Sunday, October 9, 2011

Speed Channel's Coverage of the 2011 Bathurst 1000

John Marine | 10/09/2011 04:14:00 PM | | | | | |
(UPDATED: October 10, 2011)

Speed Channel shown the Bathurst 1000 for the first time on American TV LIVE this weekend. This blog post showcases my own ideas regarding the coverage of the 2011 Bathurst 1000. The Bathurst 1000 is Australia's biggest racing event. If you want to liken this to a NASCAR event, you could say that the Bathurst 1000 is like the Coca-Cola 600, but with the prestige and honor of the Daytona 500. You win Bathurst, you become a legend. It's the big one. This blog post is all about how I've taken the Speed coverage of the 2011 Bathurst 1000.


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--- Setting the Tone... ---

I needed to use a picture to help set the tone, so here is one I found online to help set the tone for the race that was covered this weekend (best I could find):

2009 Bathurst 1000
^ from: - Bathurst 1000- legends are born for those who conquer this six-hour race around Mount Panorama. On October 8, 2011; the United States got to see this race for the first time LIVE.

The coverage began at 7:00 PM Eastern [Daylight] Time on Speed Channel. The race itself began around 7:30 PM Eastern [Daylight] Time. This was the commenting crew for Speed:

• Mike Joy - play-by-play
• Darrell Waltrip - analyst
• Leigh Diffey (one of my personal favorite Speed personalities) - pit reporter
• Calvin Fish - pit reporter

Leigh Diffey, of course, used to be the play-by-play announcer for races in the Australian V8 Supercar Series. Perhaps a bit unusual not to hear him call down this one as the play-by-play announcer.

--- Coverage Thoughts in General ---

Each bullet highlights on a certain aspect of the coverage on Speed. Have a look at these notes I've taken:

• comparing NASCAR Sprint Cup cars to V8 Supercars. Fair comparison.

• "Boogity, boogity, boogity!" - no offense, but no need to say that. This isn't NASCAR, and you shouldn't try to make an event like the Bathurst 1000 to be like a NASCAR race. We don't need to dumb down an event like the Bathurst 1000 this way.

• Good job educating the audience on various aspects of Bathurst, Australia, the race, etc. Even learned a few things about the race and the track.

• Darrell Waltrip talked about the blue oval (Ford) and the "red tiger" of Holden. Uh, Holden's logo is the red LION.

I thought the coverage was very good to me. It also was great for the explanation of the different sponsors in Australia on the cars. Some of the different sponsors were those I was familiar with. It was great to hear Marcos Ambrose during the coverage while Ambrose (two-time Australian V8 Supercar Series champion) was at Kansas.

--- 2011 Bathurst 1000 Thoughts in General ---

There is a reason why this is being featured in the United States. The Bathurst 1000 is one of the greatest races in the world. These cars and this action certainly caught on with Americans as more and more people here get to see these cars in action. To some people, not as many people know of races and series like the Australian V8 Supercar Series because some people think that Australia is too far away from the rest of the world for people to actually know anything about the series.

That awesome finish and the big fire from one of the Holdens (the #17 one, I believe) are the two biggest sights I'll take away from this coverage. This was an exceptional experience to see. I saw most of the race on Speed Channel. It wasn't like I watched every last second.

--- Final Thoughts ---

I do think the insanity of the Bathurst 1000 was captured well here. The one thing I love about Speed Channel (and still do) is that they love motorsports and is willing to provide such great material for racing fans. My first taste of Australian V8 Supercars on TV was back in 2000 or 2001 when Speed Channel used to be Speedvision. The spellbinding thing about all of this is that the Australian V8 Supercar Series was perceived and recognized so well that we not only get Bathurst coverage, but LIVE Bathurst coverage. These same V8 Supercars will race around Circuit of the Americas in 2013. So this is a win-win for any racing fan. This is a weekend you have to enjoy if you are any kind of racing fan in the United States.

Many people think Speedvision's luster was lost the more Speed has started towards becoming more about NASCAR and reality TV. Fact is, Speed hasn't entirely lost what makes the channel what it is- a world of racing and a love of racing worldwide. Even though most of the coverage on the network mostly favors NASCAR and other kinds of American racing, the network still remains in touch with most of the rest of the world of racing. This is a network that knows what the heck they're talking about and knows racing better than any other network. I'd hate for this to be some... you know, highlight-laden deal on ESPN or something with substandard coverage. If this race was going to be shown live on TV for the first time in America, it needs to be done right. And Speed has done it... right, but with a few asterisks.

To be honest... I don't agree with having native TV crews calling down certain races. I am going to watch a major international race for that race, and I don't really need to have a certain domestic crew call down racing action. I appreciate mostly the world feed crew to call races. Take MotoGP coverage, for instance. I'm okay hearing Nick Harris and Gavin Emmett with Mark Bracks for MotoGP coverage. Of course, I do love hearing Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, Steve Matchett, and Will Buxton for F1 coverage on Speed Channel. But for the World Superbike and MotoGP races in the States, we usually hear Ralph Sheheen and Freddie Spencer, and sometimes Leigh Diffey. I'd even be inclined to hear Leigh Diffey do play-by-play for this race and maybe someone else for analysis. Or in a dream scenario, you could have Leigh Diffey and Marcos Ambrose (if Ambrose wanted to return home to Australia just for the Bathurst 1000) calling the action. It just... I would be okay with the usual Australian crew call down this race. You don't have to Americanize the coverage just to appease the American fans.

One last time... no more "boogity, boogity, boogity!" to begin coverage of this race! The Australian V8's is NOT NASCAR, and Bathurst isn't Darlington or some place. So no need to use this catchphrase for a race like this in a series like this. Please?

I am not here to spoil this race. So congratulations to (the 2011 Bathurst 1000 winners) on a job well done! I hope you liked my own review of the Speed Channel coverage of the 2011 Bathurst 1000. You all are free to express your own opinions as well here. More blog posts on various other topics are in the works! So if you loved your John's Blog Space experience, feel free to Subscribe and Follow. Thank you for reading!

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