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Greg - VMCC#6 06No Hair Race Report from Greg Actrix VMCC Superbike Champs Round 6, October 14th.
The last round of the Winter series and we were on the long track at Taupo. To be honest I wasn't looking forward to it as I had ridden only one practice day before and circulated in a slow 2:02 lap time.
In the 600 class I was sitting in 10th place and it would be great if I could finish in the top 10 but I didn't fancy my chances as Craig Freethey just needed 8 points to take it away from me and I haven't been able to match his lap times previously.
The 600 class was up first for qualifying and it was quite cold and windy and I came in at 20th out of 32 riders with a best time of 1:53 which was an improvement. Up next was Superbike qualifying and I did one place worse at 21st but with a time of 1:51, so still some hope of further improvement.
Race 1 of the 600 class was quite memorable for a couple of things, at one point I was cranked over on the tight left hander on the new section when a gust of wind tried to shove my knee (and bike) into the road. Luckily I managed to hold it up and only slid the front a few inches. The other thing was that I couldn't get anywhere near Cleve on his R6 and I had Paul G. almost get me on the line. Normally at Manfeild I can hold them both out! Cleve finished in 11th, me in 14th and Paul in 15th.
That was pretty much all I saw of both of them for the rest of the day as they left me behind in the later races. That race saw my best lap time for the day at 1:49.53 whereas they moved off into the low 1:48's much to my annoyance. I did get to follow Cleve out of the sweeper and onto the back straight and he has a really nice line that allows him to exit well.
In the first of the Superbike races, I had a slow start and never really caught up to the next bunch but did improve over qualifying with a 16th place finish.
Race 2 for the 600's and I was all ready to hand over my 10th place in the series to Craig as he had finished four places in front of me in the first race and only needed another 4 points to kick me back to 11th. I had a fairly poor start and finished up behind a big bunch of riders in 18th, but guess who I was following over the line for the chequered flag? Yep, you guessed it, Craig! So I finished in the top 10 by 2.5 points whoopee!!
I decided to miss the last Superbike race and concentrate on the special feature race at the end of the day... the Grant Russell Memorial Race for old farts (45 and over). There were eight of us eyeing each other up on the dummy grid (or was that just our old eyesight?). I saw John Baker look at me as if to say "not this time" just as Derek walked up behind me and said "If you don't win this one you're a bit of a w...ker!" so I had lot's of incentive.
Out onto the track and I zapped around to grab pole position and saw John & Ross line up alongside on their 1100 and 1200 respectively. The flag dropped and they just left me sitting there...man those big motors can grunt off the line. I tried to catch up under brakes at all the next corners but Ross was flying and had been circulating in the 1:47's so a big ask for me. But, luck was on my side as Ross missed his braking point at the end of the long back straight and had to do a U turn to get back...that put me into 2nd!
The white flag came out (lap 3? boy that was quick!) but I wasn't quite close enough to John to make a pass. By the time we got to the sweeper onto the back straight I was about 3 bike lengths behind him and on the exit I knew I couldn't get him unless he slowed a little bit. Again luck was on my side as he ran wide on the exit and just checked his speed to not run off. That was it, I had enough speed to slip stream him down the straight and come up alongside in the braking area...left, right, left to go but he saw me coming up on his inside so he let off his brakes...I had to do the same to beat him into the corner. Left, right, left, I got thru first and took the flag with 0.5 secs to spare over John. Ross was 3rd 0.2 secs behind.
What a great way to end a series with my first win in eight years of racing, woo hoo! A super thank you to the Victoria Motorcycle Club and all their helpers.
And as always, big thanks again to Henderson Motorcycles, Pirelli Tyres and the Missus! Thanks also to SSSLodge 'for real horsepower' and www.ezsite.co.nz for their continued support.
Not sure which road race meeting we'll be doing next but hopefully you'll see Derek, Logan and I back together again for some fun in the sun over summer. Derek by the way finished 6th in both Supersport and Superbike classes and is looking forward to picking up his new model Yamaha R6 very soon!
Catch u L8R, Greg
No Hair Racing http://www.nohair.co.nz