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Logan - SsangYong SB Champs R2, '05/06Saturday/Sunday 17th/18th December 2005 No Hair Racing Report - Logan Bennett Ssanyong National Super bike series, Round 2 Manfield
It was but another flat out weekend filled with racing and all the dramas that come with it! Left Auckland @ 2am Saturday morning after getting a few hours sleep, and fortunately 6Chris being the good mate that he is volunteered to drive me down and help out throughout the weekend, brolly-dolly assigned! After taking over the driving just passed Taupo we arrived @ Manfield @ 9am, only to be held up at the Gate because I never received my Tickets/Confirmation of Entry (which I didn't know anything about) and was then told I was not in the programme but to go see the girls in the office about it... This I did, and showed them that I was in the programme, had obviously paid my dues and so handed over my race licence no problem and they told me not to worry about it... So I quickly rush out for the first qualifying session without a chance to check the bike over, which resulted in a slightly early finish as the bike ran out of gas coming out of Turn 1. Without all the gear, and my first ever session @ Manfield without rain, I only managed a 1:25.485 putting me in 21st/25
However more prepared than the first time, when the Second session for Qualifying came I had tyre warmers set, gas set, mind almost set and was ready to hit a better hot lap... It had paid off, I had gone from the 1:25 down to a 1:22.712, however still only qualified 21st/25 - it seems everybody else had upped their pace too!
In race 1 I got an allright start seeing a number of places gained, and over the next 2 laps a few more to around 15/16th, however lap 3 saw the first smidgen of rain, This didn't worry me too much as I knew the tyres were hot, I slowed a touch but then on lap 4 coming thru the infield S's on Turn 3 the left hander both wheels gently squirmed and dragged towards the outside of the corner, it both put me out of line for the next right and scared the crap out of me! However I did want to perservere and not give up my place, however lost one place but a fair bit thru the hairpin and down the straight, but when braking late attempting to out brake the bike ahead I watched his front wheel lock up and send him into a tank slapper and then straight ahead off the track and then he tossed the bike away in the dirt. With seeing that and at the time trying to brake even harder I can only think he can't have been on the awesome Pirelli Supercorsa's I was on because my front end stayed put, but however I backed right off the pace not wanting to cause any grief to myself nor the bike and lost a good 5 places or so as the track became really wet, and unfortunately only finished in 19th.
After a good night of cards + pre-hydrating on greenies for Sundays racing (Chris's fault!), I was set ready for Formula 3's second race... I wanted it more then the previous race and was willing to give it my best - after all, the sun was out and the track was looking good. But yet again Mother Nature caught me again; I had still never actually raced a dry race @ Manfield and was really getting tired of this! Identical situation to the day before, a few laps in, after I had risked a fair bit to dodge/push to where I was getting up the field, the rain came. I tried to keep focus and remain ahead but I obviously still wasn't up to it, only a minor slipping out of turn 1 I didn't want to drop the bike, and dropped off the pace instead. Bikes came passed me as usual, 5 or 6 to my count, and although I tried there was standing water all over the front and back straights, and with how light that Yamaha is in the rear what power it had was enough to keep trying to spin up the rear tyre along the surface changes of these straights. Gutted! But this time I managed to come in at 17th place.
With all the bad behind, I had a good talk to Chris, the mentor for the day, who's constantly repeated advice was "What you need to do Logan, is go faster in the corner bits, and lean more" Thanks, believe it or not it was helping some you sarcastic git! And we were prepared for what would be a bright sunny final race, and I was confident that with that I would be set for a top 15 finish (even just to scrape 15th!) and score some points for the nationals, after coming all this way it was only fair that I deserved some surely!? But again no! After push starting the bike she ran for about 10 seconds and then cut out, abruptly and would not spark back up again - an electrical problem, we tried numerous times to get her going but the race was seconds from beginning and I was stuck in the pits with no more running bike. Naturally this set my mood, I packed up right there and then, didn't get around to watching the others in F3 (pure jealousy!) and started the long 7 hour drive home to Auckland.
In closing I'd like to pull the positives from this weekend though! I did enjoy the racing, I benefited greatly for future races @ Manfield, I learnt more about the setup of the bike and we got to play a little bit with the suspension, and I got to watch some WICKED Superbike Racing!
Thanks 6Chris for taking a whole weekend out of your schedule to help me, and as always Greg for the bike/getting it there etc etc etc! Also thanks to our Sponsors: Henderson Motorcycles, Pirelli Tyres, SSSLodge, www.ezSite.co.nz, New Zealand Towing ltd, Golden Gun Panel and Paint, The Pallet Company (Glen Eden), Autostop (New Lynn)