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Published on June 20th, 2008 | by Dino

PROJECT BIKE ME! RACE BIKE – PART XIII

I set the alarm for 4am and hit the hay, I should have been a considerable way down the Hume highway already but alas work commitments got in the way of play as usual.

A while later, I opened my eyes and stared at the sealing It was dark and I assumed it was getting on for four-ish. As usual I had beaten the alarm.

I lay for a short while waiting for it to bleat and whine and got impatient enough to check my watch.

Bugger! It was only 2am.

Well I was awake now so I got up and boiled the jug, made a cup of steaming hot tea in my travel mug and headed out to the ute.

It was already loaded with my bike and all my gear for the weekend’s racing.

I set the Tom Tom to Mount Gambier and hit the road.

Lovely. Only 14 hours and 35 minutes to my estimated time of arrival at around 5.30 Thursday arvo.

It’s a fair old drive on your own, but I made it without incident and unloaded the bike in my allocated pit garage at Mac Park Race Way in sunny South Australia, then retired to the adjacent camping area and set up my swag next to a couple of fellow BEARS racers, also from NSW.

We got a good fire going and settled in for the night with stories and fables of racers from the past and our own past experiences at this tricky and challenging little track.

Soon enough the beer, scotch and effects of the long drive caught up with us and we crashed for the night.

Friday morning came round far too soon and the frantic activity which belays motor sport meetings all over the world made it impossible to stay in the cosy confines of my warm swag any longer. So I got up and joined the fray.

Dino suits up

Dino suits up…

It was a dry day so practice went well. I seemed to be keeping pace with Chris Panayi (my rival for the F2 championship). After speaking to him later that day he mentioned he had just finished a round of Super Stock in Tassie and his bike was still set up for it — i.e. the same spec as mine.

I was a little disappointed when it was soon very evident that it wasn’t going to stay that way and sure enough he stripped all the stock bits off it and replaced them with the go faster goodies, i.e. slipper clutch, velocity stacks, rear sets, Full Arrows System etc, etc.

Dino hot on the heels

Dino hot on the heels…

These were things I didn’t have, but make no mistake, if I did have them I would have done the same, no question.

We scrutineered the bikes then bedded them down for the night, showered and set off into town to dine with a bunch of BEARS guys and gals at a Chinese joint on the main drag.

Got back to the camping area around 10pm, had a couple of ales and hit the swag.

Saturday was a prick of a day for racing, it started OK with a dry qualifying race, I got a shit start and got swallowed up by a plethora of bikes but fought my way back to second. Only Chris beat me for pole.

Then the day got really ugly. It was dry then it was wet, then it was dry again. This meant we were swapping wheels again and again from wets back to dry and back to wets again.

The first race was a dash just to get on the grid after a late decision to go back to wets and consequentially I didn’t get a warm up lap, which was a worry because my rear wet tyre was a borrowed one and I didn’t know the vintage!!

Red light out and away we went. I got a good start but it was soon evident that my rear tyre was a definite vintage, probably about 10 years old as the grip offered was crap and I slid home to claim second place after a few excursions from my seat when the tyre would let go with no warning and almost high side me out of some of the tighter corners.

The second race was wet too and again 10 minutes before we were due to enter the track it was dry. This caused a mass panic to get the wheels changed back to wets when the heavens opened with just a few minutes to go.

The track was much wetter this race and my rear tyre hated it even more than the first race but I still managed to secure second, finishing behind Chris again.

Saturday night was spent at the camp site with a big fire (mandatory during any type of camping) and good company and I soon found my way into my swag only to be awakened in the wee hours by a massive downpour that got in through the bottom of my swag and drenched my bloody feet making it a touch uncomfortable.

Sunday came soon enough and racing got under way. It was touch and go with the weather but we got both races in the dry, the first event free and second position again.

The second didn’t go well from the start. After mis-reading the intentions of another 675 in the warm up I found myself on the grass adjacent to the main strait at about 170kph and had a real fight to slow it down enough to miss the quick sand [which doubles as the gravel trap] at the end of the strait and get back on the track to grid up for the start, receiving a few peculiar looks on the way to my grid position.

I ran off the track a couple of times in this race just trying too hard with late braking to make up for my deficit in horsepower, thus getting into some real dog fighting with Fergus on his trick Ducati Hypermotard.

Another second position and now 24 points behind Chris for the championship. It was a challenging and rewarding weekend’s racing and no one got hurt which is always a plus.

Now for the 14 and a half hour slog home, but that’s just a part of the price we pay to compete in the best sport in the world.

Dino would like to say a big “thank you” to the following, for their help and generosity.

  • Steve Eric Arthur & Roger at Motorcycle Weaponry
  • Mat Mladin, Geoff Bonfield & all at Mat Mladin Imports
  • Carl Barnard from GB Racing Products, Australia
  • Dataloc: Thanks for the art work Col
  • Ray at Easyrider Imports
  • OLEON Specialty oils & lubricants
  • Wayne McDonald Tune Boy
Black Power salute

During his time with his homies in the ‘hood, Dino learned the Black Power salute

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