Greg - SsangYong SB Champs R1R2, '05/06

No Hair Racing Race Report from Greg SSangYong Super Bike Champs Round 1 & 2 05/06

Round 1 was at Pukekohe on the 10th and 11th and I'd spent most of the week working on the 450 to have it ready in time for Logan. There was an unofficial practice day on the Friday before so I took the opportunity to run up as many laps as I could on the 450 but at the end of the 2nd session it again dropped a valve this time from the std FZR400 head that I had raced reliably in the past. When I lifted the head the following week there was no indication of why it had happened unlike the the preceeding failures with the FZR600A heads.

I managed to get out for 4 sessions on the R6 and got down into the high 1.06's close to my personal best of 1:06.1 at Puke. That night I worked to 12am putting the old 400 back into the F3 bike for Logan then got up at 5am to finish the job and pack up for racing.

This year is the largest turnout for the 600 class that I can remember with 31 entrants. In the qualifying sessions I managed a 1:07.03 to qualify 29th! The first 3 riders went under the lap record of 1:00.2 in the mid to high 59's. In the first race 5 riders got into the 59's and to score a point you had to be doing 61's. I finished 2nd to last and ended up the day wondering why I had even bothered entering. To top it all off I got home to a very good dinner from the missus and I had to leave it for the worst migraine I've ever had...straight to bed and it was still partially there the next morning.

Race 2 on Sunday got away to a good start and I was chasing Derek Hill in 25th position when the red flag came out and we had to restart. In the second part of the race I couldn't keep up with Derek and I also let Ricky McKay & Jason Green get past but I did clock a new personal best time of 1:05.694 which was some consolation. Derek decided to do a bit of grass tracking just before the end of the race and due to a number of crashes I finished 21st with Derek 22nd. I was a bit annoyed with myself as I was hoping to stay in front of Jason.

Race 3....nah, I don't really want to go there...I finished last out of the riders still riding, my right hand cramped up halfway thru the race and I almost ran off the track due to not being able to feel the throttle grip. I later figured out I had done more than 120 laps over the 3 days and it was just too much for my level of fitness. Sam Smith (17 years old) won the race on another Yamaha R6 setting the lap record at 59.1 seconds over 1 second faster than the previous year.

Reviewing my performance over the weekend with the help of about 20 photos on I have a number of areas to work on. The greatest being entering corners faster and harder on the front wheel (I don't have a lot of confidence there), I need to get the bike to turn in a lot faster too. I don't need any more horsepower as numerous times during qualifying I powered past people down the back straight. The R6 is faster than all the Suzuki's and Honda's I encountered, only the Kawasaki's can match it for top speed.

Next morning I was up early and off to Sydney on business but feeling a bit better as at least I was still improving.

Round 2 was last weekend at Manfeild. Again I got to the track on Friday to get in some practice laps but I had also just rec'd some new valve shims for the old 400 to cure its poor starting problem. It took me most of the day to reset the valves and fit a new fork seal and in the end I didn't get out on the track. Big THANKS to Tim & Joan Gibbes who put me up for the night and I had a great dinner and over 8 hours of much needed zzzzz's!

Saturday morning I felt great and ready to go battle hard for last place...I didn't even worry that I qualified 26th out of 26 with a lap time of 1:17.053 close to my pb of 1:16.9. There were 3 riders all within a second just ahead so I should be able to beat my pb again this weekend (I even powered past Andrew Stroud on one straight). Well, it was not to be! The first race was declared wet as the skys opened up. I went out but had major fogging of my glasses and visor having to hold my breath around the slow corners until they cleared. The race was stopped after 3 laps and half points were awarded I was 21st out of 22 so still no points in the series :-)

Race 2 the next day I got an unusually poor start but managed to finish 2nd to last in 20th place with a best lap of 1:17.226. I also won a $50 fine for passing under a yellow flag just to cheer me up some more. Then in the last race I had a lot of fun trying to catch Mike Grayling...we were both circulating in the 1:17's to 1:18's but I couldn't quite catch him...the track must have been a bit slower later in the day as we both thought we were riding faster when we talked after the race. I saw in the results that even the front runners were close to a full second slower than in the earlier race.

I watched the last superbike race and left Manfeild at 4pm making it back to Te Kauwhata at 9:30 with one stop for petrol at Waiouru. I can't say that I'm really looking forward to the 3 South Island rounds in January but I ain't giving up yet. I hope to resurrect the 450 for one more try for Logan by New Year. Plus I have some suspension changes to try on the R6 to try to get it to turn faster. The Pirelli tyres are working like magic not one scary moment in both rounds yet so obviously I can push them a lot harder too!

Thanks again to our major sponsors: Henderson Motorcycles & Pirelli Tyres.

And, SSSLodge,, New Zealand Towing ltd, Golden Gun Panel and Paint, Glen Eden Pallet Company, Autostop



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