Friday, March 15, 2024

Motul Summer Series 2023/2024 by St George Motorcycle Club

The Motul Summer Series by St George Motorcycle club just finished last month, the series ran from Dec 23 through to Feb 10, consisting of 5 rounds. This is Australia's premier club racing series run under lights at Sydney Motorsport park. The racing is always close with some of our best club racers, also with some of our best Australian Superbike(ASBK) riders lining up and a few international stars also present before heading back to Europe for official FIM racing duties. Yes that's how good this class of racing has become. Everyone wants a piece of the summer night series and it's a cracking event. Best thing is, it's free entry. 

I don't know a better way to spend a friday or saturday night than watching some of our best motorcycle talent banging fairings for 4 hours and it's all free entry. Racing starts at 6:30pm and runs till 10:30pm with sundown at about 8pm. I've been shooting this event as media since its inception four years ago, and it's been a fantastic experience to be able to do this and I can't wait till the end of the year for the next event.

With the Australian Superbikes round 2 set for March 22 at Sydney Motorsport Park with  night races,  most of the ASBK riders turned up to use this as practise sessions for the ASBK  night round. This brings much credibility to the St George Motorcycle club and helps to raise their profile as Australia's premier road racing club. It's a credit to Mick O'Brien club president and the army of volunteers that make the event so special.

St George Motorcycle club are very smart in how they operate the Unlimited F1 Superbike class. Splitting the International & National ASBK riders into the "Superfast Dudes" category(I'm not making that up) but they did change it this year to National & International racers, and the club racers into the F2 category within the same race. First Finisher in each class gets the 25 points, which is great as the ASBK boys don't show up steal all the valuable championship points from the club regulars. Brilliant!!

The ASBK guys don't usually turn up for every race, more likely if it fits their schedule. Here's a few photos' of some of the Superfast dudes.

Josh Brookes - 1 x ASBK Champion, 2 x BSB Champion

This image is my new desktop background.

Troy Herfoss - 3 x ASBK Champion

Mike Jones - 3 x ASBK Champion

Cru Halliday - ASBK

Broc Pearson - ASBK

Max Stauffer - ASBK

Lachlan Epis - ASBK

Glenn Allerton - 3 x ASBK Champion

Glenn was injured in the first round so didn't participate in the remaining rounds so these photo's are from 2022

Anthony West - MotoGP, ASBK, 1 x NZSBK Champion

Jake Farnsworth - ASBK

Bryan Starring - ASBK

Harrison Voight - European FIM Moto2, ASBK

Jacob Roulstone - Moto3, Red Bull Rookies Cup

Carter Thompson - Red Bull Rookies Cup

Carter has both wheels off the ground in this photo. Amazing 😍

Round 1 was held back on 23rd December, with round 2&3 held over consecutive nights on January 26th & 27th and finally rounds 4&5 held in Feb consecutively on friday saturday 9th & 10th. I missed the first round due to an adventure bike ride we had organised on the same weekend.
But I managed to get to each of the other rounds, with racing consisting of 600cc supersport F1 & F2, 400cc during round 2&3 and F1, F2 and F3 superbike classes. The level of racing within the club racers is really high, with low 1:32's. Leanne Nelson is the fastest woman around SMSP breaking into the 1:34's on her R1.

The last hour of the final round and the heavens opened up with drizzling rain. The ASBK & International guys didn't risk riding in it, but the club racers were racing for points and championships so the racing was even more intense. It made for some interesting shots.

Veteran Dominic DeLeon fearless in the rain

Not everyone's night went as planned. Glenn Columbine's R1 decided it would rather launch into orbit than go around in circles. There wasn't much left of it, I got the whole sequence of this crash, all up about 48 shots. Glad to see he walked away uninjured.

Harrison Voight taking it to Josh Brookes

Paris Hardwick - ASBK lighting up the track

Andrew Burley and his Ducati was another contender for lunar orbit. These bikes just keep on cartwheeling on T1, the fastest corner on the track. Also good to see Big Burls walk away from this crash.

Timothy Griffith

Leanne Nelson - Fastest woman at SMSP

Cassie Tofler & Sarah batten

Corey Snowsill

Troy Corser#11 - 2 x WSBK Champion put in some laps

Josh Soderland - ASBK lighting it up in the rain.

If you haven't been out to this event yet, you just have to do it. It's free entry with some of Australian road racings best, up and coming talent. Some motorcycle celebrity talent was also pit side with Remy Gardner, Matt Mladdin, Troy Corser, Troy Bayliss, Wayne Maxwell present at different rounds. I've really enjoyed my time shooting this event. One night I'd like to just head out with the lads with a big esky with beers and Krakens and just enjoy the racing. It's awesome just get out there and do it.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Beers at the Bendemeer

 Another stellar weekend away with the boys was on the card last weekend. With no real plan of where we were going drawn up we could alter it at anytime. We met the other guys at 7am at McGraths Hill Maccas and for a coffee hit. We were underway shortly after and headed up the Putty road. Stu had to fill up in Singleton but we continued until Gloucester and then filled up.

We stopped for lunch at the bakery, they have good pies at Gloucester bakery. We then took of up Thunderbolts way and I had to stop for irrigation purposes. Plenty of lantana growing around this area.

We continued up the mountain to the lookout. The road up the mountain had been resurfaced in was in excellent condition, best I've ever seen it which was inducive of fist full of throttle. We stopped at he look out for a short break to take in the views. It was getting hot but the temp dropped a couple of degrees as we went up the mountain.

Stu was going to cut across Port Stephens cutting to Tamworth and head up to Bendemeer, so the rest of us turned off at Nowendoc. There's not much in Nowendoc, a general storem a rural fire brigade and not a lot else. Here we took the Brackendale road which took us up through the Rikamukka Forest and out on the eastern side of Walcha. They were grading section of the road through the forest and it was in pretty good condition. I noticed there was plenty of dust and the others had dropped back to get out of it.

I waited for them at the Oxley Hwy turn off, whilst I waited I turned on my comms. From here to Bendemeer I was enjoying the music whilst the boring commute to our destination, it was only about 30 minutes away. Easy enough and to get going. It not quite loud enough.

A few well earned beers were in order once we reached the Bendemeer pub. It was quite hot(35°C) by the end of the day and the air conditioned bar was quite welcome. After it cooled down we sat in the beer garden, such a relaxing place.

After a big hearty breakfast we were on our way. Zammo asked if we could visit the Tamworth Motorcycle Museum. I seconded that as we only had a fairly short ride organised across to Coopernook today, plenty of time to do something like this.

It only cost $10 entry to the Museum, which was money well spent. Some very nice bikes in here.

We fueled up and then headed up Port Stephens cutting and out to Thunderbolts way. Stu headed back up to Walcha to do the Oxley Highway. We decided to head down to Nowendoc and head across to wingham on the Nowendoc road. There was a sign across the road saying road closed bridge out, we decided to ask at the general store. They were pretty clueless for locals, didn't know there was a bridge out and didn't know how far the bridge was. We decided to go down the road anyway.

The road descended ever down through the ranges through lush farmlands with magnificent landscapes. Cowes were roaming the hillsides and roads.

We stopped at a bridge to err..... fill the creek and take a break.

Not long after here we made it back onto the tar on a winding mountain road down into Mount George and then Wingham. We stopped at the Australian Hotel for a beer, Geoff said lets have another. As he sat down the temperature dropped and it got very dark outside. Great the predicted storms had arrived.

Downing the beer we rode out through the Yarrat Forest, Lightning was flashing behind us gotta get out of here before the rain turns the dirt to mud. It wasn't long before the rain started coming down hard. I couldn't see shit, flashes of lightning all around us. A couple of big booms right after the flash it was that close. I was following Zammo and notice a green flame flash and swirl around his rear brake area. That can't be good.

Pulling into the Coopernook Hotel in the middle of the storm we were soaked through. I said to the the bar lady she's going to have to clean up my wet patch, we both laughed.

Looking at Zammo's Trumpy the rear brake look like it was cooked, thegre was no brake pressure and the caliper had changed colour from the heat. He must have been dragging his rear brake all the way to the pub for the last 30min, all the fluid was gone probably what I saw catch on fire.

Next morning we had a continental breakfast and head out to Taree and Gloucester for a spot of morning tea. It wasn't long after here we all split in different direction and made our way home.

Thanks for the great weekend away lads. Let's do it again soon.