Last year the Mike Pero Southern Classic was such a banger of an event my mates hounded me for weeks to make sure I get down there for the next one. That was pretty easy to organise now that I live here except the closest thing I own to a classic is my 1991 Honda NF4 RS125 chassis F5 bike. It runs a Derbi GPR50 engine making 15.6hp and was built by David Trustram in Wellington. I spent all last week tidying it up, having some new fairings painted, new sprockets machined and ready for 3 days of track abuse. The little girl didn't disappoint!
32 degrees air temp, 38% humidity and a proper cloud in sight. The weekend was a total scooorcher! With 8 grids packed to the brim with bikes, it was always going to be a hectic weekend. I ran my 50 in with the F4 bikes (150 4 strokes), 150 street stocks (150cc 2 strokes) and 250 4 strokes. Thankfully we were racing at Levels Raceway which is truly a leveller because with so many complex corners, you can take down some much bigger bikes if you're pushing hard. In qualifying I put the 50 into second place in F4 and 7th on the 27 deep grid. Stoked as hell at that. A few more turned up on Saturday and we ended up with 35 in the field.
I call Christchurch the 2 stroke capital of New Zealand (among other things) for good reason. There are sooooo many smokers with even more enthusiastic 2 stroke racers. You can imagine then the fields of 2 strokes which turn up to an event such as the Southern Classic. Just off the top of my head I saw: a 4DP TZ250, a whole marque of older TZ250s and TZ350s, RGV250s, 2 95 RS125s, a NF4 RS125, reverse cylinder TZs, a '81 125GP Waddon, at least 4 Aprilia RS250s, and a CR500. Another thing that makes this event so good is that everyone camps at the track. The pits are stuffed to the brim with racing legends who are keen for a yarn, a BBQ and a beer after the track closes. It's a completely different atmosphere to the nationals championship. I camp even at the nationals anyway so this was a little entree to that goodness.
Race 1 went super well for me as I was able to work my way up to a group of 250s and get a hell tow worth another 10km/hr down the chute. I put in my fastest time of the weekend that race, a 1:20.751 which was the 4th fastest time of the whole grid. Chuuuuffed. I ended up 3rd F4/5 in that race. No one else is smart (stupid?) enough to race 50s in the south island so I'm claiming that as the F5 lap record. Yew!
Race 2 I wasn't able to get any tow and was dropped by the 250s on the start. Matt Hoogie came through the field on his FXR150 and I ended up in 4th.
Race 3 got pushed to Sunday morning from too many disruptions in the schedule which was fine by me. I got a wicked start and again worked my way into a good position chasing some fast riders. I got a double slip stream from Dean on his 250 then another rider on a 150 before running out of top gear. Still tucked in for the fast turn 4 I slightly rolled off and she nipped up on me. Over I went, onto my side, onto my head, and down the road into the grass. I dragged the 50 off the track and started coughing blood into my helmet. Lots of blood. That's definitely the most shaken up I've ever been in a crash. I got carted off to Timaru Hospital to be taken care of. Bruised lungs and ribs was the diagnosis besides the road rash and body aches. I'm out now and doing well although my lungs are feeling pretty tender. Thanks once again to all the legends who looked after me and helped me out after all that. Eternally thankful to have mates like you.
Before I got punted, I took a few photos of my friends racing their 2 strokes around. Have a gander: