Monday, 24 October 2016

2016 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix

Those folks who turn up every year know better than to spend all day at the track on Friday, when the weather forecast is for gale force winds and 40mm rain.  But we ain’t local, we’ve come all the way from Perth, Western Australia,  and nothing could keep us away from the track on practice day of MotoGP weekend.
Steve rode us down to the track to find that the unseasonably wet spring had left some of the parking paddocks untenable and on Friday night we received an sms and email from the Grand Prix Corporation encouraging fans to catch the bus instead.

The email read:


IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT PARKING AT THE CIRCUIT

Due to the weather conditions, public car parking at the circuit will be closed on Saturday 22 October.

We encourage patrons to Catch-a-Coach or park-and-ride from Cowes with the Grand Prix shuttle service. Additional buses have been scheduled.

We always enjoy the nightly party in Cowes
We spent most of Friday hiding from the rain in the Expo tent. When the rain eased to a light drizzle, we braved a moment of action on the fence line at turn 12 only to retreat to the Spokes Marquee when the rain picked up speed again.  By mid afternoon we gave ourselves permission to go back to camp. Steve and Dwarfie (R1200GS) slipped their way out of the parking lot and when Steve picked me up all he said was “tomorrow we are catching the bus.”

On Saturday morning we still hadn’t learnt our lesson and we were on the bus by 8:45am with squalls raging all around. We’d done the Expo to death so it was time to venture out into general admission land. An acceptable bacon and egg roll and a cup of coffee warmed our bellies then we were on our way, trudging along in the mud, stopping at the fence line to watch some action and hiding in the lee of a catering van in the squalls.  We made it to Siberia and with a lull in the weather we set up our chairs next to some bikers we had met at our caravan park and rested a while.  When the sun shone we were warmed by our  black waterproofs, and when the sun disappeared we shivered some more.

Squall approaching Lukey Heights
It seemed like a good idea to head for MG corner for MotoGP qualifying but the squalls weren’t finished with us yet.  We copped a big one at the top of Lukey Heights; rain, hail and the bitterest wind. You learn more about yourself in a moment when the going gets rough than you do in a lifetime of easy rolling.  I learned that I wasn’t a big enough race fan to endure qualifying, even if it was MotoGP, in these conditions. I desperately wanted to leave the track for the comfort of the camp kitchen and the log fire. But we knew we had to see it through. When qualifying was finally over there was a mass exit from the circuit.

Siberia, character building
By Sunday morning the gale had blown itself out and race day was pure motor racing magic. We spent the day at Siberia, the Phillip Island circuit is pure entertainment on a good day. It was a character building weekend . Some old timers said they’d seen worse weather and others said it was the worst they’d  ever seen.  No doubt the 2016 Australian Motorcycle  Grand Prix will be sent into Phillip Island folklore.




MotoGP Results:
#35 Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
#46 Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha)
#25 Maverick Vinales (Team Suzuki)

Cal Cructhlow on his way to his win



2 comments:

  1. Jane - Many thanks for sharing your travels with us.

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    1. Great you are enjoying the blog :)

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