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Greg - VMCC#2 06No Hair Race Report from Greg Actrix VMCC Superbike Champs Round 2 June 17th.
Snow on the Mountains, Hail on the Ground!
Yep, it was time for winter racing at it's best again at Manfeild.
I landed in Auckland at 1am on Saturday morning and rather than drive an hour each way home from the airport, Bob & Nevina kindly offered to put me up (or put up with me) at their home in Manurewa. Bob then dropped me off at the airport at 6:30am to catch the first flight to Palmerston North.
Meanwhile Dad & Ian had driven the van with the R6 down from Te Kauwhata the night before and were at Manfeild waiting for me. Big brother Mark from Upper Hutt picked me up from the airport and whisked me off to the track to arrive 15 mins before rider's briefing. So all was going according to plan except for the weather!
There was snow on the mountains behind Otaki and intermittent hail and heavy rain showers pretty much the whole day and it was c-c-cold-d-d-d.
Again, I had entered both Supersport & Superbike classes and practice/qualifying went OK for both classes getting 13th on the grid for SS and 15th for SB. The first race for me was Supersport and as the flagged dropped I got away in 1st gear but as I opened the throttle in 2nd all I got was wheel spin as a couple of rows of bikes went past. Finally getting grip again I chased off after the pack into the first corner. I went in tight and tried to find a way through just as someone had a big slide and opened up a nice gap for me. Shooting through I passed 2 bikes then another 2 around the outside before the left hander in the esses. It was a 15 lap race and I tried to settle into a rhythmn but my visor was fogging and I couldn't quite catch the 2 or 3 guys in front and I finished in 14th. I almost collected a lapped rider in the hairpin (yes! I lapped someone) when he turned in front of me unexpectedly.
When I looked at the lap times I was impressed to see Kevin Brookes on his R6 clocking 1:17's about the same as my best dry times and only a couple of seconds off Craig Shirriffs & Ross King. All those years riding that TZ-250 must have paid off as Brookesy was super smooth in the corners.
Back out again for the first Superbike race and this time I got a much better start and ended up chasing Barry Smith on his RSV-1000. After about 10 laps I managed to get past Barry but a couple of laps later he cruised past and I couldn't keep up and I finished in 12th.
The format for the day was originally set for 2 x 15 lap races per class, but after the first round involving a number of crashes and slow lap times, the last round was shortened to 6 laps.
Race 2 of the Supersport class was much more fun, the weather had warmed up slightly and I sorted the fogging out on my visor and I got a great start. I think I was about 9th after the first lap going well but Mark Hay on his Suzuki was hunting me down. On the 4th lap he stole my line going into turn 1 and I had to pick it up to avoid him running into me. He slipped on through then moved away finishing 1.2 secs in 9th with me in 10th. I beat quite a few of the guys that usually get me so I was pretty happy :-)
I wasn't going to do the last Superbike race but as it was now only 6 laps, I thought I might as well as the old body was holding up OK. A pretty uneventful race, I must have been holding Mark up a lot in the Supersport race as I didn't see him this time and he finished in 7th, while I finished behind Barry's RSV again in 11th place.
Even with the cold and rain it was a heap of fun and I was glad I'd been able to make it back from work in Aussie in time. By my calculations after 2 rounds I'm sitting in 13th in Superbike (just behind Nick O) and 11th in Supersport (just in front of Nick hee hee).
We packed up the van and hit the road at about 5pm, seeing some snow on the sides of the road at National Park but luckily no ice. About 1km from home the van ran out of diesel...I was waiting for a warning light to come on but now I know there isn't one (doh!). Cellphone call to Jane and 20 mins later we were home under Safari tow. Boy, was I knackered that night.
Thanks again for the great support from Henderson Motorcycles & Pirelli Tyres. Also, SSSLodge, www.ezSite.co.nz, New Zealand Towing ltd, Golden Gun Panel and Paint, Glen Eden Pallet Company and Autostop. Special thanks to Ian & Dad (& Mark) for all their help.
Hope to see all of you at the race track soon, cheers, Greg
No Hair Racing http://www.nohair.co.nz