Mark - VMCC #3 & #4 '08

Hi all I’m Greg’s brother Mark. I am 11 months older than Greg so we have always had a bit of sibling rivalry (o:

I have been riding since I was 17 and spent 9 years riding Police Motorcycles for a living. I still Work for the Police. I’ve pretty well always had a bike of one type or another. I currently own a 1983 Kawasaki GPZ550 and a 1998 Suzuki 1200 SX Bandit.

Greg tried to talk me into having a go at racing in 2001. I got myself a race license, all the gear but on my first go at qualifying at Manfield I blew the motor in Greg’s bike as I had forgotten the gears were reversed and changed ‘down’ at some huge revs )o:

As I had screwed Greg’s bike for some time, my race days were over )o:

I put off being hassled by Greg until this year when I started to think about it again.

I went up to be ‘Pit Bitch’ for him at the Actrix VMCC Champs Round 1, May 25th. I had a filthy cold and the weather was freezing so I wasn’t going to put the bikini on no matter how much Greg insisted. Greg is a bit ‘funny’ like that.

I helped where I could and it was interesting to see the new layout and facilities. The Taupo track and facilities are certainly world class now.

On June 2nd I went up again to the Actrix VMCC Champs Round 2 to help where I could. I was on the pit wall when Greg was out in the first 600 race and it was a bit annoying to see him forced off the track in the esses right in front of me. As Greg reported earlier there was not too much damage and he was able to carry on.

By this time Greg had ‘forced’ me to have another go at racing which was to be at the next Round in July in the Clubman’s B Class. I bought new leathers, new gloves, boots and a helmet got a license and was ready to go :o)

Actrix VMCC Champs Round 3 20 July 2008. Well here I was on my first day racing. I had the attitude that I was there to have a bit of fun on the track. I would just potter around at the back and enjoy myself. Greg was letting me share his R6 which was pretty brave after my last effort on his bike.

I was only entered in Clubman’s so would have plenty of time to recover between races. I wasn’t nervous at all as I was just going out for a bit of fun.

The weather wasn’t the best with steady rain. I HATE rain so it didn’t help. Greg went out first to qualify in the 600s or Super Bikes one or the other. When he came back he told me not to worry about the tyres as they were full ‘wets’ and were great.

So I went out and did a couple of laps. Greg was right and the tyres weren’t a problem, especially as I was going so slowly :o) Qualifying was broken up though with a couple of crashes which didn’t help me getting into any sort of rythmn.

It was therefore a surprise to have qualified 12th out of around 24 bikes. Not too bad on a new track and in the wet.

The first race was quite funny. Again I wasn’t nervous but being in with a bunch of other bikes all going off together was a little disconcerting. When the lights went out however, I reverted back to my ‘road’ driving habits and sat there waiting for the guy in front to take off. Gone was the race ethic of going for broke. As a result most of the pack had passed me by the time I got going. This first race was a 10 lapper so I just potted around the track the best I could. I soon realised I was catching the odd bike and then realised that the grunt of the R6 was more than enough to get past. That’s when I gave up pottering and started racing which I found was even more enjoyable. The bug had bit!! I was lucky to finish the race in 7th and pick up my first ever race points.

Due to crashes from the conditions etc. the second race was reduced to 6 laps but this time I was ready for the start. Being 12th on the grid I was by the outside wall and managed to take a few places on the jump. Greg had given me the advice to stay wide on the first corner and let the pack jostle on the inside. I may have got another couple of spots doing this. With the rain I found my visor was fogging up even though I had put stuff on it. It got so bad that I had to leave it open on the 1st notch but pulling full speed down the front straight would blow it closed again. This was fun as I could hardly see again going around the first corner. This meant that I would have to ride with one hand and open my visor as I approached the esses – all good fun. This repeated on every lap. I continued on and came in 7th again which was pretty pleasing since I had decided to just ‘potter’ around. It also gave me another 14 points making a total of 28 and throwing me straight into 17th for the series. All in all a good day even if it was bloody wet.

Actrix VMCC Champs Round 4 23 August 2008 I had got into the habit of coming up to Feilding on Friday night so I wouldn’t have to travel on race day. Greg would usually crash with me there. So we got up to reasonable weather with a bit of grey around but relatively warm. Phil (Snowden) had scored for us the No 3 pit in the main admin block so we were a bit spoiled with an uninterrupted power supply, air hoses etc.

We had riders briefing then went back to wait for qualifying. Then the rain started to come down. For this race day we were using the long track at Manfield so we only had 4 laps for qualifying. I went out ok but forgot I should take it easy and get to see what the extra track was like. As a result I was over the back and came down a short straight before a sharp right bend but in the rain I had seen some of the rest of the track beyond the corner and thought this straight was a lot longer. I got quite a shock coming in way too fast. I shot straight across in front of another rider trying to turn into the corner and can only presume it was his better experience that stopped us colliding. I jumped on the brakes and managed to slow just enough before I went onto the grass. I managed to turn, phew……. I gave a wave to the other rider as a huge ‘sorry’ and I can probably guess at the wave I would have got back )o: Anyway, one huge lesson learnt there. I was fairly put off by that so didn’t think I had done any good and was surprised to have qualified 9th.

That was my days racing as not too long after that the day was abandoned due to heavy surface water on the track. The weather was clearing but the track conditions were treacherous. Greg managed to get a race in but said it was the worst, wettest he had ever ridden in. He can tell you more about that.

Well that’s enough from me. Sorry for the length but I had a bit of catching up to do.

Thanks to Victoria Motorcycle Club for a great series – they are the best club in New Zealand (o:, Also thanks to Henderson Motorcycles, Pirelli Tyres. Thanks also to SSSLodge 'for real horsepower' and for their continued support. And special thanks to Greggy for trusting me with his bike again (o:

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