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Logan - PMCC #1, '05/'06Sunday 13th November No Hair Racing Report - Logan Bennett Pacific Motorcycle Club series, Round 1 Taupo
Another great days racing had @ Taupo's Centennial Park. Unfortunately the #1 race bike was not yet rebuilt for this meeting, so I was equipped with the reliable old '87 Yamaha FZR400. With this I found myself out on the track for Formula 3 Practise #1 in no time, just chillin' and getting used to the feel of the bike again. Practise #2 saw some rain just as we were heading out, this made for an incredibly slippery sweeper, which almost saw me dip it a few times, however the more eventful part of this practise was heading into Turn 1, where flying down the back straight I left the braking a touch late possibly, and I hear the front wheel lock up for 2 short periods, I think mostly because of how firm the front end was and how bumpy the entry to Turn 1 was. Then on the following lap (last lap of last practise) I repeated this effort only in a larger way, locking up the front wheel for some time until it started to drop on the steering head, by which time I just released the front brake and re-applied, running off the track fortunately into tarmac runoff, and stopped just in time not to meet the tyre wall.
Soon enough Formula 3 race 1 was called up, and with Greg on side as pit crew everything ran smooth and I was out there in no time. I wont go into detail on the race as it was fairly mediocre, point was I finished 10th of 32 and although a touch disappointed I really enjoyed the racing!
Straight after that F3 race I had to roll back onto the track for race 1 of Pre-89 class, which they combined with classics, classic singles and post classics. Well, of the 6 lap race the first 2 laps were the fun ones, I fought for 1st place against a Suzuki GS1170 on wide rims etc, which pulled out of the corners and down the straight so much faster then the old Yamy 400 but the 400 made up for it with her agility in the corners! So I ran away to take 1st! (My first ever first place!).
Race 2, Formula 3: Well to be honest it was a dead repeat of race 1! I would say too little too late would sum it up, really did enjoy it but was frustrated that I didn't get further up the field, again finishing in 10th I believe.
Rolling straight out from the previous F3 race for this 2nd race of Pre-89 the tyres were warm, the bike was running good, and I was amped up and feeling rather cocky after the runaway in race 1, so I thought lets make this a little harder! So came up to the grid to start in 2nd to last. The green flag dropped, revs were @ 8,000 on the upswing and the clutch was biting nice, the front wheel left the ground momentarily and the next thing I know 3/4 of the field are already behind me? And by the hairpin (Turn 2) of the first lap I grabbed a few more to leave only the big GS1170 ahead. It was not as easy as the first race as this time he was taking really defensive lines and no matter how hard I tried, it was never quite enough. I think we tossed for 1st 4 times before I finally pushed hard enough to get enough of a gap between us to avoid the big GS overtaking me on the straight.
Final race, Formula 3: Pissed off with my previous efforts at this stage I wanted to start on the front row of the grid and get off to a good start more then anything, so off the dummy grid we flew and the warm-up lap was its own race just to get to the front row of the grid, but it worked and I found myself on the line with Chris S to my left and a blue SV650 to my right... Engage first gear... Flex that engine around 8k and the flag drops quickly followed by my clutch. An awesome start to a good race! Heading into Turn 1 in 2nd place was only temporary however, as Chris came screaming up the inside of me and tucked him in the gap nicely. Turn 2 saw a flow of bikes literally fill the whole hairpin, and getting caught amongst it all I think I came out in around 5th with Frosty Just ahead on the SV650. We flew thru the S's at around the same pace, and then I tried to make a move underneath Frosty in the sweeper, though I could not make it stick so went for maximum drive and jumped on the gas at the earliest point I could, managing to catch right up to the rear tyre of the SV hoping to slipstream it down the straight ahead. But no! The poor girl just didn't have the legs, it was only within the next gear change that I realised the SV was already a few bike lengths ahead, and by the end of the short straight it had made some vast number of bike lengths on me. Then through turn 1 I went and was back on the tail of the SV into the hairpin, and trying to exit the hairpin again the old FZR was almost left for dead! Keeping is own thru the S's again and then catching into the sweeper this same lap pattern was repeated a number of times as I just couldn't find a way around. With Gary Pendleton on his RVF440 getting in-between Frosty and I once it was only short lived with a tight line into the hairpin and underneath, which was the same lap, coming around the sweeper with 1 lap still to go the frustration had built enough and I was confident I could squeeze a tight line around the outside of Frosty and try my best to slingshot as fast as I could down the straight so as though he didn't catch me by the end of the straight again...The plan was there (though rather abruptly though up!) and put to practise it was working well, around the outside cutting in to get drive I had made it halfway down the straight without hearing the thumps of the V twin when in all my excitement I went to use the clutch for an up-change and must have bumped the tether kill switch off!!! DOH!!! Not realising this right away and with the bike dieing between changes I thought I had blown the motor, and only when pulling off to the right and turning back to check for smoke did it catch my eye that it was dangling in the left fairing. Both hands off the bars and trying to pull the kill switch back up to plug on I managed to loose place after place after place before I finally got the dang thing back on and completed the last lap, to again thanks to my limp efforts finish somewhere around 10th place!
Well after such an exciting yet frustrating race, I was set and rolling straight back out again for my last race of the day, the final race of Pre-89. After pulling my head in from being so cocky and nearly not finishing 1st in that 2nd Pre-89 race I went out there focussed and tried to make my job as easy as possible this time. However (and as usual) as the day goes on people get better/faster etc and obviously this was so for the rider of the GS1170, as I nearly couldn't make it around for long enough to make enough difference so as not to be overtaken again on the straight, but the bottom line is it all worked out in the end with a good safe and enjoyable race to finish my day!
Fully enjoyed the day, the Yamaha ran superb for how tired she is now and Id like to say a big thanks to Greg (Usually out there racing for No Hair) for instead coming along to help me out for the day. Cheers, it's been a long time for me between dry, complete, without blow-up races, and what better re-entry to the game!
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