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The MotoGP experience

21 June 2012

Valentino Rossi

"Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be invited to share the Bridgestone stand at this years motoGP at Silverstone." Blogger Bruce Smarts shares his experiences.

Anyone for Silverstone?

I could get used to this! Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be invited to share the Bridgestone stand at this years motoGP at Silverstone. Although I might not compete with Dr Stephen Hawkings in the brains department, I’ve got enough common sense to bite their hand off at this offer, so was there in a shot.

Arriving Thursday lunchtime, I’d come straight up from London off a night duty, but it didn’t matter a dot. I was here, at Silverstone, for the motoGP, and I was on the Bridgestone stand? How it happened I still can’t figure out, but I’d certainly make the most of this incredible opportunity.

After setting up my camping pitch at Woodlands, I got back to the Bridgestone truck in the main merchandise zone and set about organising my TeapotOne stall. Soon enough it was ship shape and we were in business. Bridgestone’s motorcycle business development manager, Steve Watts, and I manned up the stand with beauties April and Frankie (shown above).

As seems to be the norm these days, the rain and wind soon made an appearance as Thursday afternoon made way to early evening and beyond. As the crowds dispersed from the Riders for Health main stage, we packed up and I headed back to my tent for some kip. I was absolutely cream crackered so it was straight to bed for me, do not pass go, do not pick up a pint or bag of chips, just bed.

I awoke early Friday morning to the sound of air horns and music, 0530hrs and the natives were already stirring. But I didn’t care, this is what camping at the motoGP is all about. You can sleep when you get home, just get up and enjoy it. So it was off to the shower block, dressed and on the bike to ride back to the stall where I was greeted by a quagmire! The heavy rain the previous night had taken it’s toll on the ground around the circuit, but soon enough the Silverstone powers that be had got their plan into action and men with forklifts, shovels and bags of bark descended all around us. In no time we were afloat aboard a sea of bark, ship shape and ready to go once more.

In the distance I could hear the sound of revving engines in pitts a far. But these were no ordinary machines. These were possessed psychopath devils, screaming for the chance to be set free! I’d never heard anything like this before. You felt it come up through your feet as the bikes made their way around the circuit closer to us, and as they screamed by you couldn’t help but smile. I felt about 5 years old again and all I wanted to do when I grew up was ride one of those machines!

But anyway, back to earth once more. Friday was a bit busier as the crowds grew for the practice sessions. We had a steady stream of passing traffic coming by the stall and as people enquired with Steve about the BT-023 tyre, he would simply direct them over to me and tell them I was riding around the world on a pair of them.

I’m not a good liar, never have been, so it’s a good job I like this tyre as there was lots of interest. Like is the wrong word, I love it. I’ve been riding on a pair of BATTLAX BT-023’s since about February this year. I’ve done a few track days on them now, a BSB Enduro ride covering 2,000 miles in 3 days, I’ve munched motorway miles up and down to Scotland, I’ve been a hooligan around France and the Southern counties on them, I’ve commuted in and out of London on them daily, and I’ve ridden them in just about every type of weather. I’ve even been off-roading on them, ridden in the snow and ice, and crossed a small river! After all that I’m absolutely confident in their grip, their stability, their performance, and their suitability for my trip and style of riding.

I recently had to change the rear tyre as after about 7,500 miles it was starting to become a topic of conversation whenever I stopped! (see above pic) But compared to my usual 800-3000 miles for a rear, I am over the moon with their performance. The front tyre is still going strong with over 10,500 miles on the clock and there’s probably still another 2,000-3,000 miles left! I’ve got a big old weekend coming up with the Twitter UK Bike Meet on Friday, the RBLR1000 on Saturday, then The SuperCar Event on Sunday. This will see me ride from London to Birmingham, Birmingham to Leeds, Leeds to John O’Groats and back, then down to Dunsfold Park in Surrey and home. Somewhere in the region of 2,000 miles so that should finish off the front nicely, I’ll keep you updated.

So back to Silverstone, and with qualifying taking place on the Saturday, our stand was getting busier and busier as the crowds grew. Come late afternoon Steve informed me that we’d be shutting up shop a bit earlier and heading over to the Bridgestone Corporate Hospitality at the circuit for some drink and nibbles. Bearing in mind I was standing in my grubby leathers, I felt pretty out of place amongst the corporate elite and VIP’s, but the Bridgestone crew couldn’t have made me feel more like part of the family. It was a great evening and I met loads of cracking people, including a brief sighting of Dovitsioso!

Onto Sunday and it was another bright and early rise to pack up the tent and kit, strap everything onto the bike and ride it back over to the stand. After finding my mates Russ, Woody and Laura, who’d come up to give me a hand around the stall, we set to work getting everything ready for the day.

The crowds were huge and the sun shone high in the sky. I don’t think there was a single drop of rain the whole day! We were kept busy from the off as the crowds filtered by, first of all stopping to look over the range of Bridgestone tyres, then coming closer to look at the beast and gaze at the route map. Above all, the map always get’s the most comments and I have to say that as the leaving date of 1st October draws near, even I am asking myself, “Why!” The difference is there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that I won’t make it. Even if the beast has a few ‘issues’ along the way, I’ll find a solution and if I have to strap it to my back and crawl the 100,000 miles, then so be it.

Person after person was coming forward to offer their support, ask questions about the project, the route, the bike, the charities, and the tyres. People seem to have a fascination with the tyres I’ll be using and look at me like a Frenchman in Aberdeen when I say I won’t be using knobblies! There was also a marked increase in the number of people coming up to me and saying that they’d heard about TeapotOne through FastBikes Magazine, Facebook, Twitter, and other media I didn’t even know it featured in! Word certainly seems to be spreading now and hopefully I can continue this wave for the rest of the project duration.

As the final races were complete and the crowds began to subside, I had a chance to sample some of what was on offer there at Silverstone. Having only recently completed the ‘Learn2Wheelie’ day I was eager to show off my prowess, and ‘Extreme Wheelie Machine’ was looking like just the stage for me. Steve Pickett, their MD very kindly let myself and Laura have a go on their wheelie machines, but I’ve got to say that my magic was certainly not on display and my dismal effort was nothing to worry the motoGP stars about.

Well that was the motoGP and I’d like to say a huge thanks to Dan Woodward, Steve Watts, and Andy Whitehead for inviting me along. It was an incredible experience and great opportunity to get out there to the masses. Thanks for your support guys.

So what’s been happening with TeapotOne of late and what’s next?

Well I’ve recently accrued some more corporate sponsors in the form of Kriega and P&O Ferries. Both companies join a growing list of sponsors who are realising the marketing and PR potential of the project. I’m currently 2/3rds of the way to securing the trip budget and am still recruiting backers. If you think your company could be interested in getting involved please drop me a line via

The deadline for sponsors to be onboard if they want to be included on the bike is the 1st September 2012. After this the trip bike will be getting professionally wrapped in preparation for the long voyage ahead. Below is an initial draft of the final design and should give some idea as to what it’ll eventually look like.

Event wise, I’ve got the Twitter UK Bike Meet this Friday, then the RBLR1000 on Saturday, and then The Supercar Event rounding off the weekend.

Next week is the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and the following weekend is the Horizons Unlimited HUBB weekend where I’ve been asked to give a presentation on the project! Can’t wait for all of that.

The last event on the calendar so far is the War & Peace show in July, so if you’ve got an event you’d like TeapotOne to attend, please drop me a line and I’ll be there if it’s possible.

Don’t forget to follow TeapotOne on facebook and twitter (@TeapotOne), as well as subscribe to thew TeapotOneVids YouTube channel to keep uptodate with news.

Right that’ll do you for now. Thanks for all of your support, remember to keep it rubber side down (most of the time).

Cheers for now,

Love it!

By Bruce Smart
I’m not a good liar, never have been, so it’s a good job I like this tyre as there was lots of interest. Like is the wrong word, I love it.