Passion in Barcelona
As the stands filled on Saturday for the qualifying of the MotoGP at the Cataluña circuit in Barcelona, Spain, an American accent stood out from the rest of the Spanish-speaking natives.
Bekky Winship and Steve Alkyer traveled thousands of miles from Huntington Beach, California to have the thrill of a live experience of their favorite motorsport. Alkyer said he came from the U.S. to meet up with his fiancé Winship, who had just finished hiking the Camino de Santiago Trails in northern Spain.
Motorcycle racing fans from all over the world who love Superbike racing flocked to The Circuit of Cataluña to see round 7 of the MotoGP™ the weekend of June 11, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. Some of the top competitors such as Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, and Dani Pedrosa, faced off for the top spot on the podium.
When race fans have a passion for motorsports, they will travel the distance, no matter how far. The MotoGP is comparable to Formula One automobile road racing — the fans, the speed, the loud engines, and the smell of burning rubber. Just as F1, this event gathers fans from all over the world.
“Her [hiking] trip lasted for roughly seven weeks, and she was alone,” said Alkyer as he smiled down at her.
Winship said, she had trekked 500 miles that took her from Camino Francés to St. Jean-Pied-du-Port near Biarritz in France to Santiago.
“It was a dream come true for me since I had been planning this trip for quite some time,” Winship said. “I never thought I would be away from Steve for such a long time.”
She said the hike was for her own spiritual needs, yet it was something she needed to do.
“I wanted my trip to end with something as equally special for Steve,” she added.
She said he supported her in her hiking goals. Now she wanted something special for Steve since he went out of his way for her to go, she thought of something that could raise his adrenaline, in a place where engines are roaring with lots of speed.
Winship bought her fiancé Alkyer a ticket for them both to attend MotoGP racing at The Cataluña Circuit in Barcelona to meet up after being apart for so long.
Winship began laughing once Steve’s true colors began to show.
He said, he owns four motorcycles but his most current bike is a Honda supermoto. A supermoto is essentially extremely versatile and can be ridden both on street and dirt tracks.
Winship is the opposite of Steve when it comes to two-wheel transportation. She does not own any motorcycle.
“I’m sketchy on beach cruiser, so I would never buy a motorcycle,” Winship said.
Alkyer shared who his favorite rider is and quickly gave three reasons why.
“I say, Dani Pedrosa, he’s small but confident, and he’s just always there,” Alkyer said. “He’s quite a humble guy and that’s what I like about him.”
“I don’t know if I am qualified enough, but I’m a Rossi girl,” she said.
Italian nine-time world champion Valentino “The Doctor” Rossi, had his first victory in the 1996 Czech Republic Grand Prix. He had 10 MotoGP podium finishes in the 2016 season, placing him second in the overall championship points.
“I was first introduced to him through MotoGP, I have been woken up by Steve many of times at five a.m. to watch Rossi race,” she laughed. “My third reason would be because of his character, he is humble, super mellow, laid back and I admire that.”
Riders who like the adrenaline rush that can only come from speed, often dream of competing in MotoGP Premier Class, and this is Alkyer’s fantasy as well.
“Wow! Well, most who ride a motorcycle want to be a GP rider in the premier class. As far as the team, I would say Yamaha Tech three.”
Alkyer prioritized the tracks where he’d like to test his skills. First would be Cataluña because it was the first MotoGP event he attended so he has a special place in his heart for the Spanish Circuit. Second would be Rossi’s home track in Mugello, Italy and third, the Sepang course in Malaysia, mostly for the overall atmosphere.
The motorcycle racing community recently lost one of its beloved riders in a tragic accident, unrelated to motorsport. American MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden was struck by a car while riding a bicycle in Italy last month. After suffering a traumatic brain injury, he died five days later in a local hospital. This deeply affected the American couple.
Hayden’s death generated an emotional response from Steve as he’d met Nicky several years ago at a local race track in California. Hayden was riding a motorcycle belonging to a friend of Alkyer’s.
“It hit me hard,” Alkyer said, his facial expression changing like a kid who had just watched his ice cream cone fall to the ground. “He was such a down-to-earth, humble guy. He treated everyone as regular person.”
Steve added Hayden wore his “spirit for the sport on his sleeve.”
They showed they loved the sport as much as any other fan in Cataluña. This American couple, who traveled across land and sea, to unselfishly fulfill each other’s dreams.
Winship is happy to follow his dreams but as for herself, she is happier being part of the support staff.
“If you need a pit mom, I’m the one to call,” she chuckled.