Logan - AMCC #4, '05/'06

Saturday 1st April 2006 No Hair Racing Report - Logan Bennett Auckland Motorcycle Club Champs, Round 4, Pukekohe

It was a Sunny Saturday morning when I rolled up in the race van complete with the new secret weapon. Chris Sucich (Two Smoker), After his spill and not being able to race for a short while, given me his Kawasaki ZXR400, in the hope that it might help me travel the track a little faster this time around, as the poor FZR is suffering somewhat due to the continuous abuse she's taken over the last set of nationals.

After never racing this bike before I went out in practise, knowing what it was capable of, but keeping an open mind on how well I would peddle it around the track, being concerned I might not get used to the feel quick enough. After the 5-6 lap practise I came in to see I had Qualified 1st for Formula 3 (well, it shows as 2nd, but the Ducati 900 is illegal for our class and was not receiving points). Happy with the qualifying time of a 1:09.39 (new personal best written on the board), I had a lot of feedback for Chris and many questions as to where he hides the other 2 seconds.

Come the first race I was amped up and all ready to go, a little worried about how I would get her off the line (never racing this beast before), I soon proved it really was as hard as Chris had lead me to believe, Seriously the worst bike I have taken off on yet. But the 5 or 6 bikes that went passed me was not going to put me off, pulling out wide and running around the outside in Turn 1 of the first lap and then Slipping up the inside in Turn 2 I entered the back straight in 1st position. Around halfway down I was passed by Tony on his SV, followed by Stu Dawe on his ZXR400, and the one other bike. Chris has always amazed me on this bike on the brakes, Thinking the bike must be a great breaker, I left the brakes till way late and dove up passed all the bikes that got me on the straight, quickly realising how hard it actually was... With no feel to the clutch on downshifts (less then the stock slipper clutch on an NC30/35) and brakes that don't have anywhere near the initial bite of the Yamaha, and a very different feel to how the bike stoppies (as in nearly no feel, I wasn't sure where it was at as there was no chatter on the rear wheel and I couldn't feel the seat hitting me on the backside) I was wrapped just to have pulled it off without mishap. After the hairpin coming down the front straight Frosty pulled passed me over the line and surprised me with how fast he ran into jennian, not able to tuck underneath nor have the confidence on Chris's bike to run the outside line around the SV650 I tucked in behind, which wasn't the option I wanted, as this meant I followed him onto the back straight letting him gain the lead further and further ahead, and after the ol' girl skipping outta 6th and back into 5th, I lost 2 seconds on the lap and although I slowly got a bit closer over the next 3-4 laps it wasn't going to happen, so a 2nd place finish it was to be.

In the second race I was all psyched up for a good runaway, and after a repeat first lap of Race 1, I carried on to put a small gap between 1st and 2nd place, but despite thinking I was on the ball and for the first time out alone trying to set a fast pace, I was having trouble turning tight enough into the final turn coming over the hill, always missing my apex by at least 2m, and because of this I suffered in not getting the same full throttle down the whole way over, as I flung out further setting me to run on the grass, this must have really shown up somewhere in the last few laps, as on the final lap, without my knowing Frosty on his SV650 quietly flew passed to just take the chequered flag from my grasp by all of a wheel length or so!

Race 3 was almost a repeat of race 2! However it was nearly every lap that the SV650 stormed passed halfway down the straight, putting some serious bike lengths between us and to my frustration there was too much difference for the ZXR to hold a slipstream. This didn't bother the ZXR much as it comes equipped with the Chris-glazed-demon-brakes, that don't offer much in the way of confidence, but somehow they pulled off the flyby manoeuvre into the breaking zone, regaining all the distance lost, and putting me back into the lead for the more enjoyable half of the track! Well aside from a small knock on the back straight early in the race, there was much controversy over the final result... And... It is... a win... just a win... No really it was great and I am appreciative of Chris for the loaning of his bike, and Milky for all the help he gave me. Without going into detail on the whole race-finish thing, because I honestly thought it all happened just over the line, however I had made it to the line first? So maybe the line got a little further away, or maybe I am a bit bung-eyed, but either way for me, it made no difference in the result, I just felt sorry for the rest of the situation!

Otherwise... To re-cap, 2x 2nds, and 1x 1st. I'm just wrapped! I have got one heck of a lot to think about over the next few weeks till the next round, on how it was achieved and what the stock ZXR did better/worse then the FZR, and how to get to where I got to on the ZXR, on the FZR... if any of that makes sense!

Once again, Massive, really big thanks to Chris-Two Smoker. Thanks to his efforts/secrets/bike etc my racing has improved one hell of a lot. Chloe his Mrs, because he always thanks her, and she helps keep him sane after how insanely fast he rides these bikes. Johan, or Milky. This guy is not only a walking talking fully hands on doing 5 man pit crew all in 1, but he can adapt and go with the flow to help out the likes of myself when in need. Finally I might slip in a thanks to my old man, and family that turned up to support (yeah, that was my Grandma, she holds a pretty stable brolly for a chick getting a little on in years!)

Let's not forget the No Hair Racing sponsors, as without you guys I would never of even made it this far! 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)


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