Saturday, November 21, 2009
Five days at home! Off to Australia..Spies? Haga? Rossi? Stoner? WHO!!?
Even though this has become a common view this year, it's always nice to come home. Back home to Emily my wife, Thor the dog, Bean and Widget our little cats and my own bed. There is nothing nicer....Two weeks away from home in a single trip it starts to push the envelope of tolerance. Knowing that Emily is home having to take care of the pets, and everything else, whilst I'm away. I feel somewhat guilty, but then again, this is my job and I try my best to promise Emily that she'll get pictures each day. Fortunately this was only my second back to back race this year and the last. The next time I'll be away from home for more than a week will be the trip to Portugal and Spain for World Superbike and MotoGP and Emily will be with me (or was with me...!)In the meantime it is home for five days then off to Australia for the second time this year. The first was for World Superbike at the beginning of the year. This is for MotoGP. A different beast! As is the case the five days at home whizzes by. Washing is all done, suitcases repacked with all clean clothes (you really do not empty your suitcases at all...) and before you know it we're back in the car, heading up Highway 280 to SFO. Upon checkin, the Customer Service Manager (I've mislaid his business card so I can't add his name here) at the Qantas desk recognizes me (from past flights) and upgrades my seat to Premium Economy. SCORE! I get to sleep properly on the way day. I am so thrilled. Emily and I spend an hour or two having a bite to eat before she has to head back down home. It never get's any easier, and I do really not enjoy saying cheerio to her. I wish she could come with me all the time.The plane leaves on time and we settle in for the trip down....a few beers, champagnes and whiskies later sleep happens. We're woken and we're not too far from touchdown at Melbourne. I'm always amazed how long the flight looks numerically, but in reality seems to fly by. I really wanted to enjoy my comfy seating! Oh well. I have a few hours to kill in Sydney before my connecting flight to Melbourne and I meet Maurice Murray. Good friend and the man in charge with Yamaha US Parts and Accessories Division. Hilarious who you meet in places you'd least expect it. Time to go catch the flight down to Melbourne.The weather isn't looking very good, it's cold (and yes it is Spring down here but it has been warmer...). I load my stuff into the rental, fire up "Gladys" (my trusty TomTom 300) and head on down to Phillip Island. Stopping, as I have always done, at the McDonald's in Cranbourne for some funky curry flavoured snack wrap and a coffee...a couple of hours later I'm at the house on Phillip Island. Making sure I do not speed. Speeding tickets seem to be a hazard with this job. But as I write this many weeks later it does appear that I have been well behaved and so far, nothing from the State of Victoria has landed in our mailbox...yet). One super treat is that John Hanson, good friend from back home (the US) will be joining me (along with GP regular Martin Heath) at the house along with his Australian girlfriend. John is a super nice fellow and extremely talented photographer with who I had had the pleasure of working with since we met at Road America in 2005. He also does work with RoadRacerX and also has a unique style of photography that I like. So that was something to look forward to as well. Sadly there wasn't any trips to the penguins, nor the koala reserve, the weather was far too stormy and I think I was just tired from travelling and pretty much ended up waiting for the race weekend to roll around...But then again, when the sun comes out, it is super blue skies although it looks comfortable, it does get chilly pretty damn quick...One thing that I notices covering races all over the place. Is the spectators clothing. It's rather entertaining in some ways, becuase, for example, in somewhere warm, like Spain or Italy, people wear bright colours, even in the rain the colours are bright and the nice thing about this is that as a photographer you can use this to your advantage, especially in slow motion shots. By lowering the shutter speed you can create a high bright and colourful background. However, at Phillip Island most folks where dark sombre colours and so a motion blur shot is usually only speckled with an odd flash of yellow or red.The race weekend was pretty predictable, baring some sort of stupid mistake from either Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo or Dani Pedrosa, and it's been known to happen mind you, the race would be won by one of these four. As it turned out one does have to feel a little sorry for poor old Nicky Hayden after yet again, having his race ruined before even a single lap under his belt by a little over exuberance by Jorge. That said it would be Casey Stoners weekend, and a a home win is well, which must feel good.Monday am it would be up bright and early, a steady drive to Melbourne (no speeding) then a commuter flight to Sydney then home. But I wouldn't be home for long. After getting home Monday afternoon, within 48 hours I would be on a plane heading to Lisbon in Portugal. This time would be different as Emily would be with me..FOR THREE WEEKS! Next installment coming up. It is about the racing right?