Gossip from Sepang

Discussion in 'Events' started by tropicaljohno, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer

    Whilst at Sepang last week, did the "Roving Reporter" thingy, and this is what I came up with:

    Had a long chat with the guy organising the Bike Expo in Singapore next April. he said all is progressing well, and they are even trying to get permission for camping there as well.

    I have a few posters, as per below, perhaps we could stick one up in the Kafe/Joe's etc. Also have a few stickers as well, for anyone interested.

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    As mentioned in a previous post, the Bike Expo in K.L. would have been better held at the circuit. The Expo had a really nice stand full of most of the Ducati models, (that's bikes not broads), and so no Ducati's on show at circuit.

    On Thai tv last month, they had a large segment on MotoGP at Sepang, Sumon from Ride Thailand was chatting to reporters, then a Farang from the Bangkok Harley dealer said some 2008 models would be displayed at Supang, but none were there. (Perhaps they had changed their mind and used the bikes for the "Traveling Road Show" in Northern Thailand.

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    This shot taken midday on Friday and as you can see not all the display tents are open yet.

    Kawasaki had the best display by far, heaps of models on display, a 2,000cc cruiser, sports bikes, trail bikes etc. The Versys was on display, which is the replacement for the KLE. Nice low seat, and the price was RM 46,900 not sure if that included Malaysian rego or not.

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    The details of the Versys for those interested, Liquid cooled, 4-stroke parallel twin, 649cc, DOC 8 valves, max power 64ps/8,000rpm, max torque 61 n-m/6,800rpm, fuel injection, 6 speed, tank 19 litres, seat 840mm, 181kg

    What didn't look that good was the way they run the brake hose up over the mudguard from one caliper to another. The dealer there informed me that the Versys has been for sale in Bangkok since March 07.

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    Check they way the brake hose runs over the top of the mudguard.

    Met the guy who organises the tents in the camp ground. Whilst there were only 4 tents of our crowd, Modenas had laid an event for their owners so they had all their tents set up, a food tent and entertainment tent. The organiser said he is happy to arrange any tents for us if we need them, he can also lay on food, and a minibus to collect people from the airport and we have use of the minibus over the week end to drive in KL for some R&R. Jay an Aussie from Melbourne camped next to me was saying that when he went to Phillip Island the previous week, he was chatting to the guys from Sydney/Brisbane, and what it cost them to ride down to the Island, plus entrance fee/accom etc, you could almost do the Sepang trip for a similar amount, so he is going to try and get an Aussie contingent together for next year. Jay mentioned that at the Island all his mates drive down with box trailers full of grog etc.

    This year at the circuit, when it was time for the pit lane walk about, most teams pulled down their shutters, and you weren't allowed anywhere near the pits, had to stand a long way back, so you didn't see any more that we could, sitting in grandstand opposite, with bino's, a bit of a rip off there.

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    Notice how far back they kept the crowds, the previos year's you were allowed to stand right outside the OPEN pits.

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    And Suzuki kept their shutters up, but put screens in front of their pits so you couldn't see anything

    Peter and Dean were there camping again same as last year, but this time they rode down, Peter (who is 66) rode his Phantom 200cc cruiser, all the way from Mai Sai, and Dean also on a Phantom rode down from Surin. Peter's wet weather gear consisted of a plastic raincoat, and we had so much rain on the way down and back, both guys got pretty wet. Plus Sunday nite around 3am (Monday morning), we all got pretty well flooded out, so had to pack the gear up in the rain, but luckily we had a large shelter to hide under. Last year we camped in the same spot by the fence, directly in line with the 'river' that flows past when it rains, I think next time we will move up the hill a bit.

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    Peter from Mai Sai, gee they wear some funny head gear up there....

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    Packing up Monday morning, luckily the guys had this large canopy to shelter under as it was pouring down. Peter somehow managed to get all that gear back on his bike.

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    I took the 'chuck wagon', Honda Jazz so had spare tent, 2 cookers etc so we managed to eat well, especially as Peter had a stash of tinned food with him as well.

    Dean will be writing a trip report soon, so you will be able to read about Peter getting his helmet stolen at the Thai border, having to get another visa etc etc.

    Once again it was a good week end down there, in the evening the 4 of us, plus Jay from Melbourne would sit around thecapmfire, (gas bottle with burner on top), we would be having tea/coffee etc, and Jay supping his stash ov VB's he bought with him from OZ

    So how about a few more guys next year, saw Gus from Chumpon, Jean-Marc from Hang Don, and I believe a few more others were lurking around there.
     
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  3. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Nicely done TJ...

    love the in depth report...

    shame that the teams seem to have forgotten that it is the people watching the sport, not the sport that makes the manufacturers invest... hopefully a pit walk will be a pit walk next year...

    don't know what will be happening this time next year, but never say never...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  4. gus

    gus Active Member

    Hey TJ- excellent report! Great to meet you and Elle down there- sorry we couldnt hook up saturday or sunday- must have been twice as many people as last year. i kept looking for the orange caps again, never saw them. and peter- we were standing next to each other at the autograph session, but i didnt know it was you until i met up with TJ later.
    hopefully i'll have the time to ride down next year.
    anyway, heres a few pics i took. as you can see, a couple of the smaller teams did open their doors during the pit walk. also got some pics of rossi, melandri, at the badly organized autograph session (just glad i didnt stand in line for that), and some nice folks from malaysia.
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  5. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer

    Hi Gus

    I think next year we should arrange something like all meet up say by the mini bike track around lunch break so we can have a chat to each other.

    Whilst sitting in the grandstands Jean-Marc came and tapped me on the shoulder so it seems the orange/pink hats did the trick

    During the pit walk I was impressed the way the Kawasaki team had laid out all the body panels in front of their bikes

    Let's hope for a bigger Gt Rider's crowd next year....
     
  6. Peter Hooper

    Peter Hooper Ol'Timer

    Good report and pictures John, right up to your usual high standard. Some good ones from Gus also.
    I just spoke to Dean and told him you had posted your report. We will catch up in the next week or so. He said he had a good trip but long - about 4000km all up, even more for his mate Peter from Mae Sai. They also took a few wrong turns around the No 9 ring road which can be a bit of a trick with so many options as you go down it.
    Maybe next year !
    Cheers,
    Peter
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Great little report TJ.
    Unbelievable & congrats to both Dean & Peter for riding that far on Phantoms just to watch a 45 mins race. It just goes to prove that you don't need to have a big bike to ride far & enjoy yourself. I look forward to Peter & Dean's trip reports.
     
  8. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer

    David, Hiko said the exact same words, when he wrote up his recent trip report into Cambodia on the Nouvo's
     
  9. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    Thanks Johno & Gus for some great pix and report.

    Phenomenal Phantom effort -
    pity "Pinky" [or is it Perky - Johno cannot keep up with all your bikes' names]
    didnae make it a hatrick!

    Almost sorry that I didn't take you up on the spare tent offer.
    It sounds as though you all had a blast!
    But were there any brolly dollies?
     
  10. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer

    Rhodie, heaps of Brolly Dollies, and sitting in the grandstand opposite the pits, got a good look thru the binos. You should have been there mate, took a spare tent for you, spare food,etc., couldn't do much more.

    (By the way I see you have brainwashed your son now about me and my Pinky things...)
     
  11. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    No he thinks you are a legend doing what he did,
    two-up, on a knackered chinese scooter!
    He wondering about about nmy aversion to all things pink
    Though he had the last laugh at my trundling around Vtne
    on Fuark's fuscia fifty CC horror.
    R shotgunned the 125 before I could!
     
  12. Joko

    Joko Ol'Timer

    great mini-report TJ[:)]

    For sure 2008, i will be there sans pink hat[:D]

    i'll be in chiangmai for the loy kratong...be good to meet the rest at the same restaurant perhaps?

    regards to all.

    joko
     
  13. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer

    Joko, we will be up there also for Loi Kratong, just checking my wardrobe now for something slinky to wear to the Kafe. We arrive up there Nov 10 for about 2 months.
     
  14. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer

    Just got a phone call from Peter this morning saying he has arrived home safely back in Mai Sai, 7,400kms round trip.. good on him.....
     
  15. GypsyRider

    GypsyRider Ol'Timer

    I was actually on the lookout for a naked body wrapped in a pink apron when I spotted you sitting in the grandstands, dressed casually. Where was your sexy signature outfit? I'm sure you would have attracted the attention of some tv crews...

    I had been to your camping spot earlier in the day as I had seen your car, tent and GT-R banner from the grandstand, but when I got there the only people I saw were the Modenas gang eating their lunch. Next time we should indeed arrange to meet up somewhere around the track.

    The pitwalk was a first-class rip-off. Hard to believe they treat race fans this way. My travel companions and fellow GT-R's Desmomonstro and JohnnyE agreed that we won't make that same mistake again in the future.

    We went to the Hard Rock Cafe on Friday night to watch the scene with all the bikes lined up in front of the HRC. Quite an eclectic bunch, both in terms of riders and bikes, with HD's parked next to KTM's, GS's, Duc's and MV's.

    It was a short but fun trip for us, and given more time, riding down to KL from CNX on bikes would have been a good alternative to flying. Desmomonstro said he would go on the bike again for a next visit to Sepang (He has ridden his Hayabusa from CNX to Sepang when he attended a previous GP) as getting a taxi back to KL was a hassle. Hard to believe that there were no taxis lined up at the track's exit to take people back to KL. On Saturday it took us 3 hrs by bus to get back to our hotel in KL as we couldn't find a taxi.

    Camping would also have been a much better alternative than the Boulevard Hotel in Mid Valley City at US$85 a night, which was an experience never to be repeated either. The hotel had a business centre where hotel guests had access to internet. However it was only open from 9 am until 5pm and closed on Sundays. The gym and pool were also closed after 7pm. On Sunday morning JohnnyE and I got up early to hit the gym before heading off to Sepang, only to find it closed.. because on Sunday's it only opens at 10am... Go figure! Why book a room in a four star hotel if you can't use the facilities at times when most guests happen to be in the hotel???! And then I don't even mention the incredibly crappy food served for breakfast...

    Luckily the 250 race was worth the trip, as MotoGp was not exactly a thrilling race to watch. But it was still a great experience to watch the action 'live' with the bikes screaming past the grandstand.

    Also had an interesting conversation with the Malaysian KTM importer, and was told that he had sold about 180 KTM's this year, probably 200 by year's end. Given that Thailand's population is roughly triple that of Malaysia, and all other things equal, that would mean a potential market for about 600 new KTM's a year in Thailand. I don't see that happen in Thailand any time soon.

    I also inquired at the Kawasaki tent about the new KLX450F which was not on display but which is part of their model range for sale in Malaysia according to their brochure. But the combined female staff behind the desk were utterly useless, I even had to point out in their catalog which model I meant, they had absolutely no clue whatsoever. How is it possible that a company like Kawasaki staffs their booth with completely incompetent people at one of their most important marketing events of the year? What a contrast with the professionalism and compentence of the Malaysian KTM staff...

    TJ, I look forward to catching up with you soon when you return to CNX. I'll be on the lookout for a pink apron-clad biker on a pink Phantom... or are you bringing your trail bike up?

    JM
     
  16. GypsyRider

    GypsyRider Ol'Timer

    Hi Joko,
    Too bad we didn't meet up in Sepang, but glad to learn that you're heading back to CNX soon. Which restaurant do you have in mind? In which hotel will you be staying in CNX?
    BTW, thanks for the photo's you've emailed me after we met at the X-Centre and tested Ian's new Chinese Pantera's. I look forward to catching up with you on your next visit. Keep us posted when and where you'll be in CNX.
    Cheers,
    JM
     
  17. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer

    GypsyRider
    I was given free tickets for the pit walk, went thru tunnel and on other side they had already locked the gate to stop you walking to the pits. This was at 16.30 and pit walk ended at 16.45. We showed the guards the schedule saying we had another 15 minutes,but the guards wouldn't open the gate.There was quite a crowd standing by the gate trying to get in, and were really annoyed having paid 500 baht each, and not being allowed in, (at least mine were free/2nd hand).

    The row of blue tents you saw with the Modenas crowd, I chatted to the organiser of them and he said he is glad to provide same same service to us, complete with the lunch tent you saw there also.

    On Friday whilst in the Kwaka tent, I spoke to a rep there and he seemed quite informative, but what he said about the Versys being on sale in Thailand since March 07, was 'bull' as NSRMike has mentioned earlier when he got an email from Kwaka BKK.

    As you say JM, would be good to get a crowd of us down there camping next year, would be a hoot.
     
  18. Joko

    Joko Ol'Timer

    AM glad some of you had greater time in sepang & Kl than others...Ok, from my experience, the downsides happened bcos:
    - taxi from sepang? No can do. There is a quarkiness in the local laws that forbid town/city cabs from picking up fares outside the citylimit. The only other cab service here would be from the KLIA airport..but then again, these airport taxis are stationed at the airport! Talk about incompetencies! Yes, riding your bike there and pay RM5.00 is probably the fastest way to head back to your hotel after the race days.
    A note of caution: There have been many thefts in the bike parks. Bike lost completely (for parts cannibalisation) to various accesories being removed! Yup! Again what incompetencies and they, the Sepang management was supposed to provide security in the bike park!

    - Pitwalk - Hahahahahah...yes, it was a rip off this year. Last time, they (DORNA) endorsed this money making distraction. But it looks like the racing teams aren't to happy with strangers poking thier cameras into their workstations! The Sepang management probably need to make the extra money just to 'cover' a bit of the cheap motogp tickets :)

    - eyecandies in kawa booth? - hahahaha...these eye candies were there simply for that. Sex sells! regardless of 'em eyecandies being a total ignoramus about bikes! I hope these candies do look good...do they?

    Cheerio.

    joko

    p/s Yes, GypsyRider, I will contact you when i got to CMai. The restaurant is an italian joint with big tv upsatirs...I met Davidfl and the rest of the boys there for F1 live...I have forgotten the name...its next to the river near the Rama X1 bridge , i think :-(
     
  19. irv327

    irv327 Active Member

    If you feel like roughing it, there are backpacker hostels on Pudu for $15 a night.
     

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