Tag Archives: 12 hours of Bathurst

Bathurst 12 Hour Race Weekend for Miata Owners in the MX-5 Club of NSW

All of my hobbies are bound to converge when I arrive in Australia in a few weeks. I love to travel, and I’m getting an opportunity to do so flying to Sydney via Hawaii. I love Motorsport and the Bathurst 12h race is giving me an excuse to go to Australia. I love local foodie experiences and there will be plenty of them at the track. And I love meeting other MX-5 owners, and to my surprise there’s a good number of them in Sydney area and NSW at large.

I was lucky to come across a post from the local MX-5 Club in NSW inviting it’s members to come out and enjoy a weekend of racing at Mount Panorama for the Bathurst 12h…. what a coincidence that I’ll be there? Now I could plan my schedule so my free time is spent chasing after the local Miata owners and making new friends!

If you are local to NSW and for some weird reason not a member of their community yet (what? come on… how could that be?) consider joining the group and making your way to Bathurst to watch some cool cars go racing as well as a big group of fellow MX-5 owners hang out together. I know I’m looking forward to this the most!

Quoted from the MX-5 Club of NSW web site:

http://nsw.mx5.com.au/events/bathurst-12-hour-race-weekend2

Date
Sat 06 February 2016
Duration
2 days (06 February – 07 February)
Meet
McDonalds Panthers Club Mulgoa Rd, Penrith
Time
6:00am for a 6:20am start
Organiser
Joe Kovacic, 0403 106 012, jkovacic@netspace.net.au
Cost
$70 per car for weekend pass for two people

RSVP

Hello Fellow Race Enthusiasts!

The time has come around again where we need to register your interest to the upcoming Bathurst 12hr Production Car Race weekend of 6th to 7th Feb 2016.

Please note you have the option of attending this event for …

  1. All three days or
  2. Just Saturday or
  3. Saturday & Sunday

This year there will a Show & Shine event organised by Raceline Events with Judging and Trophies. There will also be an opportunity of participating in a Parade lap on Saturday.

Please find attached the event entry application form. Fill out and email a copy to myself and Raceline Events asap. A minimum of 10 MX-5s is required for this event to proceed.

Please note that early registration is vital and you need to book your own accommodation asap.

Any questions please feel free to email or call me.

Itinerary

Click here for a PDF of the itinerary.

Saturday
6:00am Meet at McDonalds Panthers Club Mulgoa Rd, Penrith
6:20am Depart Panthers Club for Mt Panorama, Bathurst
8:30am Arrive at Mt Panorama Harris Car Park, Bathurst
12:00pm Meet at Harris Car Park for parade lap briefing
12:30pm Car clubs parade lap behind pace car
5:25pm Racing concludes
7:00pm Meet at Kings Hotel, 60 George St for bistro dinner
Sunday
5:30am Meet at Mt Panorama Harris Car Park for club cars
5:55am 12hr Production Race starts
11:00am Meet at Harris Car Park for lunchtime tour to Orange
2:30pm Return to Mt Panorama for 12hr Race conclusion
3:00pm Raceline Show & Shine event Trophy Presentations
6:00pm Racing concludes

– See more at: http://nsw.mx5.com.au/events/bathurst-12-hour-race-weekend2#sthash.w2Q5S0tZ.dpuf

The logistics behind planning a trip to Australia & New Zealand

2016 is going to be a great year. To start I’d like to do a couple of international events that I haven’t done in a long time. Bathurst 12h is perhaps the biggest one of them all.  But getting to Australia and New Zealand is a bit of a challenge. For one it’s on the other side of the world, and it literally takes days to get there. Which means I need more time off from work. But it’s also costly even when redeeming frequent flyer miles to pay for the trip.

The purpose of this post is to collect information on what my options are, and to seek advice from other frequent flyers to optimize my redemptions and get the best deal possible.

Virgin Australia booked through the use of Virgin America elevate points seems to be the best deal. It would take only 40,000 points and $140 tax to fly from Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) round trip. Unfortunately I would still have to find my own way to LAX from NYC, and I don’t actually have 40,000 elevate points in my account which is currently at just 26k or so. Luckily one way redemptions start at 25,000 elevate points either LAX-SYD or SYD-LAX and $90 tax.

virgin australia using virgin america points

American Airlines AAdvantage redemption is the second best choice. It would require 75,000 miles and $114.50 in tax to fly from New York City (JFK) to Sydney (SYD) with a layover in Los Angeles (LAX). A bonus of redeeming miles with American as their credit card holder I would also get 10% rebate back on the mileage spend. So it would only take 67,500 miles to fly this route. I have flown Qantas on this route before a few times, using both their Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 birds, and it was a very enjoyable experience.

qantas using american airlines milesThe downside of course is that this year I have already used up 8,000 of the 10,000 rebate allowance with my two trips to Europe for Nurburgring 24h and Spa 24h. So the most I would actually get back is the remaining 2,000, which would result in 5,500 miles wasted. So I’m not too eager to redeem my AAdvantage miles on this trip. And I haven’t even gotten to the part of visiting New Zealand yet.

United Airlines Mileage Plus is also a valid option on this routing. At this point there are a lot of redemption opportunities both on UA metal and on their partners like Asiana Airlines or Air New Zealand. And best of all there is opportunity to book open jaw flights to arrive Australia and leave from New Zealand. However availability is non-existent to arrive NZ in the heart of their summer at the end of January so the only option is to fly to Australia first and leave from New Zealand after the race at Bathurst.

My ideal redemption would be to fly to Sydney (SYD) on a partner airline like Asiana with a connection in Seoul Icheon (ICN) using 40,000 UA miles and $36.40 in tax.

asiana using united miles

Or I could fly on United metal directly from Newark, NJ (EWR) with a layover in Los Angeles (LAX) with a minimal connection of 45 minutes which would definitely get me to Australia in the least amount of time and money using 40,000 UA miles and $27.40 in tax.

united mileage plus redemption to australiaOn the way back I could fly United’s partner Air New Zealand from Auckland (AKL) to Newark, NJ (EWR) with a connection in LA (LAX) and I would actually plan a trip in such a way that would give me a 13 hour layover in California so I can go do stuff in Los Angeles, have an In-n-Out burger at LAX or something. It would take 40,000 UA miles and $45.90 in tax to do this.

united mileage plus redemption from new zealand

The problem of course is I don’t have 80,000 UA miles to book this trip. I don’t even have 40,000 UA miles at this point, I’ve spent most of my savings flying Singapore Airlines in 2013 to get to Singapore GP and the Korean GP. But there was a UA credit card offer that I signed up and expect to earn the 40k necessary in the next few months.

So my real dilemma is how to mix and match the miles I have to make this trip a reality.

There is also a final option, and that is to buy the trip outright. However, at this point I’m looking at at least $1,200 to $1,400 investment, possibly more as I am dealing with arriving in Australia and traveling back through New Zealand. That’s a lot of money to spend on a Motorsport event. I remember Qantas put on a sale a few years ago offering NYC-SYD for just $700 USD. But that was back in the days of V Australia creating competition between Qantas, United and Delta AirLines which had started flying to Australia. Since then, Virgin Australia and Delta codeshare on the route eliminating some of the previous cutthroat competition. I will be keeping my eye out on The Flight Deal and similar web sites between now and the end of the year to see if any new sales or mistake fares pop up.

The sure plan though is to use frequent flyer miles. So if anyone has any suggestions or best routing tricks I could implement to make this trip a reality without breaking the bank, I would love to hear form you!

I haven’t mentioned how I’d get from Australia to New Zealand or vice-versa should things materialize that way. Since I lived in Kiwi land in 2012 I have saved up 300 AirNZ dollars that have been impossible to redeem for anything of value. They are best spent on purchasing tickets with AirNZ where 1 AirNZ dollar = $1 NZD. So my plan is to use one of the many AirNZ flights across the ditch from Sydney (SYD) to Auckland (AKL) and paying a premium for it just to use up the points. In the past I’ve purchased a flight round trip from Australia to NZ for less than $300, but now I just don’t want them to expire, so I’ll use them as necessary. While living in NZ my goal was to use those points to fly to some place exotic like Tonga, Samoa or the Cook Islands… but just like a job that never materialized there, neither did the dreams to go to a beautiful Pacific island for vacation… Boo freaking hoo!

air new zealand flight between sydney and auckland

Ironically, $300 NZD seems to be the sweet spot for booking the flight outright so many months out from my travel dates. While using Airpoints – the AirNZ currency, only a certain amount of points can be used with the rest paid in cash, which makes this trip ridiculously overpriced. Also ironic is the partnership between Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia to compete with Qantas and their low cost carrier JetStar on the route. The sub $300 round trip I mentioned before was booked on JetStar.

 

Asia Pacific volunteering trip debrief

It’s my third weekend home without motor sports and it really is a damn shame there’s nothing happening locally at Lime Rock, NJMP or Poconos (besides the Indycar test for which they didn’t require marshals) so I wanted to reflect on the 7 back-to-back weekends in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia that opened this year. I often get asked how I’m able to afford this travel, etc. So I’ll share the schedule and costs below, to prove that anyone can do it, if they chose to.

My schedule went as follows:

FEB 8-10: 12 hours of Bathurst at Mount Panorama in NSW, Australia

FEB 16-17: BNT V8 Supertourers at Hampton Downs, New Zealand

FEB 22-24: SBK Superbikes at Phillip Island, VIC Australia

FEB 28 – MAR 3: Clipsal 500, V8 Supercars at Adelaide, SA Australia

MAR 8-10: Shannon’s Historics CAN-AM at Phillip Island VIC Australia

MAR 14-17: Australian F1 Grand Prix at Albert Park,  VIC Australia

MAR 22-24: Malaysian F1 Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit, Malaysia

I also did the following non-motorsport trips on this journey:

MAR 11-13: Went to visit the old office North of Sydney NSW Australia

MAR 19: Day trip to Penang to visit a friend for lunch Penang, Malaysia

MAR 20-21: Overnight trip to Phnom Penh first time in Cambodia

Mar 26-29: Flight home via Clark and Manila, the Philippines

Mar 29: A quick dinner with friends on a short few connection in Singapore

To book all these trips I used a combination of frequent flyer miles and low cost airlines, for example the trip to Australia was via American Airlines AAdvantage 32,500 miles + tax to fly Qantas from NYC to SYD via LAX. The flight back was on United Airlines Mileage Plus 32,500 miles + tax from MNL to JFK via SIN on Singapore Airlines. Both AA and UA miles were accrued through credit car sign up bonuses. Meanwhile, the flight from MEL to KUL was on AirAsia X with a mere $139 one way price tag ($189 after taxes, luggage and even a nasi lemak on board) still cheap comparing the alternatives. Similarly, within Australia I used Tiger Airways to fly from MEL to ADL and MEL to SYD, for far less what Qantas or even Virgin Australia charged. In Asia I jumped on a bunch of zero dollar / tax only deals, that would explain the $18 trip to Penang, or $36 trip to Cambodia… and finally $24 trip to Clark. This is about as cheap as it gets, and it was nice enough for a number of hosts to put me up for a few nights here and there thanks to CouchSurfing.org

I was also very grateful to a few motorsport marshals that put me up in both Melbourne and Auckalnd. Nothing went to plan from the start of the trip, but somehow it all worked out in the end, and I had an absolute blast over the two month journey.

Finally, let me share some photos from each one of the stops along the way:

apac trip hats

mount panorama bathurst

nz v8 supertouers 2

phillip island sbk 5

clipsal 6

shannons 5

australian gp 5

malaysian gp pit

australian v8s patches

(this is not my collection of CAMS patches, my Melbourne host was nice enough to share his stash of Motorsport memorabilia, very impressive collection!)

A fantastic trip and one I hope to repeat again, though a trip to Europe will be my next big trip this summer followed by one more visit to Singapore for their Grand Prix. Many more photos are posted on facebook.

12 hours of Bathurst debrief

So my first marshalling event at Mount Panorama for the LiquiMoly 12 hours of Bathurst went exceptionally well. There were some hicups, like for example: having arrived with a bit of a cold/flu bug, some jetleg and pure exhaustion from 14-16 hour days on my feet, I was not in top form at all. Besides being sick I had a wardrobe malfunction when my brand new Sketchers melted off their soles on the first day I wore them. I’m sure I should write a letter to someone for that. But in terms of racing it was a fantastic event at a fantastic track.

I was stationed at flag point #11 for the weekend, which is on the Brock Skyline just before the “Dippah” which is a fast and curvy way down the mountain. For a short time I went to help out on flag point #13 directly below us to let the guys go on break, but where we were it was an excellent spot for blue flag and to watch the race overall, as you can very clearly see all the way down the mountain including the main straight and the paddock area. 

We had no major incidents throughout the weekend though the station before and the station after us had a few visitors. I managed to snag some pics of cars going past us on my break, which was a nice thing encouraged by the local sector chief (something they normally advise you against, the usual no camera/picture taking routine).

Would love to be back for another event here! Though this time without the cold/flu!

bathurst mount panorama

bathurst narra photography

Photo courtesy of Narra Photography (official photog of the officials): http://www.narraphotography.com.au/p905204173

mount panorama bathurst

bathurst skippy

(notice the skyppy along the fence trying to escape)

bathurst australian gt

Accepted to the 12 hours of Bathurst

I’m thrilled to confirm that I’ve been accepted to the 12 hours of Bathrust GT endurance race at Mount Panorama in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.

Flights have already been booked, car rental reserved only thing left to find is some lodging options. Still haven’t determined whether to buy a set of orange overalls to take with me or stick to street clothes with a hi-viz vest. Not sure if they provide a uniform.

Really looking forward to this trip! Below I’ll share the entry list from the event:

2013 LIQUI-MOLY BATHURST 12 HOUR PROVISIONAL ENTRY LIST (AS AT 12 DECEMBER 2012)

CLASS.. ENTRANT NATIONALITY VEHICLE
A Amac Motorsport Australia Mosler MT900GT3
A Trofeo Motorsport Australia Chevrolet Corvette Z06R GT3
A United Autosports United Kingdom Audi R8 LMS Ultra
A Clearwater Racing Singapore Ferrari 458 Italia
A Phoenix Racing Germany Audi R8 LMS Ultra
A Lago Racing Australia Lamborghini LP 560-4
A Peter Conroy Motorsports Australia Audi R8 LMS
A Rod Salmon Australia Audi R8 LMS
A Maranello Motorsport Australia Ferrari 458 Italia
A Engstler Motorsport Germany BMWZ4
A Dragonspeed United States of America Audi R8 LMS Ultra
A Justin McMillan Australia Lamborghini LP 560-4
A Mark Eddy Australia Audi R8 LMS Ultra
A VIP Petfoods Australia Porsche GT3-R
A Erebus Racing Australia Mercedes Benz SLS AMG
A Erebus Racing Australia Mercedes Benz SLS AMG
A Dean Koutsoumidis Australia Audi R8 LMS
A AF Corse Italy Ferrari 458 Italia
B Competition Motorsports United States of America.. Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
B Rentcorp Australia.. Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
B Level Racing Belgium.. Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
B Grove Motorsport Australia.. Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
B Racing Incident Australia.. Lamborghini LP 520
B Motorsport Services New Zealand.. Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
B Motorsport Services New Zealand.. Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
B Motorsport Services New Zealand.. Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
B Tinkler Motorsports Australia.. Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
C Simply Sports Cars Australia.. Lotus Exige
C Tony Alford Australia.. Nissan GTR
C Aston Martin St Gallen Switzerland.. Aston Martin Vantage GT4
C Rob Thomson Switzerland.. Lotus Exige
D Maximum Motorsport Australia.. Subaru Impreza WRX STi
D GWS Motorsport Australia.. BMW 335i
D Beric Lynton Australia.. BMW 1M
D Sherrin Rentals Australia.. BMW 135i
D Robinson Racing Developments Australia.. Ford FG-FPV GT
E GWS Motorsport Australia.. BMW 130i
E Racer Industries Australia.. Holden Astra HSV VXR
E Allan Shephard Australia.. BMW 130i
I1 Ric Shaw Racing Australia.. Mazda RX-7
I1 Michael Sherrin Australia.. Mini Cooper S
I1 Peugeot RCZ France France.. Peugeot RCZ
I1 Peugeot RCZ France France.. Peugeot RCZ
I1 Motionsport United Kingdom.. Lotus Elise
I2 Motorsport Services New Zealand.. SEAT Leon Super Copa
I2 Motorsport Services New Zealand.. SEAT Leon Super Copa
I2 Motorsport Services New Zealand.. SEAT Leon Super Copa
I2 Creventic The Netherlands.. SEAT Leon Super Copa
I2 Racer Industries Australia.. Opel Astra VX-R
I3 Tony Burrows New Zealand.. Subaru Impreza WRX STi
I3 Mal Rose Racing Australia.. Holden VY Commodore
I3 Daytona Sportscars Australia.. Daytona Coupe

Source: http://www.bathurst12hour.com.au/competitor-info/entry-list/

Winter/Summer North/South Hemisphere

2013 is already promising to be an incredible year. I’m particularly excited about the planning process of my next big trip this February and March. I’m not sure what I’m thrilled about the most… maybe its the prospect of flying again. Sure, I love flying! Or perhaps its the prospect of doing some more racing events in the Pacific. Yes, I love Australia and New Zealand racing series a lot, that’s where I got my education. Or maybe I’m just craving a double double with fries animal style? Hmm…

For anyone not familiar with the west coast chain In-n-Out, you don’t know what you’re missing. Well, maybe it doesn’t matter. To be honest, the fast food chain isn’t ridiculously different from any other fast food chains we have on the east coast, like Five Guys Burgers. But they do offer a secret menu and have a cult-like following so every time I get a chance I pay a visit to their establishments. (I think last time was in Las Vegas when I went for the SEMA show). I specifically arranged my flights to LAX in a way that would allow me to have enough time to visit their South Sepulveda location for a nice juicy burger, fries and some half-strawberry half-chocolate milk shake. I do plan to walk to and fro the restaurant to burn off some of the calories.

After I’m properly stuffed with the So Cal experience, I’ll be taking my comfy Qantas A380 flight off to Sydney. Its been a while since I’ve been there, save for of course the quick transit at SYD airport I did on my way home from New Zealand earlier this year. I will be visiting the Blue Mountains in NSW for my first race there. The 12 hours of Bathurst enduro series featuring some Mercedes-Benz SLS, Lambourghini Gallardo, Ferrari 458 Italias and a bunch of others including some Fords and Holdens that will have a GT race within the race running only for the first hour of the event. How cool?

Immediately after the race I plan to make my way over to Auckland for the opening season of New Zealand V8 SuperTourers at Hampton Downs. This would be the second year in a row I’ve volunteered for this event, so I’m especially looking forward to seeing all the folks I’ve worked with earlier this year. Whilst in NZ I plan to do a few trips to the South Island, an experience I missed out on while living there in 2012. Hopefully with the December 12 days of Christmas special I’ll be able to book some cheapo flights to Dunedin or Queenstown on Air New Zealand to make it happen. A visit to Taupo or Manfeild may be in the cards also.

Kiwi land may be the place where I will finally and possibly tragically run out of my savings. But it will not stop me from going. On the way back I plan to return to Australia for the Formula 1 race at Albert Park in Melbourne. A week before there will be another event at a track I’ve been wanting to work since the first time I visited Philip Island. Visiting some friends in Victoria should make an experience memorable as usual.

Retracing my F1 calendar of this year I plan to take a cheap Air Asia X flight to Malaysia for another amazing Formula 1 race at the Sepang Circuit. The flights have already been booked but the confirmation has yet to come, fingers crossed I won’t have any trouble like I did this year. Any visit to Southeast Asia turns out to be a fantastic experience and it would be a great way to end this two month journey.

The excitement will keep me going through the cold Northeast winter we’ll be having in the NYC / New Jersey area, where we just had our first snow not even a week after the superstorm Sandy had her way with us… yikes!

PS. No return flight has been booked yet. It may turn into another epic adventure of a trip!