Fast bikes and fibro houses – Part 3

The day of the race was as overcast and windy as the previous two. Rather than heading up to my seat at Lukey Heights I decided to walk around the track during practice. There really isn’t a bad part of the circuit, every corner has a fantastic view.

My personal favourite part of the track was probably Siberia, watching the bikes power up the hill before dropping back into the Hayshed. At this part of the circuit you can really appreciate the power of the MotoGP bikes. Even with incredibly sophisticated traction control trying to improve their behaviour the bikes buck and squirm around on the track, almost as if they are trying to throw the riders into the gravel.

Casey Stoner had a customised paint job featuring the Australian flag on his bike and a new set of matching leathers, which was a nice touch for his home GP. Despite the fact that he led from very early in the race Stoner was rarely far from Valentino Rossi. Each lap we’d see them coming over the hill from Siberia and try to judge the gap between them, then a few seconds later they’d blast past us on the hill at Lukey Heights giving us another glimpse of how close they were.

After Stoner clinched the win I took the opportunity to wander across the track and infield before leaving. One of the things that shocked me was the construction of the ripple strips, there was a step down of about an inch at the outside edge between each section, with the step becoming less pronounced towards the inside of the strip. Riding over this on a normal bike, while cornering would be fairly disconcerting, to do so on a MotoGP bike at over 200km/h is simply a frightening thought.

The following morning we left Phillip Island around 6am, and finally saw some sunlight. After stopping for breakfast at Healesville my riding companions headed towards the Hume Freeway, while I continued back the way we had come. It was a beautiful day, and one of those rides where everything just seemed to click, smooth and fast. The roads were filled with bikes returning from the GP, I’d follow along at the back of a group for a while before going my own way again. The ride was mostly uneventful, the only thing upsetting my trip was my luggage rack working its way out of the brackets that hold it onto the bike when I was about 70km from home. Thankfully, apart from a few scrapes on the outside of my bag, there wasn’t anything damaged.

A 900km round trip, my first visit to Philip Island and the MotoGP, it was all intensely satisfying. There is something very special about being out on a bike, even more so when you have the chance to travel with others. My Ducati is by no means a touring bike, no windscreen, an uncomfortable seat and no paniers are good clues to figuring that out, but that’s partly what makes it so much fun to take it on this sort of trip. Sadly Mrsdave doesn’t share my enthusiasm for discomfort and no luggage, so there will need to be a change or addition to the garage before she agrees to come along with me, I’m hoping for the latter.

Fast bikes and fibro houses – Part 2

Apart from the fact that it was home to an amazing race track and fairy penguins I had no idea what to expect when I reached Phillip Island. Therefore I was completely unprepared for the sight of cattle everywhere, and the fact that most of the buildings on the island seemed to have been slapped together out of fibro without much concern for aesthetics or building codes.

The house we stayed in was an interesting exercise in seeing how many rooms could be shoved into an incredibly small space, outdone only by the bonus round where an attempt was made to fit as many beds as possible into the afore mentioned small rooms. The only consolation for me was that as the Dave from Albury Compound has the smallest bathroom outside of a Collins class submarine, I had no trouble with the tiny bathroom in the rental house. The most important thing about the house was its proximity to the track, and on that detail it scored quite well, but I did wonder why on earth anyone would stay there during the 49 weeks a year that there’s no big motorsport events on.

Continue reading “Fast bikes and fibro houses – Part 2”

Fast bikes and fibro houses – Part 1

The trip to Phillip Island commenced under grey skies and the threat of rain. While I had envisaged a leisurely departure my travelling companions wanted to be on the road by 7am, so that is when I found them, bikes mounted and engines started, ready to hit the road. As everyone else in the party was from Queensland I was informed that it would be my job to find our way to Phillip Island, so eschewing the freeway and the boredom of its long straights we headed for the back roads and the hills that they traversed.

Continue reading “Fast bikes and fibro houses – Part 1”

Pilgrimage.

I spent the weekend washing and shining the Ducati. Today she had a service to ensure all was well. Tomorrow I’ll be packing and repacking to ensure I have my bag exactly right. Thursday I’ll be hitting the twisty bits all the way from here to Phillip Island. Friday, the real bikes and their riders will begin to attack one of the best motorcycle race tracks in the world. Sunday, we’ll see who masters the island this year.

Continue reading “Pilgrimage.”