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:
As I now call New Zealand home (more than Thailand is presently) there has been a reshuffle of vehicles. I won’t bother you with boring details of cars and talk about bikes! In Thailand my beloved long serving BMW R1200GS has been sold which left budget for a new bike to explore New Zealand with.
Not wanting to rush into a decision I quelled my desires with purchases of bike related goodies as can been seen below:
Thankfully the task in New Zealand of choosing my new bike is somewhat eased with Cyclespot distributing all the brands I was interested in; BMW, KTM and Ducati. Not wanting to bore you with a step by step description of the decision process a cracking deal on a 2017 Ducati Multistrada won the day.
Living in the small little Whakatane town means Cycspot’s devlivery service was well received. I wait patiently for the van to delivery with it’s load of Italian goodness. Within an hour I was off for my first ride.
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:
Early last year I spent an excellent few days out of Bangkok with David. He was on his BMW R1150R and I had my Ducati Scrambler loaded up for camping for the first time. Heading out west for a few hours from Bangkok is Kanchanaburi. Heading northwest out of Kanchanaburi is the Erawan National Park and further still the Sinakharin reservoir where we camped on the west side. Heading home involved catching the ferry across to the east side of the reservoir and back down the east side to had back into civilisation.
The first night we rested at a small resort by the river that connects the two dams, second night camping and the third night in Kanchanaburi. We enjoyed the company of several Soi dogs (stray dogs) during our travels, they all look similar, as they all do, but each friendly and just wanted to hang out with two bikers, maybe grab a bit of food and a few patsa !
Unfortunately the camp ground where we stayed at is now closed off. We understand the owner was operating illegally. I certainly hope he gets his paperwork sorted out with the local authorities as the site is a gem and he was a lovely man who joined us for a chat in the evening with stories and photos of previous ‘biker’ visitors.
The two ferries that operate across the two crossings at the Sinakharin Reservoir are fantastic. Although pontoons more than ferries, they are cheap, relaxing and reliable. The one of the east side is regular but if you ride consider taking the road instead for a blast of twitsty fun on two wheels.
The northern ferry crossing is less frequent and you may have to wait a while. But as ever in Thailand food is not far away, so relax, eat and wait. The restaurant there is great with birds and a few Soi dogs!