Author Topic: WSBK DUCATI CHAMPIONS CLUB - Phillip Island 29 Feb - 2 Mar 2008  (Read 1371 times)

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Offline Brett

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Well it's been a great month, and I actually made it to this one.

Yep, got a leave pass from work, and managed to double up a family weekend with the in laws ( who are great I might add ), into an excursion that made to the Island, and it was more than worth it.  I've always avoided Phillip Island because, as the late, great Barry Sheen so aptly put it, "welcome to Phillip Island, your gateway to hypothermia" where the common place really is four seasons in one day, and you know my aversion to the wrong kind of weather.  We were lucky.

We Jetstarred to from Sydney to Avalon ( no I hadn't heard of it either - it's a Victorian term that means "light years from anywhere and less organised than chaos" ), immediately saving ourselves almost nine hundred dollars on the Newcastle to Avalon option for four people.  Work that out.  Then we took a rental car at a pretty good "no kilometre" rate, and kept it in one piece for the entire weekend.  We stayed in Melbourne using a concept called "short term rental" and ended up with a great three bedroom apartment in the CBD, for what worked out cheaper than a B&B anywhere else - I'm serious.  The only downside was the drive, but hey, if you're not from there, the drive is actually reasonable fun.  They have great roads and the whole place is pretty well organised.  The trip from the CBD to the Island was around an hour and forty, at the designated limits, and very easy to get to.

Saturday I took my son Nick down, and we had the time of our lives.  The support racing was great, and it's a real shame we don't see enough of it on the telly, because there is a whole lot of entertainment being missed.  We did the Pit walk on Saturday and were able to get up close and personal, as you'll see in some of the posted shots, and were well looked after by the Ducati folk, throughout the weekend.  Nick had the time of his life and I wasn't far behind.

On Sunday the kids stayed with the in laws, and Kay came down with me.  Race day is well put together, as you can imagine, and really brings in the crowds.  The traffic management in and out of the Island is well done, and the people ( plod and punter ) are all generally really well behaved making the whole thing really enjoyable.

Now Mr Bayliss crashing on Friday and gaining a stitched elbow didn't dampen his enthusiasm, or slow him down, he was flying.  I think that I'd put this in the same category as most other world events like Formula One, and to a lesser extent Indy, whereby you need to go there, just once, to see how fast they really are going.  Television doesn't do it anywhere near justice.

So Troy B managed to pull the double, taking both races easily and Ducati and all of those of us supporting them, went home with grins that would require surgical removal.  There's not much to say on the racing as Mr B made it look too easy.  Without exaggeration, his nearest rivals seemed like they were on "win it or bin it" missions, which is a little strange this early in the season.

So a great weekend has given me the drive to suggest that we probably should plan a group visit, and it doesn't matter how you get there ( we flew to make work commitments, more than anything else ), so we can meet up and take advantage of the program that's on offer.  If I had a disappointment for the weekend, it would be that the Ducati Champions Club was so vastly under utilised, and it could easily have been adjusted as a haven for any Ducatista local to the event, at a reduced, or even "weary traveller" rate, particularly on race day when it was in the thirties.  There was Ducati parking right outside the marquee, which was well done ( apart from the dust ) and really close to the gate into the circuit.  The marquee itself, is setup across the track from the pit exit, and has it's own mini grand stand enclosure just outside which sat empty most of the weekend.

I think that there is something in the Ducatista that makes "support" an interesting, if not foreign, concept.  We see this in the club, and now I've seen it first hand at an event.  But what is missed by all, is the opportunity to take advantage of the "walk up" factor at events like these.  The AMCN Motorcycle Expo was well patronised, including the entire Ducati range aptly flagged by Scotty's 1098R.  These would be punters and patrons ( people bought a lot of gear ) could have been steered back to the Ducati tent ( sorry Champions Club ) for a free drink and a chat with like minded patrons building the brand and the customer base at the same time.  Who knows, there could even be discounted entry for all owners and club members, on presentation of keys or membership card.  The riders could have come over for a chat during their breaks, yeah I know they're busy, but based on the pit walk and the ad for this year, it's not beyond the realms of possibility.  It's just the little things.  Such a great event, and so well supported by the manufacturer, it just needed more people ( and I never thought I'd say that given my aversion for over crowding ), so that's where we can fix it, as a club.

MotoGP is October isn't it ?

Be good.
Mvlti svnt vocati, pavci vero electi

Offline VinceS

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