The Barry Sheene Tribute Ride travelled through Mirboo North this Thursday on its way to Phillip Island, as a prelude to the MotoGP on the coming Sunday. Once again I thought I’d cover the ride as it travelled through town, but there’s not a lot that I can write about this event as it’s more of a fleeting glimpse of riders as they pass through Mirboo North. However, I tried to do something a little bit different than I’ve done previously and incorporated still images to supplement the video of the riders travelling through town, somewhat like I did at the Blessing of the Bikes. Of course the moment the ride was about to hit town, the sky opened up and it started a Victorian rendition of mild monsoon rain, thankfully for not too long and became just a regular drizzle shortly after.
For those who aren’t fully aware of what the ride is about, here’s an extract from the MotoGP website, which also has information for those who may wish to participate in future rides:
Barry Sheene MBE (September 11, 1950 – March 10, 2003) was a British motorcycle champion who migrated to Australia in the late 1980s. He became the British 125cc champion aged just 20, and finished second in the World Championship for that class a year later. A spectacular crash at Daytona in 1975 threatened to end his career, breaking his left leg, right arm, collarbone and two ribs, yet he recovered and was racing again shortly afterwards.
In 1976, he won five grands prix races, bringing him the world title, a feat he repeated the following year. Following his retirement in 1984 after stints with Suzuki and Yamaha, Sheene moved to Australia. While living on a property on the Gold Coast, Sheene combined a property development business with a role as a commentator on motor sport, first at the Nine Network with the famously loud Darrell Eastlake, then moving with the TV coverage of the Motorcycle Grands Prix to Network Ten.
In later years, Sheene continued his passion for motorcycle racing by getting involved in historic motorcycle racing. He lost his battle with cancer on 10 March 2003 and is survived by his wife Stephanie and two children, Sidonie and Freddie.
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) in consultation with the Sheene family developed the concept of honouring Barry with a Tribute Ride from Bairnsdale to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit during the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix each year. The Tribute Ride finishes with a lap of the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit. The ride is known as the Barry Sheene Tribute Ride (the Ride).
The Barry Sheene Tribute Ride collects riders starting from Bairnsdale, and I assume more as they make their way to Morwell, from where they start the picturesque (on a fine day) and winding ride to Phillip Island. The week of the MotoGP sees a huge number of riders travelling through Mirboo North as they come from far and wide for the big event at Phillip Island. Many come from central, north and east Gippsland, but there are those that come from other states such as NSW and the ACT, and perhaps even further north. Maybe some of these interstate riders joined the Tribute Ride, deciding to take the slightly longer (45 min by Google’s reckoning) but far more pleasant ride to the MotoGP, via Cooma and Cann River. I’ve done this several times in years gone by from the ACT and it beats the mind numbing journey via the Hume and then through Melbourne any day.
You can never count on the weather at this time of year, other than it will be unpredictable. I hope all riders have a safe ride to the MotoGP and on their return journey back home. For those with a longer return journey, break your ride so that you don’t break your body.