BEHIND THE SCENES

Words Scott Bishop

Plenty of things go on at the races — and not just racing. Sure, that’s what everyone comes to see, but with the ever-growing pits at the MX Nationals, SuperX and even state races, there are plenty of things going on that just don’t make the headlines.

2012 PARMA TOUR DOWN UNDER

I’ve made it a secondary job of mine and the entire GYTR Yamaha team to become a garlic bread and chicken parmigiana critic, MasterChef style. Me and the team have scoured the country looking for the best chicken parmigianas part of our 2012 MX National tour and plan on filing a full report on garlic bread and parmas as soon as the MX Nationals is over.

You can’t go wrong with a chicken parmagiana — it’s readily available at every pub that has tap beer and is always a good feed. In fact, I’m thinking about introducing a rule that all riders must go a chicken parma as a pre-race meal, just to level the playing field and sort out who are the top guns at devouring a counter meal in a rider shootout.

I can report that one team member lost focus one night, slipped into a chicken schnitzel and came down with food poisoning the very next day, which meant his race-day diet was restricted to dry toast and bread with small sips of water. But he’s back on the parmas again and has vowed never to wander for the remainder of the season.

So, if you want to know where the best damn chicken parma/garlic bread combination is in Australia, you talk to me. I’m Australia’s expert.

BEST EXCUSE

This one comes from SuperX but she’s a beauty. While in NZ for a race in 2010, one of the local riders was working with a factory Australian team and discussing suspension. He mentioned he was having trouble in the whoops and the suspension guru asked what the problem was.

“I’m seeing goats in the whoops,” says the rider.

The suspension tuner, thinking this is some kind of metaphor, says, “What, is it kicking in the rear? Whereabouts in the whoops is it doing that?”

“No!” says the rider. “I’m seeing goats. You know, like dogs with horns!” he adds, putting his index fingers above his ears to make a set of horns.

“So, you’re seeing goats in the whoops. Well, there’s not much I can do to fix that,” says the suspension tuner and he quickly returns to the serenity of the race team truck.

The moral of the story is, unless your excuse can match seeing goats in the whoops of a supercross track inside an international football stadium, you’ve got nothing, so keep your mouth closed and accept that you’re getting whipped because you are a joke on a dirtbike — because the goats-in-the-whoops excuse has already been run.

TIMING

Everyone in the pits last year complained about the timing. The screen in the mechanics area never worked and, in fact, you probably had more chance of picking up some Swedish porn on SBS than finding out what lap times your rider was doing on the track in front of you.

So this year, a new timing system was introduced — and guess what? You still have more chance of watching Swedish porn on SBS than getting the lap times of the riders. Well, that’s a lie, as the last round the system certainly appeared to work better. But for the opening few rounds, not one mechanic in the pits was happy about the timing.

The frustration comes when the rider rolls in during qualifying and wants to know exactly where he’s placed, what the fastest lap time is and where he needs to make up time. Unfortunately, as entertaining as those little Swedish freaks are, it doesn’t answer the rider’s questions and he roosts off in anger, thinking you’re just scribbling on the pit board and not doing your job.

The good news is, the live timing improved at the Murray Bridge round and while you still get snow and not much info on the screen in the mechanics’ area, at least you can keep up with what’s going on the track with your iPhone. Now the riders think you’re on Facebook while they’re out riding and they’re still not happy.

ODDS AND ENDS

Updating your Facebook status to say you did 10 motos, 100 sit-ups and 5000 push-ups and cycled to Alice Springs and back all in one day isn’t training. Actually, training is training, not writing about it in a public forum.

Saying you were lapping faster than the race winner when you weren’t also isn’t too bright in this day and age. All it takes is a couple of clicks on the interweb for the truth to be found out.

Every race last year, riders were claiming to be banging the 30-second board girl, even the one that couldn’t count and walked off the track after 10 seconds. Now that the 30-second board girl is a middle-aged man with hairy ears, no one is claiming anything.

Someone stole a whole heap of signage and bunting from the Wonthaggi round of the MX Nationals. What use to anyone is 100 metres of Insure My Ride banner? What are they going to do with it — border their driveway? Just a pointless theft of something that has no value to anyone else.