Results and times here
Pole position by 0.136 seconds. 2nd place, my first national 1st place, and a crash in the NZ Grand Prix whilst leading.
I’ve been looking forward to this event since we ran here a year ago. Anticipation is high! Christchurch’s Ruapuna circuit is highly technical, physically demanding and twisty which suits our 125GP bikes perfectly. Having learnt to race on go-kart tracks, this is also my kind of circuit, the kind of circuit which brings out the best in me. I also love this round because we generally get the biggest grid of 125s and this weekend is no different. Ten Honda NX4 RS125s turned up for a full blown alleyway knife fight!
Preparation is fundamental to grand prix racing so I made sure I got every bit of practice. On Thursday I did 6 20 minute sessions to break in my mind and pick up where I left off here last year. Confidence was high having gotten close to my PB and the bike was running really strong. Friday practice went bloody well again with loads of laps and continued improvement through-out the day despite running laps by myself. In the last 2 sessions I jetted down in line with what I normally run back home as the temperatures really came up and I seized it into turn one. Thankfully my 2 stroke senses have improved and I kept it upright into the grass. I’m still really unsure why as there were no air leaks and the jetting seemed really sensible. More investigation required. On went the spare barrel and a new piston, a few heat cycles before bed and we were ready for the race weekend!
It’s pretty hectic trying to race to your best at a national event and do all the spannering on your race bike so naturally, sometimes you screw up. I didn’t torque up my front sprocket bolt to what it should be and it came off in Saturday morning practice, killing a brand new chain, brand new sprocket and kicking my mental momentum right in the crotch. Again I escaped a crash and injury. Phew! Another new chain and the old sprocket and we were going again. Mental momentum and confidence is everything to a racer so I knew I had to do something drastic to come back in qualifying. I lined up first on the dummy grid for qualifying with the blinkers on and to my luck local racer and 2015 125GP champion Sam Davidson pushed in front on his SV650 pro-twin. I chased him out the gate with everything I had, the red mist fell over and I raced him for 2 ½ laps, right on his ass through the twisty bits and slip streaming him across the line. I took pole by 0.136 seconds from Chris Wallinger. Ace! Stoked! Absolutely fizzing. My first 125GP pole position and back in the game.
Race 1 rolled on and after a crap start 2014 125GP champion Matt Hoogenboezem and I got into a proper scrap for 1st place. I got into 1st and held him out through the faster bits of the track where he was strongest and then ran wide on the hair pin throwing away any chance of victory with it. 2nd place. I’ll take it. Race 2 and another crap start. I wasted no time and charged through the field and stretched a solid gap to take 1st place by 4.5 seconds. Over the moon! My first national level win. Beaming. Race 3, the New Zealand Grand Prix title race. I charged to the front again feeling 200% confident after the last race win. I had one hand on the trophy. Through the slow mid field corners I put the bike on its ear and railed it through the dipper, too shallow a line this time though and a little too hard on the gas and down I went, the rear came 180 on me. Loads of swearing, mountains of disappointment and that was that.
I had proven to myself I have the pace to run at the front. I had proven to myself that I could turn the odds and some poor luck around. And I had been painfully reminded that patience and consistency was equally as important as anything. Now I have to wait another year to contest the New Zealand Grand Prix title and another year to try reclaim first place at my favourite south island round, Ruapuna.