Tag Archives: World Superbikes

Coronavirus panic hits motorcycling

As panic buying sets in over the coronavirus, bans are placed on large gatherings and northern Italy goes into lockdown, motorcycling looks set to be one of the victims.

Despite all the doom and gloom, there is no need for riders to panic and stay at home.

After all, we wear a face mask of sorts, protective gloves and riding a bike puts us in a type of isolation.

We also usually ride out in the country where there is less chance of big group gatherings.

If you are concerned, use your credit card instead of cash when buying fuel and food and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. And maybe pack your own toilet paper!

Pandemic panic

Meanwhile, the world of motorcycle racing is starting to feel the impact of the coming pandemic.

The first two rounds of the MotoGP in Qatar and Thailand have been abandoned and now the third round in Austin, Texas, on 3-5 April 2020 is under threat as the city moves to prevent crowds of more than 2500.

World Superbikes also cancelled their first round this weekend in Qatar and even the Isle of Man TT, from 30 May to 12 June, could be under threat.

Some of these events may still go ahead for TV only, with no on-site crowds as F1 is considering.

Meanwhile, the Daytona Bike Week festivities are going ahead in Florida as planned.

Bike production

Ducati factoryDucati factory

The spreading contagion in Italy — now the worst affected country outside China — also looks likely to affect production of Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta motorcycles and many motorcycle components.

Their factories are near Milan which is an epicentre of the virus in the Lombardi region which is in virtual shutdown.

There are also factories in the region that make automotive components.

Ducati is in Bologna which is just outside the northern contagion regions of Lombardy and Veneto.

Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Vespa have already closed their museum and factory tours.

While the affects of these shutdowns won’t be felt here for some time, we expect there could be some shortage of parts in coming months.

But that doesn’t mean you panic and start clearing the shelves of oil filters!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Virus travel bans hit motorsports

Travel bans are set to throw international motorsport such as MotoGP, World Superbkes and the Isle of Man TT into disarray this year.

In a rapidly changing world of travel bans, the first round of the MotoGP at Losail, Qatar, this weekend was cancelled yesterday (2 March 2020).

Then Thailand announced it had postponed the second round, but only hours later cancelled the whole event.

The decisions follow the postponement of the 2020 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, the Moto2 and Moto3 races this weekend in Qatar will still go ahead as the riders were already in the country for testing.

One of the main reasons for the cancellation is that so many riders come from Italy where the contagion has spread rapidly, even causing Vespa and Ducati museums to close.

Ducati museum on Google MapsDucati museum

Travel bans

Qatar has now enforced a two-week quarantine on direct flights from Italy.

That should also affect the World Superikes which is due to be staged there next weekend (13-15 March 2020).

However, there is no announcement yet about that event.

How far the MotoGP and World Superbikes schedule will be affected is anyone’s guess.

The North and South American MotoGP rounds in April may go aead because they do not have travel bans … yet.

But then the MotoGP and WSBK return to Europe where talk of travel bans is growing.

Even the Isle of Man has issued a statement about its TT events from 30 May to 12 June.

Isle of Mann TT Superstock sart travel bansIsle of Mann TT

“The Isle of Man Government is carefully monitoring the Island’s position regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) with a cross-government working group established to regularly review the changing situation,” organisers say.

“While the threat to the public in the Isle of Man remains low, a number of future contingency scenarios are being considered. This is usual practice and is in line with the WHO advice for preparations in case of a pandemic.

“The risk is low and preparations for this year’s TT remain on schedule. Work will continue as usual in order to ensure another successful TT. 

“The Organisers, in partnership with the Department for Enterprise and the Isle of Man Government and in line with experts in the UK, will continue to monitor the situation.”

If we’re stuck at home with this virus there won’t even be anything decent to watch on TV!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Troy Bayliss demo bike stolen

Motorcycle theft is running rampant and even three-time World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss is not immune with his two-up demo Ducati V4R being stolen from his race truck.

Troy returned to Australian Super-bikes last year and is competing this weekend at the combined round with WSBK this weekend at Phillip Island.

However, he has tweeted that his demo V4R that he uses for promotional duties pillioning customers around the track has been stolen.

Stolen, straight out the back door of our race truck at Somerton VIC while driver having a shower. What the hell do you want a two-up bike for? It’s due for an engine rebuild as well, you ain’t going far on that.

Troy Bayliss race truckTroy’s race truck

Troy says he is hoping to catch the thief on CCTV and says in another tweet:

If anyone spots a V4R two-up bike cruising down the highway can you stick a broom handle in the front wheel and cut off at least one of the hands of the rider?

We can certainly understand his feelings and many other riders have suggested similar penalties for bike thieves.

Theft penalties

Motorcycle theft hot spots keyring thieves miserly CCTV black friday thefts stolen boomBuy your “warning” keyring now at the Motorbike Writer online shop.

NSW introduced tougher penalties in 2006 of up to 14 years for anyone involved in motor vehicle theft or rebirthing.

While it has resulted in a decrease in car theft, it is not having any effect on motorcycle theft which is up 17.1% in NSW compared with an increase of 11.7% nationwide.

Any rider whose pride and joy has been stolen would probably suggest tough penalties. In one previous article a reader suggested castration.

Law enforcement agencies agree that tougher penalties are needed. But maybe not castration, nor cutting off a hand as they still do in Saudi Arabia!

The problem has been that organised criminal rings use specialist criminals for different functions of the same offence.

They include bike thieves, burglars who break into your house to steal car or bike keys, re-birthers, fencers and document forgers.

This has made it difficult to convict offenders and gang bosses or organisers. Charges were often not proven or bargained down to lesser charges, such as receiving stolen property.

At best, the conviction system was protracted with little or no joy for the victims.theft lock grinder steal thief motorcycle theft

In 2006, the NSW government amended the Crimes Act 1900 to introduce a new offence of knowingly facilitating a rebirthing activity carried out on an organised basis.

It applied to any and all members in the network involved in stealing your motorcycle or car with tougher penalties. The maximum penalty was 14 years in jail.

Last year a review of the laws founds they were not only catching some offenders who knowingly participate in a vehicle rebirthing activity but who may not be guilty of any other offence.

Yet it also found that sentences did not reflect the seriousness of the crime, given the lack of offenders receiving the 14-year maximum penalty.

Although it did note that the Court of Criminal Appeal and District Court “conscientiously assess the gravity of the offending when applying the standard non-parole period of four years”.

It also identified the difficulties of proving the offender’s knowledge of the motor vehicle theft network.

Despite this and the lack of maximum sentences, the review did not proposed any legislative changes.

Meanwhile, we wish Troy every success in both racing this weekend and finding his demo Duc.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Ducati racing memorabilia now on sale

For the Ducatisti tragic who has everything, how about this collection of Ducati racing memorabilia from MotoGP and World Superbikes that is now on sale.

The first load of limited-edition gear includes crankshafts, camshafts, pistons and con-rods with more being added over time.

Each item of memorabilia comes in a smartly styled plexiglass display case together with a certificate of authenticity, a technical description and info on the relative rider and world championship season.

All are personally certified by Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall’Igna and Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali who was recently announced as the as the new President of the Italian Motor Valley Association. Motor Valley is the area of Italy that includes most of the auto makers, 15 auto museums and several race and testing tracks.

Claudio with a Panigale V4 R

Unfortunately, Ducati memorabilia items can only be purchased at the Ducati Store in Borgo Panigale, Bologna, and at selected Ducati dealerships.

However, from next year you can order online at www.ducati.com.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

World Superbikes ride to promote health issues

Tickets are now available for the third annual Black Dog Ride to the World Superbikes at Phillip Island in 2020 to promote mental health issues.

Black Dog Ride Australia Victoria co-ordinator Bernie Garvey says riders get to see some spectacular scenery, participate in a parade lap of the circuit and promote mental health issues.

World Superbikes 2019 Phillip Island WSBK Jamie Morris/Geebee Images/2SNAP
2019 World Superbikes at Phillip Island (Image: Jamie Morris/Geebee Images/2SNAP)

In past years we had riders come from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, WA, NT, QLD NSW and ACT,” Bernie says.

“Numbers build each year and we expect to offer 150 registered riders the experience this year.”

The Black Dog Ride started 10 years ago when Steve Andrews did a solo lap of the nation to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention.

WSBK event

One of their more recent activities is the ride to the WSBK, costing $200-$440, depending on how many days you attend the event. Click here for the full details.

“There are two starting points at Marysville, Victoria, and Queanbeyan, ACT,” Bernie says.

World Superbikes BDR to promote health issues
Bikes line up in Marysville

Both ride groups leave the Tuesday before the weekend and meet in Sale for a group dinner the Wednesday night before our group ride to Philip Island Thursday.

“The NSW group, takes a route over Mt Kosciusko through to Wodonga for a group and community dinner, and then over Hotham down to Sale. A wicked ride with some of the best roads and scenery.

“The Victorian group comes around Eildon, down through the King Valley to Bright.World Superbikes BDR to promote health issues

“After a group and community dinner at Bright Hotel the next morning they head over the gap to Falls Creek, stopping at The Blue Duck Inn, before continuing down to Omeo, and then to Sale. Endless corners for the day.”

After lunch on Thursday at the Inline 4 Cafe, riders have exclusive access for a parade lap on the racetrack in the afternoon.

And who knows who they will meet!

World Superbikes BDR to promote health issues
Riders meet WSBK legend Troy Corser

Promote issues

Bernie says it is a “great mates’ escape” and fundraising is not their priority.

“Promoting a positive experience and facilitating an awesome group ride environment for riders is our goal,” he says.

“We also have a stand in the expo tent where we promote our rides and our charity message of raising awareness of depression and suicide prevention with positive messages and encouragement.

“We do a little tin rattling at the track over the weekend.

“Above all else, this ride’s priority is to promote positivity, an adrenaline injection, and a ride experience like no other.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Watch: Speed is my Need documentary

“Life without danger is just no life at all” says a new motorcycle documentary featuring racers Freddie Spencer, Colin Edwards, Ron Haslam and Peter Hickman.

The documentary film title Speed is my Need is an interesting version of the computer game Need for Speed and the Tom Cruise line from the original Top Gun movie.

It looks at the psychology behind the incredible drive these racers have to win and the addictive nature of the high speeds they reach.

Director Mark Sloper has filmed motorcycle racing around the world for many years.

“I’ve always wondered what must go through their minds in near-perilous conditions,” he says.

“What makes the mind of a racer?

“I got in the best sports psychologists to help answer the question and the film gives the audience a fascinating insight into what makes these young gladiators race to within seconds of their lives.”Speed is my Need documentary

The film has been shown in UK theatres and is now heading to North American theatres. There is no word yet on an Australian cinema release.

However, you can rent or buy it from major US cable platforms, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu, Vimeo, Amazon, and Fandango for $US4.99 – $US9.99.

It is available in Australia through Amazon and can be purchased online here on VOD and DVD.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Anthony West quits over doping scandal

Gold Coast racer Anthony West, 37, has parked his motorcycle racing career over a seven-year doping dispute with the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme).

Ant West, who has raced in seven world championship series since 1998, announced his decision in a Facebook post over night:

Fuck FIM I’m done with this sport!!!! You will never see me on another motorcycle again in my life. You win FIM you dogs. Your really low shit people who should have nothing to do with the sport. FIM have pushed to make me lose my ride with Kawasaki here Brazil. FIM have destroyed my life many times and have put me into depression to point I wish I was dead. I’m done playing there bullshit political games. Fuck you FIM. Sorry to all my fans who have supported me all the way since 1999 when 1st went to world championship. I love you all!!!!

It follows a video post two days ago saying: “Last laps like this is why FIM don’t want me racing. Not meant to beat factory teams on a private bike.”

Doping scandal

The doping scandal started in 2012 when he was racing World Moto2 championship with the Qatar-based QMMF Racing Team.

Ant claims he skipped breakfast and had a “workout drink” which caused him to prove positive in a drug test later the same day at the Le Mans round.

The FIM claims they had changed the rules to add the drink, but Ant says it wasn’t on the doping list and is even used by Australian football players.Ant West

Several months later he was banned.

A legal wrangle followed, he was dope tested two more times, his team was disqualified over an engine technicality, he had a 2018 Asian championship win revoked and he lost his racing licence.

Ant claims this was FIM bullying because he challenged the original ban.

He switched to the Brazilian SBK Championship in 2019 to escape FIM rules, but now seems to have dropped out of that series. 

  • If you are experiencing feelings of depression, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 131114.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Warning of police patrols for WSBK riders

Victoria Police are expected to be out in force over the next few days as warning to motorcyclists to ride safely on their way to and from the World Superbikes at Phillip Island this weekend.

In previous years, VicPol have conducted “Motosafe” operations around the WSBK and MotoGP events.

We contacted VicPol to find out what they had planned for this year, but they said they couldn’t supply an answer until the end of the week, which is too late to issue a specific warning to riders.

Rider warning

However, riders have complained in the past that over-zealous police make life difficult for riders.

They have reported long queues for licence checks at road blocks, indiscriminate roadside bike inspections and an abundance of speed detection.

Some have even said they not return because of the heavy handed police presence.

So while these events are recognised as two of the major tourist attractions to the state, these police operations seem to have had the reverse effect.

We will update this article with a specific warning if or when VicPol supply details of their operations.

Meanwhile, we invite riders to leave a comment below of their experiences to alert other riders.

And make sure you have fun at the Island and get home in one piece.

World Superbikes 2019 Phillip Island WSBK Jamie Morris/Geebee Images/2SNAP warning
World Superbikes at Phillip Island (Images on this page: Jamie Morris/Geebee Images/2SNAP)

Rule warning

For those interstate riders visiting Victoria, remember it is not legal to ride in a bus, bicycle, transit, tram or truck lane.

The only exception is if you are stopping for an emergency or turning and then you can only be in the lane for 1090m (50m for bicycle and tram lanes).

Also, VicPol now have automatic number plate recognition technology to detect unregistered vehicles.

Tourist events

WSBK and MotoGP are significant tourist events that reap millions of dollars in annual revenue for Victoria.

The Victorian Government’s Motorcycle Tourism Strategy 2013-2016 actually says “motorcycle tourism has the potential to make an important contribution to the Victorian economy, particularly in regional areas. Motorcycling is the fastest growing road user sector.”

The strategy has not been updated since 2016.

However, the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirms that motorcycle riders account for about 1% of Australian tourism which is worth about $350 million annually to the economy.

Also, an Australian Financial Review report cited the booming motorcycle tourism industry as being dominated by domestic intra-state bikers taking short, weekend rides into rural areas and staying in country hotels. 

“Others do longer inter-state trips through classic touring country such as coastal and alpine roads. Then there’s the motorbike tourists who tour for several weeks or months, either in a tour group or by hiring bikes and self-guiding,” the report stated.

And, of course, making an annual pilgrimage to the island!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com