Phillip Island ICR with Mr Gardener
Here’s the low down on my trip to the Island, feck me what a week!!!!!!! I am still grinning!!!!!!
I left Singers on Sunday, Monday was an admin day in Melbourne spent recovering in the Hotel bar from the brunch in the Hyatt on Sunday. Meeting all sorts of “wanna be Wayne Gardeners”. There were only 22 riders there so the groups were really small. The press almost outnumbered the riders. All sorts of magazines and a couple of film crews. AND of course the pit chicks. They had been pulled directly from the local modelling agency and definitely did not have a university education. But anyway they were NOT there to provide stimulating conversation merely stimulate! They did everything for us from holding your gloves open to put your hands in, holding your ear plugs, polishing your helmet – no shit!!!!
The first day on the track was spent on level 1 of the cornering school who had been sub-contracted in to run the school on the first day and coordinate the following sessions. Definitely very useful going back to basics and building up the speed. Being an engineer as well the technical explanations behind why the bike behaves the way it does were very interesting.
The bikes were stock CBR 600RR’s with 30k’s on the clock, definitely gutless but a lot of fun in the twisties compared with the litre bikes. I found when things did go wrong the front started to push very easily. This was normally the case through the hayshed or turn 4, 4 gear pinned. I think the trick is not to let things get out of shape.
The second day was spent with McGhee, Beattie and Pitt. Kevin and Daryl were really approachable and useful giving you a full de-brief after the session. Pitt obviously felt threaten that I was going to steal his girlfriend (don’t blame him, given the chance I would have) since he was not that chatty. These guys are too quick, they make it look SO EASY!!!
Gardener basically treated it as a press session, pulling wheelies and spinning the rear mid corner.
Chris – French mate had a big off in the first session on the second day, going into turn 3 there is a small drop off about 100m before, he just clicked 5th and had a wicked tank slapper. Himself and the bike cleared the grass, gravel. Chris landing in the tyre wall and his bike clearing the wall and landing in the lake. He was fine but when asked where he had left the bike he couldn’t answer. It took about 10 minutes to locate the bike. Apparently this is the first time a bike has ever gone into the lake. He missed the next session and jumped back on a new bike with 100k on the clock. Thank you very much!!!!!
The hospitality after the event was really good, mind you I would expect so when you consider the sum of money that changed hands. Did a couple of interviews with the press and got a couple of really good pictures, one of me chasing andrew pit, got him to sign it.
I think my riding has improved immensely, I was lapping in 1.49’s. Rossi does a 1.33 and the superbikes a 1.39. I am very keen to see my times on good ole Sepang.
Turns out Daryl Beattie does a lot of paragliding too, got on really well with him. He is currently doing all the commentary for the touring cars and superbikes. He invited me to Shanghai for a week on the source with him and a chance to mingle with the superstars with VIP access. obviously I will ensure I am available for that one.
A fantastic week and a chance in a life time, very pleased with it all.