The first round of the Bridgestone VMCC Winter Series kicked off at Manfeild Autocourse over the weekend. Nathan, my dad and I made the 7 hour trek after work Friday for the practice day being held on Saturday. It was a total mission, arriving at 2.30am thanks to the Auckland traffic but 110% worth the effort. It was the first time Nathan and I had ridden the track and were both hyped to get out there and do as many laps as we could.
I rolled out in the beginners group on the Chandler's street stock bike to make some mental notes on lines and track surface. The track was tighter than I was expecting with many opening corners and some hard braking. This at least gives us 125 riders a chance against the bigger bikes in the intermediate trophy class. Nathan and I settled into our rhythm and set some base times at about 1:19.0. Manfeild is a fun track on a 125 with 5 corners in a row which favour the late braking and high corner speed 125s. The bigger bikes definitely have it over us in the later part of the straights but thankfully they aren't very long like Hampton Downs is.
Lady luck was not in a good mood Sunday morning. Starting with a flat tyre on the van on the way to the track, it carried onto the routine top end replacement when the piston pin was frozen into the piston! The Vertex pin had failed and the bearing had worn an overheated groove into it. My last bit of bad luck came when we found a chip in the nikasil cylinder coating which was the final K.O to my bike for the weekend. I have to say a giant and warm thank you to the most awesome racing family I've ever met, the Chandlers. They carry a spare RS125 with them to race meetings, usually set up as a wet racing bike and used in case of emergency. Many aspiring riders have tried out a 125GP bike due to their generosity and Mike didn't hesitate for a second in offering me a ride on it in my time of bad luck. Thanks again Chandlers!
I qualified on the 3rd row in both the intermediate trophy an intermediate sprint grids which I was fairly happy with given the large grid sizes. In the first race I placed 9th from 27 on the grid after a few tough battles and a hairy first corner traffic jam. Regan run out of brakes on his GPR VFR400 and I got through him on the final corner. The second race (Intermediate Sprint) I posted a 1:17.9s PB to finish 8th from 18. I also ducked under Nathan in the final corner of the race and got him over the line by 0.2s. Third race, 9th again from 23 starters and I pegged the PB down at 1:17.616 but couldn't get in front of Nathan (7th) and Steven Greg (8th) due to being held up by some bigger bikes. In the last corner of the last lap of race 4, a combination of poor lighting and the person in front of me braking whilst I tried to launch an attack made me pick up the bike and run onto the grass, then the gravel trap, ouch.
I had thrown the loaned bike into the gravel trap and covered myself in mud. Thankfully the only damage was a lost foot peg, some fairing cracks and my ego. Sorry for crashing your bike Mike and Rogan! I missed the next race and the remaining races of the day got cancelled due to unfortunate accidents causing a hold up earlier in the day. No worries from me because by then I was shattered from driving, racing and excitement.
A massive thanks for all those that helped us Aucklanders over the weekend with places to stay, advice, a spare bike and good times. Also a massive thanks to those at the VMCC who have organised such a fun and race filled series, it's 110% worth the trip down for. I hope we do make it down again soon for another round but for now I'm focusing on the unfortunate engine rebuild on my hands.