Logan - AMCC#2 06/07

Saturday 24th March 2007 '06/'07 Auckland Motorcycle Club Champs, Round 2, Pukekohe

Once again, a perfect sunny day for racing and supporting for that matter! First up on that side of things, Quick thanks goes out to Steve & Family from New Zealand Towing, and Nick from The Pallet Company for making it out for a wee look-see!

That all aside, I rolled out for qualifying trying to get in the right headspace and sort my crap out! (All since crashing the poor girl @ Paeroa *insert massive thanks here to Greg for sorting it all out!!!*). After running the 1st lap pretty tame it all felt damn good, so I rock down the front straight full noise and go to dip into turn 1, 6th gear selected and throttle open… When the trouble started. After hitting a change in surface/bump across the track, trying to drop in the old FZR for the first time in a long time shook her head as if to say Nooooo Way!. Struggling and surprised I ran wide around Turn 1, and gave myself a smack in the head for rushing in… still not quite sure what it was all about, I proceeded to run the lap-typical style without running too hot anywhere, when coming into turn 1 around the outside of a bike it once again began to go into a big tank slapper. Though I made it around once again in one piece, I only wish I could explain how close to throwing me off, or at least running me out onto the grass, the FZR had gotten. For the next 5 odd laps of practise I chose to back off on entry to turn 1, then nail it again-and work on my brakes into the hairpin instead.

After explaining what was going wrong when I came into the pits, it was soon discovered that the steering damper was a replacement since Paeroa, and in fact wasn't turned right up. No worries I thought, I like steering dampers-so crank that puppy up to full!

Race 1: I head out there after also fitting some ram-air tubes to the new front fairing and air box, only to find in the warm up lap that she wouldn't run past around 10,000rpm above 3rd gear (to her usual 14000). Frantically ripping the tubes out of the air box (thinking this was the only modification since practise), it made no difference. Being the sucker for punishment that I am, I still lined up on the grid, gritted my teeth and ran the whole race anyway! Finishing 8th of 14 with 3 DNF's I was more than happy to have gone thru the pain of her running sooooo slow, however still trying to slap the head off around turn 1.

Oh yes, it was discovered that in the effort to fit the ram air tubes, one of the balancer pipes from CV Carb #1 & #2 was bumped off, basically making the turbulent air in the air box close 2 carbs higher up the rev range etc.

Soon enough I was lined up for Race 2, ready to rock and roll! The red lights went out, my clutch was half released and the FZR was purring at a mere 10,000rpm. About 4th off the mark, I soon lost 2 more places on the gas selecting gears coming into turn 1. No problems though, If the raw horsepower of the beast wasn't going to help me, my fear of losing my gigantic ego was! Pushing in front of I cannot remember who, I almost tactfully-if it wasn't so clumsy-made my way round to be the 3rd bike onto the back straight. Loosing a few places to the likes of Bill and Jill on their machines down that back straight, I braked as late as I could trying to keep as far up the pack as I could. It was all going smooth so far, however Turn 1 on a hot lap was yet to come. Before I could think about how I was going to tackle it again it was infront of me, I eased the gas back a little in 6th and tipped her in. No worries on entry, but bringing the throttle back on after and hitting some lumps mid-turn once again she began to tremor. Not as bad as in practise, and infact not seriously serious that I thought I was going to crash- but none the less it was a trait she previously hadn't carried, and an ugly one at that. The race went on, dicing for 4th place with Mark Wigley on his ER6n, right up until the final chequered flag drop, where we were lined up side by side over the finish line. Unfortunately for me it went in Marks favour by 0.17 of a second!

Race 3: Well, after a frustrating however none the less inspiring race only an hour or so previously, I once again lined up the Yammy ready for the final race of the day. On came the lights, up went the revs, off went the lights, up stayed the revs with a big slip of the clutch I lunged forward with the FZR holding the throttle open. Stretching 1st gear right out to the end and hooking second I soon lost a few places from 4th/5th on entry to turn 1. Turn 2 brought more luck with a chance to duck around Jill and a few others, furthermore leading into a clean pass underneath Bill Vandenhoven's Yamaha thru Turn 3 & 4 then onto the back straight. Despite the aggressive start and being in 2nd place at the start of the back straight, it was only a matter of a few hundred meters before the sound of first bills Yammy, then Jills Suzuki thundered by. I found myself setting the pace for the 2nd group (4th-6th) for the most of the race, unfortunately letting myself down on the 4th lap, giving Sam Richards enough chance for that CBR1000 front ended RVF400 to nudge passed under brakes into the hairpin. Chasing its tail close for the 2nd to last lap, I attempted to out-brake the Honda into the hairpin, getting halfway up the inside of Sam entering the hairpin he held his line solid, flowing well across mine leaving me to once again adopt position close behind. On the final lap, trying to get a good swing into the hairpin and more exit speed than Sam, I watched him lose the rear end under power something chronic almost resulting in a mega-high side, however much to his credit, he held on, and with the split second chance I was given-I found myself too close to his tail and had backed off the throttle expecting the worst. Despite how hard I tried to push her thru that last series of 3 corners and down the front straight, the FZR was decked out, peg on the track not offering much traction to put decent power on, it just wasn't to be.

So at the end of yet another massive experience racing, I came away a little worse off in the club standings but moreover a lot more, hmm, race-matured? At the very least, considerate towards the steering damper on the old girl!

Would now like to say a massive thanks to 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 (Glendene), Autostop (New Lynn)

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