Zooming in at World Superbike Championship

Zooming in at World Superbike Championship
Marco Melandri (No. 33) of the Aprilia Racing Team in action during the 2014 World Superbike Championship (WSBK) at Sepang International Circuit in Selangor.

SINGAPORE - The World Superbike Championship (WSBK) racers were burning rubber.

The rest of us were just burning.

From grid girls clutching umbrellas, the audience sweltering in the grandstands, media and team crews by trackside, to the racers themselves - melting in their helmets and leathers - the 36-degree C heat showed no mercy.

Dark clouds gave us hope after the first race.

But it might as well have been a hallucination.

The thunderstorm was a no-show and a bike even caught fire early in the second and last race, prompting a restart.

Photographing the racers was a race in itself.

The media scrum was intense. One photographer rode a bike with one hand while operating a camera with the other.

Competing with a press gang like that for shots of a racer going past at more than 300kmh was a sure-fire recipe for burnout.

Of course, the racer would come back in the next lap pretty fast. And you could hear them a mile away.

TEAM

Off the track, what kept these souped-up bikes' engines purring were the team crews in the pit.

During most of each lap, these sweating sentinels (from the tension as much as the weather) watched their racers intently.

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