards of a bathroom, and rarely was there a line to get into one.
My g/f and I stayed at a great B&B in Burton, a little more than an hour from downtown Austin, at a bargain $160/night. It was right next door to an excellent french country restaurant called the "Brazos Belle", where we had a fantastic dinner Saturday night. It made the ride in a little longer, but paying $600-700 a night for a shitty room with a 3 night minimum in Austin was just more than I could stomach. I'd do it in a heartbeat for the Four Seasons or W, but not for Motel 6.
The large corner marker signs were a silly example of fashion over form, and you had to often walk around these massive signs with massive lettering to know which corner they indicated, as the lettering overlapped the adjacent surfaces of the square signs.
Next year I'll plan better and make sure I have a parking pass, and probably shoot for seats on the front side by the main entrance. The people I know who had parking passes and stayed in San Marcos seemed to have the best experience getting in and out of there, so I'll probably try that for Moto GP.
As for the circuit and the race itself, I don't know if they could possibly improve upon the weekend. The drivers legitimately seemed to love the track and the entire experience. Considering how much skepticism there was, even six months ago, that this would ever happen, I think they hit a massive home run in Austin.
2009 BMW HP2 Sport, 1998 Ducati 900SS Final Edition, 1981 BMW R100RS
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