Ben Spies, the Factory Yamaha MotoGP star, was a busy man at Friday's opening day of the Long Beach stop at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show.
He started the day with a Q&A session at the Yamaha booth, alongside fellow MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow and AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes. The Texan also signed autographs for fans at the Yamaha booth when the show floor officially opened to the public.
Later, he appeared at the HJC Helmets booth for another autograph signing session for fans. Giving freely of his time so generously is clearly why Spies is such a favourite among the followers of two-wheeled motorsports. HJC have a Spies replica for sale and many fans took advantage of show-special prices and the chance to get the item signed by the man himself.
As a funny side-note, British racing hero Cal Crutchlow also gave freely of his time, but to this reporter, he also gave quite freely of some serious stink-eye. Being quite excited to see my Motherland reperesented here in California, I could not help but let out a resounding "CAAAAL" when the MotoGP Rookie of the Year appeared on the stage. This was greeted with the coldest of 'if-looks-could-kill' stares, from a fellow Englishman no less. It was a little disappointing, but not unexpected. Cal's reputation as a hard-nosed goon is thoroughly intact.