After all of the frantic work that’s gone on in the close season, it’s safe to say that Kyle and the team are relieved to be at Phillip Island with one thing in mind. Racing.
Kyle and Sean Ryde flew out to Melbourne, Australia last week to join up with the Kawasaki Puccetti racing team at what has to be one of the worlds most breathtaking Grand Prix circuits, Phillip Island. There was little time to overcome jet lag however, with two full days of testing planned for the early part of the week.
The guys got down to business almost straight away with just a couple of days between them arriving in Australia and the start of first test. Unfortunately, the first session was a bit of a washout with the Phillip Island weather looking more like that we are used to in Jacksdale but Kyle and the team completed five solid laps as they looked to get to grips with the track.
The following day brought better riding conditions and Kyle settled into an early rhythm, lapping consistently quicker as he put in more and more laps. By the end on the session the Jacksdale ace had posted a fastest lap of 1’35.129 just 1.441 off the quickest man on the day Patrick Jacobsen and only 0.264 off the fastest time of team mate Kenan Sofuoglu.
We caught up with Kyle in midweek to get his thoughts on his progress so far.
“The final tests were a case of getting there step-by-step. I am a bit frustrated because I know I can be faster but I think the current set-up on the bike is holding me back.
We are still working out what to do to improve it. We do not want to make big changes but the smaller ones we are making now are not enough yet,”
“I enjoyed riding but wanted to go faster in the afternoon. I am sure by Friday we will be able to make a big steps. So far I have been riding around on my own but when I get in with some faster competition I am sure it will give me a boost.”
Australia’s premier circuit, Phillip Island is a 2.7-mile (4.4 km) thrill ride of a race track situated on an island just off the southern coast near Melbourne. The 12-turn circuit features a long main straightaway, hair-raisingly fast turns, tight hairpins and dramatic elevation changes, including a precipitous drop from Lukey Heights to the tight Turn Ten. Set against the deep blue backdrop of the Bass Strait separating the Australian mainland from Tasmania, Phillip Island is among the world’s most spectacular motorsports venues.
Phillip Island has a rich motorsports history dating back to the early twentieth century when the 10 Miles Road Race (since known as the inaugural Australian Grand Prix) was staged over one of the world’s first “ro-vals” — a rectangle of public roads with four identical corners. As speeds increased a new Phillip Island circuit was developed around an existing airfield and operated into the mid-1930s. In the aftermath of World War II, a new, permanent track was built on the edge of the island’s south coast and hosted its first race in 1956.
The facility experienced good times and bad, in part due to the track maintenance required by its roller-coaster characteristics. The Phillip Island circuit closed its doors from 1962-66 and again from the late 1970s until it reopened in 1989 as the site of the Australian round of the World Motorcycle Championship.
Phillip Island has since come to be regarded as one of the world’s most challenging race tracks – be it on two or four wheels. The facility has hosted world class car and motorcycle racing over the years including the Australian V8 Supercar Championship as well as the Australian MotoGP and the World Superbike Championship.
Best places to watch
If you’re going to be at Phillip Island this weekend (lucky you) one of the best places to see the action is from the Bass Strait stand. This vantage point gives you a full view of the riders coming directly at you down the main straight, then you have full view of turns one two and three as the riders disappear only to reappear up over the top of the hat shed towards Lukey Heights.
Sit in the right spot in the grandstand & you can see all but about 3 corners of the entire track
Getting to Phillip Island
From Melbourne by car:
Take the Monash Freeway (M1) to the Cranbourne exit, where you will turn into the South Gippsland Highway (M420). Follow this route to the Bass Highway (A420), through Grantville and Bass, then onto the Phillip Island Road (B420) to San Remo, over the bridge onto Phillip Island.
Public Transport Options
V/Line coach to & from Melbourne stops at Grantville, Corinella, Bass, San Remo, Newhaven and Cowes daily –
T: 1800 800 007
W: Public Transport Victoria
T: 03 9585 5730
W: InterIsland Ferries
Connect to the ferry via the V-Line train from Stony Point and catch passenger ferry to Cowes, Phillip Island
Please check with the operators website and call to confirm services
Cleeland Bus Lines
T: 03 5952 1042
Private Charter Available.
Pick up services to Fountain Gate weekly – every Thursday Cowes and return.
Frankston fortnightly every 2nd Monday – Ring for further details.
South Coast & Phillip Island Bus Service
T: 03 5952 2500
W: South Coast Bus Lines
Private Charter Available Wonthaggi to Cowes daily – no booking required
Phillip Island Helicopters and Airport Phone
T: 03 5956 7316
W: Phillip Island Helicopters
Phillip Island Weather
Friday looks to be slightly cooler than normal, with overcast skies. Temperatures in the low to high teens are expected.
The riders will have to contend with winds speeds of 10 to 15mph coming off the Bass straight but it should remain dry with just a 5% chance of rain forecast.
Saturday looks to be a little brighter than the day before with temperatures up a couple of degrees under cloudy but clearing skies. Wind speeds and the chance of precipitation are also forecast to be much like Friday.
Race day looks to be the pick of the bunch with clear skies and warm, sunny conditions. There’s no chance of rain and the winds from the previous couple of days will have subsided a little. Excellent conditions for racing!
Don’t miss any of the action
Because Phillip Island is 11 hours ahead of us in the UK, Kyle first get’s out onto the track on Thursday night/Friday morning. The hour long FP1 session is due to start at midnight and run until 1AM UK time so you’ll have to be committed to follow this one!
You’ll have to be even more committed for FP2 as that gets underway at an insomnia inducing 4:45AM
As we go from Friday night into Saturday morning, the 15 minute FP3 session get’s underway at Midnight, depending on how Kyle goes we could either see him set out for the Superpole session at 2:30AM or 2:55AM
Set your alarm or buy extra cans for this one!
Race day (or night) if you’re in the UK gets underway as we transition from Saturday night into Sunday morning with the 15 minute warm up session hitting the track at Midnight.
We have to wait until 2:30AM for the weekends only Supersport race but it’s going to ba a fascinating spectacle.
The weekends Live TV coverage is looking a bit sparse but there are plenty of chances to catch all of the WSBK action on Eurosport. Sadly it doesn’t look like coverage start until 8AM on Saturday so there’s no live coverage of the first two days action.
Sponsorship and Your Support
We would like to take this opportunity on the eve of the season to thank everyone who has helped us to get to this point.
Big names like Jonathan Rea, Kenan Sofuoglu, Manuel Puccetti and the whole of the Kawaski team have been instrumental in everything we are doing this season and we can’t thank them enough for all of their unwavering support. Without doubt none of this would of happened without their efforts but we are also equally grateful to everyone else who has taken the opportunity to help Kyle.
From big new sponsors like Langver, Beechfield Acoustics and RST to our very much appreciated long term sponsors like HCM Electrical, CMC Chesterfield, Donington Park, Castle Integrations, Smart Solutions, Roy Jervis, GB Racing, HPS, Shark Helmets, B team, Apex custom paintworks, Racefit, Pronto, SRS International, AJ Engineering and TCX You’ve all been incredible.
The thing that really makes it all worth while (and for us is the cherry on the cake), is to know we have the support and backing of the motorcycling community. You guys who join TEAM#77, the fans who buy our merchandise and everyone who contributes time, energy and financial support to keep this whole thing upright and running smoothly.
It’s a ton of work to keep Kyle out there racing but there’s nothing we would rather be doing and there is no way we could manage without all of your help and support.
So thank you, each and every one of you for all of your support. No matter the size of the contribution. You are all vital to and part of Kyles success.