Greg - AMCC #3 07/08

No Hair Race Report from Greg Protecta AMCC Champs Round 3, April 5th.

I break my 1:05 Barrier!

After the last round of the National Champs at Pukekohe and the loss of our team mate Derek, I had pretty much just parked the race trailer with bike in the shed and left it. I still have some goals to reach at Pukekohe so the weekend before the AMCC club round I pulled the bike out and made some changes. Derek had suggested I try a lower gear ratio to get more drive out of the corners so I had ordered another sprocket from Henderson Motorcycles along with a new set of clutch plates. I'd also been scraping my toes with the standard footpeg positioning so I fitted new rearsets from F1 Engineering.

The morning of Saturday 5th was dry but it looked like it might rain later in the day so Alex and I headed off getting to the track around 8:30am. As we unloaded the trailer the first thing we noticed was the strong smell of horse manure that must have been spread very recently around the in-field...the smell lingered all day but the rain held off and we had a great day of racing.

I had entered both Formula Auckland and Formula 2 classes again to maximise track time and with the changes made to the bike I was expecting it to take awhile to get down to my normal lap times (I've been stuck on 1 min 5.10 secs since 2006 at Pukekohe). Formula Auckland practice was up first and I had no problems other than finding the gear lever on the new rear sets and dropped into the mid 1:05's not far off my PB. I qualified 14th which wasn't too bad I guess.

The next session was the Formula 2 practice and I went out and was surprised to see on my lap timer that I had dropped to a 1:04.03...thinking it must have been an error I checked both laps before and after, both were 1:05.04 giving 3 laps below my old PB. This was confirmed by the official lap times showing I had qualified 10th with a 1:04.03!

First race up was Formula Auckland so I shot out for our 2 lap warm up but as I was pulling up to my 14th spot on the grid the toes on my right foot cramped up and so as I waited for the lights to go out I was busy trying to uncramp my toes inside my boot. The race started and thanks to the new clutch plates I unexpectedly pulled a mono off the line but it was very smooth so I just held it there and dropped it down as I picked up speed and went into turn 1 in about 10th place. Looking at the lap times, they dropped straight away into the 1:04's as I tried to keep up with the front guys then after 3 laps I caught up to Brett on his R1. It took me until the last lap to get past him entering the left hander after the hairpin and I finished 11th.

Next race was the Formula 2 600's and this time I didn't bring up the front wheel off the start and went into turn 1 in about 5th or 6th place the front 8 guys got down into the 1:01's and 1:02's so they pulled away from BJ and me. BJ got me in the same place as he did last December around the outside of turn 1 and inside of turn 2. We were both doing low 1.04's with Andy gaining on us near the end. I finished 11th behind BJ.

The change in foot position was giving me all sorts of cramps in both legs and along with the rear tyre wear I decided to only do the 600 races from then on.

The second F2 race was a lot of fun, I got away quickly again off the start in front of both BJ & Andy but I knew they'd be pushing hard at my weak point entering turn 2 so I deliberately ran wide each time exitting turn 1 (sorry guys). BJ & I were doing 1:04.19 with Andy 1:04.04 right behind us but I managed to stay in front and crossed the line in 9th. Andy came up to me after the race and said I'd better sort out turn 2 as he and BJ almost ran into me a couple of times. If I can get that figured out then 1:03's should be achievable.

The last F2 race came up quite late in the day, with dark skies and rain threatening. A couple of guys had pulled out so there were less on the grid but again I started well and set off behind the "fast" bunch down the back straight. One of the fast guys was pushed off the track and Steve Wood's bike looked to be spraying oil or water out the side of his engine. As our group came across the start line we tried to signal there was something wrong but the red flags didn't come out and we continued racing (especially after Nick O. came flying past down the back straight). Not sure what happened to BJ and Andy that time, my rear tyre was pretty shot so I circulated in mid !:05's and finished in 7th.

All in all a very good day, the bike mod's seemed to work well (thanks to Derek) and I got through my 1:05 lap time barrier and scored some points (I think I'm about 9th in the series now for F2). Just need to figure out how to hold some corner speed in turn 2 while changing down 2 gears.

Thanks to AMCC and the flag marshalls for running a smooth, relatively relaxed day. 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.

Next round is on April 27th again at Pukekohe but there's also a training day on the 20th which would be good for practice.

Catch u L8R, Greg

No Hair Racing http://www.nohair.co.nz


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