Ok it was cold and sort of gloopy but man was it a blast! I havent had so much fun for a long time.
The buildup to the first round was always going to be tricky simply because the weather we have had in the lower north island has been so wet over winter. The trick was to find a venue on the coast with free draining soil so that racing for the series could kick off as planned.
Owen Kirk and Craig Davis and the rest of Horowhenua crew came up trumps with sorting out the venue at Waitarere Beach, but even then on the Saturday before the event it was touch and go with huge rain storms leaving the paddocks and set up crew absolutely soaked. What was to be the pit area became a swamp and what was to be the vehicle entry track simply became ridge line surrounded by lakes of water!
But Owen and Craig rightly made the call that VMX is not lawn bowls and if the landowner was happy we continue - then we should continue!. Fortunately the land owner was happy!
Normally Darryl August and I do a track safety inspection before the racing kicks off. Its good having two views - Darryl is a super skilled rider and sees things that I dont (when travelling at the speed of light) where by contrast I am a little more, er lets say ..... pedestrian and a bit more conservative. However Darryl (and Bill Doe) were running late on the day after being caught out with snow on the Desert Road and had to take the long way round - which left it to me to consider the track.
The track was quite a mixture, had everything and made the best use of the terrain. In many ways it also proved to be a connundrum in that while it looked quite lumpy, it had a really good flow to it if you could get into the groove. Where there were potential danger spots flag marshalls had been arranged. There was nothing that I considered to be dangerous but also new that the track would not favour the very old bikes that were very very short travel/low ground clearance.
On balance the track held up well in my view not withstanding a couple of hail and rain storms which left the low lying areas a swamp. And making a liar out of me I noted a picture of Barry Moody leaping through the air on a 1974 XL 350 - so even the big old bikes were making hay!
Carl Burns on the big red TS 400 had a nasty off on the start straight on the secound round of racing. I had been following Carl in the first round of racing and noted he was making good speed so it was a shame to see him hit the deck in the secound round. My follow up with Carl two days later identified that yes indeed he had broken his arm and would require surgery to pin it all back together again. Yikes. Carl basically identified that the cause of the crash was simply a case of too much speed without giving to much thought to the fast approahing first corner. Easy to do on a TS 400. So the rest of the story speaks for itself really. Hopefully Carl makes a good recovery and we see him back at the track in the future.
I was standing by the caravan with Neil Richie and Owen Kirk pondering the racing whereI noted Lee Forsyth struggling to get is pre 75 Yamaha to start. It sounded like it just wasnt getting any fuel. So I reached for the nearest stick and tapped on the side of the carby for 30 seconds in the hope that the float valve had just become a little stuck. I then gave Lee the thumbs up, he kicked it over and then the old girl burst into life! Lee then went on to win the next race. I wish all repairs were so easy.............
The conditions bought out the best in riding skills - its easy to go hell for leather, roost and spin but actually those who kept it smooth made it easy for themselves and demonstrated that keeping it smooth was the fastest way round the course. Three riders caught my eye in particular. First Peter Weir a new entry to NZVMX on his hybrid TS 250 passed me in one race demonstrating an increadibly smooth and quick cornering style. Then there was Danny Wilemson a Suzuki PE maintaining perfect traction everywhere not wasting any energy or effort at all. And last Rob Snep also on a PE (ex ISDE rider and new entrant to NZ VMX) who easily coped with the sloppy conditions and was circulating like there was no mud at all. Hats off to all of you for a perfect display in riding skill.
Yip a big big thanks to Owen, Craig and the Horowhenua crew for the work they put in. This was not easy to pull off and a lot of logistics went on behind the scenes to make the first round happen. The volunteers on the day (Flag Marshalls, Food Stall, Race Starter (Paul) did it really hard in the cold cold conditions and wecant thank you enough. Also to the sign onand lap scoring crew - a thankless task for which we very much apprecaite your efforts.
Also a big thanks to the land owner and the sponsors (Rock Oil, SOX.CO.NZ, Flying W and Darryl August Motorcycles) for there ongoing support.
Roll on Feilding!