Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Love my RDO's

Gotta love an RDO. Gives me a chance to abandon the family and household duties so I can go for a ride and improve my mental health whilst the family sit around wondering who's going to clean up the mess they've made. Man you wouldn't believe how much of a mess 3 lazy girls can make, sorry I digress getting off topic already.

So for my RDO I had a ride set with no real plan in mind and it was just going to be Nigel no friends again today. I thought I might ride up to Wollombi for a beer at the pub. I headed out at 8:30am via Berowra Waters Ferry heading to the Old Pacific Highway. The heated grips were working a treat today, it was cold.

I pulled up at Pie in the Sky and thought that Doug was here. Same bike different rider. I'd skipped breakfast because I wanted to try a pie and coffee so came here.

mmmm pie

It was very quiet here this morning, 2 bikes and a bunch of push bike riders but it was a monday and it was bitterly cold at 8°C, I think it only warmed up to about 15°C just after lunch. I ride down the hill on the old rd with the entire road to myself. On the way to Wollombi I see the sign for Wisemans Ferry, it's about the same distance and will have less backtracking to get home later so I quickly divert and take that road instead. I feel like I need a beer at the pub for lunch.

I stopped to take a photo by the river and noticed a sign across the road that said Mill Creek campground, so I thought I'd go check it out. All the facilities looked like they were brand new. The bridge led to a 11km walking track. Not for this little black duck though.

Then it was on to the ferry for my second ferry crossing of the day. I was just in time too and I boarded just before they closed the gate.

I had a bit of a look around the park along the river front before moving on to the pub for a counterlunch and beer. I just about had the place to myself.

Monday lunch special $15 for fish and chips washed down with a pint. Happy days.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

R&G Tank Gripz

I've had a lot of trouble riding the Africa Off road standing up riding up hills trying to grip the tank with my legs. It's a slippery smooth surface and you can't grab on and just slide back. I saw on the internet somewhere someone put some pads on their tank for better grip. I thought that's exactly what I need.

I saw they had some R&G tank grips at Bikebiz and duly put in an order. They arrived after 7 days, wow 4 days for them to process the order when they were in stock and 3 days for Aus Post to actually send them. I would have picked them up, but I was going to be in the city all week for a trade show.

Installation was easy, I just had to spend an hour washing the bike first to get it clean. A little heat from a hairdryer and they went on nicely. At least they don't look out of place on the Black African. Now just need a ride to test them out.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

ASBK Round 2 SMSP - Under lights

The second ASBK round run under lights was held at Sydney Motorsport Park in march, yes this post is a bit late. I'd applied for my media pass a bit late this year too but it still managed to come in time  the racing started on friday around noon and best bit was I had an RDO on friday so I could spend the entire day out at the track, winning. This will be a photo heavy post of race bikes. If that's not your thing scroll on by. 

First stop was to sign on at the media centre. Walking out I saw this bike on the level 1 walkway, I've never seen a bike up here before. 

We got the same track access map as last year, yeah there's less access at ASBK than on a normal St George Motorcycle round. They made the inside of turn 2 a no go zone last year, which is completely dumb. If a motorcycle crashes at turn 2 it will go to the outside, whilst we are standing about 20m on the inside. That makes no sense. 

I was a bit peeved with the no go zone over the tunnel and had to pull a MA official aside to ask the question. I had to get him to draw it on the plan as basically what they said is you can't be over the bit where the tunnel is. Well that's common sense, as thats on the outside of the fence and there's a big fall down to the road below and you can't shoot bikes there anyway. I think sometimes they overthink the safety bit. Between 3 & 4 is completely safe when on the inside of the fence and behind the concrete barrier.

I had a problem though, my 70-200mm F2.8 lense stabilisation had stopped working a while back and I haven't got it fixed yet. I noticed during the last St George night rounds I was missing shots I would normally get. I've read from other pro's that stabilisation should be switched off during panning shots. All I can say to that is, I call bullshit. The number of keepers I got now the stabilisation isn't working has dropped noticeably. That's not to say I couldn't get any good photos, I just had to take many more than I normally would and I missed a lot that I wouldn't normally miss. Yeah equipment does matter despite what everyone says. Tradies don't turn up with shit tools because they know it will take then ten times as long and the job won't turn out as good.

That said I know the track well at night and I know where I can and can't get good shots from with the reach of this lense. 

Archie McDonald#69 crests the tunnel

The night format means racing is on Friday and Saturday, not your typical 3 day Fri-Sun ASBK event. All of the free practice and qualifying sessions are done on Friday with the majority of the major classes racing on saturday. 

The friday was actually very quite, very few people at the track probably due to people having to work, but after it got dark the crowd built up considerably. Saturday was the opposite of Friday. There were thousands of people there on Saturday and again well into the night.

Friday 600 Supersport opening free practise

Glenn Allerton#14 @ Turn 1 Free practise

2023 ASBK Champion Troy Herfoss

Cru Halliday#65

Paris Hardwick#72

Harrison Voight#29

One thing I've noticed in the last 2-3 years attending these race events is how many young and upcoming really talented riders we have coming through the ranks. Senna Agius comes to mind, he is now riding in Moto2 for the Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP team. Harris Voight pictured above is now overseas in the European FIM Moto2 championship. 

Pillion Rides

Ex ASBK champ Steve Martin and Troy Corser take unsuspecting punters on pillion rides between sessions and scare the living daylights out of them for fun. I got a few shots of Steve and Troy coming out of turn 15. The bikes are fitted with a handlebar screwed into the fuel tank cap so the passenger can hold on without falling off.

Troy is renowned for his signature one leg wheelstands, but that's a bit hard to do with a passenger so he settled for length of the main straight wheelies.


Part of ASBK is the Superbikes Masters class, which are the superbikes from yesteryear. This consists of period 5 & 6 models spanning from 1973 to 1990, an era which produced some of the most groundbreaking 2 and 4 stroke grand prix production bikes of all time.

Alex Phillis#20

Scott Webster#76

Garry McCoy#24

2 x World Superbike Champion Troy Corser and MotoGP winner Garry McCoy both participated in this class and the racing was fantastic. Both of them had big crashes over the weekend, making me think they over ride the limits of the older machines.

Robert Dunston#57

Aron Bennett#3

Jack Passfield#89

Troy Corser#11

Garry McCoy#24

Michael Berti Mendez#17

Garry McCoy#24 - TZ750

Robert Young#63

Signature Corser Wheelie

Superbike Qualifying

Fridays Superbike qualifying was an hour long Q1 & Q2 combined session. Dave from Highside Photography and I decided to shoot the action from the inside of turn15 (the old turn 9). We had found some new places to shoot on the exit of the corner where the bikes wheelie up the straight. Got some good shots along here.

Josh Waters#21

Cameron Dunker#3

Josh Soderland#28 practise stoppie 

Cru Halliday#65

Josh Soderland#28 practise startie

Max Stauffer#27

Cru Halliday#65

Saturday Race Day

I thought I'd shoot the grid for the first 600 supersport and the Superbike race. It's not every day you can be on the grid with all of the riders at once. Dave from Highside Photography had never shot the grid before so I told him to come along he will love shooting the starting grid.

600 Super Sport Grid

Chris Vermeulen - MOTOGP, WSBK,WSS now MA presenter
for ASBK

I had a quick chat with Chris Vermeulen on the grid. I asked him if he missed racing. He said "being out here yeah I do miss it, but these guys are going way to fast now". He's happy to sit back and watch and comment on the racing.

Crazy Jake Farnsworth

Corey Snowsill

Corey Turner#52 - Bad bitch needs to learn how to smile

Brandon Demmery#11

Tom Toparis#7

Jonathan Nahlous#20


Josh Waters#21 - Ducati McMartin Racing

Cameron Dunker#3 - Penrite Yamaha

Anthony West#13 - Addicted to Track Yamaha - NZSBK Champion 23

Leanne Nelson#52 - The fastest woman around SMSP

Mike Jones#46 - Factory Yamaha Racing

Troy Herfoss was last to reach the grid spot and he was in a bit of a panic with his team. He was saying that the bike was cutting out and pointing at the dash saying look at that. I could see red lights blinking on there. I take it that they weren't supposed to be doing that. The team said something like there's nothing we can do with it now, just ride and see how it goes. Well it only went for a lap or 2 before he was forced to retired.

Troy Herfoss#17 - Ducati McMartin Racing

Cru Halliday#65 - Factory Yamaha Racing

Paris Hardwick#72 - BC Performance Racing

Once out on the start grid you get about 5 minutes to get as many photos as you can before everyone is called off for the race start. It's a pretty frantic 5 minutes I must say, with people scurrying all about the place, teams, media, TV and officials all vying for the same small piece of real-estate. Gotta be careful not to trip over in the maylay.

Leanne Nelson#52


Bryan Staring#67 lighting it up

Saturday crowds were excellent

Race 1 was a thrilling contest and the crowd was treated to some awesome close racing and there were plenty of overtakes. ASBK has never been in better shape, racing wise. Cru Halliday took out his maiden win at his home track followed by Josh Waters and Harrison Voight.

Cru Halliday#65 leads race 1

Arthur Sissis#61 hanging it out

Cameron Dunker#3

Cru Halliday takes out Superbike Race 1

On Saturdays Race Day at lunch time they open up the pit lane for spectators to walk up pit lane and meet the riders and teams, get riders autographs and see the bikes up close, which is a fantastic idea and generates a massive crowd of people coming through. This is exactly what's ASBK needs to get the fans more interested and engaged. Lots of little kids too sitting on bikes and talking to their hero's. This is a great thing for the sport.

A very Naked S1000RR pirate bike

Anthony West

Tom Toparis

Troy Herfoss#1 king of the baggers

Broc Pearson#11

Mark Chiodo#23

I'd been shooting quite a bit with David from Highside Photography in the past year, he's a great bloke easy going and a great photographer, who just upgraded from the D500 to the new Nikon Z8. I'd love to do that upgrade to mirrorless. I've compared some of the D500 to Z8 photos and there's a huge difference in quality and auto focus performance. Its day and night. 

We both decided to shoot the race 2 action from the inside of turn 15, the hairpin after Corporate Hill. It can be a bit of a trap shooting here. On the one hand you are very close to the track which is really good for close up shots, but you also kind of get stuck there and you can't cross the track until after the race so it's not easy to leave.

Just as the Superbikes came around on their sighting lap the rain started to come down. Then the race started on slick then was red flagged one lap in. It was restarted with everyone changing to wets.

Glen Allerton crashed out on lap 9 of 10

Race 2 was taken out by Waters, Pearson in 2nd and Stauffer in 3rd. It was a bit of a disappointing finish in the rain and it was now cold & wet and I didn't  want to get my gear wet so most photos were taken from the covered marshalls hut. 

Broc Pearson 2nd Race 2.

One final photo from the weekend and one of my favourites. Bryan Staring was lighting up the night sky with flames from his MotoGo Yamaha.

Bryan Staring#67