Friday, April 14, 2006

And now... a quiet weekend

After the flurry of racing activities last weekend, this one is a little more sparse. We've got British Superbike at Thruxton, the start of the FIM World Endurance Championship at Assen and ChampCar up in Portland.

BSB had quite a tumultuous weekend at Donington last time out, with a ferociously wet 2nd race that saw Scotty Smart take the win. The first race was a dry affair and featured the usual combination of Greg Lavilla leading Ryuichi Kiyonari home. It must be said that Hard Man of the Week Award goes to Rizla Suzuki's James Haydon, who fell not once, not twice but three times in Race 2 and still finished. The Donington coverage I saw was from Sky, as opposed to the Brands event which was from ITV. I have to say, I preferred the ITV commentary, since Sky's Keith Huewen is a bit of a rambler.

Thruxton may throw out some surprises: Karl Harris has shown pace in practice, so perhaps this is a Michelin track.

Motorcycling's equivalent of GT endurance racing is the FIM World Endurance Championship. It takes in the classics of the Suzuka 8 Hours, the Bol D'Or and the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as 4 other events. I can't say I get too excited by this series, as these are not your top superbike teams or riders, but fair play to anyone who can ride for that long round a track on a bike. It all starts at the magical Assen track with a 500km "sprint" LOL!

I wanted to quickly comment on the Le Mans Series event at Istanbul, that 90 minutes into the race was shortened to 4 hours due to a lack of fuel from the organizer. To me, it's just one more reason why Istanbul should never host an international event again (even though MotoGP and Formula 1 are headed back there this year). The race itself saw terrific promise but ultimate failure for 2 British efforts, Rollcentre Racing and Creation Autosportif. They now have one more race before Le Mans to get things sorted.

I've been watching the British TV series "The Road to Le Mans" which is a behind the scenes account of Creation's assault on Le Mans from last year. I have to say, if ever the term "plucky" could be applied to anything, this team would be it. I love the attitude of Mike Jankowski, the owner, who's basically bankrolling everything. He's a perfect example of the die-hard sportscar fan turned team owner. He's gone from watching to being part of it, and although it's more painful emotionally and financially, you can see the glint of excitement in his eye. Great stuff, and I for one will be cheering them on wherever they go this year.

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