Chris - BOS Paeroa '03

17-Feb-2003

Hi again, sorry that it's been a while since I wrote a race report...

- I didn't get round to writing about Wanganui's Boxing day B.O.S. round, I should have done as it was a really important round for me.. Perhaps a very quick re-cap?

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Dec 25/26 2002 - Wanganui B.O.S.

This could have been my last racing meet as I was planning to hang up my boots after this round. The enjoyment and performance which I had on the day gave me back some of my lost inspiration and so I continued to do Paeroa and I'm entered to do Gisbourne next weekend too. :)

Wanganui had a mix of very wet racing through to completely dry conditions. As I LOVE the wet I managed an excellent result in the 600 Production class coming 4th in the first race. - A 10th in the second race saw me sat in 5th place overall for the day and the series. - This is why I had to carry on and do round 2 at Paeroa and also why I was extremely disappointed that we only got to race ONE of the 600 Proddy races at Paeroa (.. more later..).

Formula 2 in Wanganui had some larger fields so I was very happy to finish 7th and 12th in these two races. The changes in condition throughout the day made the first round of races quite different to the second. People got a lot faster and more aggressive later in the day when the track dried. 10th overall in the series points.

I had a really enjoyable day and left feeling like there was more of a reason to carry on racing than I had felt in a long time...

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Feb 16 2003 - Paeroa B.O.S

The weather and changes to the track had a large part to play in the whole day in a lot of respects, the racing had to come second to a number of safety concerns throughout the day. - So much so that at one point in the afternoon an emergency rider's briefing was called to take a vote on whether or not the meeting should continue.

Following safety concerns raised prior to the meeting regarding the speed of the larger Open class bikes at the kink in the front straight (270km/h) and their ability to react (brake) for an emergency situation at this point in the track, the organizers made alterations to the layout of the course. In fairness to the organizers, the new track was known to all competitors on the entry form for the event so there should be NO reason for any rider's surprise or recourse on the day. However, this previously untried circuit layout played a part in some major delays. The location and re-location of bails for rider's safety and protection delayed the start of practice, which in turn delayed the start of racing by over an hour.

Further adding to the delays to the race program was the weather; an extremely hot sunny day (28°C, although it felt more like 34°C+..), no clouds, no real breeze and no break from the heat. There were quite a few problems with tar melting, in particular was one area of the circuit which had not previously been used for racing. At this part of the new track a coarse chip surface had been laid, the heat from the sun coupled with extra heat put into the road from the bike tyres caused the complete width of the road to look like a melted tar platter. Stones and wet tar were being thrown up from bikes in front left a very slippery surface providing no grip for tyres. Even in our early practice sessions the track surface was starting to melt in places. I had heard that Gisbourne often suffers from a melted track, but I'd never seen this before in Paeroa.

Greg fell off here in his first lap of his first race. Unfortunately for him, this really ruined the entire day for his racing; we were able to repair his bike sufficiently for him to start the second of the F2 races, however the visor on the replacement helmet he used didn't provide adequate vision so he pulled out of this race after 2 laps...

Dramas, delays, track surface issues and sweaty heat aside; my day went very well. I very much liked the new layout of the track, I though it was much more challenging to ride and I think it will make a very good layout to continue with for years to come. I had 4 practice sessions and got to grips with the track reasonably quickly.

* Race 1: F2 (12:40pm racing should have started at 11:30am...) *

My F2 race was the first race of the day; I started from the 2nd row of the grid and finished in 9th place, 18 seconds behind the race leader, my best lap time was 53.66 seconds. It felt really fast and clean and quite settled, the new layout has a lot of successive short straight spurts between corners requiring hard braking in close repetition; I could feel a little arm pump and fatigue setting into my hands, this discomfort dissipated fairly quickly afterwards. Maybe my "Golf cross-training" :) has helped with sore hands?

I finished just behind Sean Bishop on his GSXR600, there was a small train of 5 of us lapping at almost exactly the same speed with no passing; 5th place to my 9th place finished 16.5 - 18.2 seconds behind the race leader (Craig Shirriffs).

* Race 7: 600 Sports Production *

This race was the highlight of my day. - I was able to make some progress through the field which was something which I couldn't do in the first race.

I had a reasonably poor start off the front of the grid. 11 bikes should have started, but there were some crashes from the earlier F2 race which didn't make it back into this race I think? So out of the 9 bikes racing I was last into the first corner at the end of the front straight. Just following this corner is a really nice section of track with a sweeping right hander which goes up and over the crest of a hill, widening at it's exit. It you put the power on early in this corner you can take a nice wide exit and gain on the people in front on the short straight which follows. - Here's where I made my first move on Nick Odermatt (GSXR #80); into the braking zone for the next sharp left hander (also the start of the set of Left, Right, Left, Right 'ess' bends). I got along side Nick on the inside for the corner and made it through.

Sean Bishop was next in front of me at this point, for the next 4 laps he made slight gains which I caught back at the end of the front straight. His GSXR600 has the legs on my R6 down the straights - this could also have something to do with my body weight, but let's not go there! (Thanks Mr Grey for your comments at Wanganui; scarred for life!...)

On the 4th lap I had a really close look at Sean going into the right hander at the end of the straight, Sean came across and closed the door; it took me a whole lap to make up my lost ground; the 5th lap Sean braked late into this corner and wasn't as smooth as he had been for the previous laps, so I caught a little there, then the white flag dropped as we passed the start / finish on the next lap. I was nice and close to Sean's bike and made the most of the same uphill corner as in Lap 1; down to the start of the esses. I inserted my bike up the inside of Sean's.

While braking hard to take the corner, I hadn't realised that my wrist was twisted on the throttle, keeping the gas on as I was trying to slow down! The result was that I shot cleanly up the inside of Sean. As soon as I realised that I was still on the gas, I shut it off, braking hard, already cornering; my bike dropped into the corner really nicely, my line around this left hander was nice and tight - more by accident rather than design. The result was a nice clean pass. I managed to hold this place in front of Sean to the finish line for a 7th place finish in the 600's. 19.235 seconds behind the leader (Craig Shirriffs), with my best lap time: 54.081

* Robert Holden Memorial Race *

It was again a privilege to be included in this race. Before the race I looked at the program to see who was racing; the competition was so strong. I was sure I would be lapped, and come last. - So that was my goal, not to be lapped, and not to come last.

After a day where I was racing and practicing with only F2 and 600 bikes, it was fun to mix it up with the larger open bikes. It's good to race with people you don't know, it's exciting. You're not sure what they're going to do, you don't know how to read them, it's a new challenge all over again. So I got stuck in, had a reasonable start and went hard for 6 laps. - I don't have the results on this race, but I do know that I managed to accomplish both of my goals, I was at least 3rd from the back, and I didn't get lapped.! :)

- After this was when the officials called the emergency rider's briefing. - Directly after that was when the F2 race started.

* Race12: F2 *

This is a very similar story to the first F2 race of the day; 2nd row of the grid, OKish start this time, lots of fast following, little in the way of overtaking. Parts of the track were getting really wet (melted, not rain..); I was getting tired too with the back to back Robert Holden / F2 races, so my main focus was to finish a clean race, stay on the bike and reserve some of my energy and efforts for the remaining 600 Sports Production race.

I finished 9th again, 19.239 seconds behind the race leader (Craig Sherriffs), best lap time: 53.868.

On a side note here, it's worth looking at the results sheet for this race; Dean Labrum who finished just behind me at 19.2 seconds off the leader has been racing this same bike in B Grade at the Suzuki winter series. Nick Prestidge who was the last finisher of this race came in with a time of 44.5 seconds off the leader. So I'd like to encourage anyone out there of B Grade racing ability (winter series) to seriously think about getting out and doing the streets! - Especially if you're on a 600 Sports Production bike, as there were only 9 starting yesterday!...

3 or so races later, just before the 2nd Formula Paeroa (F1) race, the officials casually mentioned over the Pit P.A. that it would be the last race of the day. - At the time there was no apology, no explanation, nothing... It seems that they had run out of time due to the various delays during the day, including picking up a lot of fallen riders. Being that the track uses a State Highway they were forced to stick to their agreed time for re-opening so they canned the remaining races. (Formula 3, Sports Prod 600, Post Classics, Bears and Post Classic Forgotten Era).

I've not heard officially what will be done regarding the allocation of points for the 2nd 600 Sports Proddy race, unofficially I was told that they might double up the results from the first race.? - Allocation of prize money? I don't know, perhaps the same? If that's the case, then I will have won NZ$280 in prize money. :) - Not bad at all really!... If this is the case, then Stewart Rodwell (Hello Stewart!) on an R6 in the 600 Proddy class could have gained NZ$140 if he had only finished the 6 laps of the first 600 race. I'm not sure why he's listed as only completing 5 laps, he seemed to be able to race again later, and he didn't come off as far as I know.?

Anyway, both Greg and I are looking forward to Gisbourne, and we're praying for rain again. :) - It would be good if the tarmac remains solid! :)

Best regards and thanks to all involved in the weekend; thanks for making the best event of what you were dealt! It's difficult when so many small things stack up against you to make things very difficult on the day.

Regards, Chris.


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