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Greg - BOS Paeroa 2003'Battle of the Streets 2002/3' Paeroa Circuit
Saturday 16th Feb, Chris and I were off to Paeroa, about 60km away to sign on and have our bikes scrutineered for the racing on Sunday. The weather was warm and sunny and after scrutineering, we walked the track which was a new layout for the streets of Paeroa.
Last years concern was voiced that the front straight having a 30° bend near the end was now too fast and the open class bikes travelling at approx. 270kph had little room for error once they'd turned the bend. So this year the straight was shortened by a block to reduce speeds. To make up for the lost track, another street block was added where the back straight use to be. This resulted in a combination of right angle turns... right, left, right with very short straights in between. You had to set up wide and late at the beginning of the first turn in order to maintain any sort of rhythm. Needless to say different from Wanganui and quite a lot of fun for the riders.
Sunday morning riders briefing was scheduled at 7:45am so I had to coax Chris out of bed at 5:45 with a long stick (Chris is not an early morning person!), Alex came along to pit crew as well. The morning was clear and cool across the Hauraki plains, recording 6°C while driving across, during the day it quickly reached 28°+.
We pitted along the main street on the footpath right under the GMH dealers verandah which was a great location right across the road from the liquor outlet (we didn't partake), a good view of the 1st corner and within 20 metres of the port-a-loos!
Chris was entered again in F2, 600 Production, and the Robert Holden Memorial, and I was in F2 only. In the two practice sessions for each class Chris quickly got into the swing of the new layout and was really enjoying himself. Being my first time, I was not comfortable with going flat out round the 30° bend and not being able to see around it, and also the third corner was uphill with a blind exit which also put me off a bit (maybe it's from too many crashes riding on the road around blind corners in my youth). Anyway by the end of the 2nd practice I was feeling more confident.
After lunch, F2 was the first race on the program and we all lined up for the start, Chris on the 2nd row, me on the 3rd, lights went green and we all charged off into that 30° bend followed by a 90° right, then over the hill. I think I was about 3rd to last at that point. Down to a 70° left turn with a Stop sign right on the apex with wool bails stacked 3 high to protect us riders...only problem is you can't see thru the wool bails. Next a short straight into the right, left, right combo, down another slightly longer straight where I was getting into 2nd and then into another 90° turn which is where my 1st race ended!!!
I tipped it into the corner under brakes making up ground on 3 guys in front and hit a patch of wet tar which had been reasonably solid in my practice session and the front went down. With my right knee extended for the corner I was glad my new leathers had plenty of padding and protection inside, as I slid and rolled across the road. Result: - bike with broken brake lever and foot peg and severe road rash to the fairing, - rider with bruised/grazed knee and shoulder and feeling like a complete idiot until the 2nd lap came around and 3 more bikes crashed at the same spot.
Needless to say this was something no one had expected with tar bleed at a number of spots and during the day there were so many crashes that it slowed down the event with a number of races being cancelled due to the public roads needing to be clear by 5:30pm
Thanks to some fast work by Chris, Bob, & Dad we managed to get my bike operational again for the 2nd F2 race, but after doing 2 laps I had to come in as I was having problems with visibility. I had borrowed Chris's spare helmet as mine had lost it's visor bracket and it had an antifog strip inside which blocked my view. I hadn't noticed the problem while standing and sitting upright but (with me being vertically challenged) while racing I couldn't get my head up high enough to see under the top edge of the fog strip, so rather than crash again I came in.
So, disappointing at the time, but today's another day, and next weekend it's Gisborne, and I've got fairing repairs to do! I may have to form my own race team (No Where Racing) due to all the DNF's but it's not often you can pop 240kph down the main street (as I explained to the police as they walked past our pits)!!
Hope to see some of you at Gisborne, thanks to Jane, Chris, Alex, Bob, & Dad.
Cheers, Greg P.
Greg Percival No Hair Racing.