Saturday, 6 March 2010

2010 WSBK Round 1 - Phillip Island: The Racing

Leon, Rockit & Ian at the house on PI

Weather forecasts for the Superbikes weekend had been wildly optimistic, so of course I had packed summer gear. At the last minute I'd chucked a fleecy jacket in my bag, as a concession to the changeability of the Phillip Island weather. Just as well I did!

I found my way to the Island by myself on Friday, grabbed some food and wine from the shops in Cowes, and promptly got lost on the way to Rockit's house. How the heck I ended up on a gravel road, I don't know – but I finally found Rockit's, arriving just as Leon did.

One of the great attractions of the Superbikes weekend at PI is that you can actually ride your bike into the circuit, rather than parking it outside. Well, that may be attractive to some people, but not to me. I like bitumen, and given my aversion to unsealed stuff and my tendency to fall off, my personal Risk Management Strategy involved leaving my bike at Rockit's and finding alternate means of getting to the track.

Leon to the rescue! I'm never too proud to be a pillion, especially if it means getting to the track in one piece.

Oh, what an adventure! From our vantage point at MG corner we had a great view of the big screen as well as the bit of the track just after the hairpin where so many of the racers crash – it's a bit heart-stopping really. (And it was a weekend of many crashes - Ruben Xaus alone had FOUR, and poor Chris Vermeulen crashed his Kwaka in both WSBK races. Ouch.)

We checked out the bikes in the Expo, and I discovered what I had always suspected – the little Ducati Monster is indeed a little too tall for me. Ah well....

I was on a mission – my mate gNat/Tali, Clem's daughter, had dragged me (not exactly kicking and screaming, mind you!) to the Support Paddock at motoGP last year to show me around, and one of the young racers she introduced me to was Troy Herfoss. gNat couldn't make it to the Supers this year because she's busy overseeing Clem's recovery (crap timing, Clem!)

As a Team Suzuki racer, Troy was doing an appearance at the Expo, so I was determined to get a pic for gNat. Here it is!

TroyHerfoss is so tall, this is where I was jumping up and down and saying to Leon "make sure you can get ME in the photo too!"...

So, being the perfect gentleman that he is, Troy came down to my level for another pic...

...and yet another pic when the flash didn't go off for the last one!

Troy is a talented racer, and a humble, clean-cut, focussed and very genuine young bloke with movie-star looks and a lovely manner, and he was happy to pose for a pic with me and to talk about the weekend's racing – as well as sending a hello to Tali and best wishes for Clem's recovery – I think I became his Number One fan on the spot after that – what a truly nice young man.

Coincidentally, Leon was chatting with a bloke outside a bit later on who turned out to be Troy's dad, who had ridden to Phillip Island on his V-Strom with Troy's mum on the back. I really liked that.

Friday was roasting hot, but on Saturday the good old Phillip Island weather kicked in and the day was grey, windy and bitterly cold. Thank goodness Katt's housemate had loaned me a big thick jacket – I would've been icicle-ised without it!

The weather may have been cold, but the racing was hot – very exciting, and Troy's result in Race 1 of the Australian Supersports class put him on the front row of the grid for Sunday's Race 2.

You know that you'll rarely get a Betty blog without a rant – so here's my rant for today.

A pox on all those people (generally tall, overweight middle-aged blokes with accountant looks and expensive name-brand jackets that they've just bought at the Expo) who take chairs to the track and sit on them against the fence (that's not the rant bit), and who stand up (quite unnecessarily!) to watch the races, thereby blocking the view of everybody behind them (especially short-arses like me!). One fat bloke who insisted on standing, even though he had an unobscured view of the track, and who kept raising his binoculars so that even my view of the big screen was obscured, came THIS close to being vaporised by some white-hot Betty ire. The only thing that saved him was his almost total lack of interest in Australian racing – he was only interested in blocking everybody's view for the World Superbikes class. Where's a cattle-prod when you need one? Sheesh, some people are so effing selfish!

Phew, glad I got that off my chest. So.... despite tall selfish bastards putting a bit of a damper on Sunday's WSBK racing, it was good to see my new favourite, Troy Herfoss, blitzing the field in Race 2 of the Aust Supersports.

Big screen view of the podium for the Aust Supersports class

Back at the house, Rockit's daughter Jo headed home to Melbourne (thanks heaps for all the rides to and from the track, Jo!) and the rest of us departed shortly afterwards. I had a lovely dinner at the pub in Kilcunda, and stayed in a spotless room with a lovely hot shower at the Killy Motel next door. Life's good!


JohnO said...

Betty, once again a brilliant write-up of your adventures.
Maybe you need to consider taking up writing as a full time job :)

I'll have a Coopers thanks.

Julie said...

Ah Betty, been waiting for this report with baited breath!

I'll try to make it next year, or to GP this year... gonna have to stop living vicariously through your reports!

Anonymous said...

Top work Betty.
I couldn't be more envious if I tried!

Leon really enjoyed the trip too (though he's too much of a luddite to actually say so!)

Sue said...

Gee it was fun!

See you at the next motoGP, Clem? In fact, I reckon what we'll have to do is this: You & Leon (and gNat?) come and stay at my place on the Wednesday. I will wave you off on the Thursday morning and race you to the Island after I finish school on the Friday arv. You'll only beat me there by a few hours, I reckon! Pick me up a bottle of red when you get to Cowes and I'll meet you all back at the house to hand you a beer???