And out come the armchair supporters now Stoner is a chance
I hope it pisses down and we'll see how many will stand in the wind and rain all day!!!
The success of Australian riders Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen has driven ticket sales for this year's Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix to record levels.
And grand prix organisers say if the trend continues facilities at the Phillip Island circuit will have to be expanded.
General admission sales have rocketed by 500 per cent over the same time last year, according to race organisers.
And advance sales of grandstand tickets for the race in October are up by 200 per cent.
Stoner has re-ignited Australian interest in the MotoGP championship which had faded with the retirement of five-time world champion Mick Doohan in 2000.
The 21-year-old from the Hunter Valley has become the premier motorcycle racing series pacesetter after a sparkling start to the season on his super-fast Ducati.
He will take a 14-point lead over Italian superstar Valentino Rossi into this weekend's British GP at Donington.
They will now be joined for the remainder of the season by a third Australian, Queenslander Anthony West who has won a deal to ride for Kawasaki from this weekend.
Corporate sales for the Phillip Island race are also booming with twice as many VIP hospitality tickets sold as at the same time last year.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation boss Drew Ward said the performance of Stoner and Vermeulen had set the scene for an "electrifying build-up" to this year's Phillip Island showdown.
"To have two Australian riders winning races at the elite level on a global stage is great news for Aussie MotoGP fans," Ward said.
"This is shaping up as the dawning of another golden era and we don't want anyone to miss out on what is set to be an amazing battle at the Island.
"If demand continues at current levels we'll be on track for a record year and plans are in place to expand our facilities should the need arise."
Stoner and Vermeulen will line up against the world's best at the island circuit from October 12-14.