My first time to Philip Island and what a weekend. Everyday was different and even the cancelling of MotoGP qualifying and the crazy Saturday weather just added to the whole experience.
What a great place to to watch motorcycle racing! I will post my loitering paddock photos and stories later but here are some MotoGP photos from wandering around the track on Friday and the race on Sunday watching at turn 10.
Saturday morning walk in Ohiwa at Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park. A few route options in this small reserve depending how far you want to walk. We were cut short as it started to rain so headed back via a short cut to the beach and back to the car park. A longer 5Km route takes you further over the hill and out further east along the beach.
The route can be found on my MapShare. Look under ‘New Zealand’ collection, ‘Routes’ and select “NZ – Ohiwa Walk”. Several Waypoints can also be found to check out interesting spots – Puriri Tree, Glow Worms and Ohope Harbour views.
A cancelled appointment at the end of the day gave me a rare opportunity for a quick walk as opposed to collapsing back in my hotel room. I do not visit Perth that often but is always a charm. Below are a few snaps as a walked from Intercontinental down to Elizabeth Quay and back again to the hotel.
I have for a while been checking out Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) or a more techy gadget of a Satellite Navigator. Often in New Zealand you find yourself without mobile phone coverage and my last bike blast in Thailand on the Scrambler resulted in a flat tyre in the countryside. In the end I purchased a Garmin inReach MINI which gave me worldwide coverage with one button SOS service and additionally some other cool features you will see more of in this post.
So one thing I can do now is record tracks and waypoints and publish them to the MapShare website, where you can check them out. It is a bit sparse at the moment but will fill up in time. I am learning how it all works and best way to organise things. The MapShare link can also be found from the top of the page.
My first test for MapShare and the inReach MINI was tracking a drive from Whakatane to Auckland and marking a few interesting points along the way. The day was somewhat overcast but NZ looks great in most conditions. All the photos below and the routing can be found on the MapShare website. When you first go to the website it will show my last location so click “Tracks” under “Library” and select “Whakatane to Auckland”.
Back in 2017 was my last MotoGP experience and my fourth at Sepang, Malaysia. Splashing out on a VIP pass at Sepang gives you access to paddock unlike events in Europe where the paddock is somewhat more restricted. If it was not for the Paddock access I would not pay the extra for a VIP pass as you do not get that great a view of the actually racing. Paddock access, all day food, drink and air-con are worth it though!
To experience the race any of the grandstands at Turn 1 or the central main grandstand on the opposite side to the start line are a way better places to watch the track. But be prepared to sweat and take a load of fluids to survive the day.
Back in the paddock you can meet almost anyone you want to if you are prepared to wait and stalk them out. Valentino Rossi is obvious the most difficult as he gets swamped and security is of course an issue so is heavily protected. However I still managed to wander past the Yamaha garage just at the right time and to my surprise turned around and was suddenly face to face with the man himself as his entourage left from the garage to the Yamaha hospitality area.
My wife abandons her shy demeanour to hunt out all her favourite MotoGP people as I just tag along as photographer! See her catches below. Alex Rins (she is his number 1 fan), Papa Rins (proud father of Alex), Marc Marquez, Bad boy Romano Fenati, Joan Mir – now MotoGP Suzuki, Johan Zarco – Now Factory KTM and Thai young boy Nakarin Atiraphuvapat in Moto 3.
The vibe is very chill and nobody seems to mind having a camera clicking away at them. Even when we got caught out track side at turn 1 by a Dorna staff member it was all relaxed and we fiend ignorance and headed back to paddock complex.
Check out more photos below. Later in 2019 we head to Philip Island for the Australian MotoGP. Excited already!
A quick blast of photos from several walks with my lovely wife around Whakatane, Ohope, Ohiwa, Lake Okataina in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. This will not be a comprehensive description of walks you can do around Whakatane, there are loads! But some useful links if you are interested can be found below:
Gallipoli – The Scale of War is a current (as of Early 2019) exhibit at New Zealand’s National Museum Te Papa in Wellington. Gallipoli is one of the most moving experiences I have ever had. It is confronting, sobering and emotional.
The exhibit takes you on a journey through the ill fated naval and amphibious attacks on the Gallipoli Peninsula (in Turkey) through five amazing larger than life size models in poignant moments. It is hard to describe the impact these models, of real life men and woman, have on you as you step through chronologically the events of the Gallipoli Campaign.
A total of 100,000 died with Australia and New Zealand suffering about 10% of that total. Gallipoli for both New Zealand and Australian is highly significant and widely accepted as start of a national consciousness of their nations. It is commemorated each year with ANZAC Day on the 25th April.
The scale of the models can be seen below with my wife visible in the background of Lieutenant Spencer Westmacott:
On a lazy Saturday road trip along the East Cost road (State Highway 35) we stumbled across the beautiful Christ Church in Raukokore. It is open for the local citizenry and passing traveller alike. As a local landmark it comes into and passes out of view over a number of kilometres.
The church is named as one of the region’s “101 must-do” sites by the AA!
I am writing this post a year after the event after finding it in my WordPress draft folder. Well, this section of road is one of my favourite stretches for enjoyable riding, scenery and clearing one’s head. It is always the part of the trip I feel truly free of Bangkok and heading north into more remote areas. The bridge over the Nan river where the video ends is always a great stop to switch off the bike for a few minutes, take it all in and enjoy the sounds of river and forest.
Bike by river
Map of the route:
Ride carefully and always within your ability. The video shows speed (it is not completely accurate and has some inconsistencies), elevation graph, grade, longitude and latitude, time and date, distance along the route and a squiggly line representing the road with a dot showing the current location. This video was shot in December 2015 and roads in Thailand do change over the years, a once pristine section of tarmac can degrade and likewise a bad section can be resurfaced and become as smooth as silk!
Not far from my daughter’s school in Cambridge is the Lords of the Rings and Hobbit film set of Hobbiton. So a free Saturday morning was taken care of and my wallet NZ$105 lighter. It really is exactly like you imagine from the movies with no detail too small to be overlooked. All of the 55 hobbit holes belong to various folks that make up modern hobbit life; the baker, the fish monger, the cheese maker, the village drunk etc etc. There is also an inordinate amount of hobbit laundry hanging out.
There is not much more than a Hobbit village to walk around (in a rather regimented way) but fascinating all the same with a free drink at the end at the Green Dragon.