Mid-Ohio Fantasy Camp | Lean Angle

"I can't believe this," Sportbike Track Time's Monte Lutz told me, embarrassment all over his face, "but we've run out of food."

This was the last thing I wanted to hear. It was lunchtime at our first-ever Mid-Ohio Fantasy Camp event, and we'd already failed one of event planning's basic tenets: Thou shalt not let one's customers go hungry.

The caterer ended up getting more food to the track a half-hour later, so it wasn't a total disaster. But that didn't lessen the sting much. These folks had paid serious bucks for a VIP pass to the final AMA roadrace national of 2006 and, more importantly, the privilege of hanging, riding and yakking with Team Yoshimura Suzuki, home of newly crowned Superbike Champion Ben Spies, multi-time champions Mat Mladin and Aaron Yates, and 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz the following day. Making some of them go hungry, even for 30 minutes, wasn't a good way to start.

The whole Fantasy Camp idea isn't new, having been a staple of professional sports teams for years. But until now it's not been done with a motorcycling slant. The notion to meld the concept with bikes came about several years ago over beers at Laguna Seca with Alan Thain and Scott Casey, buddies of mine who co-owned a dealership in Seattle. But nothing really came of it until I met Monte Lutz and Bonnie Strawser of Sportbike Track Time, who not only had track and track-day logistics down pat (as well as a firm relationship with the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course), but also the energy, vision and positive attitude to see it through.

My desire to see this sort of event actually happen stemmed from more than my goal of involving Motorcyclist with its readers in a more substantial way. Much of it came from my experiences 30 years earlier at another Mid-Ohio, a site a few miles southeast of the current road course that hosted Trans-AMA and 125cc Grand Prix motocross events in the '70s. I attended many of those races as a kid and got the most thrills scrunched up along the snow fences lining the pits, watching my heroes and their mechanics working on bikes and dealing with the stuff professional riders do on race day. Guys like Roger DeCoster, Marty Smith, Gary Semics, Bob Hannah, Steve Stackable, Kent Howerton, Brad Lackey and others. Hero-worship or, worse, jock-sniffing? Maybe. But as a 13-year-old totally immersed in local motocross, these weekends were Utopian. The old Mid-Ohio Moto Park site is now a horse farm, but it remains holy ground, and I try to get there once a year to stand on the dirt the starting gate used to sit in.

Later that afternoon, with the lunch SNAFU mostly forgotten and the Fantasy Camp customers having gotten a 40-minute Q&A; session with the riders and mechanics, guided tours through the Yoshimura truck as well as many, many laps on Mid-Ohio's serpentine circuit on their own bikes, a customer approached me as I was sitting on the pit wall with Schwantz.

"Just wanted to thank you guys for this," he told us. "I've been a fan of yours [pointing to Schwantz] and the magazine for a long time, and to be able to rub elbows with all of you for an entire day is pretty neat."

"Even though you didn't get a sandwich?" I asked him.

"Hey," he said with a grin, "I can eat any time! This type of thing doesn't happen too often."

Actually, we're going to try to make this type of event more common in '07, so keep an eye out for Fantasy Camp announcements in these pages, on our Web site ([www.motorcyclist online.com](http://www.motorcyclist online.com)) and on STT's site (www.sportbiketracktime.com).

We promise to have more food on hand next time.