2014 Australian Superbikes Championships

A crew of 23 bikes met at Sharks Leathers at 7am, ready for a spirited ride to Round 1 of the Australian Superbike series on April 6th at Qld Raceway near Ipswich.

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After the usual chit-chat to catch up …

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… a quick Rider’s Brief …

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… and the usual group photo shot …

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… Jason Smith, Ride Leader for the day, lead us out.

Steve Chee on the silver Harley below was our “Tail-End Charlie” for this ride, bringing up the rear.

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Making our way through Kopps Road and heading out past Canungra, we deviated from the beaten track onto Biddadabba Rd – they reckon that if you can’t say it properly, you shouldn’t be allowed to ride it!!

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After stopping briefly at Beaudesert to regroup …

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… We moved out to the long sweeping curves taking us to Boonah – And Breakfast!!

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Once in Boonah, given the sheer numbers in our group and our need to be on our way, we opted to switch our Breakfast venue.

Cafe 17 did an excellent job of getting us all in, fed, and out again, in a relatively short period of time …

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… So it wasn’t long before we were back out on the road again 🙂

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Cutting through some back roads, we made our way toward Queensland Raceway at Willowbank.

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However, a small oil leak in Joy Fisher’s old BMW, soon developed into a slightly larger oil leak, causing a significant amount of smoke and an unscheduled pit stop.

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The guys, inspecting her bike after it had cooled down somewhat, gave the all clear to move on, with very clear instructions to take it easy from then on.

A short while later we arrived at the track, and after paying our way in, we joined the many other bikes that had gathered to watch the days proceedings.

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A pretty hectic race schedule was planned …

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… And lots of spectators gathered trackside to watch all the action from the sideline.

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It was a pretty warm day and it wasn’t too long before the girls swapped jeans for shorts & skirts and found some tables & chairs in the shade of a tree to escape the heat.

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…… but it was so hot that it didn’t take long for the boys to follow them either 🙂

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A short while later some bikes in the parking lot started to get themselves in formation for the Bike Parade – this is the fun bit where spectators get to mix it up with the racers and take their own bikes for a bit of a spin on the track 🙂

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With Nathan Hollingworth in the lead, Michael Newey on the yellow bike, and David Williams & Shane Turnbull close behind them, these guys joined their peers and pretended to be racers in the Parade – Thanks for the commentary Crystal Varnam!

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Later, the girls, still in their shorts & skirts, decided to join the guys that had moved to the other side of the track to catch a better view of the action.

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Donning only their boots & helmets, they moved their bikes around to the other side, attracting many spectators themselves!!

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Meanwhile, our resident photographer, Ryan Cusack, took some amazing shots of the racing with these two guys trading first place many times …

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While most of us faired quite well in the heat, when the clouds began to form on the horizon, we were all very happy to feel the cool breeze 🙂

However, several of our crew had been receiving messages from the Gold Coast all afternoon warning us that some pretty severe storms had passed through and were on their way toward us.

Given that most of us were just thankful for the cool change, we continued to watch the races, quite confident that the weather would subside or simply go around us.

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But as time went on, it became pretty clear that it wasn’t just going to go around!!

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Some left early, but others braved it out, taking their bikes back to the parking lot, trying to find some shelter in the storm that was quickly advancing.

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After not being able to hide from the rain anymore, we made a run for it, most of us getting soaked to the skin in the process, but ending up in Phil Lovett’s garage, a lot of us looking like drowned rats!!

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Phil was such a friendly and genuine guy, who really took a liking to our crew!

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As predicted, the storm passed fairly quickly with lots of water in it, and shortly thereafter we were able to move back out of the Lovett garage to enjoy a little more sunshine and Race Day camaraderie …

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Heading back to our bikes …

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… We swam our bikes out of the parking lot …

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… Made a quick fuel stop …

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… Then made our way back toward the Gold Coast 🙂

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We didn’t get photos of it, but those of us who were left played a little Traffic Tetris on the M1, with our core crew landing at The Boathouse Tavern for a quick drink before going our separate ways.

I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that everyone had a great day – Sunburn, Rain n all!!

 

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