Hughie Hoare Memorial Meeting
2-3 December 2006
Does life get any better? I'm not sure I could handle it if it did!
The 9 hour drive from Sydney to Broadford was thankfully broken into two legs, when Michael Combley (Team Mad Dog Racing) and I decided to spend Thursday night at my Mum's place at Holbrook, about 40 mins north of the NSW/Victorian border. A relaxed evening, great feed, a few quiet beers, and an early night, followed by a cooked breakfast and a leisurely run down the Hume Highway to Broadford. We arrived at the (mostly deserted) track mid afternoon, which allowed us to get our pick of pit garages, unload everything, get set up and do some last minute jobs on the bikes, all at an unhurried pace. Not long after we got there, Superbike Legend Robbie Phillis arrived. Robbie has been there and done that when it comes to Superbike racing in this country and on the international stage, but he hasn't lost the infectious enthusiasm for any and all bikes. This was demonstrated when a couple more PCRA punters, Ian and Lloyd turned up with Ians 1970 Yamaha 350 and Lloyds 1993 CBR600F2. Robbie came over for a chat, and was extremely chuffed to see the old Yammy still going strong. Robbie resurrected his old 1980 Mick Hone Racing GSX1100, the same one he won the 1980 Australian Superbike Championship on, and has been racing in Post Classic classes for the past year, culminating in two more Australian Championships, in the Period 5 350 and Unlimited titles.
Saturday Morning, we arrived at the track early. I had the opportunity on the Friday to walk the track, but I was anxious to do some laps at pace. I did the qualifying sessions for the Bucket/Superlite/Motolite/ Clubsport classes, and when I looked at the time sheets, I thought I was going to cop a hiding. I was a good 3 seconds a lap slower than everyone else. While it's not real good, it's understandable considering I'd never seen the track before! Fortunately when the first race came around, the red mist came down, and I rode as hard as I could. I wasn't tidy, I wasn't smooth, I was just determined, and it seemed to work. Michael, on his TZ125 framed, YZ80 engined Motolite, was a good 200 metres in front of me and gaining. I came second in that race, and was running second in the second race, when I had a brain fart, ran off the track, and when I got back on the track, my gearshift locked up. By the time I got it sorted, I was sixth. I managed to regain a couple of places to run fourth.
The Preston Motorcycle club put on a BBQ on Saturday Night. Bloody Fantastic! Michael and I were staying in Kilmore, 10 Kms away, so I had to behave. After dinner, we drove to Kilmore, parked at the motel ,and walked to the pub.
Sunday morning, I won 3 out of 3 races. It should be noted that (A), Victorian clubs don't run the same Motolite rules as NSW, and (B) Michael had mechanical problems, so I was the fastest bike in our class. The other guys in the class were riding the wheels off their bikes, and I had some great races. One bloke, Andrew, passed me under brakes where I was least expecting it, I slipstreamed him and passed him on the straight, and then he came back past me under brakes, We touched elbows going through turn 1, and eventually I got the better run onto the back straight. I spoke to him after, hoping that I didn't baulk him. He laughed, said he had a lot of fun, and we ended up chatting for a while, with a few of the guys commiting to come to the Barry Sheene memorial in March next year. The Clubsport class was essentially production 250 4 strokes, and so I had some good runs with those guys, but the front runners were usually well in front of me.
After lunch, the 45 minute races were on. The option existed to have a two bike, or two rider team, but I rode by myself. I had one of the most experienced Victorian riders giving me a hurry up any time I relaxed. Every time I screwed up a corner, this guy ducked underneath me, leaving me to be impressed with his skill for a whole microsecond, before I cracked the throttle and chased after him. After 45 minutes, I took the chequered flag, although it was hard to tell where I stood in the order of things. I knew I was either first or second, but until I saw something confirmed, I wasn't saying anything. At the presentations, Adam “Krusty” Fergusson (2005 Australian Superbike/Supersport Champion) gave me the trophy for the endurance race win, and a cheque for $600.
The weekend was one of the most fun I have had in a long time. I wanted to do well, being that it was Uncle Hughies Memorial, but I didn't expect to clean up! The comaraderie amongst the Victorian racers was the same as we have in Sydney, which just makes the atmosphere in the pits outstanding. When I came in after one race with a broken engine mounting bolt, Ronnie Matthews, a stalwart of the Preston club, just happened to have a suitable bolt and was happy to lend it to me, on the proviso that he got it back at the end of the meeting, because it took him a while to find in the first place. You can't repay that kind of generosity from a close friend, let alone someone you've only met a couple of times before. Michael and I had an agenda before we arrived there, to attract as many riders as possible to the Barry Sheene Meeting next year, As we drove out on Sunday evening we had a second agenda. To get as many PCRA members to the Hughie Hoare Memorial in 2007.