Logan - AMCC#1 06/07

Sunday 27th 2006 No Hair Racing Report – Logan Bennett ‘06/’07 Auckland Motorcycle Club Champs, Round 1, Pukekohe

It was Sunday morning, and my nerves were running high. It had been 9 months since I last wore my leathers, let alone pushed a bike around the track! After signing on and getting the bike and my gear checked I was finally all set and ready for Practise/Qualifying at 11am.

After getting all my gear on, and push starting the bike I rocked on out onto the track all set for running in this new beast… when all of a sudden, on exit of turn 4-entering the back straight, pulling around 9,000rpm with the throttle open, the revs picked up real quick, my initial thought that the back end had started spinning was in one way fortunate not to be the cause, but… Oh yeah, you got it, a fried clutch was the only other option.

To cut a long whinge short, after finally having this 450 run reliable, ready to run in and take around the track to see how she’ll compete… we find it can’t even be done thanks to a knackered clutch. However after coming back in thinking that was going to be it for the day, I was only greeted with good news. Firstly, that Bob could shoot back home and come back with a spare set of clutch plates, though not in time for the first race hopefully in time for the second, and secondly that despite the clutch issues I had still qualified 12th/20, which was the small amount of reassurance I needed to help settle my nerves.

Still rather nervous though, but a lot happier, I rolled out onto the track ready for the first race. Lined up 12th on the grid my nerves came back and were pumping-who knows why, as not much could be expected from the stuffed clutch, but alas I managed to work myself up. The flag dropped, I eased the revs thru with the clutch fully out and popped thru the gearbox not losing too many places into turn 1. It was now heading into turn 2, the left hander that I grabbed back a few places and managed to keep the power on with the clutch slipping its nuts off, but managing to slot right in front of Frosty as we came thru turn 4 and onto the back straight. Jammin’ thru the gearbox as rapidly as I could each time just after the clutch would let go (around ¾ revs). I soon had Frosty thunder passed on his SV650 followed by a number of other SV’s. Although I hadn’t raced in ages and was being rather timid on the brakes, thanks to Greg’s effort on them they were working a treat and I gained back a number of places heading into the hairpin. So this was all to carry on, with the basics of the race being for the first 4 laps Frosty would thump past on the front straight, and I’d slip by entering turn 1, or as happened once slipping by where there was nearly no room heading into turn 2. Then again the SV would battle past down the back straight, and the FZR would show her strength in brakes as I just nudged up the inside slowing for the hairpin. What a race though! Loads of slicin’ and dicin’ about the track, and to my amazement I’d finished 8th. Stoked with the placing after predicting I would only lose places from where I qualified as everybody else would pick up the pace and I didn’t think with the clutch slipping everywhere it would even last the length of the race!

Here came Race 2 (sadly the last for the day on a late schedule), and I was pumped up ready to go with some 2nd hand clutch fibres in there thanks heaps to Bob, we were going out with fingers crossed that they would do the trick. 12th on the grid, the green flag was raised, and I started flicking the revs from 7-9,000rpm, and as the green flag dropped I eased out the clutch being sure to keep the nose on the ground. Fully off the clutch and gas on full she lifted the front a touch as the revs passed 11, I hooked another gear. Coming around the outside of a number of bikes, at a guess in 7th place or so heading into turn 2 there was a tiny FZR sized gap right up the inside (others call it the ripped strip), I didn’t hesitate, Boom, hit the strip and held her cranked with the gas on and that decision right there was the “go directly to 2nd place, do not screw around, do not collect $200” card. So coming onto the back straight in 2nd, I had held up some of the group behind me as with my abrupt place change I was not in a very good position to handle Turns 3 and 4. So with Geoff Booth in 1st and getting away, I had 4 odd SV’s cruise by down the back straight, much to their credit though as the FZR clutch was holding well, and the power felt cleaner and greater then ever. On the brakes into the hairpin I snatched 4th place, with 2 SV’s a fair way ahead, and the race leader looking a lot further. After the 1st lap I realised I did have a chance on getting 3rd place, so working as hard as I could thru Turn 1 and 2, then on the brakes into the hairpin I managed to slot into 3rd position and run for the catch-up on the SV in 2nd. Sure enough after 1 lap to catch up I was hard on its tail heading into Turn 1, and keeping a little more speed I pulled out to run around the outside thru Turn 1. But fully to Jill’s credit, it just wasn’t happening! Halfway around the fast right hander I was on the outside, off the race line with the bumps worse then I have ever felt them I knew I couldn’t complete the overtake before turn 1, but not at all wanting to back down I sat on the outside then on the flip-flop over into turn 2 I ran a really close line on the inside and pushed all the speed I could carry to nudge in front, and it had all worked! Now in 2nd place I put my head down and began to run, in the far fetched hope that I might have a crack at 1st. It was not to be, as it was hard enough retaining 2nd with Jill on the SV coming passed me nearing the end of the back straight again I had to put the FZR’s brakes to the test, sure enough they came out on top though right ‘til the end of the race.

Well that was that, an awesome days racing. Can’t explain how much fun I had and how just down right excited I get being back in the saddle, but its way up there, I rate it!

Thanks heaps and heaps firstly to Derek for rebuilding the motor, and Greg for all the work in-between, the tyres, the brakes, it all just added up to an awesome ride! And also to those who came to support, I’d name you all but there’s just too damn many-y’all rock! Of course not to forget the No Hair Racing 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)


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