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Chris - PMCC R2, '02Hi,
It's been a while since I wrote a race report. - The R6 was sat in the garage feeling a little sad and neglected, so I figured it was time to brush off the dust and go racing again.
- Actually, I managed to sneak in a round of racing a fortnight ago without telling you!. - The club to host latest rounds of my racing efforts is the "Pacific Motorcycle Club" formally the Naipier Club. All three of their rounds are at Taupo. The third and final round is almost a month away, so we've got a bit of a breather now.
Quick summary of round 1: (Previous best Taupo time: 43:02) - I found my racing feet again, and managed very low 44 second laps. - I raced in F2 class only, and came away with 4th overall on the day. - The 1st race was good, I was getting used to riding faster than I ought to again, and came 5th. - This finish put me on the front row of the grid for race 2, and I dragged off to a fantastic start, coming 2nd into the first corner. I fell back a few places to fourth as a couple of the quicker riders came through, then one of these two fell off exiting the sweeper coming onto the front straight. - I was in third! - The race got stopped, and re-started after the fallen rider had been cleaned up. But I thought to myself at this point, with only 3 laps of restarted racing left, if I 'pull finger' I would get a good start again, then hold it.. - So I did, again second into the first corner, and I only lost a single place during the race to finish 3rd. - Well, this had set a goal, now that I'd got 3rd from a re-start I wanted a third from an honest start. - So, in the 3rd race, again I was 2nd into the first corner, I really pulled finger, got passed into 4th place, on the last corner, last lap, then dragged my way down the straight back into a third place finish again!
So, a good day: 5th, 3rd and 3rd in Formula 2. :)
Greg, on the other hand didn't have such a good day during Round One. - He was waiting with me on the dummy grid for Race 2, when we both heard a nasty rattling sound from his idling bike. - He stopped his engine, and retired for the day. - Lucky he did, as he had broken a valve guide on #1 cylinder. - As it was only idling, he'd not done any major damage, it was all still running when he stopped it.
On to Round 2: So, in the last two weeks, Greg has managed to get his bike rebuilt, again - trooper! He left his #1 valve clearance slightly more open than the others to give it less of a stressful run in when he's thrashing it.. I think that was his thinking anyway, so apart from a little more valve noise than normal, his bike was running well. There are few end users of the thunder cat engine who know them as well as Greg does!
The weather forecast for Sunday was for RAIN. Knowing this, I tried to get hold of some wet tyres last minute. Thinking that Greg had some old ones kicking around I didn't do any more than ask Greg to bring them down to the track. Turned out that we didn't have any 'old' ones kicking around, they'd been binned it seems. So we braved the day with Proddy tyres.
The start of the day was looking clearish, initially it warmed up and was quite bright. The rain didn't stay away for long - it hit just after lunch. Greg and I found out that the entry fee at the PMCC rounds is the same regardless of the number of classes that you enter, so Greg and I thought we might as well enter into both F1 and F2; more track time, better numbers in the classes, more people to race against, everyone wins. Excellent.
Practice was quite eventful. F1 and F2 were grouped together for our practice sessions. After following a rider on an R1 for about 4 laps, I decided I was going to pass him in the sweeper going onto the straight. - I passed him, and was fully prepared for the following drag race down the straight. I didn't see anything of him until I was entering my braking zone, then.. Surprise! - Up my INSIDE, AFTER I had started braking. - Having followed this guy for 4 laps, I know that I was out breaking him before so I'm thinking.. "OK, where are you going to go with this". - I'm tipping my bike in, he's standing his upright, and braking HARD before he hits the grass when he goes stright ahead and runs off the track... He could have easily wiped us both out.
Next Practise session, I come up on Greg, and I'm running side by side with him down the straight, I'm looking over at him, having a bit of fun.. Approaching the breaking area I'm planning to try to out-brake him. So I sit up, look at the corner and wait for Greg on my right to slide backwards when he hits his breaking mark. Just as he does, at the same moment, another F1 bike comes screaming up on my left.. Of course, by this time, I'm getting used to it. Off goes another one, same thing, over did it, stood it upright, taking an inside line to the outside of the corner, chopping us up again...Two laps later, Tony Campbell does the same, only this time, he's talented, he makes it round the corner. ;)
Summary of racing:
F1, race 1- Not knowing what to expect against some of these people having seen some fun in practice, I started race 1 cautiously. A bit of mixing with the crowds no real problems, I ended up chasing, and catching the guy in front, getting closer, to the point where I could make a move, feeling a bit edgy still, I didn't fully commit to anything, and he made some more space in front of me after my half hearted attempt at passing him. I finished 9th.
F2, race 1 - Determined to get off to a good start, and having gotten my times down to 44 second laps in practice, I went hard out in race one, 2nd into the first corner, I dropped one place, and finished in third. :) - Looking like a good day in F2 today! It's all good.
F1, race 2 - Then the RAIN hit, and it hit hard. - Greg and I were tossing up if we should go out in the (less important - for points..) F1 race. Then I thought.. - Let some air out of my tyres, and use the F1 race to get them really warm, get some first hand knowledge of the track in the wet for the F2 race, and also some much needed wet practice too. Great idea! I think I got 5th in this wet race, rain really levels the benefit of horse power.
F2, race 2 - A lot smaller field with it being F2, a lot of the riders were prepared with WET tyres. - Those who didn't have them were in the same boat, there was a lot of surface water, and it was still raining. Greg decided to sit this one out. - I wanted the points for participating, so I went out and circulated as quickly as I felt comfortable. I was lapping at times just under a minute. The track was very slippery, I wasn't taking any chances. I *think* that I finished either first or second of the people not using wets, I finished 7th overall. Still, very useful points to have!
F1, race 3 - Greg fitted his WETs in time for the 3rd F1 race. - He'd put them on quite a while before we went up to race, and all the while the track was drying out. - Greg's WETs are intermediates anyway, so they were fine to go out on, it was still dampish, with a few puddles, he looked to be happier using them rather than his slicks at this point. The track was drying out nicely, Greg remembers catching up with me in the beginning when it was damp, but as it dried out, we sped up somewhat. I came in 8th.
F2, race 3 - Greg had his prayers answered, it started raining again for him. - His tyres were going to come in really useful! I started on the front row of the grid, and for the first time in this series, I managed to get the Holshot - First into the first corner! :) - Now, this was WET, and I felt a little uncomfortable leading a race knowing that there are people behind me with WETs on. I'm taking it SO gently, that I'm sure heaps of people are going to come zooming past me at any moment. - And they did.. Well, three of them at least. And off they went, into the distance... Then, nothing, apart from some bike noise behind me. I didn't want to look round, so I stayed focused on what was in front. At the very end, when I finished 4th and took a good look behind me, there was a guy on an RF600, and then Greg! This 4th place was much better then I'd hoped for at the start of the race, based on my previous wet F2 race, I was expecting ~7th..
All in all, I had a great day, despite the rain. I'll be sorting out some intermediate wet tyres for the rest of this, and the winter series, I'll need to check the rules and regs on what kind of WET tyres are permissible in Proddy racing, but right now, my understanding is that this is the first year that they've opened the class up to accept FULL RACE WETS.. Watch this space, I will enjoy Proddy racing in the winter even more if this is the case!
Thanks go to Greg and Stella for a great day.. And Alex who took all of the photos which we'll be throwing up on the website very soon.