For the last five years, one of the most exciting weekends to be a motorcyclist living in Texas is MotoGP weekend at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin. In addition to MotoGP racing, the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show takes place downtown, and this year the third round of the AMA Super Hooligan National Championship Series was added in conjunction with Handbuilt just outside the show venue. It’s a unique and diverse motorcycle-themed weekend filled with fun and excitement with a little something for everyone.
This year a group from the Tucker Marketing Team decided to make the trek down for a content capture weekend with a few excursions along the way. On Friday morning, after a brief meet-up at Tucker headquarters in Fort Worth, the team headed south on 35W towards Austin. The designated meet-up point was The Oasis on Lake Travis, and after a quick lunch, the team headed for Lime Creek Road to capture some photos and video. Winding its way around Lake Travis, Lime Creek Road with its twists and turns and undulations is a street rider’s dream and had our crew smiling from ear-to-ear under their Arai helmets.
After the Lake Travis excursion, we made a beeline for downtown Austin to check-in to our accommodations located across the Colorado River from the Handbuilt Show venue. The plan was to squeeze in another photo shoot before nightfall, this time on South Congress Avenue. But with dark skies rolling in and the streets packed with people because of the Lonestar Round Up Car Show, our second content gathering mission was foiled before it began. Instead, some of the crew headed to local Austin dining favorite Güero’s Taco Bar for a Mexican feast of epic proportions.
Saturday morning, we were greeted by thunderstorms and Spring-in-Texas wind gusts, which didn’t bode well for another content excursion to the Jacob’s Well Natural Area about 45 miles southwest of town. Instead, we slammed some Torchy’s breakfast tacos and headed to Handbuilt to walk the show and watch round three of the AMA Super Hooligans National Championship.
The brainchild of Austin-based Revival Cycles, and held inside the downtown Austin American-Statesman building nestled against the banks of the Colorado River, the Handbuilt Show is a collection of custom-built motorcycles that defy standard motorcycle genre labels. Anything on two wheels is fair game at Handbuilt, and the result is some of the most creative motorcycles we’ve ever see. From refurbished iconic 70s and 80s machines like the Yamaha RD400, ubiquitous Honda CBs, race replica trackers, new school electric bikes, to futuristic hybrid concept bikes, Handbuilt celebrates creativity and the process of building a motorcycle.
As the Revival Cycles crew describes it, “the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show is an inspiring showcase of works from builders and craftsmen that combine knowledge, skill, and ingenuity to create one-of-a-kind truly hand-built machines.” Many of the bikes on display blur the line between street, offroad, and adventure and the level of ingenuity and creativity on display is stunning. It’s the type of event that pushes motorcycles and motorcycling forward.
Despite early morning rain and a slight schedule delay, the Roland Sands crew quickly got back on track and the Super Hooligans show went off without a hitch. The sun came out, spectators grabbed a beverage and lined the course, and the riders took to the course for an action-packed afternoon of ‘run-what-you-brung’ style racing. If you’ve never been to a Super Hooligans race, add it to your bucket list. With a laid-back, down-to-earth vibe and all-access to the participants, it’s refreshing to attend an event that’s so inclusive, where racers and spectators feel like they’re a part of the show. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from experience, you can always count on a good time at a Roland Sands event.
Representing Tucker in the Super Hooligans National Championship class was new Steve Huff Motorsports signee David Kohlstaedt. At just fifteen years old, Kohlstaedt made his Austin Super Hooligans debut an impressive one with a fifth-place finish in the final. Twin Power ambassador Stephanie Pietz was also in attendance on her Tucker-backed ride, along with Tucker V-twin Segment Director Aaron Whitney, who broke out his XR in the Pit Bike Class. Former AMA Grand National Flat Track Pro Champion Joe Kopp nailed the Super Hooligan main event followed by Jordan Graham and Frankie Garcia. In typical hooligan fashion, Graham gave the crowd a tire-melting smoke show to bring the race day to a close.
Sunday was all about Circuit of the Americas (COTA) for the Red Bull MotoGP Grand Prix of The Americas. Located on 1,500 acres in the rolling hills southeast of Austin, COTA is a world-class race facility that’s home to the only MotoGP and Formula One races held in the United States. Co-designed by Texas native and former Grand Prix racer Kevin Schwanz, to say that the 3.41-mile, 20-turn circuit is impressive would be an understatement. It’s a massive facility that rivals the more well-known circuits of Europe, such as L’autodromo del Mugello in Italy, Circuito de Jerez in Spain, and the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic. To fully comprehend just how awesome the place is, it really must be experienced in-person.
Sunshine and warm temperatures made for perfect conditions and the races kicked off at 11 am with the Moto3 class, followed by Moto2, then MotoGP at 2 pm. The big question on everyone’s mind was if the Marc Marquez win streak would continue for a seventh consecutive victory. Or would a new face top the podium? With Marquez in the lead off the start, win number seven looked to be a sure thing, that is until a lap nine crash ended the day for Marquez. With Marquez out, the crowd went wild as the lead was handed to arguably the most popular rider in the MotoGP paddock, 40-year old Valentino Rossi. But it was not to be for Rossi, as a late race pass by Suzuki rider Alex Rins stopped the Marc Marquez King of COTA streak at six.
As MotoGP came to close, 13,985 steps later (Did we mention COTA is massive?), it was time to pack up and hit the road back to Fort Worth. All-in-all it was fun-filled weekend and time well-spent. We came, we saw, we took photos, shot video and had an all-around good time being around our fellow motorcycle-riding brothers and sisters. Austin is one cool city, with fantastic food, plenty to do, and heaps of interesting people.