Arguments between riders, team bosses and the FIM amidst almost laughably bad conditions at Phillip Island surrounded the cancellation of the second World Superbike race of the day, a decision that should have been made far sooner when the puddles on the corners reached ankle deep!
Racing activities at Phillip Island were curtailed earlier than anticipated on Sunday when a terrific rain storm turned the sweeping 2.762-mile circuit into a giant swimming pool forcing the cancellation of the second World Superbike race of the day and the following Sidecar event.
With conditions worsening during the World Supersport race and the rain intensifying in the run up to the second WSBK event, doubts over the condition of the rapidly submerging track were raised by many of the riders and when the time came for the 29 starters to take their places on the dummy grid we were treated to a truly strange sight.
Wearing just his plain leathers and with his helmet and wet-suit nowhere to be seen Troy Corser
stood at pit exit attempting to rally support from any rider who attempted to make their way out onto the grid, the 1996 World Champion plainly adamant in the opinion that the race should not go ahead at all. Ben Bostrom, Akira Yanagawa, Giovanni Bussei and Stephane Chambon all joined the Aprilia rider at the exit of pit-lane while defending WSBK Champion and effective riders representative Colin Edwards and local rider Steve Martin
took in a citing lap of the circuit to see just how bad conditions were.
On returning to the pits both Edwards and Martin, who finished first and twelfth in Race One, agreed that racing on a track that had flowing, never mind standing, water at almost every turn, would be pure stupidity. One man who seemingly did not want the race cancelled at this point was Ducati Infostrada team manager Davide Tardozzi and the charismatic Italian entered into a very animated discussion with Corser and Chambon in the pit-lane before Corser finally made his way into race control.
With virtually all the riders of the same opinion and the light fading badly it was perhaps surprising that Corser returned from his meeting with the stewards discovering that the start had been delayed rather than postponed and it wasn't until an army of safety cars went out for an exploratory lap, by which time the puddle in Siberia Corner covered a full two-thirds of the racing surface and a flowing torrent of water ran all the way down the main straight after braking through a gap in the banking, that the decision was taken to cancel the race altogether.
There was no question that the decision to cancel the race was the right one, virtually all the fans had left of their own accord and the combination of wind, torrential rain and poor light would have been subjecting the riders to a tremendous amount of danger as every single run off area was flooded. However the manner in which the decision was taken was wholeheartedly unsatisfactory as communications broke down between organisers and competitors forcing both Corser and Edwards to stamp their authority as riders with far more force than necessary before the correct action was taken by the FIM.
Everyone will be hoping for better, and drier things at Sugo next weekend where the World Superbike regulars will face their toughest test of all in the form of the army of world class Japanese wildcard riders riding world class machinery on a track they all know like the backs of their hands.