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Greg - BOS Wanganui 2004No Hair Racing Race Report
Battle of the Streets Wanganui 2004
Christmas morning saw Bob unable to open all his presents 'cos he had to be at my place by 9am! Yes, we were off to take on the Wanganui streets. I had raced there once before but this was Bob's first time so lot's of excitement for us both. Bob had the extra challenge of racing my 400 as his bike was still in pieces waiting for the 450cc pistons to arrive from USA.
Sign on and scrutineering were from 2pm on Christmas day and after an uneventful drive from Te Kauwhata via the Parapara's we arrived in Wanganui around 3pm. The weather was hot and sunny, sign on, transponders and scrutineering were completed in a very relaxed manner so Bob and I did some sight seeing to the Memorial Tower and Castlecliff beach...finishing up at Al Nixon's place for a very enjoyable dinner and night's rest.
Boxing Day was a lot more hectic, we got to the track at 8am and found everything was already underway and unfortunately Bob missed his new comer's look and learn laps. We managed to get our act together for my first Formula 2 practice and I took it carefully which was good as I had forgotten just how bumpy those Wanganui streets are.
Bob's F3 practice was straight after mine, so he had already left before I came back in. This would be a real test for both my old 400 motor as well as for Bob. This was the 1987 motor (I had traded for a cow) that ran a big end bearing at the end of the 2nd round of the Nationals in 2003. The crankshaft had been reconditioned and straightened by Franklin Engineering Services and we were not sure if it would hang together. All was good though as Bob went by as I was taking off my helmet and he seemed to be keeping up with those around him (and more importantly - no vapour trail from the exhaust!).
Bob came in with a big grin on his face plus a few words about how bumpy it was. I think it took him most of the day to get use to the concrete curbs, railway tracks, hay bales and smiling faces so close to the race line :)
I went a bit faster in my second practice session and almost came unstuck in the left hander going over the bridge...running very wide all I could do was to keep leaning the bike over and wait for the front wheel to slide into the bales...fortunately those Rennsports kept sticking and I scraped by unscathed...good adrenalin buzz for the old ticker!
Race 1 for me came up and I managed to reproduce my best lap time at Wanganui of 59.3 secs from 2 years earlier, but this time the bikes are all going that much faster and I was lucky to finish 2nd to last :( Lots of fun though as I was pulling little wheelies all over the place. A couple of rear slides too but nothing too scarey.
Race 2 was pretty much the same but this time I tried to late brake the 4th to last guy at the end of the start/finish straight only to find that the front wheel doesn't stick so well when there are lots of bumps, so I had to go straight ahead into the run-off area. Then as I tried to get back onto the circuit my left foot clipped the hay bale on the corner which gave it a nice twist. Back up to race speed and someone flashed by...dang! I'm in last place @#$%!!! At least I should be able to catch him, but no hope, he disappeared after about 4 corners...turned out to be Ross King who had done the same as me the lap before and was playing catch up. Result...I ended up 2nd to last again :)
I managed to get on the track again for 2 more races, the Chris Dawes Memorial for us geriatric over 40 year olds, needless to say Bob & I aren't the fastest over 40 year olds we finished up 16th & 23rd out of 25...yeah, yeah we'll do better next year. Then there was a race for those who didn't qualify for the Robert Holden races, so another few laps of fun.
Bob's F3 races were disappointing for him as he only managed a couple of laps at race pace for both. In the first 5 riders went down at 3 different places and the race was stopped, then in the 2nd race one of the super motard's crashed into a hay bale and went up in flames and was stopped while the fire engines came out. Bob managed a very creditable 63.9 best lap and the engine was still running happily at the end of the day, so smiles all round for us both.
We had a good pit position and saw all the famous riders and TV crews, let kids sit on our bikes and gave words of wisdom to those aspiring spectators that couldn't get to the top racers. We even noticed a certain Mr. Slight walking the pits with hardly anyone recognising him these days...he must be relieved to be able to go incognito!
We finished up at around 6pm and headed off for Bob's summer retreat at Turangi but decided not to go fishing, settling for a few ales with our burgers. Next morning we were back home and it was all over and back to being just ordinary Joe nobody's without the crowds of fans cheering us, it sure was a lot of fun though!
Again, we very much appreciate everyone that helped us especially Al, Beks, & Peter and of course our sponsors: Henderson Motorcycles, ezSite.co.nz, Haldane Tyres and SSSLodge.
2005 is going to be a fun year for us, Bob will have his 450 up and running very soon, Alex has mastered jumping table tops on his YZ-125, and I'm hoping to get some new machinery to run in over the winter series (we might even be able to tlak Chris into coming out of retirement).
Hope to see you all track side soon, Happy New Year, Greg