Archive for October, 2006
With the 2006 championship now over (refer last post) I thought I would take this opportunity to comment on Australian wunderkind Casey Stoner’s recent move to Ducati. He has signed a one year deal to join Loris Caparossi in the factory Ducati team in MotoGP for 2007.
The deal sees Casey rightfully get a ride on a full factory team rather than a ‘satellite’ team which he has raced for through out his GP career. This kid can ride and he is a true ‘Racer’, but he still has a lot to learn. Racing is not about winning by being the fastest; it is winning by going only as fast as you need to. It is a subtle difference, but important none the less.
Casey throughout his career has been guilty of ‘pushing’ too hard in a race and paying for it through a crash. Who could forget last years Phillip Island 250cc race, when in the lead, Casey lost the front end at MG corner, to wipe out his chances of a possible Championship win.
Don’t get me wrong, Casey shouldn’t lose this ‘hunger to win’, and I myself on track days get a little of the ‘red mist’ and push myself (almost coming a cropper at Broadford twice this year), but he needs to take a more measured / mature approach.
Why is this an important issue for him? Well, as Casey has said himself, no one wins a championship on a non factory bike in the modern MotoGP, but being on a factory bike brings an extra expectation to win, and perform consistently.
Now if Casey is always pushing, and has a few more years where he cannot be consistent, he runs the risk of losing his standing with the factory. This is not something you want to do (Although surprisingly Carlos ‘Chucka’ Checa is still racing – but he is now to replace Casey at LCR – a bit of a nowhere man).
What should help is having team-mate Caparossi to learn from. Loris is a great rider and they should compliment each other well.
With next years bikes going to 800cc, the signing of Casey is a positive move for them, especially as it means Sete Giberneau has been give the heave ho. The 800’s should suit the next wave of riders such as Stoner, Pedrosa and Melandri who all have done well on the 990cc bikes. The factories now realise (somewhat belatedly) that these guys are the future of the series and are quite rightfully throwing their weight behind them. With Valentino predicted to retire in the next tow years, they need to find the next big thing.
I look forward to many on track battles between the new breed in the coming years.
Congratulations to Texan Nicky Hayden in his maiden MotoGP championship. His win will hopefully spark interest in the championship in the US market.
Commiserations to Valentino, who uncharacteristically lost the front end early in the race that, lost him a chance to ‘race’ for the championship.
This year’s championship will go down as not the one that Valentino lost, but the one that Hayden almost did. By rights Valentino should not have been in a position to win the championship after 3 DNFs but testament to his abilities saw him in with a chance. With seven rounds to go he had a deficit of 51 points. To lose the championship by 5 points is an incredible effort.
The race it self saw Aussie Troy Bayliss, the 2006 world Superbike champion, win the race from the first turn. Bayliss showed the form he has displayed all year in Superbikes, to be unchallenged for the win. Caparossi was second and Hayden third.
To be honest though, with Rossi’s crash the race was a bit of a fizzer, sure it was exciting to think of what might have been if he stayed on the bike or was able to make it to 8th position. Take away the emphatic championship win of Hayden it was a dead rubber after the Rossi fall. Don’t get me wrong ‘statistically’ Hayden was the championship winner, but Rossi had more race wins this year, so it was hardly as if Hayden dominated the year.
A telling difference between Hayden and Rossi is that when Hayden new that Valentino had crashed he seemed to settle for third very early, not really challenging Caparossi. If Rossi was in Hayden’s shoes he would have had a go at the win.
It reminds me when Russell Ingall won the Australian V8 SuperCars title last year. Russell was more consistent, but Craig Lowndes had won more races and had a few DNFs and just lost the championship in the final race.
So that is it for 2006 and once again the MotoGP has a Yankee champion (Kenny Roberts Jr was the last one).
Highlights of 2006:
• Valentino’s never say die attitude to the championship (the championship is really going to miss him when he retires)
• The emergence of the next champions in Melandri, Pedrosa and Stoner
• Giberneau getting nowhere and the fact that Biaggi was also a forgotten man
Next year see’s the introduction of the 800cc screamers, and it will be interesting who shows early pace in testing over the summer (European winter). I hope to lob down to Phillip Island to see some early testing and give a report.
As for me, well I will keep blogging away. I have a track day on the 25th November so I will have a post about how that went, plus I will comment on developments over the testing season
In the last posts I have looked at some popular diet programs and also looked at some of the popular myths about fats. In mini series I will discuss the errors some people make when looking at getting fit and losing weight. Part One will look at measuring weight loss. This one is long so forgive me!! (But it is definitely worth it).
First I will start by saying ‘Every one is different’.
One of the reasons for the human race being so effective in populating the world is our diversity. This diversity should also be taken in account when you look at ‘living well’
A lot of people fall into the trap of thinking “Well Jane / Joe weighs only 60 kg’s and I am a whale at 75kg’s. I’ll have to lose 15kg’s.”
Well what is good for Jane or Joe is not necessarily for you. I like to take an individual approach when looking at weight loss, and while I am at it, it should not be weight loss but body fat reduction!! Like I have said in earlier posts, people sometimes (well, I believe all the time) mistaken losing weight with what they are really after – losing excess body fat.
The key to my ‘living well’ philosophy is to us a ‘before and after’ approach. This approach is an individual one and doesn’t care for what Jane and Joe are doing. You simply compare where you are now and improve on that!
But beware, there are traps for the beginner and an example of this is ‘Body Mass Index’ (BMI). Your BMI is a measurement using weight and height to give a BMI factor. The optimal range (and I emphasis RANGE) is between 20 and 25. It is a good general indicator, but there in lies the problem. It is too average.
The formula for BMI is Weight in Kilograms / (Height in Metres) x (Height in Metres).
For example, if you weigh 70kgs and are 165cm’s tall (1.65 metres) your BMI
= 70 / (1.65 x 1.65)
= 70 / 2.7225
Using BMI, to get you within the healthy range you only need to lose 2kg’s (or grow 5cm’s). However, what really you need to lose body fat which is different to simply losing weight.
If you are a 30 year old woman / man who weighs 75 kg’s, then so be it. If you want to lose body fat, weight and BMI are probably not the best guide to your progress. Yes it is a fairly easy, but weighing yourself only gives you some of the picture and it may be the wrong one!
If you lose the body fat and exercise you may not actually lose the 2kg’s. You might actually stay the same weight and therefore BMI. Confused?
Well by exercising you may actually build muscle as well as losing the body fat. (I will discuss this in subsequent part of this series)
So what is the best guide you may very well ask? The best guide is a skin fold test. In a skin fold test various measurements are taken around the body (where fat deposits like to hang around). By taking the individual approach you would focus on reducing your measurements, not getting yourself into the Joe and Jane Average range.
Most gyms will be able to do this test as well as your local GP. So don’t be afraid to ask.
So what does that mean? It is simple ‘Everything in Moderation’, eat a wide variety of foods, limiting high processed foods such as take-away and pre-packaged meals, and most importantly EXERCISE. Get moving even if you only walk for twenty minutes a couple of times per week, it’s doing you good.
Now remember you cannot ‘spot remove’ fat deposits so the body fat will come from the whole body, so don’t be disappointed if you still have a little ‘belly fat’ for example, just keep hammering away, it will reduce eventually :-).
Note: Always seek professional medical advice before embarking on any exercise or diet program
Well folks, this is it. The final race of the championship. This race see’s Valentino Rossi holding an 8 point lead over Nicky Hayden.
For Hayden to win the championship he must win this race and Valentino must get no higher than third place.
Early on in the season it seemed that the championship was Hayden’s after Rossi had three uncharacteristic DNFs. But like the true champion he is, Rossi never gave up. Using all the resources available to them Jeremy Burgess and the Yamaha factory team, gave Rossi the bike he needed to take it up to Hayden.
Last round saw Hayden being hit by his team mate Pedrosa, in what could be the described as decisive event of the series. But in all honesty Hayden hasn’t ‘raced’ for the majority of the season. He has been happy to sit back and rack up points. In fact the last round was the first-time I have seen him actually seem hungry on the track.
Rossi however has never given up. When he had the three DNFs, Rossi believed (rightfully so), that he could retain his crown. He admitted freely that it was going to be hard, but it still could be done. Why can Rossi have this unrelenting confidence? Well he is simply a freak on a bike, plus he is a true racer.
This race will be down to what three riders are doing.
Firstly Hayden MUST qualify in front of Valentino. His team mate, Pedrosa, MUST also qualify in front of Rossi. Hayden MUST get a brilliant start, something he hasn’t been able to accomplish all year. Hayden MUST win, with Pedrosa (or anyone but Valentino) coming second.
Valentino only needs to finish before Hayden or second. Judging by his form in the rounds leading up to this race, his freakish ability on a motorbike plus the fact that he has Jeremy Burgess and the Yamaha team setting up the bike, this is a no brainer…
Valentino Rossi: MotoGP Champion 2006
As for Hayden he runs the risk of becoming the next victim of the juggernaut that is Valentino. He could be the next broken man of the series, just like Max Biaggi and Sete Giberneau before him. For his sake I hope not.
Stay tuned for my race review and series wrap up on Monday
I told you it wouldn’t take long for the Stuart MacGill aka The Sheik of Straight (TSoS) to get his name up on the newsreels!!
This week the TSoS had an appeal rejected over a charge of ‘disorderly conduct’ in a local match in Sydney.
The real good news (besides the suspension) is that this may harm his chances to prove himself to selectors for the upcoming summer of cricket.
The bad news is that if TSoS doesn’t get picked Channel 9 or Fox Sports might use him as a commentator. He would drivel on worse that Tony Greig and we all know that he will simply use his commentators role as an opportunity to ‘spruik his wares’.
The charge was officially for swearing at an umpire, but I have just been handed a manuscript of the discussion in question:
Ump: ‘Stuart, do you think you could put some turn on the ball? You are a spinner after all’ (chuckle)
TSoS: (Glaring) ‘Get F%$# you maggot, don’t you know I have played 40 tests for Australia, and I am one of the best bowlers ever to come from NSW in the modern era?’
Ump: ‘Well that’s only because Warnie was born in Victoria. Besides he has taken over 500 wickets, you only have taken 198’
TSoS: (Struggling to hold back tears) ‘Well, I have taken over 600 wickets in games of backyard cricket against my young nieces and nephews ‘
TSoS: (Now sobbing uncontrollably) ‘My mum says I am the best, so it must be true’
In my last ‘Family’ post I talked about the time we spent with my parents and my wife’s parents out on the farm.
We have been making the trip for the last four weekends, and sadly we have just made our last trip. The weekend could not have been better. Whilst the Saturday was a bit cold, it was just an excuse to have the log fire burning, giving off the relaxing vibe that only wood and flame can give.
The Sunday was a gem. We woke up at approximately 7.30am, as the cows needed to be moved to a new paddock. My 3 year old son immediately wanted to ‘help’ pop and daddy to shift the cows. So he got dressed, put on his mud boots and we where off. The smile on his face was enormous. He had been talking about the chooks and cows on the farm non-stop since we first went out and this time the cows where a little stubborn. This meant he and I had to coax the cows to move. We did this by doing my best cattle dog impersonation, walking around them with a few ‘move alongs’ for good measure. The rest of the day was spent relaxing in the sun chatting, reading, eating and playing boule.
We all loved getting out there, pretending being a ‘farmer’ for a couple of weekends. So much so we are thinking of buying 5 acres somewhere so we can get away from the city on the weekend. So if you have 5 acres for sale within 2 hours of Melbourne, let me know by adding a comment 🙂
The problem with predictions is that there is always a big chance you will get it wrong and have egg on your face.
In Friday’s post I assured you that Craig Lowndes would win this race with Ford teams fairing well in the top 5, I even said that Steven Johnson was a smokey for the weekend.
I think I need to clean that crystal ball, must be dirty.
Let’s look at the weekend. In the qualifying session it was all Holdens. With Rick Kelly and Garth Tander taking the coveted P1 and P2 spots, the top 5 where separated by just under 0.6 of a second. Ford driver Mark Winterbottom and Jason Bright from FPV qualifying 3rd and 5th respectively.
The Top Ten Shootout was held on the Saturday, with the weather changing from dry track to a wet track to a drying track. The session looked as though it was going to heavily favour the top three as the track was in a mess for the early competitors for the shoot out. The track was still wet in parts and an Indy car dropped oil on two sections of the track making conditions very tricky.
Fortunately for Craig Lowndes, who qualified 7th was able to jump up the queue due to some mistakes by drivers, and more importantly Rick Kelly failed to finish his shootout lap. This meant that Craig had gained the upper hand, with Surfers being notoriously a track that is hard to pass on.
The weekend didn’t pan out so well for Craig after the shootout. He unfortunately was penalised in race one after being found guilty of warming his tyres between Turn 12 and the start grid on the observation lap. Lowndes was relegated from 5th to 11th.
Craig was also penalized for short cutting the circuit after an altercation with Russell Ingall in the final race. Lowndes’s subsequent drive through penalty pushed him from 5th back to 14th and 10th overall for the round, meaning he gave up valuable points to Rick Kelly.
“This round was always going be the toughest of the four remaining and it was certainly true to form,” Lowndes said.
“We lost a lot of points this weekend and can not afford to have another round like this one.”
The placing’s at the end of the Surfer’s round where:
Top Ten Round Results
1st Todd Kelly, Holden, 313pts
2nd Mark Winterbottom, Ford, 300pts
3rd Rick Kelly, Holden, 294pts
4th Jason Bright, Ford, 274pts
5th Russell Ingall, Ford, 259pts
6th Garth Tander, Holden, 257pts
7th Steve Johnson, Ford, 234pts
8th Jason Bargwanna, Ford, 233pts
9th Cameron McConville, Holden, 227pts
10th Craig Lowndes, Ford, 223pts
Top Ten Championship Standings
1st Craig Lowndes, Ford, 2601pts
2nd Rick Kelly, Holden, 2571pts
3rd Mark Winterbottom, Ford, 2283pts
4th Russell Ingall, Ford, 2211pts
5th Garth Tander, Holden, 2105pts
6th Jamie Whincup, Ford, 2000pts
7th Jason Bright, Ford, 1988pts
8th Steve Richards, Holden, 1982pts
9th Todd Kelly, Holden, 1927pts
10th Steven Johnson, 1927pts