Andy Rixon, Kel Edge
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Paolo Ciabatti on Pit Lane at Brands Hatch World Superbike with our Fast Dates Calendar Kitten and Ducati Super Grid Girl for Troy Bayliss, Katie Pugh.
Ducati Corse Superbike Team Director Paolo Ciabatti
Brands Hatch, Great Britain, August 4-6th - FastDates.com was excited to return to the Brands Hatch World Superbike race in again this year to shoot next season's SBK World Superbike endorsed Fast Dates Racebike Pinup calendar sponsored by Performance Machine and Jardine Performance. And as in past year's we were excited to be based out of the Team Ducati pit garage and paddock area were Italian hospitality and cooking is legendary. And our 2 Fast Dates Calendar Kittens, Katie Pugh and Camilla Tranter served as the offical Ducati Corse grid girls for World Championship points leader Troy Bayliss and team mate Lorenzo Lanzi.
For Ducati, racing in World Superbike and its major National markets is in its blood. This weekend at Brands, Troy's win in the fist race on Sunday marked the company's 250th World Superbike race win, probably more than all the other sportbike manufacturers combined. Without Ducati's continued support and participation, the World Superbike Championship might not have survived through its lean years when many of the other manufacturers withdrew from participation. Ducati now sees itself at a crossroads where it feels its current 1000cc 2-cylinder bikes have reached their development limit around 195hp, and will no longer remain competitive on both the World and National levels having to race against the latest 1000cc inline 4-cylinder Japanese bikes production superbikes which have the potential to evolve towards the 260hp of current MotoGP bikes that will be reduced to 800cc for next season because they are to powerful.
On Saturday at Brands Hatch I had a chance to sit down with Ducati Corse Superbike Team Director Paolo Ciabatti to discuss with him the FIM/SBK World Superbike technical rules and future changes which will determine Ducati's future participation in Superbike racing, both on the World and National levels. Here's what Paolo had to say:
As a World Championship winning Superbike team, is Ducati finding AMA Superbike racing in America to be very frustrating, your not being able to come close to winning races this season? What do you think the reasons are?
"It all comes down to our having to race different spec bikes in America, from what we can race in World Superbike. The AMA technical rules require that we use more standard parts like the crankshaft which is much heavier that what we can use in SBK, standard primary gears, gearbox ratios, and up until Laguna Seca we couldn't use traction control (Though it was obvious Yoshimura Suzuki was using some sort of traction control on their winning bikes all season prior to it becoming legal -Ed).
So for Ducati to be competitive in AMA Superbike we need to be allowed to race our WSB spec bikes. We will not stay in AMA Superbike if the technical rules remain as they are. We do not have a sponsor in AMA Superbike that makes it cost effective for us to be there if we are not winning. However, there is a new trend in AMA with the new Rules Board made up of all the race team managers. So I hope that World Superbike technical specifications will be adopted for next year. We should be making our final decision by next month (September).
Neil Hodgson has been saying that he wants to leave AMA Superbike and return to World Superbike next season, what can you tell us?
(There has been talk of Carl Forgarty wanting to run a Ducati satelight team for 2007, now that his Petronas contract is ending. But Neil Hodgson has already made it emphatically clear he will not ride for Fogarty who bad previously mouthed Neil in the press).
Troy Corser returns to the Ducati garage and talks to Team Director Paolo Ciabatti, manager Davide Tardosi and his crew chief Ernesto after clinching Superpole at Brands Hatch.
The word is that Ducati is increasing it's bike lineup maximum displacement for 2008 from the current 1000cc limit, to 1200cc. Will the next Ducati Superbike be a 1088cc as some rumors suggest, or a full 1200cc?
We've been able to overcome that engine disadvantage and still win races with our current 999F bikes which can be highly modified under the rules, but now we are at the end of our development for increasing power past 195hp, and our race team engines are not as reliable and require expensive rebuilds for every race. The 4-cylinder bikes are already producing more power than that, and they have the potential to continue to develop and increase power even more.
What we plan to do is produce 1200cc twins to compete with the 1000cc fours in the motorcycle market place.
Would you let the FIM/SBK adjust the technical rules so the bigger 1200cc twins don't have an unfair advantage?
The new Ducati limited production MotoGP replica V-4 engined 2007 Desmosedici RR could easily beat the Japanese inline 4 cylinder bikes in World Superbike, will Ducati homologate it for racing?
Ducati will stay with the desmo V-Twin engine as our bread and butter product, for now and well into the future. We only want to race the V-twin because that is what our company is based on, and what we will always be selling. We will not race the Desmosedici in Superbike."
Chicks That Kick Ass!
The newest addition to our favorite girl singers list is the teen sister group Ally & AJ Michalka who have penned and performed songs for a number of Disney pre teen movies and whose first full length CD "Into The Rush" released late last year features an incredible collection of their own excellent original written and performed hits with incredible vocals, with good looks to match!
When we found out Ally and AJ were performing this past weekend at the House of Blues in Hollywood, CA, we were there in a flash to see the teen pop princess sisters in action. Still under the radar, the sisters have yet to be discovered by the adult listening audience and we found ourselves jam pack into the standing room only club house with about 500 hard core pre teen girls aged 8-10 chaperoned by their parents. When Ally and AJ took to the stage the piercing screams from their grade school girl fan club was more deafening than anything you could image.
Click on their new just released Special Edition CD & DVD cover Into the Rush here to order it online, and visit their website to hear and see more of these incredibly talented and beautifully sexy sisters. AlyandAJ.com
Our Fast Dates Calendar shoot at Brands Hatch 2006 with Camilla, Katie, reigning World Superbike Champion Troy Corser, and last minute replacement, the devil girl Ebony.
Fast Dates Calendar Kittens in revolt,controversy, trouble and melt down
Brands Hatch is one of the premier rounds of the World Superbike Championship, situated at a beautiful modern facility in rolling wooded hills, and this year pulling a huge crowd of some 115,000 fans. We started shooting the calendar last year at Brands when the United States round of the World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca was unfortunately dropped from the schedule and replaced by the MotoGP. Hopefully, someday, there will be an opportunity for both Roadracing World Championships to have a U.S. round.
Guys always think I've got the greatest job in the world, being able to hang and shoot with the top roadracing racing teams, their bikes and riders, and the most beautiful swimsuit models in the world. And most times I do, but every so often problems do come up... notably with the models. This year's shoot at Brands had all the turmoil and calamity of a previous big 4 model Fast Dates Calendar and Video shoot at Laguna Seca WSB back in 1997 which ended with one model in the hospital from falling out of her bunk bed in our motorhome. And then I had to fire 3 of them and sent home for being uncooperative on Saturday and not wantig to work.. I t left me in a very embarassing situation because for Sunday's race i was only left with one model, instead of the promised 4 models to be the official SBK Trophy Girls.
You have to consider that many of the girls who get into modeling do so because they are born pretty, have never had to work hard in their lives, someone probably talked them into modeling because of their looks - so they went into it without any real ambition. But they soon found it was a fun, easy job that paid great money, they get to travel to exotic locations and get into exclusive clubs for free, and people treated them like the prima donnas they soon become. Models don't go to a school to learn how to become good models or business professionals. They aren't tought how to represent themselves proberly, their agency, or to do the best job possible for their clients with the least amount of hassle (except on the TV show America's next Top Model) They have no clue how to keep their clients, or how to build their careers for the long run when they have it easy with a rich daddy or boyfriend to take care of them.
I was planning all year to have my favorite model Gemma Gleeson from Ireland, who is featured in all our 2007 Calendars, return with us this year to work our LA Calendar Motorcycle Show premier in July, do assorted Calendar shoots, and then join me again at Brands Hatch this August for World Superbike for the 2008 Fast Dates Calendar shoot. But controversy arose leading up to this year's shoots with Gemma having never forwarded to her model agency, Universal Models in London, their agency commission from when I brought her to America last December 2005 for Calendar shoots. The agency how now dropped Gemma, and I needed to maintain my working relationship with Universal and hire new girls for this year's shoot at Brands.
Plans were made to book 3 new girls for the 2006 SBK World Superbike Round at Brands Hatch in on August 4-6th. I selected beautiful models Emily Hilton, Katie Pugh and Camille Tranter from the London agency Universal Models, with all 3 girls to work at the main Calendar shoot on Pit Row on Friday afternoon, and then 2 of the girls staying on through the weekend to finish up our calendar shoots and serve as the official Ducati Corse grid girls for World Championship points leader Troy Bayliss and team mate Lorenzo Lanzi on Sunday race day.
When I arrived in my rental car from Heathrow Airport to the Hilton Dartford Bridge on Thursday afternoon, my base with the models for the weekend, I was meet by agency owner Suzanne from Universal Models with the bad news that one of my 2 main girls for the full 3-day weekend, Emily Hilton, had just been hospitalized that morning (according to her mom who phoned in) for a "drug overdose" and wouldn't be making the shoot.
Suzanne then contacted our Friday only model, Camilla Tranter, the most experienced model in our group at 28 years old and with 10 years of modeling her, and had her rebooked for the full 3 day weekend with 21-year old Katie Pugh who had only been modeling a year while also attending college. Camilla proved to be a good choice as it would be her, with her past experience as a grid girl and trade show model, who would help pull the other girls through the Calendar shoots and save the weekend.
Added at the last minute by Suzanne as a replacement for my missing model was Ebony Gilbert, a very well known and experienced British pinup model and actress who had graced the covers of all of England's tabloids and sexy men's magazines including Maxim, FHM, Loaded and more. Ebony's normal wardrobe was a skimpy bikini, so she certainly wouldn't have a problem shooting with us in bikinis for Fast Dates at the track. A petite 5'4" in height and more full figured than the models I usually book, Suze convinced me Ebony would be an excellent replacement, and besides, it was much too late to try and find anyone else at this point.
DUCATI XEROX 999R 2-SEATER: Our girls Katie and Camilla get ready to go for a ride with Italian racer Dario Marchetti, chief instructor at Ducati’s DRE (Ducati racing Experience) track schools. Note how the tires are scrubbed to the edge.....
As usual, all the models checked into the hotel on Thursday evening so we could have dinner together, get to know each other better, and take one car out to the track in the morning to pick up our SBK credentials. Both Katie and Camilla had and opportunity earlier to visit the FastDates.com Calendar website and see what we were all about, and that evening we showed Ebony and the other models the newly released 2007 Fast Dates Calendar showing exactly what swimsuits they would be wearing, the posing with the bikes at the track on Pit Row. They were well informed in advance of what the shoot was, what they were wearing and the need for high heeled shoes to wear with their bikinis. And that the main calendar shoot on Friday wouldn't start until after practice ended around 5pm and would run until dark or earlier if we were finished with all the bikes.
Friday, our main Calendar shoot day, started off great. Our SBK Track and Grid credentials were waiting for us out front at the track, we got my rental Volvo station wagon with all our gear into VIP Paddock Parking right where we needed to be. The girls changed into their FasDates.com uniforms and we walked around the Paddock and Pits to meet and greet all the race teams, get them pumped for this year's shoot with copies of the new 2007 Fast Dates Calendar from our shoot last year, and arranged to have their bikes available again to shoot on Pit Lane after practice. The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out in the Corona Paddock Show tent, being catered to by the cooking staff, drinking frozen ices, cappuccino and Corona beers. Such is the life.,,,
At 4:30pm we grabbed our camera gear and swimsuits and headed up to Pit Lane, where we were joined by our great Fast Dates contributors Kel Edge and Andy Rixon who would help with the shoot. An on track crash in one of the Support Classes had delayed the end of track practice to closer to 6pm, so it was going to be a rush to finish shooting before dark around 8pm. The first sign of trouble among the models came when Ebony started Telling me she had an important date in London that evening and "had" to leave the track by 7:30pm whether the shoot was finished or not. Which I might not had cared if she left early, except she had come to the track in my car and she expected me to quit shooting to drive her back to the hotel to get her car. "You can call a cab." I told her.
As practice ended the factory teams began rolling their bikes out onto the grid for us to shoot, with the Ducati Corse team being first in line with Championship points leader Troy Bayliss' 999R06. As normal, a small but enthusiastic audience of team mechanics, media photographers and the SBK TV camera crew were lined up behind me on the Pit Wall sidewalk, which was normal and great for additional PR to help promote the Calendar. In particular SBK does a full 1-hour race preview TV show which is shown throughout Europe, although not shown in America. I handed the models the bag of bikini (all of which were used in last year's calendar as well) and selected their suits to change in to. And the revolt started immediately, lead by Ebony, the professional bikini pinup model.
"I will not pose in these bikinis, I'm not that type of a model," said Ebony, the Men's magazine model with nude and bikini photos in her model's portfolio. "And certainly not in front of all these people and other cameras. Nobody's photographing my bum!"
And once one girl whining, their camaraderie makes it contagious. Katie with the perfect body and face was next, "I didn't know we were shooting outside with people watching (we are at race track -duh!). I thought we were shooting in a studio. I can't do this, I'm sorry. I want to go!"
Even veteran model Camilla, who is an experienced lingerie model and has shot for Playboy, was pulled into the frenzy, "I can't wear these type of swim suits, not with thong backs. You should have told me to bring my own suits."
So there I was standing in sheer bewilderment, frustration and embarrassment on Pit Row at Brands Hatch World Superbike, having traveled half way around the world at a cost of some $10,000 in time and money, with all the top factory teams. print and TV media, no second chance to reschedule the Calendar shoot with different models at another time, being told by these (expetitive deleted) professional swimsuit models that they would not shoot.
Of course, the only thing I could do at this point was swallow what little pride i had left, start kissing ass to them to see if I could get the shoot to take place in some way, shape or form. The first was to walk back and ask all the assembled media to put away their cameras and not take any pictures, including the SBK TV crew which sponsors the Fast dates calendar Next I had to agree the girls didn't have to wear the bikini bottoms, but could just wear the matching boy shorts instead. After about 15 minutes of coddling and cajoling, Camilla was the first girl to change into the shorts and agree to start shooting with Bayliss's bike, and the other girls eventually Joined in once they saw Camilla wasn't being strapped naked to a stripper's pole and having a camera jammed up her vagina.
The model Ebony remained a total pain in the arse through the entire 90 minute shoot, constantly reminding me she "needed to leave at 7:30pm" and at times sh was screaming like a banshee at the mechanics or anyone who looked at her the wrong way or pulled out a pocket camera. I finished shooting all the top bikes at 7:40, only missing the Ten Kate Honda team which had closed their garage and gone to dinner, but I would get them tomorrow. There where a few private team bikes which still wanted to be shot, but I told them we'd catch up again on Saturday. I just needed to get rid of Ebony and never see her again.
Saturday was an easy schedule with a late 10am call time after breakfast at the hotel with Katie. Camilla would join us at the track as she lived just 10 minutes from Brands Hatch, and could park her car at a nearby friends house and walk in to the track to avoid the traffic. All day was spent hanging in the Corona hospitality tent in the Paddock, watching the races, and visiting the souvenir shops under the main grandstands. Because Brands is a full time race facility it has some great motorsports shops selling all the top team apparel (from Ferrari to Suzuki to even Foggy Petronas), model cars and motorcycles, to books and riding gear. Camilla did disappear in the middle of the day for over an hour to meet a race fan she had meet a week before online, and who she was text messaging to all Friday and this morning. I wasn't too happy to be paying for her dating encounters on my time.
Ducati girls Katie and Camilla
Saturday's short photo shoot would start at 6pm in front of the Ducati garage on pit row for introduction of Warner Brother's sponsorship for the weekend of the Ducati team for movie Superman Returns, with the bikes painted with Superman graphics, Bayliss and Lanzi in Superman leathers, and my Katie and Camilla in Supergirl licensed apparel. That took about 20 minutes for the girls posing with the riders for media pictures, then they changed back into their FastDates.com white tank suits and we shot the Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR of Karl Mugeridge's which was wait for us on its pit stand down the lane just 2 garages away.
After our brief 45 minute Saturday shoot for the calendar, Katie and I headed back to the hotel where Camilla would join us for a grerat dinner. The Hilton has a nice bar, and puts on a great breakfast and dinner buffet each day so there never is any need to go anywhere else when we weren't at the track. It was now time to relax and enjoy the girls' company for the evening, as the calendar shoot and all its problems were now behind us. What more could go wrong?
With all the excitement and drama of the race weekend, and the fact she was flying off on vacation to Ibiza or somewhere to visit her boyfriend early Monday morning, Katie hadn't getting much sleep at night. Sleeping has always been always been a problem for me, particualrly when traveling around the world, and now with the 8 hour time change from Los Angles and all, but you learn to bring sleeping pills and just suffer through it, usually watching TV movies all night and starting the new day dead tired.
On Sunday night Katie wasn't able to get to sleep at all and finally ended up driving around town at 3am to try and find an open pharmacy to buy sleeping pills, with no luck, rather than walk next door and get some pills from me which i had offered to her earlier. I woke up at 4:30 Sunday morning to go to the bathroom to pee, and when i cam out i saw the following note from Katie slipped under my door-
"Jim it's Katie, been really ill + not slept at all (now 4:30), really sorry but am not going to be able to work tomorrow, at least until lunchtime. If you leave me your number or Camilla's at Reception, I will call you as soon as I feel in can come in. Am sorry to leave you in the learch, will call you asap -Katie"
Well you can guess this was not an option. Katie was World Championship points leader and pole sitter Troy Bayliss' official grid girl on World TV wearing the matching Supergirl outfit. The first Superbike Race of the day was 12:00 noon and both girls need to be in the Ducati Garage on Pit Row in uniforms by 11am. I had given Julian Thomas and Paolo Ciabatti my promise to provide the team with the prettiest models on the grid and I was going to let them down and be embarrassed again.
Obviously getting back to sleep was impossible for me, but I decided to wait until our Morning Call Time of 8:30 am to give Katie a chance to sleep. I started phoning Katie's modeling agent Suzanneat at her home at 7am and left a detailed messagefor Suze to call Katie and get her motivated to work.
I then tried calling Katie around 8am toher her a wake up call, but she had taken her phone off the hook. Come 8:30am I was down the hall and pounding on her room door. The sleepily little angel crawled out of bed and answered the door. I explained to her that a no show for the day was not an option, that every racing team, the riders, track employes, journalist, and spectator would be at the track if they weren't lying in a hospital dying, and she could not drive out to the track later in the day "if" she felt like it. Katie broke down and started crying, but eventually relented and agreed to meet me downstairs for breakfast in 15 minutes. What a trooper!
From there we made our way out to the track, driving around the long line of spectators waiting to park, and easily pulled into the Paddock. Another disaster had been adverted and the weekend was salvaged. Camilla joined us on time in the Xerox Ducati Paddock Hospitality Display where we would be based for Sunday, race day, dining on some really great food with the riders and mechanics between the day's 2 Superbike races.
On the grid with Troy Bayliss, his wife Kim, and superheros Katie and Paolo Ciabatti.
And Katie again forgot to bring her high heel shoes to the track for the 2nd day in a row, and was pleading me to let her drive back to the hotel between the races to retrieve them. However, I knew Katie really wanted to go shopping for her trip to Ibiza the next morning, and if let her leave the track I'd probably never she her again. Particularly with the roads being jammed with spectator traffic and routed in just one direction by police. So I told her she couldn't leave the track, she have to stay and work in her tennis shoes, and I had to put up with her displeasing mood for the next 15 minutes before she had the gourmet lunch that was spread out for us in the Ducati Paddock.
Even Camilla who had helped save the Calendar shoot of Friday night, had refused earlier in the day I asked her for a cute photo, to pull open her Ducati team shirt (like Superman ripping off his Clark Kent street clothes to reveal his Superman uniform underneath) to show her FastDates.com uniform underneath for cute some PR photos. I was paying her to be there as the official Ducati grid girl to promote FastDates.com and she was refusing to do so.
Then, Camilla continued to break another Cardinal Rule of the Model's Handbook: Do Not Use Your Cell Phone When Working. Camilla checked her phone messages after Race One and got a message from agent Suze who was trying to find me andwas following up on my messages left to her earlier that morning at the horel. But rather than just tell just me about Suze's returned call, Camilla immediately told Katie that Suze was calling because "Jim was angry that Katie wasn't doing her job and coming to work" (already past history which had been resolved).
This set Katie off on another melt down, confronting me I was ruining her modeling career by saying bad things about her to her agent. "If you dont want me here, I'll leave right now!"
All I wanted them to do was the modeling job I hired them for, and which they agreed to do. To look pretty, to do what was asked, and to shut up. I went immediatley back into damage control mode, "Katie dear, you are doing an incredible job! I love you. Suze is only calling about a phone message I left her this morning when I got your written note. That's all behind us now, things are just great. I'll be sure to let Suze know what a wonderful job you're all doing when I call her back tonight."
And the 3rd disaster of the weekend was diverted. I guided Katie and Camilla back to the Ducati garage in time to make it to the grid with Bayliss and Lanzi for the 2nd Superbike race of the day.
When the 2nd race was flagged off the grid at 3pm, all the teams retreat to their Pit Garages to watch the race on their pit TV monitors. But not our girls. Didn't matter that they were booked for a full 8 hour work day at $500 per day each, plus all expenses including hotel room, they had worked their two 15-minute stints on the grid and were already changed back into their street clothes and ready to leave. Watch the race with the rest of us to see how their riders were doing, or change back to their FastDates.com uniforms to pose for PR photos the rest of the day? Hell no, these girls were gone before the dust had settled on the starting line. Katie would spend another $225 night at the Hilton that Sunday on my tab before heading off to Ibeza to hook up with her boyfriend.
Last year's photo shoot at Brands Hatch 2005 was a blast because the models wanted to be there to work, they wore what they needed to wear (though there was drama as well when Gemma had her full weekend's pay stolen from her purse by another agency's model working the Ducati hospitality area).
But this year's Fast Dates calendar shoot a Brands Hatch wasn't fun, but a nightmare because of the models. But this is fairly typical of what does happen every few years. A dream job to photograph beautiful girls at the worlds' premier motorcycle races with the top factory teams and riders can become a nightmare if one of the models doesn't want to do the job or act professional, and the other girls allow themselves to get caught up as group by association. But that's my job and my problem. For you the Fast Dates Calendar enthusiast, Just enjoy the fantasy and the pictures of the world's top race bikes and beautiful models! - Jim Gianatsis