There's a few New Zealanders rolling out of the odd pit garage this weekend and the ones I'll be keeping an eye on are Earl Bamber and Nick Cassidy. One, Cassidy is a defending champion and two, Bamber is sitting second in his series.

Cassidy, along with co-driver Ryo Hirakawa, won the Japanese Super GT championship last year and is looking good sitting third after three rounds. The pair will have their work cut out chasing series' leader former F1 world champion Jenson Button and co-driver Naoki Yamamoto.

Bamber, on the other hand, is very excited on his return to Watkins Glen for the fifth round of the America IMSA GTLM championship. Sharing the car with the Kiwi is the newly-crowned Le Mans 24 Hour winner Laurens Vanthoor. Bamber also wants to go one better than his second-place finish in 2015 to back up his win last time out at Mid-Ohio.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Kiwi Brendon Hartley is set to have another run in his Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One car this week. No doubt the main stream media will be more interested in Hartley and how he goes at the Austrian Grand Prix, and rightly so to some extent. It has been a few decades since we had a Kiwi regularly racing, not that there's a lot of 'racing' in the top category, however, after eight events Hartley hasn't quite made the impression we all hoped he would.


On top of the banal 'racing', it's becoming a little hard to get enthused about his run of issues and struggles to get out of the bottom quarter of the field. As an eternal optimist, I'll still keep an eye on it in the hope the Kiwi has a good run and is soon fighting inside the top 10 for more points.

I just wish there was more coverage of the New Zealanders who are actually fighting for a championship title like Bamber and Cassidy. There's not a lot of pay drivers in both those categories and former world champions are part of the mix.

Just going back to F1 for a moment, it's a bit of a worry that the struggling category could impact on one of the most exciting motorsports going around — MotoGP.

Two riders with 14 world motorcycle championships between then, Valentino Rossi (nine titles) and Jorge Lorenzo (five titles), are really hoping that F1 don't look to add the Assen track to its calendar.

The problem that is becoming more apparent with F1 and MotoGP sharing a track, is that the F1 cars cause the tarmac to become bumpy making throwing a two-wheeled machine around at 300-odd kilometres per hour a bit heart-in-the-mouth. It's not like trying to stay on one of those light-weight rockets isn't hard enough as it is.

The other problem, is that the F1 circus always wants to modify the track. And as we've seen more times in the past than you can poke a stick at, they dumb it down to the lowest common denominator.

The Assen TT track is stepped in motorcycle history having hosted grand prix motorcycle racing since 1949, when it was built.

At present both categories share four tracks and all of them have issues with bumps appearing, apparently caused by the car's downforce. Despite Silverstone and Barcelona being recently resurfaced, some riders including Cal Crutchlow have said within a year things turn rubbish again.


On the other hand, six-time world champion Marc Marquez isn't bothered in the least if F1 turns up and isn't worried about the bumps. Mind you, he does crash a bit.