Posted by: jkirkby8712 | October 24, 2011

Sunday, 23rd October 2011 – Open Day at the radio station; the Rugby final; and tragedy in the MotoGP

I would spent much of today at my radio station here in Sunbury –  6.15am – 9am for the usual weekly program of classical music, then home briefly, before returning at 10am where I remained for over 5 hours, for the duration of the Station’s Open Day to the public and local community.  I couldn’t claim that we had hundreds turn up, but there was nevertheless a steady stream of visitors through the day, and a lot more ‘talking’ to visitors and fellow presenters then I would normally get the opportunity [or even desire]  to involve myself in. Those responsible for the organisation of the day had arranged for various displays, etc, a bit of live music, a number of private stalls were set up around the station area, the usual programs for that time of day [mine was over before it started] were going on, basically being broadcast live to the visitors and guests, and we had the usual small dedicated team, looking after the sausage sizzle & drink stall, from which some of our fund raising for the day was  generated, though most of those funds came from the little raffle that the mother & daughter 12-2pm Sunday show organised, and promptly had the winning tickets drawn by people such as myself during their program.

I was pleased to see some local folk I knew, come along briefly to have a look at things, including friend Ruth, who turned up mid afternoon and chatted with myself and one or two others that she had met through either earlier visits to the station, or though her vet days in Sunbury.  I was also personally pleased to meet a couple of people who were apparently regular listeners to my Sunday morning program, a little bit of encouragement to keep on improving and developing that show.  Jack & Orr Harris from Diggers Rest were early arrivals, and took on another excellent spell at the sausage sizzle role for a couple of hours, while our dear friend and ‘almost 24 hour’ listener from Glenhuntly, ‘young’ Jayne, after months of illness, managed to get across via train to Sunbury for the occasion. Jayne, who listens to many of the station’s programs [we are considered her family these days] has been suffering quite severely for most of the year, and has often remarked, to Christine and myself in particular, how being a part of 3NRG has kept her going on numerous occasions.  Actually Jayne was currently a bit ‘upset’ with this wsriter – this day was one of only two outings she has managed in recent months, the other was to a concert last Tuesday [on my birthday] where she went to hear a singer that Jayne claims I have often mentioned & played on my shows. Yet for the life of me, I have been unable to recall the name she keeps referring to!! At the time of writing, I’m still trying to work out who she is talking about!!

Perhaps at this point, a brief look at the ‘short’ history of 3NRG [compliments of a piece of historical writing made available today].  ‘In the early 1980’s, the Shire of Bulla  [Sunbury’s local council before the council amalgamations of the early 1990s which saw me lose my job] surveyed the local youth and the result indicated a need for a local radio station. In 1987 the Shire of Bulla Youth Consultative Committee were looking at undertaking something special to celebrate Australia’s Bicentennial [1788-1988] and the idea of doing a radio broadcast was suggested. In July 1988, the first test broadcast went out and was an instant success, so much so that the Shire of Bulla sought out interest in setting up a Community Access Radio Station in the area. Amongst the original steering committee was Mr John Hanson who went on top become an integral part of Bulla FM and later on with 3NRG. The first presenter was the local Council Youth Worker, John Awad using borrowed equipment in a shed behind the Council buildings. Using very basic studio equipment the test broadcasts were about one week long every two to three months and at Christmas time this was increased to two weeks. Christmas was our big push to get Sponsors, which helped us stay on air, and pay our bills for the rest of the year.

A lot of planning and more importantly a lot of paperwork is required to enable test transmissions and the responsibility fell to Derek Rigby who was the then Secretary. In honour of his long service and cdedication we named the current studio after him. In 1999 we were granted a licence for every weekend, wee changed the name to 3NRG FM and in 2000 Derek Rigby was presented with our first Life Member of 3NRG for his dedication to the station. After reams of paper and a lot of hard work from Derek and the Committee, the ABA finally granted our permanent licence in April 2001. There has also being something of a journey with various ‘premises’ being used for makeshift studios. To date we have broadcast from:- The Old Sunbury Court House [now the Tourist Information Centre], Learmonth Street Kindergarten, the old Builla Shire Council Chambers, Craigieburn Youth Centre, a caravan in the driveway of the Sunbury Tourist Information Centre, Ground floor rooms of Building 19 Victoria University, and Sunbury Campus Building 18 of Victoria University.  It is finally thanks to Victoria University Sunbury Campus [who in fact are no longer in Sunbury] that we have a permanent home back in Building 19, and now known as The Derek Rigby Studio 99.3 FM 3NRG ‘A Station in the Community, for the Community’.  And that in fact, is where your personal essayist has been spending much of his spare hours since May, 2005!

Although I didn’t engage in as much ‘physical’ work today as one or two other members, but was occupied in a lot of talking and standing around, I returned home feeling a little exhausted, and determined to do little else than a bit of reading, and to watch the Rugby World Cup Final, due to start at 7pm our time. Susan eating ‘out’ or away from home again tonight., and admittedly, at present when I don’t need to cook a meal for both of us, I tend to go a ‘little light’ on whatever I prepare for myself. Tonight was such an example.

I enjoyed watching the rugby tonight. Finally, after  6 weeks it was the Rugby World Cup Final  –  between France and New Zealand. Another brief exchange of text messages between myself and Dawn in New Zealand – her philosophy to my wishes of good luck with the hope that New Zealand wins were ‘thanks for that but the French can have one of their best games and who knows. I hope we can do it’.  I must say that it was an exhilarating start to the match before the game actually started. After listening to two very inspiring Natikonal Anthems – I regard the French & NZ anthems as amongst the best of their kind, and the Kiwi song sounded even better tonight with the lovely Hayley Westernra singing.  –  then followed the traditional Kiwi Haka, but what wasn’t so traditional was the French team’s reaction to it. Apparently, the opposing teams are expected to just stand there, watch, listen and glare at the All Blacks as they put on their warlike performance. But not the French! Linking hands, in their white uniforms tonight, they formed a V-formation and slowly advanced towards the Kiwis. I was hoping they would actually go a bit closer than they did, but it was certainly an intimidating response to the intimidation of the Haka  – great to see, and certainly a crowd stirrer!! And that was a sign of things to come, as the French as the underdogs, made a mockery of predictions of a cakewalk by the All Blacks,  as they threw down challenge after challenge in an attempt to breaks the hearts of all New Zealanders.

At halftime, the score was 5-0 in favour of New Zealand. Obviously the crowd of 61,079 were basically all barracking for the All Blacks – I don’t recall watching a game like this and hearing such a continuous roar from a crowd – it simply didn’t stop or quieten, just went on throughout the whole match, ongoing and relentless, and in the closing minutes of the match, the noise was almost unbelievable, as the Kiwis hung on to a narrow lead, while the French attempted everything they could to break the deadlock. This report by reporter Jim Morton, following, describes it better than I could.

‘It was a major scare but the All Blacks buried their Rugby World Cup demons in the best possible way at Eden Park by gutsing out a tense triumph built on mental strength.  After melting in tight Cup encounters regularly in the past 20 years, New Zealand weathered the pressure cooker for an 8-7 final victory over a French side which almost pulled off the seemingly impossible. It was a gripping win coach Graham Henry said would finally bring some peace of mind to him and his players. The All Blacks held on for 33 nerve-wracking minutes as France launched wave after wave against the tournament hosts who never buckled in front of a capacity crowd of 61,000. Skipper Richie McCaw said the disciplined defensive effort, where their line was not broken and they did not concede a penalty, epitomised his team’s desire and courage.

It succeeded to end more than two decades and six tournaments worth of heartbreak, as well as drawing a line on trans-Tasman choking barbs. “Personally you’ve got some peace, and that’s a great feeling,” said Henry, who was controversially reappointed after the shock 2007 quarter-final final loss to France. “We’ve been through a lot together and a lot of the guys played in the last World Cup, and fell at the quarter-final, and to win this, there’s not words for it quite frankly. “It’s about players having self-reliance and our guys have become very self-reliant over recent years, and Richie and his senior players taking ownership of the team. “I think those are the two things that got us through today. “We were under a lot of pressure, they didn’t give any penalties away, the defence was very strong, and we gutsed it out and I think that shows some mental strength and a lot of strong independence in each individual”’.

So in summary, New Zealand won the Rugby World cup defeating France 8-7.

At that point, I went back to some jobs, before planning to watch tonight’s MotoGP from Malaysia. When I did switch over, they were telecasting what I assumed was a exciting replay of the 125CC race which would have been the first on the program. I assumed the main race was been delayed. In actual fact, the announcer came on at the end of the 125CC to say that was where their coverage would finish tonight because of the tragic death of one of the riders in the MotoGP which had subsequently been abandoned. It would be next morning before I learnt the details.  It left me a disturbed feeling – ironically, as I had been watching the other race a few minutes earlier, the thought had occurred to me as to have dangerous it was the way these guys ride the bikes, and as I watch, I’m always expecting something to go wrong. I was rather glad that I  did not see this accident actually happy, although I don’t Channel 10 the race itself  –  it was a delayed telecast, and the outcome of the accident would have been known by then, and as it only lasted  4 laps before the race was stopped and then abandoned, it would have been decided not to screen it.   Again, a news report on the tragedy describes what happened..

‘Celebrated Italian rider Marco Simoncelli died on Sunday after a crash that resulted in the cancellation of the Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang, in the latest tragedy to hit motor sports. The smash occurred just four minutes after the race began when the 24-year-old Honda rider’s bike veered across the track and into the path of riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi. Simoncelli had his helmet knocked off in the collision, which happened on turn 11. “Despite their efforts, Marco sadly succumbed to his injuries at 4:56pm local time (0856 GMT),” MotoGP said in a statement on its website. “Everybody involved in MotoGP extends its deepest condolences to Marco’s family, friends and team at this tragic loss.”

Motor sports have seen a nightmare stretch recently and Simoncelli’s death looked certain to throw up more questions over safety. Last weekend, 2010 MotoGP champ Jorge Lorenzo crashed during warm-ups in Australia, severing a finger, while two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon died in a 15-car crash in Las Vegas in Indy Car.  The race at a steamy Sepang circuit was immediately red-flagged and organisers later announced it had been cancelled.  Edwards also fell but escaped serious injury, while Rossi was able to return to the pits.  After the crash, restless fans upset with the lengthy delay showered the track with water bottles and other debris.\  The last fatal crash in the world motorcycling championship was last year when Japan’s Shoya Tomizawa was killed. Although there is a final race in Spain still to come, Australia’s Casey Stoner has already secured the 2011 championship with his win last weekend in the Australian Grand Prix.

Stoner won at Phillip Island by just two seconds over Simoncelli, whose second-place finish was the Italian’s best yet in MotoGP. He was the 2008 world champion in the 125cc class.  “”You can never guarantee a 100 per cent safe race,” Sepang Circuit chairman Mokhzani Mahathir told reporters after Simoncelli’s death was announced.  “You expose yourself to danger when you race. As professionals, they know MotoGP is dangerous. Believe it or not, that is what they live for. Our condolences to Marco. He will be missed dearly.” Simoncelli’s death quickly sparked an outpouring of grief in Italy, where officials announced sports events in the country would observe a minute’s silence.  Italian football giants Inter and AC Milan were amongst the first sports clubs to offer their commiserations. “AC Milan offers a hug to the family of Marco, a huge rossonero fan, and we want to offer the most sincere and heartfelt condolences in this sad moment,” the club said on its website. Inter added: “The president Massimo Moratti and everyone at Inter Milan, together with (coach) Claudio Ranieri and the team, shares in the pain of the Italian sports world and indeed the sports world for the loss of the rider Marco Simoncelli.’. “Remembering a young and passionate champion Inter offers a hug to the family and friends of Marco Simoncelli.”


As a sporting and racing fan generally, that was a rather sobering manner in which to end the weekend.


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