The Grand National is completed and now we ready ourselves for the VMX and Enduro series that lies ahead.
But what of the Grand National - was it a success? Perhaps a conditional but resounding yes.
What do I mean? A whole bunch of work went into developing this event which had the aim of encouraging growth of VMX in the South Island while also encouraging engagement by the North Islanders. What we ended up with was a great track lodged in the wine growing hills of Seddon back dropped by snow-capped mountains and absolutely fantastic weather. In fact I remember hearing from the North Island contingent that the two things that they didn’t even ponder bringing on the trip was sun cream and air filter oil – next time!
Attendance was good from the North Island and the top of the South but the much hoped for deeper South participation did not eventuate in the numbers that the buzz that preceded the event indicated. Those that did venture up though had a great time and their participation was greatly appreciated.
From an organisational point of view things went well. I perhaps crammed a little too much into the race programme each day but I was conscious that I wanted riders to have an opportunity to ride as many as practical class and feature races given that many had travelled a significant distance – perhaps I needed to peg it back a little!
For the North Islanders, they had to get used to the South Island way of starting races - but after a few failed starts most got the knack and faced no further issues. The track was super long, very wide and over very rolling terrain. There was plenty of space for passing and plenty of opportunity for riders to stretch the legs. The track surface was a little strange to us foreigners to the region – dry on top, damp underneath, powdery but which over two days compacted down to a concrete surface in places! I heard someone describe as a moonscape – which I think was pretty accurate!
It was also great to see my previous bike, (XL 350) now owned by Ross Watson, who had totally updated it – truly a great looking example and well raced by Ross too. On that note also, it was great to the selection of bikes that the South Island riders bought to the event and which brought whole new flavour to the VMX events we are used to. Also of note were some stunning riding performances from the South which had the North Island riders on the ropes in many of the races. Also great to see our patron for the event ex NZ Champion Peter Ploen turning in some super quick lap times keeping the young folk as bay. Good job.
Prize giving, food and live music provided by the Woodbourne Tavern over two nights was unbeatable, it was a very hospitable venue for riders to celebrate and catch up.
So will we do it all again? The answer is yes. While the numbers don’t totally stack up for running a two day event we figure you have to plant the seed and from that things will grow. So with that in mind plans have already commenced for a two day GN in the North Island next year followed again by another one in the South a year later. A huge thanks to our sponsors as usual including Rock Oil, NZ Natural Clothing, Ireland Digger Hire, Flying W, Darryl August Motorcycles and the Woodbourne Tavern and to the organisers, volunteers and PROMED who supported the event. Without this team - these events simply wouldn’t happen.
The first round of Vinduro Series (21 Sept) at Moonshine followed the day after first round VMX Series (22 Sept) at Waverley means for a full on start for a few of us. Certainly a big week end for me.
I will be assisting with the running of the Moonshine event in Wellington and then on conclusion of that driving north two hours to get up to Waverley. Probably stretching the envelope there a bit but hey you only live once so may as well max things out.
Moonshine is what I typically call an old school enduro which has everything in it from, rocks, to clay, rivers, forest, bush, bogs, hills and so on. For the Vinduro guys we plan a subdued course while the modern enduro bikes do a much tougher course. Still nothing to be sneezed at as the terrain is quite spectacular and still challenging. A big thumbs ups always to the Kapi Mana Club and Silver Bullet who does the heavy lifting for these events – they are very experienced organisers and things always run smoothly.
The next day in Waverley we are in a new terrain organised by our main man from that part of the world DEON YTOTE YFFY. Teaming up with Darryl August I am sure that Deon will come up with a track that will be more than fitting for the opening round of the VMX Series.
And on that note – I really need to spend the weekend in the garage. The IT 100 doesn’t need much doing to it so should be good to go for marking out duties at Moonshine. The TE 185 needs its bigger enduro tank fitted and a pilot jet change to be ready for racing Moonshine. And the DKW needs – well everything really. Let’s just see if I can get it started and see if it has some gears – that should be a useful starting point for the Pre 70 Class.