Sorry this has been delayed, but the celebrations have only just wound down, ...... Nah, I've really just been lazy!
Team Witness Protection Racing Victorious at PCRA One Hour Carnival!
What a weekend! A full days practice on Friday was marred by rain, bitterly cold wind, and the resultant hangover from drinking with a group of road workers in Goulburn the night before. The track was extremely slippery, and both the Moriwaki 80 and the Cagiva 125 were sliding the front through turn one. Turn one at Wakefield exits into a fairly steep climb to the top of the circuit, which is a big ask for a small bike with a fatarse like myself on board, so it's more important to carry maximum corner speed through there than anywhere else on the circuit. Both bikes went well, a few small mechanical glitches were sorted, and all was looking OK for the weekend.
That evening, my friend (Army mates for nearly 20 years, and fellow bike nut), Max arrived from Canberra. Max lives in Melbourne, and made the 9 hour drive to Goulburn last year, but fortunately, his job saw fit to put him on a course in Canberra, about an hour away from Goulburn, and gave him the weekend off! Max gets to race once a year, and thats when he comes up and pilots my spare bike at the One Hour carnival.
Saturday was overcast, but dry. The track temp was still very low, and there were a lot of delays during morning practice and the first round of races. The race format was changed around a bit for this meeting, and I found myself on the grid with most of the front runners of the Motolite class, except I was on a Cagiva Mito! The top Motolites are either 85cc CR80 motors in Honda RS125 GP frames, Jianshe 175s (Chinese Honda Copies) in RS125 GP frames or in highly modified frames that may look like ****e, but are as exotic as most GP frames. I had a ball, I was dicing with all my mates, and I loved every minute of it. The Cagiva was only just competitive with the top Motolites, so I've got some work to do, and some money to spend.
Max was riding my Moriwaki 80, and the shift action is obviously a bit lighter than what he's used to on his SV1000, coz he bent the lever, so we replaced it, and he bent it again. However, the rest of the left footpeg assembly must have been jealous of the attention the shift lever was getting, because for the rest of the weekend, nothing would stay done up! The footpeg worked loose EVERY RACE. The shift linkage came off, first at the front, then at the back, then the two ball joints disassembled themselves simultaneously.
(I can hear certain people shaking thier heads right now, but after the first issue, we drowned everything in Loctite, and went around and checked every nut and bolt. EVERY RACE!)
Saturday night, I had organised a Spit Roast to be served at the Pelican Sheep station, which is right next to the track, and where most of us were staying. There were about 60 people eating, the alcohol was flowing in moderation, the bull**** was flowing with less regulation, and everyone had a good time. As it was cold, there was a huge log fire going, but it was that smoky, you couldn't get near it. After 2 full-on days at the track,with one to come, most people decided on the "Early-to-bed" option.
Sunday was huge. The weather was similar to Saturday, possibly a bit warmer. I had a great battle with Sam, a mate on an RS125. His bike weighs about 30 Kilos less than mine, and He weighs about 20 Kilos less than me, and his bike puts out about 15HP more than mine, so naturally I was stoked. Sam rode in the Aust 125GP support race at the MotoGP and did pretty well (middle of the pack, which is nothing to sneeze at), and I saw this as an indication that I wasn't doing too badly. I found out later that he'd injured his ankle in a crash late on Saturday, so there goes that idea! There were 4 bikes in New Era 2 125's (the first time they'd seperated 125's from the 250's, etc), and the other 3 were all RS125 Honda's. One was a new racer, and so was taking his time getting up to race pace (Hey, we've all been there!), and the other was Rob Holmes, 60 years old, father to a good mate Ryan (also racing), and sharing a pit garage with me (amongst others). If you've never had a close up look at a Honda RS125 GP machine, You're missing out! They are a thing of beauty, a purpose built weapon, for the use of diminutive psychopaths only! (I want one!!!!)
The first One Hour event was the Motolites/Superlites event. The One Hour is a team event, Le-Mans start, with a 20 minute window when pit lane is open and rider change can take place. Neither rider can ride for more than 40 mins or less than 20, and the same rider cannot start and finish! I rode the first 30 mins, and basically charged hard from the start. It was only about 20 minutes in (when I noticed the "pit lane open" sign) that I started to take notice of the leader board. We were coming 5th, and I was going as hard as I could, and managed to hold off some determined challenges from a number of other bikes. When my time to come in was signalled, I completed the lap, and the changeover went smoothly. Max went out, and was riding well, when my girlfriend Sharon pointed out the leader board. WE WERE THIRD! A friend, Michael, had it in his head that the board was wrong, that we were fourth, and that we had to catch Rob (Ryan's Dad), who was 3/4 of a lap ahead, but who Max was catching at about 10 seconds a lap. The way the race works, at the 1 hour mark, the last lap board is displayed, and it is left out until the leader comes around, gets the last lap board, and then completes one more lap. Just before the leader completes his last lap, the board gets pulled in, and the chequered flag goes out. Max was closing on Rob fast, and was a certainty to get him on the next lap, when, just before Max got to the line, the chequered flag went out, Max powered off, Rob didn't and the leader (Russell) crossed the line a millisecond after Max. From where I was standing, It was difficult to see what was happening, so I thought Max may have misread the signal, and should have done another lap. A short panic session later, results were confirmed and we got 3rd. A look at the results showed how many teams failed to finish, and no doubt this is why we did so well, but that's what endurance racing is all about.
(Yes, I know, 1 hour is hardly Suzuka, but it's what we've got...........OK!).
The second One Hour was the Post Classic/ New Era race. Max and I teamed up again, this time on the Cagiva Mito. I didn't expect us to do any good in this race, as we were up against some very fast rider/bike combinations. I rode first again, and got a good start, but then I missed a gear change, and something locked up in the gearbox. I slowed, and pulled over to the side, when I managed to free whatever it was, and we got going again, in 33rd place. I got us back to 18th before the changeover, so I was relatively happy. Max got on, and rode well, considering (due to the ongoing mechanical repairs on the mori over the day before) he hadn't had a practice on this bike at all. three laps later, he pulled into the pits WITH THE GEARSHIFT LINKAGE HANGING LOOSE!. This is the bike that I'd ridden a full days practice, a four races Saturday, Two races and 30 mins of the current race, without a problem, and now this. I was beginning to think Max had offended some gearshift deity somehow! I quickly replaced the nut, after soaking it in Loctite, and Max rejoined the race in 33rd again. Max rode well, and got us back to 26th, and even scored our fastest lap of the race, assisted by a rapidly thinning out pack.
By this time we were both knackered. We did one more race, after which, the rain started lightly, and Max returned to the pit garage once more with the gear linkage hanging off. We looked at each other, and decided that it was a sign, so we called it quits!
At the Presentations, We were presented the third place trophy for the Motolite One Hour. I thought I might have been in with a chance at a podium for the New Era 125's, but when they announced me first, I was stunned. Again, a look at the results showed that both Rob and Sam were faster than I was (Sam by 8 seconds a lap), but through Sams injury, and Rob making a few small errors here and there, I was more consistent (just call me Nicky!)
1st Place New Era 125 Peter Wade, '94 Cagiva Mito #41
3rd Place Motolite One Hour Endurance P Wade/M Paterson '92 Moriwaki 80 #50
Team Witness Protection Racing
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