The weekend just gone, saw rounds four and five of the Australian Superbike Championship held at Queensland Raceway. So, like any good motorcyclist, I attended race-day on Saturday. There have been stories recently referring to the poor state of the series. Not the riders or the teams mind you, but the organisation and promotion of the events. I am not one who listens to much commercial radio or watches much commercial television, so it wasn’t overly surprising to me that I hadn’t actually heard any promotion of the event. Motorcycling friends who do however, also commented on the lack of pre-event advertising.
I don’t want to “buy in” to the argument over the current state of affairs with the ASC – I do not have the facts at hand with which I could form a knowledgeable opinion. Rather, I’d like to give you a spectator’s opinion of the event.
Firstly, the racing is excellent. There is plenty of on-track action and the events ran smoothly. As a former club-racer, I’m only too aware that this largely depends upon factors beyond the organising committee’s control – largely the frequency and severity of accidents that occur during races. I was very impressed with the Suzuki Racesafe medical team. With any serious accidents that required on-track medical attention their swiftness (and presumably their medical attention) was as good as I have witnessed at any event – including the World Superbikes and MotoGP. All that was missing was the helicopter to airlift injured riders to hospital – replaced by the rather more conventional ambulance.
The meet seems relatively laid back. Your general admission ticket allows you to wander through pit lane and the major teams had promotional posters and the like to give away as well as merchandise to sell. It’s great to be able to get up close to the machinery and allow the fans to talk to and walk amongst their racing heroes.
Have no doubt about it, the riders and bikes of the Australian Superbike Championship represent the pinnacle of road racing in Australia. Ironically, increased success of the series as a “show” will probably diminish the “intimacy” spectators can share in. One can imagine that if crowds grew tenfold (and given the level of action, this is not beyond the realms of possibility) public access to pit-lane would need to be restricted.
Overall, if you are interested in any competitive motorsport, or a motorcycle enthusiast, the event is a noisy / exciting / fun way to spend a day. Check out some of my photos and promise yourself to go to the next round in your own state.