I went to the Circuit of the Americas’ MotoGP in 2013 which was its inaugural year.
Austin has a slogan and it appears on T-shirts in the many touristy memorabilia shops.
Historically, Texas was originally part of Mexico and through our knowledge of American history, the battle of The Alamo, was very critical to the state becoming independent.
Just to continue briefly about Austin, as you enter the Capital Building, the equivalent of the Houses of Parliament, they have a huge painting of Davy Crockett right at the entrance of the Main Entry. Davy was a Texan and Texans are very proud of their history and their fight for independence.
I recommend any race fan to stay in the city of Austin. It offers many hotels and accommodation for the tourist.
The bus services from the City out to the track would be the way to go. I had private transport through a chance meeting with a married couple from Houston, the next big city, for the race weekend. They were from Puerto Rico and were teachers by profession.
He rides a Hyabusa (Suzuki GSX1300R) and drove his 2 door Honda coupe as though he was still on the ‘Busa!
To get out to the track, there’s lots of American concrete-lined freeways, fly overs and clover leaves. I’d make sure your Google maps or GPS is working if you are self-motivated.
Usually I book my tickets online and when I travel a lot, I use the Ticket Allocation Centers that are designated by the MotoGP business as the pickup point for my ticket/s for that event.
Lately, MotoGP use a lot of phone type services and if you can use that method of obtaining your ticket. It is far easier.
The tickets sometimes aren’t available until a few weeks prior to the event so when I am in another country and phone internet may not be easy, I have opted for the pickup method at the Centers.
The MotoGP site is excellent and gives precise directions to these Ticket Allocation Centers. I have used this system on at least six or more occasions.
However, the Allocation Pick up Points aren’t necessarily close to the circuit like Le Mans, Sachsenring and Assen are. Mugello is quite a few kilometers from the Bus drop off point and Austin’s was about half way to the circuit.
The directions to The Allocation Points is accurate. It’s the getting to these ticket Allocation Points that is difficult when you are on the bus system.
There’s always the Friday for me to get my ticket/s and familiarise myself in the way to get to the circuit for the Saturday and Sunday. Assen has only recently changed to the Sunday race and that place is extremely popular with the UK based fans. Many just ride over.
C.O.T.A. is purpose built and is really good for us, the paying public. The entrance is wide, easy access, barriers up everywhere, security on the job and Harley mounted State Troopers in attendance.
The main memorabilia shop is very large and offers anything for the race fan. Absolutely anything. The merchandising tents and promotional area are always jammed packed and, as usual, even if you get lost on your way to any circuit, just follow the yellow VR46 fans.
The circuit, as we know, goes up the hill and then turns left and snakes its way down to the bottom sharp left turn. Anywhere along this part of the circuit is excellent viewing. Large TV screens at every location make the enjoyment really worthwhile. There are plenty of those mobile toilets available. Food places are readily available.
Drinks and alcohol are available and are at easy to get to locations but when there’s anywhere up to 100,000 fans on race day, you need to understand how food stalls and beer tents operate.
My booked seat was in the main grandstand for the inaugural race in 2013 opposite the start finish line.
This main stand is covered and offers great viewing and the large TV screens makes the races easy to follow.
I’m 68 now and am pretty fit and mobile although a seat for me becomes an important part of my race day. I like knowing where I am and my numbered seat is ideal for me.
The back part of the circuit around the last few turns that lead onto the main straight have great viewing grandstands.
All along the first section, after the first left hander at the top of the hill, is all open to the public. The S’s section in this zone is really popular viewing for the change of direction of the two wheeled missiles that attack the circuit.
Marc Marquez won that first year and incredibly hasn’t been off the top step of the podium ever since.
The racing events are, as usual, run on time and are managed to the highest quality.
Like all MotoGP events, it is colourful, usually peaceful without skirmishes and a great way to get out and enjoy the weekend’s racing.
Austin city has many bars for that well-earned drink. In one particular area of the Downtown area, a few of the streets have nothing but very private bars instead of the usual shops.
As you leave the town area and venture further afield across the main bridge, there’s more great outdoor eating places and the pizzas they serve are extra-large and very tasty. Many venues have bands playing and overall, it is a great weekend.
I would definitely return without a doubt. The city of Austin feels safe and it has a young feeling about it. I think you should always stay within the circle you know, and since the MotoGP events are about good times and meeting new friends, Austin fits in well with this overall picture.
The racing at the circuit is easy to follow and enjoy from any location, with all the necessary amenities, good viewing and a very casual atmosphere which altogether makes it all really worthwhile.
Austin might want to “keep weird” but C.O.T.A is definitely the real deal.