Logan - AMCC Bucket 2hr, '05

AMCC Buckets annual 2 Hour Endurance race It all started from a call on Thursday night from Greg, my team mate… He was offered a ride on a bucket for the 2 hour endurance race on the coming Sunday. As he couldn’t make it he contacted me, and put me in touch with the owner of the bike – Mike Messiter. So over the phone without Mike knowing my reputation for blowing other peoples bikes up we had agreed that he would pick me up on Sunday and we would do this 2 hour endurance race together. I was keen as mustard and I still didn’t even know what a bucket was, or what the track even looked like!

Sunday morning came, and I soon learned that the poor bike soon to be tainted with my touch was an early Honda CB125Twin, and we were racing @ Mt Wellington Go Kart track which is an outdoor track and bigger then I had expected (Thinking of indoor carting). So here we were, all geared up wearing full leathers, ready to go out for the first practising time in the morning, I was as nervous as I usually am with Formula 3 racing despite Mike assuring me he didn’t care how we did and was just here for fun – I think it was that I honestly wasn’t sure how to ride it, do I sit bolt upright on it? Do I hang off; do people actually stick their knees out on these things? And how fast do they go? So many questions being new to the game and too much time to think of them all… but the time came, and I was seated on her ready to roll out for a quick practise!

Well I must admit it felt perfect right from the start! It was only lap 2 and I had found my style, just like the F3 bike but there was more room with such a small bike for me to place my weight, forward, backward etc. I loved it to say the least, and set for another practise session not so long after.

It was mid-day and Time for Super-Pole (Qualifying where one rider at a time goes out on the track to do 1 warm-up lap, then a fast qualifying lap, followed by a warm-down lap) As Mike was not kitted up yet, and I needed all the experience I could get on these machines I went out to qualify for us. I Should have informed Mike of my in-ability to qualify well from my time in F3 even, just cant ever get into the mode for qualifying, so I qualified 17th out of 21 bikes, disappointing for myself but Mike didn’t complain at all and even praised!

The 2 Hour race was about to begin and despite the poor position I had left Mike in as he was riding for the first part, amazingly from a Le Mans start (I held the bike on one side of the track, while he stood on the other and had to run over and jump on when they dropped the flag) he roared off, got pushed out onto the grass and literally out-dragged 11 bikes to put himself into 6th position going into Turn 1!!! This was a good start, and he then grabbed another place or two on that first lap. It was amazing to watch, so I spent the next 25 minutes studying what he was doing out there. Soon enough he nodded his head as he came thru the S’s which was the signal he had had enough, and I needed to get my helmet and gloves on as he was going to pit in to swap riders in 1 more lap.

Jumping straight onto the bike in the pits while it was still rolling, and flying out onto the track knowing that the tyres had just had 25mins of pure abuse was great, I was straight into it and going far better then I had in Qualifying. It was hard to judge where we were in the race as there were about 4-5 bikes going faster, and overtaking me every now and then, and the other 15 I was lapping what seemed like continuously! I Was getting right into it and enjoying the ride, When I came into the infield right hander quite hot on the rear of a slower bike then swung wide, and then over corrected slamming it down onto my right knee and must have cut him off a tad, unfortunately it resulted in him running off the track (apologies as I didn’t mean to!) and me carrying on my merry way. Other then that it was a clean session, and after my guess of around 25mins I nodded to Mike for him to have another go, and pitted in accordingly. From what I saw he was doing awesome and we were defiantly up there competing in the faster half of the field, and he did this so flowing without any errors I could spot at all, and then oh no the dreaded nod coming thru the S’s and it was my turn again!

This time I had worked myself up to push even harder:apumpin:, and really try to find my limits on the bike despite the fatigue that certainly was setting in. It was going well and I was realising how fast the poor girl could go even though the tyres were passed their used by date… When all of a sudden the back end went swinging out from underneath me when trying to avoid being overtaken, the minor weight of the bike pushed down on my left knee which was on the ripple strip and I tipped the bike further upright pushing me wide on the track but she regained the traction and we were off for another few laps before the next slip on the infield right hander where I cut my line a bit close where it was bumpy, and both wheels skipped out what felt like a 1m! Pushing me wide but not quite onto the grass... By now I was worried it was my fatigue that was causing the miscalculations, however I opted to carry on a while longer, when disaster almost struck again, I committed my line pulling tight thru the left hand sweeper leading onto the front straight a bit early when next thing I know there was Glenn Williams on the KLX125 under me! Didn’t know how I got into the position and nor did I mind, however they did tell me buckets was a NON-CONTACT sport:dodge:, and here I found myself resting my tired knee on the KLX’s foot peg on the way around(again apologies!). But other then that there were only a few smaller slips of the rear end, and one very small wheelie coming out of the hairpin when forcing the poor CB125 from left to right too fast which bounced the front up before I knew I ought to come in.

:not:So I pulled in and left Mike to catch up all those positions I must have lost for him and bring her home in one piece! And he did just that! The Verdict? 7th/21!! We were both stoked! Just couldn’t believe it, finishing the 2 hour race with 209 laps. Can’t explain how great it felt to have been part of a team that did so well despite our lack of setup. Yes there are plenty of things that could be done to both the bike (don’t start me! these bucket racers are tighter then I am!) and organisation of the team (e.g. we shouldn’t of had so many rider switches).

Massive thank you goes to Mike Messiter, the man whom let me attempt to kill the bike in various ways!, Greg for thinking of me when he couldn’t make it, All the other racers there whom gave me advice (Buckets is like the underground for all our Top Racers!! I mean YOU Nicko! + Hayden Fitz, Karl Morgan, Glenn Williams!), and he small work support that turned up on the day for a look. Cheers guys, I will be back next year for this event if not sooner on my own bucket!

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