Tag Archives: SBK Superbikes

Post Card from Moto America Championship of New Jersey Round 9 at NJMP Thunderbolt Mega Photo Gallery

Greetings from a beautiful weekend in South Jersey volunteering for my only bike race of this season with MotoAmerica Championship Superbikes, Superstock and Supersport bikes supported by KTM RC Cup and Vintage Bikes.

Enjoy the over 100 pix from Race Day on Sunday… and stay tuned for more to come about this awesome event.

I got to work Turn 7 which is probably the best station at Thunderbolt and certainly for me, because during our long lunch hour I was able to just walk into the paddock area and check out all the bikes… spectator bikes, bikes for sale, racing bikes, etc.

The young kids riding… that is really inspiring!

notice the missing BMW engine behind the cowling…

These KTM spec series bikes are really neat!

Love seeing all these vintage bikes, many of them for sale!

And of course lots of new stuff for sale, Suzuki and others had a great test ride opportunity with customers going on a cruise in a convoy of new bikes around Millville, New Jersey

NJMP offered a good discounted lunch option for us, all for $5 bux

Philly Cheesesteak, fries, chips and drink.

By the time I finished my lunch, the grid walk was wrapping up… so I did some drive-by shooting of pix as the bikes were getting ready to grid up and race.

The kids riding area was super cool… I think a few racers actually joined them which looked pretty funny but must have been an amazing opportunity to inspire the young riders to pursue this hobby further.

Enjoy… more to come soon!

Motos in my 2016 Marshaling Calendar

I forgot to add a Motorcycle race to my wishlist in 2016.

So here’s a post reminding myself to do it!

This year I did express interest in MotoGP at COTA but I did it way too late and it didn’t materialize in time even though they accepted me to marshal there. The irony from that experience is that I also reached out to MotoAmerica to see if they needed any staff while I waited on a response from COTA and MotoAmerica turned me down. It’s ironic because it turns out COTA were really short on marshals and could have used any help MotoAmerica were willing to offer, unfortunately it seems that they were not willing to offer help, at least based on my experience. I also did send my interest to marshal a Superbike event at NJMP with MotoAmerica in September, I don’t have very high hopes of being accepted and it won’t be a terribly big loss if they don’t. I have marshaled an AMA Superbikes event at NJMP twice before the series went out of business.

But I do want to do a Motos race in the future. And if I don’t get accepted to marshal Dubai 24h in January I think I will definitely apply to marshal a MotoGP event in Doha, Qatar.

Why Doha?

Because Losail International Circuit is famous in the world of two wheel motorsports. I worked with a Portuguese marshal from Estoril last year who proudly wore his Losail hat while marshaling and had nothing but good things to say about it. Qatar would also be the 15th country on my list of places I volunteered as a marshal, so I’m looking forward to adding that flag to my resume.

I flew through Doha what feels like a dozen times a few years ago when I marshaled in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, sadly I never left the airport in all my time spent there. I really want to check out the country. The craziest bit I flew back from Bahrain to Dubai via Doha, spend a few hours in Dubai, then flew back to Doha to connect to Sepang in Malaysia.

Speaking of Portugal, I would really love to come back to marshal at the Algarve International Circuit in the south of the country. I had such an amazing time in Portimao last year that I cannot wait to return. And like many other places in Europe they are absolutely crazy about bikes. I met a British expat that marshals in Portimao that raved about the time FIM visits their humble little track. So when stars align just right I will be heading back to Portugal!

autodromo internacional algarve

Autodromo Interncional do Algarve is very open to the idea of International marshals so I would strongly urge the Motorsport volunteers of the world to consider adding this gem of a track to their resume. The track is located in a very accessible part of the country just a few hours south of the capital Lisbon, but only about an hour’s drive for the resort city of Faro. It is famous for it’s elevation changes and my favorite feature: elevated marshal posts. If anyone needs some contact details please do not hesitate to contact me and I’ll put you in touch with some really amazing people. I had an amazing time working there.

Race Car Drivers Should Demand Better Trained Safety Marshals

There’s one thing I have always wondered: Do race car drivers care about the quality of the marshals that are responsible for track safety? Ultimately, their safety?

I’m not a race car driver, so I can’t answer that question with confidence. I have asked a few friends that race on an amateur and professional level and the answer is an overwhelming “Yes!” especially from those that have had some marshaling experience as they were coming up in their racing careers. But seeing how training is limited especially here in the US, I wonder if the drivers are aware of the situation and should they be concerned? Shouldn’t they demand better training for marshals? To me it only seems logical.

This concept isn’t limited to pro racers, amateur racers participating in club events have just as much stake in the quality of training as some of the famous F1 or WEC celebs. Everybody has a stake, it’s safety we’re talking about here, human lives! And it doesn’t matter if you are getting paid millions of dollars to jet around the globe and put on a show for the TV audience and all those fancy sponsors. It doesn’t matter whether you have the best quality kit: helmet, fire proof suit, gloves, shoes and underwear. Neck restraints, arm restraints and state of the art roll cages, strong carbon fiber cockpit, etc. If you’ve crashed you’d want the first responders – the closest marshals to you, to know what to do rather than just call for help from race control. Sure depending on the severity of the impact a simple call to race control may be an appropriate action (it usually is), but if the scenario isn’t given sufficient priority or there is a delay in dispatching rescue crews to the incident, someone could be severely hurt. That’s you: the race car driver I’m talking about!

So what can be done?

Two things in my view: 1) awareness and 2) discussion.

Awareness is not the same as paranoia. I think many drivers, especially those that were either wronged by a bad call from a marshal about a particular incident, or those that had their car damaged more by the rescue crews than what the car sustained from the impact of the accident itself, are already aware that there are some marshals better than others. But I could only speculate they assume that the event organizer, or the sanctioning body that pays for the marshaling services to the organization that provides the marshals, would improve the quality of the marshals. In my opinion that doesn’t always happen. It’s like outsourcing. The FIA requires marshals for F1, they outsource this task to the local ASN. The local ASN turns around and compiles a crew from it’s own clubs and any other clubs it works with. And the clubs recruit (hopefully) people to make up their numbers to facilitate the requirements of the ASN. So the F1 marshal at US GP does not work directly for the FIA who pays for their services, but instead for USAC, SCCA, RSI, or directly for COTA. As a result, depending on who the marshal actually volunteers/or works with determines the quality of the training that marshal received. In the US nobody is trained specifically for F1. Sometimes your corner captain may forward you some FIA regulations passed on to them from the ASN, but that’s not always the case. So you as a marshal are on your own. Does a Formula 1 driver know this? Should they be concerned? And this is not limited to F1, MotoGP in Indianapolis is even looser with whom they let work as marshals for the Grand Prix, being a motorcycle enthusiast might be the only prerequisite it seems.

Discussion therefore is the appropriate solution I can recommend. We’ve all seen the movie SENNA and how the drivers have a direct impact on whether a race takes place. If the drivers aren’t comfortable with racing in a monsoon for safety reasons, perhaps the race could be delayed. If the drivers aren’t comfortable with the set up of a tire wall in a dangerous corner, they can get that wall modified to better suit their needs. If the drivers are aware that there isn’t consistent marshal training, they can certainly request it to be done.

How can drivers demand better trained marshals? Simple, ask to see what training material is used to educate marshals.

In this day and age, teaching marshals word-of-mouth with on-the-job training is primitive, especially in the US. There’s got to be supplemental materials created for each series, not just FIA F1… but WEC, IMSA, WC VISION (SCCA PRO), FIM MotoGP/SBK Superbikes, IndyCar, NASCAR, etc. It is the responsibility of each series to facilitate learning for the marshals that take part in their events, assuming the marshals have common sense and learn shit from Club events is foolish! Many drivers, especially the famous ones race in multiple series. Go nudge whomever it is responsible for trackside safety in each one of the events you do, to better prepare the marshals that have the potential to be the first responders at YOUR crash site wherever you race, and tell them you want them to be sufficiently trained. Demand better training. Often times marshals don’t have a voice because they are mere volunteers. Well, race car drivers certainly have a voice… use it!

Invitation to Marshal the 2015 SBK Superbikes at Phillip Island

Dear colleagues,

You are invited to participate in next year’s SBK Superbike event at Phillip Island in beautiful Victoria, Australia.

This is the reason why, for the most part, they are not hurting for volunteers. Unlike some events, like say the US Grand Prix – which struggled to meet the minimum staffing requirements, early registration invites like these work…. and for the few bux that it costs to do it properly, I believe it’s certainly worth the effort to make an event run smoothly and safely.

SBK superbikes invitation Phillip Island

When I get mail like this (especially from Australia because they are basically the only ones still doing this) it’s like a Christmas gift. Even when I doubt I’ll be able to participate, a big part of me really wants to sign up. The reason I post this is to help spread the word and hopefully you will sign up as a result. Feel free to contact me for details or reach out to the Phillip Island organization directly.

Enjoy the race, it’s fantastic!

Pure Sound: Motorsport Marshalling in Australia

Any closer to the action and you’ll be in the driver’s seat for the race. Experience the sounds of Australian Motorsports from a marshal’s perspective. Enjoy, discuss… interested in marshalling?  Get in touch!

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.

SBK< World Superbikes at Phillip Island debrief

Another season opener, this time on two wheels. I have to say that Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit is the most scenic and exotic racetrack I have ever been to. Especially working turn 6.8 Right, the Siberia corner, was a fantastic view of the ocean behind the bikes making a sharp turn towards us.

Surprisingly enough I got to do a lot of recoveries. My station had no flags on it, and no shade as a result. But I was on comms the whole weekend so I could hear what was happening throughout the practice stints and races, and got to call in a few bike #’s that crashed in our turn. Jumping over the tire wall and hay bales was interesting, but we got to recover almost half a dozen bikes, especially on Saturday Supersport practice where there was a complete tire failure for a lot of competitors.

Some pix:

phillip island sbk 2

phillip island sbk 3

phillip island sbk 4

phillip island sbk 5

phillip island sbk 6

The ratio of my bike to car races is highly skewed to cars, but I’m looking forward to my next MotoGP at Indianapolis later this year 🙂

PS. I can’t say enough good things about the Phillip Island circuit, for anyone thinking about doing it, there’s no question do it any opportunity you get!

sbk phillip island group

Accepted to the SBK Superbikes at Phillip Island

Great news from the mailbox this morning, as I’m about to start packing for Florida I received a letter from Phillip Island with my acceptance to the SBK Superbikes race. I’m really excited, no I’m thrilled to be accepted as it will be an awesome line up of events for my visit down under.

sbk superbikes acceptance

I find it very thoughtful that they still mail letters of acceptance, similar to the Clipsal 500 acceptance I got earlier, posted here:  Way to go Sporting Car Club of South Australia

I can’t wait to go experience Daytona over this weekend, and especially since it is the start of a fantastic racing season 2013! Australia here I come.

A few more details about the event, officially known as “eni FIM Superbike World Championship” with support categories including Supersport World Championship, and four National Support Classes: QBE Australian Superbike Challenge, Speed Australian Supersport Championship, Linfox Prostock Australian Championship and Angove Winery Vintage Challenge.