Celebrating a scorcher of a weekend
THE COUCH POTATO LEGIONS WERE SPOILED FOR CHOICE
Lewis Hamilton, above left, and team-mate Nico Rosberg; Will Davison and Jonathan Webb win the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000; Garth Tander and Scott Mclaughlin crash during the final stages of the dramatic Bathurst race. Pictures / AP
Always a figure of fun, mocked by all, pitied by many and with a reputation of being some sort of slob, beer in hand, chips at the ready and sitting for hours in a fug of an atmosphere of his own making, the couch potato is a breed apart.
I found last weekend that being a part of that social pariah of a group is hard work and requires a level of concentration, stamina and determination that I have never before had to draw upon.
Saturday was bad enough with all-day TV coverage of the goings on at Bathurst, including the "Top Ten Shootout", as well as the MLB baseball playoffs with three consecutive games, and the practice runs in the Formula 1 GP from Japan.
Come Sunday and then it really hit the fan -- this particular fan that is, and pun totally intended.
Starting at around 4am was the All Black match against South Africa although to call that 80 minutes a "match" was a bit of an exaggeration.
A very good start to the day though and a prelude to a period of "loading" with some eggs on toast, coffee and mental preparation for the intense 14 hours to come.
A brief interlude of quiet and news reading followed before the day of serious "couching" started in earnest.
Some good news though, the Nascar event from Charlotte, N. Carolina had to be postponed due to Hurricane Matthew so that dealt with a small problem of clashing scheduling later in the day.
The best TV seat in the house selected, the traditional "coucher" sets himself up with a six pack of beer, nachos, various dips and popcorn as a sweeter option but with the essential TV remote close to hand.
Smartphone at the left hand to check on timings and tweeted news bites of course, with the added bonus of getting some exercise having to press the buttons.
Actually, I had cups of tea and a couple of salad wraps with aioli, chicken and brie all set to go. I am, I guess, a "new age" coucher.
The situation did develop into a couple of beers and a toasted cheese sandwich, then a G&T or two later in the day, however.
I also had a notepad and pen at the ready as I like to note things as I go along and I now present a selection of those notes, in no particular order.
?It did occur to me that the three events of the day were on perhaps the three best racetracks of each version of racing: Bathurst, Suzuka and Charlotte.
There is nothing like "The Mountain," Mt Panorama. An incredible test for both man and machine and unique in the world of sport.
Suzuka similarly is unique in that it is the only "figure of eight" racetrack in the Formula 1 season.
Charlotte Motor Speedway is the home of Nascar and a fearsomely fast 2.5km "quad oval".
• Lewis Hamilton is an amazingly gifted, talented and fast driver.
Possibly the fastest on the track today.
A Jekyll and Hyde of the modern era. On the one hand he is an arrogant, self-absorbed, petulant, self-important narcissist whose moods are seemingly pandered to by his Mercedes Formula 1 team. On the other hand, he desperately wants to connect with his fans and goes out of his way to communicate with them -- and he is a driver without peer when raw speed is demanded.
So why, with all that talent, the world at his beckoning, is he also a first-class prat?
He is an enigma, a paradox of a man. You either love or hate him.
• The TV production of The Great Race by Fox Sports and shown on Sky here was incredible.
I am not sure I have ever seen a motorsport event covered so well or so comprehensively.
A cast of thousands and more TV cameras and angles than ever, made the whole thing superb viewing.
From the thunderous muscle cars to the mass of Toyota TR 86 cars, from the Porsches to the Supercars, nothing was missed and every little thing was explained by real experts and enthusiasts.
• It was good to see so many Kiwis involved on track.
Apart from those in the Supercars race, we had Ash Blewett and John Penny up against most of Australia in the Toyota TR 86 races and a good field of Muscle cars against the best that the Aussies could come up with.
• I hate fuel-saving races.
Whether it is Nascar, Formula 1 or Supercars, fuel-saving becomes a huge focus.
It is not racing as it should be but becomes a pussy-footing outing for engineers. Fuel saving is clever and tactical but not absolute racing.
Traditionally, the object of a real motor race has been to get from the start to the finish in the least possible time and as soon as the cars have to back off to conserve fuel, that definition is lost.
It's the way of modern frontline racing perhaps but wouldn't it be better to see the drivers and cars actually "racing" all the way?
• Max Verstappen is as good for Formula 1 as is Lewis Hamilton but in exactly the opposite way. I hope he never changes in either attitude or the way he drives.
• Formula 1 needs to improve the show hugely to maintain the TV audience.
• Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari are in real trouble. Vettel is getting more frustrated and erratic, and Ferrari is slowly getting lost with internal politics.
• The Bathurst 1000 is an iconic event in the truest sense of the word and I absolutely love it.
The last 25 or so laps prove, year on year, that the race is as exciting as road racing can get.