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Greg - BOS Wanganui 2002'Battle of the Streets 2002/3' Wanganui Cemetary Circuit
The Battle of the Streets series covers three race meetings over summer, and is held in the regular city streets of Wanganui, Paearoa, and Gisborne. The BOS series gets the most public attention of any m/c race event in NZ and is covered by National TV.
For one day each year the locals rope off and barricade the sidewalks & footpaths to prevent spectators from standing on the race track, put hay bales around power poles and concrete posts and close the streets for motorcycle racing. Wanganui is named the Cemetary Circuit as you literally race around three sides of a cemetary in the heart of the small city.
This was my first time street racing, but Chris had raced Wanganui & Paearoa twice before. This year was Wanganui's 50th anniversary of street racing and it was by far the biggest with over 350 riders attending. I'd entered Formula 2 class and a special over 35 year old race named the Chris Daws Memorial. Chris had entered 600 Production as well as F2 so we were racing against each other for a couple of races.
Normally Wanganui is only held on Dec 26th but due to the large numbers this year, qualifying and practice were held on Christmas day. Chris and Stella stayed at Te Kauwhata on Christmas Eve and we left home at about 5:40am arriving in Wanganui just after 11am for sign on. Unfortunately the rain arrived soon after and I managed to get only one dry qualifying period of 8 laps followed by a second session of 4 laps in the rain.
It's a very exciting circuit for the riders, not only are there dangers of man-hole covers, white lines, railway tracks, cats-eyes, and traffic islands to contend with, the circuit itself is very tight and challenging (I almost missed turning in for one corner), even with my lowest gearing I was only getting into 4th gear down the two short straights.
I qualified 18th out of 24 riders in F2 with a time of 61.2 secs, so wasn't quite last much to my surprise.
Race day dawned with clear blue skies but by the time we got to the track it was raining again, so another day of changing wheels from dry weather slicks to wet weather tyres and back again was upon us. I had a poor start in my first race, but as the track was wet I managed to finish in 15th to pick up one point. Chris was way up ahead somewhere so I didn't see him. I was lapped by the first three riders in the 7th lap so those guys were really flying.
My next race was the Chris Daws over 35 yo and I started on 33rd on the grid out of ~37. The track was drying up so I had changed back to slicks but there was the odd puddle here and there to avoid. After an average start, I had a heap of fun passing almost two thirds of the feild to finish in 13th, my best lap came down to 60.1 secs.
In the last F2 race I had a great start and Chris must have had a terrible one as I almost caught him in the first corner, I watched him from behind for two or three laps until he managed to pull away finishing in 12th with me again in 15th. My best lap time all day was 59.3 in that last race, Chris managed to get down to 56.6 in one of the 600 races (he picked up a 4th place in his wet race), as a comparison Craig Shirrifs (the fastest in our class) managed a lap in the high 50's on his 600 as he finished in 2nd place amongst the 1000cc bikes of Tony Rees and Jason McEwan.
I'll leave it to Chris to tell you how he got on in his other races, but needless to say we both had an awesome time, and achieved much better placings than we expected, now we just have to wait to February for the next event at Paearoa (about 50km from home).
Thanks to all our pit crew, Stella and Al Nixon, and our sponsors, WEBDES.co.nz, SSSLodge, and Mark Percival. Thanks also to Peter Clifford for accommodation and to Bob Knight who couldn't make it to Wanganui this year.
Greg Percival No Hair Racing.