Greg - SS R6, & AMCC R1, '02

No Hair Racing

Suzuki Series Rnd 6 and AMCC Champs Rnd 1

Unfortunately Chris couldn't make it down to Manfeild for the last round of the Suzuki Series, but luckily my pit-crew buddy Bob Knight has caught the race bug and has started in F3 with an FZR400.

We headed down to Manfeild on the Saturday morning to catch the practice day, leaving Te Kauwhata at 4:30am. We had a good trip down with snow on the Desert Road and dropping to 0°C. Once we got to Feilding the temperature was back up to 8°C and we signed up for the practice session and coaching with Brian Bernard & Dennis Charlett.

The coaching was well worth the extra $25 as we got a lot more track time plus I learnt a new line entering and going thru the hairpin where people had often passed me previously. Bob and I went back to his uncle's house in Feilding feeling good.

Sunday was fine but with a very strong head wind on the back straight. My best time at Manfeild is 1min 20.2 and I was hoping to get into the 1:19's but the best I achieved all day was a 1:21.8. I was sitting in 8th place in B grade for the series and finished the day worse off in 11th, picking up only another 4 points from the last two races. I was disappointed at my mediocre performance, but did have fun dicing with a couple of blokes in the last race.

Apart from the bike running lean into the strong head wind I couldn't fault its performance, so the problems must all be in my head...one good thing is that no one passed me in the hairpin all day, now I just need to stop them passing me under brakes going into the other corners!

Bob seemed to enjoy his first race meeting starting out in D grade and improving his lap times all day. I'm trying to coax him into writing a race report (along with Alex who has started motorcross with Huntly MCC).

Sunday ended with a buffet dinner, drinks, and dancing (for some) organised by Tim Gibbes and wife Joan for all the racers, organisers, and meeting workers...a really great way to relax and celebrate the end of the series.

Two weeks later and it was time for the first of the Auckland Club Champs at Pukekohe with New Zealand's fastest piece of race track. The ram air system and airbox I'd built for the FZR400 frame has improved the top end performance of the motor allowing an extra 500rpm to be achieved in top gear.

It was a great day for racing, light winds, almost no clouds, and a warm dry day. Bob entered F3 and I went out in the Formula Auckland practice session and had to retire after 3 laps with ignition problems which we chased down to a fatigued battery wire.

Race 1 was a lot of fun, I got down into the 1:10's dicing with two TZ-250's and a Hyabusa. One of the TZ's was too good for me, and I almost caught the Hyabusa before ending the race in 19th position. The Hyabusa had heaps of power down the back straight, but I managed to catch up just before reaching the back straight again.

Then trouble struck...I went to push start the bike for Race 2 and the motor had locked up only moving backwards and forwards about 3/4 of a turn. So, as Bob raced his F3 races I started stripping down the motor. Carbs & exhaust off I could see that the valves were all in their right places.

It was a bit of a mystery until the following Tuesday night when I lifted the head and found a clean spot on the #1 piston where it looked like a piece of metal had been sitting (right under the "squish" zone). Bob thinks it could have come from one of the rivets out of my aluminium air box.

That's all I could find wrong (apart from a partially fried clutch which explains my poor starts recently). I'll be putting the motor back together this weekend, so cross-fingers it'll be running again as I'd like to do the Battle Of the Streets rounds at Wanganui & Paearoa over the summer.

Bob got plenty of track time with 3 practice sessions (for first timers) and 3 races finishing up with a lap time in the 1:19's on his 400...pretty good for his first race meeting at Pukekohe!

Well that's all for now, hope to see some of you at a race meeting over summer.

Cheers, Greg P.


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