Sunday, 25 October 2009

2009 MotoGP: biking Down Under

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Last Saturday 18th October was the 2009 Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island. Last year I missed the race, arriving in at London Heathrow just as the race finished and Casey Stoner was on the podium. This year and with better planning I was able to schedule travel commitments around the weekend and get away on the bike.

One of my regular riding buddies, Mick, is a Lloyds Surveyor and also had to juggle surveys around the weekend. The plan was to ride down to Kilcunda together, a little seaside hamlet just off Phillip Island, and camp on the beachfront Saturday night before the MotoGP on Sunday. Bad news was that Mick's bike cooked its electrics at the service station before he'd even left Melbourne. Good news was that I hooked up with a bunch of super-well prepared guys at Kilcunda with a barbecue, wine and gourmet chef who rides a 'Hyabusa.

Mick got his bike sorted, and rode down to Kilcunda Sunday morning. We caught the MotoGP Class final practice on a cold but dry track as the riders completed their final setting-up for the race at 16:00.

On the day, there were 50,000 at the track - down on previous years due to the lousy weather. However, less competition for prime positions meant that we were able to get around and see more of the track. In addition to the usual latest new bike offerings in the Exhibition Hall, there was one of Rossi's Fiat Yamaha 800's - cool.

The atmosphere during the race was fantastic - Casey Stoner from start to finish. After he'd completed his victory lap with the Australian flag, we got to walk the rack back to the presentation podium.

Mick and I joined the thousands streaming off the Island for the ride back to Melbourne, and the amazing feeling of comraderie as 30,000 bikes formed a solid 'school' of bikes up the highway.

The Antipodean Mariner
25th October 2009

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