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A month or so ago my friend, Charlie, asked if I wanted to go to the world superbike races in Salt Lake City. Without thinking I said, “Sure” and a plan was hatched.

I’ve only been riding for a few decades, but Charlie has been riding motorcycles for more than half a century. And he’s one of about ten remaining “Pioneer” members of the BMWOA. Yep, he’s BMW through and through (but I won’t hold that against him). Three years ago when I went through a divorce he put me up at his house for a year – a year! Great guy – good friend.

So I volunteered to get the tickets and make all the reservations; Charlie volunteered to show up.

We decided to make a real trip out of it and take two days to get from Albuquerque to SLC, two days at the races, and then two days to get back; and hit as many scenic byways as possible. Six days. Originally we decided to go up and back via Arizona and southern Utah, but in the back of my mind I thought about western Colorado and some of the scenic byways that I haven’t ridden before. Charlie is pretty easy to get along with – he’ll eat anything you put in front of him and isn’t too picky about much else. He makes for an easy traveling companion. I hit him up with the Colorado idea midway through the trip and he was game.

What a great trip! Much of it was a magic carpet ride through some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States. (And the races were awesome!) We traveled through northern Arizona, Utah, western Colorado, and New Mexico.

Following is a pictorial. Enjoy!

Our first stop was Farmington NM for lunch; Charlie is on the right and I’m on the left.



At the Arizona/Utah border along highway 191. (Further south by the way, highway 191 between Alpine and Clifton, AZ is a phenomenal sport bike road – better than the tail of the dragon in my opinion.)


Some Indian ruins in southern Utah.


Southern Utah along highway 95 at the Colorado River. This is where the Colorado dumps into Lake Powell. The scenery in this area is fantastic.


The young Dutch bicyclist who took our photo was on a solo trip all over North America. She started in Calgary, AB a month ago. Brave soul.


Accommodations in Hanksville, UT.


More fantastic scenery the next day along highway 24 and Capital Reef National Park. Couldn’t take pictures of everything. Well worth the ride if you’re in the area.

 

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Going north along highway 24.


We finally made it to Salt Lake. This was the view outside our hotel window… Just as we pulled in the rain started.


It was a wet day, but we came prepared. We got to the Miller Motorsports Park on Sunday, May 29th in time to see some of the qualifying sessions. Both AMA Pro Road races and World Superbike races were being held. The first AMA race was scheduled for 11:50.


Wet conditions – Unbelievable speeds despite the wet track… in the straights the World Superbike guys were doing more than 180 MPH! It was a thrill watching them go past on the straightaway. From the back, the bikes emitted a loud pop when they shifted. Charlie told me that when they shift (without the clutch) the ignition cuts out for a few milliseconds to allow a smooth shift (at full throttle). Unburned fuel then ignites and creates the popping sound.




Some of the AMA supersport and superbike hardware. Notice the rain tires.





Thankfully nobody was badly hurt during the races. These are some of the bikes they pulled out of the mud after their riders threw them off the track.





Some of the AMA superbikes.



BMW was there in force. I guess they were demonstrating the durability of their machines.

 

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The track dried up very nicely the next day. We had great seats.



One of the AMA race-winning bikes.


Start of race 1 for World Superbike. Once the track was dry these guys were approaching speeds of 200 MPH.


Max Biaggi, #1, and Jonathan Rea got a little tangled. They did not finish race 1.


Heading into the straight… the sound was marvelous.


One could see the difference in skill between the AMA Superbike pro racers and the World Superbike guys. The AMA guys didn’t hold a candle against the world’s best.


Carlos Checa on his way to winning race 1.




Time for some fine cuisine.


Lining up for the final World Superbike race. There are umbrella girls out there – Charlie swears it!


It was a good race.



Carlos Checa on his way to his second victory of the day.


Carlos Checa followed by Leon Camier. Camier took second.


Max Biaggi on his way to a third place finish.


Carlos Checa on his way across the finish line.


Leon Camier and Max Biaggi taking second and third.


Leon Camier entertaining the crowd after the race.



From left to right, Max Biaggi, Leon Camier, and Carlos Checa.




Back on the road Tuesday morning. Utah/Colorado border at Dinosaur.


Some of the scenery in western Colorado along highway 141 between Grand Junction and Naturita. If you like sweepers and fantastic scenery this is a magic carpet ride. Ride this ride – you won’t regret it!





The structure on the cliffs was built between 1888 and 1891. It spanned 5 miles and was used to carry water to a hydraulic mining operation. The whole area is rich in mining history.
 

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In and around Telluride.




Great trip, great company, great memories. (And yes, I became a convert to road racing.)
 

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Great trip Axelwik. I just sent the link to some SBK buddies of mine. Thanks very much.
 

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Great trip Axelwik. I just sent the link to some SBK buddies of mine. Thanks very much.
You're welcome... too good of a trip not to share. :thumbup:
 

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Good report. Thanks for sharing!

One of these days I will get to a race. And get to Colorado. And...
 

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Thanks for taken us along to the races, my heart longs to ride and camp that area again.
 
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