I drove down the Hume Highway to Gundagai on Wednesday night after work and stayed in the Gundagai Motel at a reasonable $85 for the night, it's easy access to and from the highway and without any road noise. I didn't have to get up so early in the morning but awoke at 5:30am and couldn't get back to sleep so I got up and left with a drive through maccas breaky by 6:30am.
|One lone Rider on the Hume Hwy Goodness?|
I arrived within about 15 minutes of Dave and his son Will. It was going to be his first motorcycle event. Boy was he going to be in for a real treat as the MotoGP boys really do put on a great show. We had a quick beer in San Remo before the rozzers showed up, I was half hoping someone was going to get tasered for our enjoyment but is wasn't to be, apparently us Aussie motorcyclists are not like they were back in the seventies.
We had a bit of a look around Cowes where I bought myself some Andy Straps before heading to the track to set up our tents for the weekend. Thursday weather was fantastic but would it hold out?
|Yours truly in Cowes|
With Geoff and Ray turning up on Friday we set up their tents ready to go and headed out to get some beer so that we wouldn't dehydrate in the harsh Aussie weather. It was an early night for us as it got cold fast once the sun went down and the track side campground was fairly quiet I noticed. I expect this will pick up over the next two nights.
FRIDAY - 26th
I was up early again despite vowing to sleep in today. Ah well all good intentions, I did wait for the rain to stop before getting up though. We made our way to the visitor centre for a spot of breakfast and then made our way down to the track, where the conditions were looking a bit grim compared with yesterday's blue skies. It was cold too only about 15°C then with wind chill on top.
|Mmmmm great weather for |
|Suzuki's New Katana. I wasn't overly impressed as the original looked more out there then the new one did. It kind of looked a bit tame.|
|Will dropping one of the demo bikes......oops.|
Alpinestars had a stand this year with a display of their tech-air suits. All that motogp developed technology has now become available in suits that you can buy and use on the street.
The Alpinestars stand had a set of Dovi's and Marquez leathers on display that were damaged in a crash. Interesting to see them in this state and how good these suit perform under extreme conditions That Marquez bloke sure is a little fella.
We made our way round to MG corner whilst the track was cleaned up from a oil spill during Moto3 practise, apparently one rider dropped oil all the way from pit exit to Honda corner. So we had 2 hours of boredom which reminded me of the World Superbike round where nothing happened for hours.
|At least I wasn't the only paparazzi|
Finally the Moto3 bikes came out followed by the Moto2 bikes. Here are some of the pics I took from MG and turn 11.
Then out came the Moto2 bikes for their practise session.
|Luca Marini - right|
I noticed this one guy sliding it around turn 11, woh he was really on it. So I continued taking some photos. Then I saw him again and he was sliding sideways again like Stoner, but then it went into a huge high side. I managed to capture the end result of the crash. Turns out it was Remy Gardner, Wayne Gardner's son. Luckily he wasn't hurt and could continue with the race on Sunday. It was a pretty big high side though.
I noticed that there was a bunch of school kids here today. Phillip Island schools have the best school excursion ever.....
We continued our on our way around the track making sure to keep hydrated along the way. Wouldn't want to melt in this hot Aussie sun, Burke and Wills could have learnt something from me.
On the way the MotoGp missiles made their way onto the track. Let the madness commence......
|The Crutch looking for a tow truck......|
Siberia turned out to be a fantastic place to take photo's of the bikes for 2 reasons.
1. Its relatively close to the track from the fence
2. The bikes are travelling at a much lower speed than other parts of the track
So here are a few of the many I took from here. It was so hard to choose which one's to use as I got a few hundred great pics from this vantage point. But boy were these bastards so loud from this spot when they get hard on the gas.
|World Champion Marc Marquez|
|Drunken Rossi Fan|
Bautista was having a fun day out learning why Lorenzo's bike is so hard to ride. Not long after I took this shot Rossi and Marquez decided they'd like a closer look at the gravel trap as well.
Rossi also thought dirt tracking was better than road riding..........
Nakagmi had a big off in front of us at Siberia and his bike slammed into the fence. We should have offered him $1500 for it in that shape. He was whisked off quickly back to the pits to get his second bike.
Crutchlow ended up having a big off at the end of the main straight and was flown to Melbourne Hospital for surgery on a fractured ankle, putting him out for the season.
These two roosters took some down time to watch the Motogp practise from the hill on Siberia. It can be a quite nice spot weather permitting, notice they are rugged up in warm gear despite the bright sunshine.
After the final motogp practise session the Australian Superbikes came out to play. From here we walked back around to the campground via Southern Loop briefly stopping in the Bass Straight stand to watch the ASBK. Bayliss, Alerton and Herfoss were hard at it battling for the lead in another super close race.
By the time we got back to the campground Ray and Geoff were there downing a few beers to starve off dehydration from the long ride to the island. Friday night we got treated to the newly released movie called Wayne, the storey of Wayne(Me) Gardner. Some great footage in there and not a bad way to pass some time. It was very cold tonight and we went to bed early......
SATURDAY - 27th
I woke early again this morning at about 5:30am, at least I wasn't hung over as we went to bed at about 9:30pm. Yep we are such the party animals....wooh, yeah.
Geoff's bike looked particularly good in the early morning light.
After another breakfast at the visitor centre we wandered down to the track along turn 1 exit. The ASBK were back out on track this time splashing around in the rain. And they were riding hard. Way too hard for my liking especially seeing as the championship was finished 2 weeks prior. These guys were swapping the lead, lap after lap in the wet.
Lucky that these guys weren't required to use their considerable talent.....
or these guys for that matter...
|Jack Miller Fan Club|
Whilst the moto2 bikes were out on track we made our way around to Siberia again and the sun decided it would finally come out.
Moto2 & 3 came out for their qualifying sessions and there was more carnage....
The missus said when I left that "if I don't come home with something for the kids then don't bother coming back". I pondered on this for several days as to how good my life could be but then caved and bought the family some hugely expensive gifts.
Left hand picture shows 2 riders merchandise, Miller the home town boy and Vinales the eventual race winner. Right hand side is all Rossi merchandise. It really makes me wonder what the Motogp crowd are going to do when Rossi retires. Who's merchandise will they be flogging then?
The two seater motogp bike was brought out again to scare the living shit out of some unsuspecting celebrities. I bet they had to wash those leathers out after those few laps.
|Dual seat madness|
Back at the campground at the end of the day for a few beers, some food and entertainment. There was a band playing in the shed/makeshift bar area. After the first set was finished we couldn't take anymore, this band was so bad I'd renamed them the butchers, as they had butchered every song they played except two.
Back to the tents and it was bloody cold by now with no fire so it was another early night, in bed by 10pm this time. No sooner than I had worked my way into my sleeping bag than the fireworks show started outside followed by rev limiter testing....but not for that long before I drifted off.
I'd slept in a bit today until about 7:30am. Dave and Will had been up early and left for the airport and home.
The weather today was looking much better than yesterdays so I was really looking forward to the sunburn after being frozen yesterday.
We decided that we would meet up with Stu in the back of the pit area and check out the ASBK paddock. That Bayliss guy was stalking us again, might have to get an restraining order on him.
|ASBK #1 Fireblade|
We made our way back out to the track after the moto3 race so we could watch moto2 and the GP from turn 1. It was turning out to be a great day, I even got down to a t shirt for a couple of hours.
Between moto2 and the GP this bad boy turned up. This was the highlight of the day. These F-18's are so loud and fast, and that's when they are going slow. This was level 11 awesomeness, unlike the Roulettes the day before, I don't think anyone noticed them at all, the entire motogp paddock was stopped staring into the sky.
|Super Sic, gone but not forgotten|
|Vinales leading the race|
The bikes flashed past us at the end of the straight into turn one and there was an almighty crash. Zarco hit Marquez and came off right in front of us at 280kmh. Amazing that both of them came away unscathed. Scary stuff.
Monday was time to pack up and head home. We headed into San Remo for breakfast at the bakery before we headed our separate ways, Geoff and Ray were riding back up around the coast whilst I hit the highway and cruise control up the Hume Hwy.
Another enjoyable if not cold Phillip Island MotoGP weekend away with the boys, made a bit more enjoyable with the company of my older brother and his son. Thanks for the great weekend guys. Looking forward to doing it again next year.......