Saturday, March 2, 2019

Round 1 Phillip Island World/AusSBK

Ok, so those of you that know us or have been following us on Facey, you'd know that we were away at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the World/AusSBK...that's 'Superbike' races for our non-bikey fans.

Many have been asking for an update so here is a recap of our adventures in the land of motorsports!

Firstly I must say that it was a bit of a rocky start. We had to catch an early flight on Wednesday 20th Feb from the Gold Coast and we live nearly 3 hours away so it was a 2:30am wake-up call and a very dark and misty drive down through Queen Mary Falls where we were dodging the local wildlife left & right. Now, it is known that we live in a flood prone area and granted, Tropical Cyclone Oma was threatening to wipe away all civilization on the Qld Coast as we know it so of course we didn't need the extra worry of 500mls of rain hitting our sleepy little country town and sending our home downstream while we were away. We have a great bunch of friends that babysat our fur-babies and set our minds at ease as our plane lurched into the stratosphere headed for Melbourne. As it turned out, Oma couldn't decide where to go and pooped out with just a bit of bad happens to the best of us


So we land in Melbourne and we're met by our star of the show, Sloan Frost - New Zealand Superbike Champion. He collects us in a hire car and we're off to go pick up his bike and van so we can head out to Phillip Island to start getting ready for his first Free Practice session on Thursday...but where we had to pick up his gear was quite a hike out of town. 

Once we got to where his bike and van were stored, I marveled as Sloan wrestled the van out of knee deep grass and across what appeared to be a cattle paddock. 

It wasn't long before we packed everything in and headed for the nearest Bunnings for some necessities and a better storage solution for our tool situation...Out in the Bunnings car park, we proceeded to pull everything out of the van, un-wrap and assemble a tool chest and pile everything back in. This time we're off to return the hire car and head to the track and get set-up in our pit!

There's a race bike in there SOMEWHERE!

There IS a bike in there!
Once at the race track, we settled into the task of unloading the van, setting up what will soon be our office over the next few days and getting his bike race ready.
We're in the tents this least we're close to Pirelli, makes changing tyres quick & easy!
Our office for the next few days, Ecstar Suzuki are our neighbours.

Getting the Susuki GSXR 1000 R race ready!
So the first Free Practice session for the Superbike class wasn't until 3pm Thursday so we had plenty of time for some final 'tweaks'. We went over the whole bike and checked to make sure EVERYTHING was in order. We had our check lists, we had our check list of check lists. We thought we had covered everything...time to go out and get some laps in...then again, maybe not!

Sloan had previously had some bad luck with mechanical issues on his Australian race bike so it was no surprise that he feared the worse when after just the first turn, he got sprayed in the face by a suspicious liquid. Oh crap! Did the engine just blow up? No...just a petrol cap that decided to leave unceremoniously. Was it not put on properly? Was it fiddled with after our initial checks. Did tightening it down just get overlooked? I mean, it does have a funny way of clicking down to lock. Or did it have an emotional breakdown and just couldn't take the pressure of high level racing. Is it lying in the grass somewhere between turns 1 & 2 crying with self pity? 

Well, whatever the reason, we now need to find a replacement...funnily enough, not as easy a task as one would imagine. A two hour drive late in the evening to pick up a new cap plus a spare was the only solution.

Trouble with a pesky foot peg caused some irrits so Sloan had to go out and qualify without adequate practice laps.  Having said that, he went out to win his qualifying class. That's why he's a champion.

With 3 races spread over the Saturday and Sunday, Sloan was starting in the middle of the grid. He held his position among the factory riders (and beat a few) and only top name riders were in front of him. There were a few thrills and spills but thankfully Sloan came out of the fray unscathed. 

On the Grid with Sloan Frost

Once they're off & racing, we fervently watch the CompuLive board
Wayne Maxwell left the track with a bit of help
Troy Bayliss' Ducati had to be dragged from the kitty litter
Post race interviews

Yamaha must have paid for half the venue!
So we had initially planned to fly back to the Gold Coast, pick up our car and head back home to Killarney but there was a slight change in that now has Sloan racing more of the asbk races, which is we had a bunch of tyres to try and bring home. 

Our final leg of this journey was driving the race van back from Phillip Island, dropping off Sloan at the airport and heading back to Queensland...then heading back to the airport to bring Sloan his mobile phone. Apparently his phone was excited about the road trip too!

It was a fun trip filled with lots of laughs, my bad karaoke singing, swearing at bad drivers, stopping to see some of the sites along the way and planning our next adventure with motorbikes!

We've got a track day at Morgan Park this Friday March 8th so if you're there, come say g'day!

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