Published on July 14th, 2017 | by Boris


It would not surprise you to know I have been black-banned by Dorna. This has been the case for some time now. I’m not precisely sure what specific sin I committed against this august body (and hand on my heart I don’t much care), but I tend to think Dorna isn’t a fan of criticism.

Nor is it a fan of Dear George, so it’s unlikely I’ll be on Dorna’s Christmas card list in the future. But that’s OK. I’m used to crying myself to sleep at my age.

Closer to home, its local cheer-squad, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, is also not a fan of criticism.

How do I know this?

Well, I was the bloke who edited the Official 2016 MotoGP Program for the Corporation.

Of course, given my many public criticisms of the Phillip Island venue over the last decade, there were all sorts of conniptions over my gig.

Emails were sent to the publisher questioning if I was the right person for the job given my antipathetic views of the venue, and I provided assurances I would certainly not allow my personal views to affect the rather simple task of putting together the official program.

After all, it would be highly unprofessional to air my personal views about the medieval facilities race-goers are required to put up with at the track. It’s an official program, it follows a set of specific guidelines in terms of content.

So I do that, I meet the deadline and budget, here’s my invoice, see you later.

Anyway, fast forward to 2017 and as the build-up for the 2017 Australian round of the MotoGP, the Corporation is once again, and rightly so, trying to drum up attendance for the Island.

I have no issue with that. It’s in the business to make money, it makes money when lots of people attend the event, so it is in its fiscal interest to do something about the flagging attendance, which seems to decline year after year.

And so we come to this year’s build-up. Last year, the Corporation badly misread its target audience and introduced a character called Phil Island – a bearded hipster-like bloke who gurned and capered across our TV screens as the living embodiment of the uber-fan – to spruik the event.

I know a lot of motorcyclists. I don’t know a single one who could relate to Phil Island. But I guess that’s what happens when PR mavens who know nothing about motorcycling try and sell stuff to motorcyclists – epic fail by both the PR firm and by the Corporation who signed off on the campaign.

This year there is thankfully less of Phil Island.

This is Phil Island, I think. All them hipsters look the same to me. Phil is indicating the glory that is to be found outside the Doohan Grandstand-made-from-scaffolding. Or the size of his awesomeness. I’m not sure.

This year the Corporation has enlisted the help of withering motorcycle publications, as evidenced by this dire ‘advertisement’ AMCN recently published.

Now I do understand that declining sales ensure once-important and credible bike magazines will now do anything for the advertising dollar – to the point where bald-faced advertising and cheap shilling is now being passed off as “a story”.

Actually, I’m pretty sure you can’t camp this close to the actual track. But you can take advantage of the campsite which is now fully electrified.

What’s happened in this instance is both instructive as to where some motorcycle magazines have arrived (behold what your once mighty journals of record have become), and the sheer contempt your intelligence is being held in by both the publication and the Corporation.

Let’s have a look at this…

Here is the heading:


That’s not a heading any self-respecting writer, sub or journo would use. I’m not even sure what it means in English and any professional editor would have beaten you with a cable for writing it. But it is awkwardly paraphrased from the Corporation’s own media release, as is the rest of the piece, so there’s that to consider.

Look for yourself HERE.

But while one can forgive the Corporation for building magnificent castles in the sky, how does one forgive an allegedly unbiased journal of record for so shamelessly spruiking for an advertiser?

Gee, AMCN, would it have killed you to come clean and state that very thing? Why would you attempt to pass off this tripe as a story or even valid information? Did not one of you geniuses look at this and say, “Um, should we be doing this like this?”

Let us look closer at what passes for motorcycle journalism in what was once Australia’s finest motorcycle publication…

Fans can get excited for a new and improved event this year, with several upgrades taking place at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2017 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Thank you so much for your permission regarding my excitement. The alleged upgrades have intrigued me…vaguely. But can I, as a fan, get excited? Really? Let’s see…

Take a look at the top 10 improvements that fans can expect to see this year at Phillip Island. Everything from ground improvement works, vehicle accessibility, quality campgrounds and premium seating in grandstands will have fans on the edge of their seat as they watch the world’s best riders race on two wheels! 

Check out the tweaks made for this year’s high-octane Island getaway!

I’m a little confused as to why “ground improvement works, vehicle accessibility, quality campgrounds and premium seating in grandstands” will have me on the edge of my seat.

AMCN, why will any this have me on the edge of my seat? You don’t say, so I am asking.

Hang on, maybe you’ll tell me in your list. But only the Top 10 upgrades? So disappoint. If these are the Top 10, then there must be others as well. I sure hope you might list them as well one day.

I am also asking if the above is “from”, as you state, where is “to”? Oh sorry. You just don’t English all that good, do you? In terms of exclamation marks, less is more.

Top 10 upgrades

1.   Improved grandstand seating across the circuit will give very fan that little more extra room, with wider seating, to sit back and enjoy the spectacle of non-stop on track entertainment.

It’s nice to see someone has finally acknowledged the former grandstand seating was less than ideal. It’s also nice you still call a pile of scaffolding a “grandstand”. Yes, it stands, but it’s hardly grand, is it? Oh, and what’s a “very fan”? Is that when you don’t bother to proof-read your shit? And this ‘non-stop on track (sic) entertainment, what’s that? Specifically, I mean. Apart from the racing, which is hardly non-stop. That’s alright, I get hyperbole, even though you’re shit at it. I do hope there may be a marching band at some stage.

2.   Be more comfortable than ever from your new and improved grandstand, with the Doohan Grandstand now offering premium seating options with flip-up seats, drink holders and arm rests.

Um, surely that is “in” my new and improved grandstand? One can be comfortable ‘in’ something, but not ‘from’ something.

So what’s new about it? Is it the location? Has someone splurged on shiny new scaffolding? Oh, it must be this wondrous new “premium seating” option, huh? And we all know options cost money. Hedonistic luxuries like flip-up seats, drink holders and arm-rests…well, hell, that shit ain’t gonna be cheap, huh? Personally, I don’t think any of us deserve such top-shelf-deluxe indulgences at anything but a top-shelf-deluxe price. And “From $490” hits the mark there. Hard.

But I’m sure I will be “more comfortable than ever”, which is not hard, since I have never been comfortable there in my life.

3.   For those living it up in Phil’s Clubhouse, the facility has been upgraded to host a refreshed internal structure and levelled flooring for a clean and sharp look.

And I’m sure there are millions who are happy to pay an extra $135 on top of the normal entry of $140 (general admission) to “live it up” by sitting in or near a tent near Turn 10 and being charged nightclub prices for alcohol. Especially since the tent has now been “upgraded”, so it is now more refreshing, sharper and cleaner. Rather than just being a tent that is tiring, blunt and dirty.

4.   Parking your car? Need not worry, as road improvement works have enhanced accessibility for vehicles in rain, hail or shine across the circuit.

Oh, a car? No. I do not own a car. And I do not drive to the motorcycle races. I’m weird like that. You’re still a bike magazine, right, AMCN?

But it’s nice of the Corporation to fix things for cars. So it’s paved the access roads? Bet it hasn’t.

The bikes? You’re still parking in that swampy paddock, peons. And I am glad Need, whoever he is, isn’t worrying anymore.

5.   Get an epic behind-the-scenes insight into riders with more access to video content across the event. Keep up to date on social media @AusMotoGP.

What? What the fuck is this promising me? “More access to video content”? What are you going to do? Give me three more Smartphones?

And this promise of “epic behind-the-scenes insight”? I’m calling bullshit. Epic? What’s epic here? Unless you have the racers’ motorhomes wired for sound and vision, what are you going to show me I can’t see on Foxsports? At home. On my couch. And what am I “keeping up to date” with? Lorenzo’s bowel movements?

6.   For the first time ever, campers can enjoy trackside powered camp sites.

Excellent. You have discovered electricity. The people with caravans and motorhomes will be thrilled to bits. I ride a bike. It makes its own electricity. I don’t need yours. Thank you, Australian Campervan News.

7.   An increase in new and improved amenities will be installed across the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Cool. What are they? Did they not make the Top Ten? Are any of them proper flushing toilets? A skeet-shooting range? Maybe a place that sells nice food? A barber? You don’t say. You’re just parroting the Corporation, ie. “New and improved amenities have been installed across the circuit.” But since you struggle to write a sentence in proper English, but so very much want people to think this is all your own work, you’ve cleverly added the words “An increase” to the front of the Corporation’s sentence. You cannot install an increase, OK?

8.   For those exploring the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, grab your food, drinks and merchandise with ease, with improved ground access for all weather conditions.

Does this mean paving? Has Mr Fox finally splurged on a few truckloads of gravel? Is concrete now present everywhere? I’m struggling here. Are there more gates? Terracotta tiles? Covered walkways? Shelters with chairs in them? What? Did the monkey who wrote this even read it out loud to see if it made sense? Oh, and what parts of the circuit remain unexplored and require exploring? Must be Siberia. No-one’s ever been there.

9.   More behind-the-scenes experiences across the entire event will give lucky fans a surprise opportunity to get up and close to their heroes, peek into the garages or even stroll through the Paddock. 

I love surprises. And opportunities. Combining the two is almost unbearably awesome. So everyone can now walk down pit-lane and peer into the garages? Or is it only the lucky ones? I think it’s only the lucky ones. So how does one get lucky? I mean, apart from buying pit-lane passes. How does a General Admission muppet get lucky? What, precisely, is a “behind-the-scenes experience”? Handing Marquez toilet paper in his motorhome?

10. Food trucks, bars, live music and exciting GP Expo exhibitors will keep fans entertained in between adrenalin-fuelled world-class racing. Grab your mates and get your Island on!

Um, this is not an “upgrade”, AMCN. There have always been food trucks, bars, live music and exciting GP exhibitors (like Target). Still, you’re promising that food trucks will keep me entertained, so maybe that’s an upgrade, huh?

So there we have it.

You’d think AMCN was taking the piss.

But it’s not. It’s serious. There is no disclaimer on that piece.

You could, of course, have gotten the very same advertising blargh, written slightly better, on the Australian GP site (I linked to it above). But then it would not have come with the imprimatur of an independent magazine, would it?

And that’s what is being paid for here.

Still, it is a shopper’s market and the Corporation must be congratulated for finding such an eager shill for its wares. Certainly, it wouldn’t have had to look very hard. It’s hard to miss wild-eyed advertising spivs camped outside your offices or clogging up your phone lines with endless phone calls promising all sorts of things just as long as you advertise in the magazine.

And what you promise, you have to deliver – at least to the advertisers keeping you afloat.

No-one has the time/inclination/ability to actually call the Corporation and ask some questions, seek some clarification…you know, shit that journos are meant to do.

Let’s just run this crap off the Corporation’s website.

The readers? They can get fucked. There’s not enough of them to worry about anyway.

How many readers are there? No-one’s telling.

I still ask though. And I will continue to ask until someone man’s the fuck up and tells the truth.

But I shall not hold my breath.

Luxury. Beanbags, black stools and a telly. I would have to take my pants off I’d be so comfortable.


It just occurred to me the Corporation may not have actually bought advertising space in AMCN. And AMCN, in its hilarious struggle to fill its digital space with content, has used this Corporation promotion as a filler on its site.

If that’s the case, then this is an order of magnitude more pathetic than running paid-for advertorials for clients.

You’re just so shit at this. Walk towards the light, fuck yas. Just do it.




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About the Author

is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.

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