Troy Corser on the Storm-hit SBK Round in Australia

Colin MacKellar
by Colin MacKellar
With the weather doing a dress rehearsal for Armageddon at the World Superbike round at Phillip Island last weekend, Troy Corser has been cast by some as a rabble rouser, inciting riders to boycott the second race. As always, there are 2 sides to a story and this is his....

I was really looking forward to racing at Phillip Island in front of allmyAussie fans. Also, meeting up with all my friends and family. Living inMonaco, I only get a chance to race once a year in Australia and so Ialways want to do well there. Phillip Island is a great track and I loveracing there. It's a challenging track and a real 'riders' track and ofcourse I know it pretty well. Doing a good lap round it is a real blast. Iknow the people who run it and so what happened on raceday there was a bitof a surprise.

Basically, I guess we should never have gone out for thefirst race. It wasn't just the rain that was the problem; it was also thewind. It was so strong that it was blowing water across the track and alsoup into our faces. Visibility was dreadful. If you were behind another bikethe spray thrown up meant you couldn't see where you were going! If therider in front crashed, there would be no way you could avoid it. There wasalso standing water in many parts of the track and aquaplaning was a realpossibility. You could tell the conditions were bad because only half thefield finished!

Conditions worsened for the Supersport race and it was also pretty dark,which made what little visibility there was even less! Things were the sameor worse ­ because there was more water on the track ­ when we startedpreparing for our second race. First the organisers decided to cut fourlaps of the race distance ­ as if that would help ­ then they wanted todelay the start for half an hour or so. We could all see that half an hour,one hour or whatever what was not going to make any difference. They stillwanted us to go out!Then they wanted some of us to go out and see how the track was, but Colin(Edwards) had already done an inspection lap and told us how bad thingswere ­ though you could actually see for yourself on the TV monitors. Iwent to the end of pit-lane and talked to some of the riders who were ontheir bikes and I think they agreed because they all returned to thegarages.

I then went up and had a bit of a talk with the organisers and could notbelieve their attitude. They just couldn't understand how dangerous it was.I told them that I wasn't going to risk myself. My life is more importantthen money, but they couldn't seem to understand what we were trying toexplain. They should've tried going out there and see how it was, but allthey did was sit in their room and try and dictate what we had to do. Afterour discussion I went back down to pit-lane and at that stage theyorganisers still wanted us to go out. I had a bit of a heated discussionwith Ducati team manager Davide Tardozzi. Maybe he wanted his riders torace, but I'm sure that they didn't want to!

All this time, the conditions were getting worse and worse. It was very,very dark and some water had burst through the tyre wall on the frontstraight and was gushing out nearly on to the track. It was justridiculous! Fortunately, the organisers had a re-think and abandoned therest of the day so we didn't have to race. About time too. I don't know whyit took them so long to make what was an obvious decision.

OK, I understand that races are big business these days. It's not justabout racing ­ there are television stations waiting, radio stations andsponsors to look after, so it's not easy to just cancel an event. There's alot more going then we know about, but at the end of the day, it's ourlives on the line ­ not television people or sponsors or anybody else. Ifthe race had taken place and there had been a serious injury ­ or worse ­how would the organisers have felt? Fortunately we didn't come to that, butwe should never have got to the stage of almost going out. I feel verysorry for all the spectators who braved the appalling conditions and thenmissed out on the second race and I hope they understand why we couldn't goout and do the second race. Something needs to be sorted out for thefuture.

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Colin MacKellar
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