Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WSBK without Ben Spies? Oh no! Now what?

I never tire of seeing koala bears. There is a reserve that is run by the state not far from where we stay for the week during the races that has a Koala reserve. Since last year the entrance, and visitors centre has been modernised. The walks around the park have been more clearly designated and overall it looks like it has been spruced up considerably. One of the benefits of arriving early for a race weekend and especially during the early part of the week is the lack of other visitors. I have the entire park to myself. Just me, wallabies and sleeping koala's.This time, I'm house sharing with GB and Eric Malherbe at the All Seasons Eco Resort on Phillip Island. From the main road that heads into Cowes on Phillip Island, it looks like someone has simply decided to place a collection of old red roofed galvanised steel sheds into a field. But these self catered 2 or 3 bedroom chalets are modern, comfortable and have everything you need to make your stay comfortable. They do have internet access, but it's pricey. So beware on over using it. In fact it's ridiculously expensive, my only gripe. That said, it's a lovely place to stay. If you wake early anywhere on this Island, make sure to go for a walk as the sun rises. You'll see Ibis (the bird in the above image) and fields of wallaby and rabbits, all moving, running around getting an early start.This is now the second year in a row where I start my racing year "on the Island". This week it is to cover World Superbike and to interview Roger Hayden and Jason DiSalvo, for a feature in the American Racing Magazine, Road RacerX. With Ben Spies moving onto to MotoGP, World Superbike now has two riders flying the flag for the USA. Roger is back on a Kawasaki Superbike in the Superbike class, and Jason is aboard a Triumph 675 triple in the World Supersport class. The interview, along with images will be in the next edition of Road RacerX which should be out in a few weeks. I wish them both the best of luck. I know Roger is under no illusions that he has a tough job ahead of him, but the interview with him was illuminating and entertaining. Jason, has the benefit of being on factory ride, and has Chaz Davies on the same team. Finishing 8th in his first race during the weekend certainly set the tone for the year, and Roger did equally as well by finishing 18th, making up places and getting faster as the weekend continued.Visiting the Yamaha garage was good as always, Maio and the other crew folks were pleased to see me, and likewise I was too. I love this crowd and yet again, Maio (Massimo) Meregalli went out of his way to make sure I had a scooter for the weekend. Even though the first one died and i had to push it back from Siberia! Only to be given a new scooter that did work! But it did feel a little different insofar as there wasn't Ben, Tom, Mary and Woody in the crew. But like everything changes. There were a lot less photographers at this years event vs last year, but the crowds were bigger than last, possibly because there wasn't the horrible fires that were happening at the same time last year. Leon Haslam would win race one, and Carlos Checa would win race two. Eugene Laverty would win the Supersport race.The next time I will be at Phillip Island will be during the MotoGP race that will be during the latter part of the year. This time we will have Ben, Tom, Woody, Mary. But then we'll not have Maio! Oh well. I do love coming to Phillip Island, let's just hope it's a little cheaper and the US Dollar has a little more oomph vs the Australian Dollar...and oh yes, I must organise some sort of internet access as well.Check back soon! Thanks for reading...and don't forget to become a "Fan" of Andrew Wheeler - AutoMotoPhoto on Facebook!