The 28th October dawned a real nice day in the Central Hawkes Bay for RD 3 of the NZ VMX Series. While the rest of the country was getting hammered with torrential rain, we were having our real first summer day at the wonderful Twist’s property.
At first glance from the pits the track presented itself as a long track with smooth lines through rolling hills. While this was true, the first practice highlighted that this track had more to it than meets the eye.
First the start straight was slightly up hill which made the starts a little tricky. Too much weight on the back wheel and you were sure to have the front wheel climbing for air, too much on the front then it was case of spinning the rear wheel going nowhere. Tricky stuff.
Then while the first corner was a nice wide sweeper and could be taken at speed, if you went too wide to miss traffic or try to slingshot around the group you quickly found yourself in the rough being deflected and having to slow down – hmmm so it was a case of getting a good start! Next corner at the lap scoring caravan was a an off camber hard right turn – damn, if you went too wide you couldn’t get a good run to the next corner and if you went too tight you scrubbed off too much speed. Sometimes you just can’t win.
Next corner was straightforward followed quickly by right turn into a rolling drop off. A good place to build some speed except it was followed by another off camber corner so again it was case of gently bringing the bike into the corner under braking then launching to the next corner. The next two corners were straight forward (whew) then it was another sharp right across a culvert. Again one had to be a little careful here as if you went too wide you were drawn into a few humps that would kick the bike off line. If you hit it right, you then got a nice short straight up a hill that with a little bit speed would result in some nice air time. But again you couldn’t relax as when you landed you were on the anchors then confronted with another off camber turn taking you up along a fence line – I never got this section right once during the whole day.
The next series of 4 turns were pretty cool really allowing you to push the bike into the corners using the camber and berms to maintain your speed. A long straight and left hand turn then took you up an off camber hill that dropped away at its crest into a wide basin. Neither of these features were easy, the uphill had a few sheep ruts and dips to catch the unwary and riding back down the basin required you to go left or right for if you went through the middle there were a few humps waiting to kick you off. At the end of this it was a cut to the right then hard left uphill back to to the finish line.
The first two rounds were five laps each so it was case of perseverance and maintaining sensible lines. A missed gear shift or over or under braking into any of the corners would quickly have competitors launching past you with smarter lines. As always I was going head to head with Kelvin Smith (CR 125), Phil Scott (KX 125) and Barry Moody (XL) throughout the day. Occasionally I would sneak my nose ahead only to be passed back again where I didn’t have enough speed or technique.
The track certainly demanded that you kept on your toes and generally Kelvin and Phil were the better riders on the day! As usual the day finished with a few beers and camaraderie as the sun set over the distant Ruahines - VMX bliss!
Coming up next for me is the Far North Vinduro at Whangaruru. I have never entered this event before; it’s a long trip from Wellington heading up north. So while I could cut it out with a 12 hour drive one way and back again after the event I have elected to make it a five day trip to spread the load! On the way through I will be picking up a spare Sachs engine for the second DKW frame that I have plus a DT 175 engine for the third DKW frame. Crazy stuff eh!
As for the first DKW on the production line it’s all assembled awaiting the engine to be built. I’m still waiting on Karl at CEMEC to finish the remediation of the cases. A tricky job at best but I am happy to wait and take my time on this project. Something to do over Christmas. In the meantime I better get into the garage and complete my preparation for Whangaruru. I need to fit lights, speedo and fresh tyres.