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Sydney - PI for the World Superbikes

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by pmacleod, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. Hi all,

    Just a quick journal of what was a character-building trip down and up the Coast way.

    Day 1 - Sydney to Eden (Wednesday)
    The only nice weather I got was Shellharbour to South Nowra. Aside from that, rain rain and more rain. The exceptions were torrential rain (to the point where I was down to walking pace and cars were actually stopping) then a fierce electrical storm and then hail. No joke, this was the most challenging ride day of my short riding life. I got to Eden and stopped at the first place that said it had undercover parking, and spent the night with the blow heater trying to get my boots and gloves dry. The sad thing was I was still smiling, got through it and it was kind of an adventure...

    Day 2 - Eden to Phillip Island (Thursday)
    More rain, but nowhere near as bad as yesterday in the main. Spent the Lakes Entrance to PI part of that day sailing...tacking into the wind. I reckon I was on a 30 degree angle just going straight at times :LOL: Different challenges to yesterday, but still a good learning exercise. Not sure how many more learning exercises I can take though. Got to the caravan park around 6, met up with my brother-in-law who was riding across from Victor Harbour (Adelaide-ish) and found out he had blue skies and sunshine all the way. Bastard. We dropped our stuff off and then rode out to the circuit to see how long it would take etc. Crashed in bed, HARD.

    Day 3 - Race Day 1 (Friday)
    With the SBK it's very relaxed and wasn't overly crowded on Friday. Went to the AMCN expo before the crowds that would no doubt arrive on the weekend packed it too much. No real show specials, but interesting all the same. There was a full card for this race meet (world supers, world supersport, australian supers, australian supersport and superstock, and period 4/5 historics) so even though it was a practice day there was plenty of on-track action to watch. We got Bar SBK tickets and tried the 4 different marquees they had for that. Siberia and behind the Hayshed seemed to be the pick.

    The cool thing about WSBK is that you ride your bike out to and around the infield. Find a likely spot, park the bike and sit your ass down. Talked to many people who do both WSBK and MotoGP and the MotoGP is nowhere near as relaxed. It's packed, and you have to park outside and walk everywhere. Bugger that for a joke :LOL: It's a great bike-p0rn experience just riding around the paddock. I think every 1098 sold in Australia was there, certainly seemed that way.

    Won a Jim Beam can fridge thing that night at the San Remo hotel, thought what the hell am I going to do with this and how am I going to get it home anyway. Sold it to some random bloke and drank the money :LOL:

    Day 4 - Race Day 2 (Saturday)
    Woke with a sore head, skipped anything resembling food and headed out to the track. More free practice, then qualifying for the world classes and some races for the Australian classes. Watched Bayliss set a new lap record on his Superpole lap, the crowd went absolutely nuts. Did some location-swapping but spent most of the day on the hill at Siberia. Got burned to a crisp before I thought to put sunscreen and lip balm on, still worth it. The historic guys put on a hell of a show, hammer and tongs on 70's and 80's machinery and lapping only about 12 seconds behind the WSBK guys. LARGE testicles indeed.

    Early night, big day tomorrow.

    Day 5 - Race Day 3 (Sunday)
    Got out to the circuit early to get a primo spot in Bar SBK at Siberia, and stayed there all day. Watched Bayliss dominate both races to complete the fairy tale, Corser drop it in Race 2 right in front of us, and Biaggi fly like Superman after coming off in a nasty looking down at the end of the main straight. I just happened to be looking across to that turn just as he went off...scary fast. He got up OK though, so all good.

    Hero ride of the day belonged to Michael Fabrizio, after getting cleaned up at the start of Race 1 he got back on the bike with a suspected broken ankle and rode it to 3rd place. Legend. Wasn't able to repeat in Race 2, but even though he came well down the field he still got a lot of cheers on the cool down lap and has no doubt made a few new fans here.

    The WSBK was exciting, but the best racing of the day belonged to the WSS race. Pitt, Brookes, Foret and Harms at it hammer and tongs, and then McCoy on the Triumph came from NOWHERE to join in the fun. 3 Aussies and an honorary Aussie in the top 5 duking it out, the crowd were loving it.

    Another early night, after the freebie sausage sizzle put on by the caravan park and a couple of beers to ease the sunburn pain. The van park was the Big 4 just on the Island, cheap and cheerful and biker-friendly.

    Day 6 - PI to Sydney (Monday)
    I was going to do the boring thing and Hume Highway it as I wanted to get home in a hurry. However, I remember through the rain and hail that the coast road was pretty good and thought it was worth trying in good conditions. Luckily, I got those and was able to blur home without getting wet even once. Some nice fast twisty sections, slow twisty sections and good scenery when I bothered to look.

    Cop-heavy on the Victorian side of the border, not so much on the NSW side that I saw. I got pulled over for a simple license check by a bike cop somewhere in VIC, and he didn't mention the lack of L-plate on the bike. Had a bit of a chat, and I'm hoping he is the good bloke he seemed to be and doesn't post me something later. I'm also hoping nothing arrives in the post from a speed camera, they do a good job of hiding them in Victoria and nobody does the high-beam warning thing down there. Mexicans are an odd bunch sometimes :wink:

    Return trip took 12.5 hours including a couple of fuel, Snickers and V stops as required. It would have taken 11 or so hours on the Hume, so I didn't really lose much time and didn't die of boredom on the freeway. I didn't count the k's exactly, but I'd guesstimate a little under 2500 for the return trip and running around while I was there.

    All in all a good trip. I'd recommend the route (Princes Hwy (A1) to Morwell, then the B460 to PI via Lakes Entrance) and the event itself. I'm sure the MotoGP is great, but from talking to lots of people this event is the pick of the world-level events as far as relaxed atmosphere and accessibility goes.

    Finally, the more k's I do the better I get as a rider I reckon. I'd tell any new road rider that asks to do trips like this and the Oxley runs as soon as they can. Away from the City hustle-and-bustle you can concentrate on getting comfortable, getting a better feeling for the bike and just riding it for fun without the worry of random cagers doing something dumb in front of you quite so often. Yeah, sometimes the weather sucks and things don't go your way, but at the end of the day if you can ride through a hailstorm you can ride through anything :grin:

  2. A good read :)
    Sounds like you enjoyed your trek across into our neck of the woods.
    Well Done, thanks for posting.