Great show at Hagerstown last night. I'd been to the Barbara Fritchie Classic in Frederick on the 4th, and decided based on that to check out the top tier of AMA flat track at Hagerstown. It was a wonderful show.
I especially liked the "open paddock" where *all* fans were invited to the pit area for a limited time without paying extra for a pit pass.
I was amazed when I got a look at the racing surface up close as I walked across the track. I was amazed at how much gravel and such in in there. From the stands, the track looks like fairly clean clay. Guess not. The other surprise was that it looked like a dry creek bed, even after all the water they were putting on. The track was fairly rubbered up even after practice.
As seems to be the usual for Hagerstown, the "6PM start" was actually 8:30. Why can't they just say "Hey, folks, it's super hot out, and we'll start the actual racing around sundown. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who would have preferred to spend the extra couple of hours in air conditioning at home or in our cars, than being slowly broiled on the grandstand. You know it's hot when the ice cream freezer in the concession stand can't keep up and the ice cream is melting in their freezer case! They did the same thing for their Speedweek show - the first heat race didn't roll until 9PM for that one.
The only other downside was the distraction of the AMA's flagman, who seems to feel that *he* is the real show - strutting, posing and doing little dance routines for every flagging occasion, at one point losing his grip on the checkered flag and flinging it into the fence just after the last rider went by. I can only imagine the terrible outcome if his grip had slipped a little bit sooner.
Yes, a bit of showmanship is always nice, but there's a point where "showman" ends and "distracting buffoon" begins, and in my view, this guy left that line a few miles back in the rear view mirror. The guys and gals on the bikes are the show, buddy, and your job is to run the show smoothly and look professional - deal with it.
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