2016 NZ Junior Champs 12-14 125cc
2016 NZ Junior Champs Day 1. 12-14 125cc
22 April, Ngaruroro Raceway, Hastings.
This was planned as a 3-day event. The only question mark was what the weather would do on Sunday. Luckily there was only some light rain and so the racing went as planned: 2 races day 1, 2 races day 2 and 3 races day 3 for Vinny's class.
In practice we had agreed that as there were only 16 riders in his class, Vinny did not need a full-on attack for a good time. He took it easy and had a good look at the track but still qualified 11'th.
First go at Race 1 was cancelled and re-run, as four riders took the right turn after the start instead of turning left. (The tapes across the track were missing). Second try and all went well. Vinny was about 7'th at the holeshot. As the race goes on Vinny's placing is around 8'th - 12'th and he finishes in 9'th. The SI rider Grason takes 1'st and Reef from Hamilton 2'nd with Jesse from Auckland 3'rd. These three would have a 3-way race alone at the top in all 7 races.
In Race 2 Vinny upped his racing and was 6'th after the start. He held that spot until Lap 2 when he crashed and found himself in 13'th. He slowly started the climb back up but then another setback as he got a rear puncture. Vinny circulated and finished the race in 12'th gaining some important points! We were looking for some luck to go our way tomorrow and also would make some changes to the bike to help.
The three at the top finished in same order and it was already clear that if anyone wanted to beat Grason they needed to find some extra speed somewhere!
2016 NZ Junior Champs Day 2. 12-14yo 125cc
23 April, Ngaruroro Raceway, Hastings.
Vinny was sitting in 11'th after day one. Today we would focus on climbing inside top-ten. The bike had been given a once-over through the night. Quite a few things had been tweaked to make riding the track easier. (And the punctured rear tyre had been fixed too!)
In Race 3 (of the Champs) Vinny had an OK start and was in the middle of the group. He settled in to 9'th and finished the race in that spot. The race was won by Grason with Jesse 2'nd and Reef 3'rd.
Race 4 was harder work for Vinny. He was in 14'th at end of lap 1. He then worked hard and climbed up each lap to again finish in 9'th. Again Grason won, this time with Reef 2'nd and Jesse 3'rd.
The bike had developed a slightly slipping clutch so there was work to do in the dark again.
On Day 3 Vinny's class would have 3 rides. At end of day 2 Vinny had a good 9'th placing but we were hoping to be able to climb one, or perhaps 2 spots more on the last day!
2016 NZ Junior Champs Day 3, 12-14yo 125cc
24 April Ngaruroro Raceway, Hastings
The clutch had a rebuild over the night and now was grabbing well. Vinny was keen to get racing and cement his first top-ten in a NZ Champs. The full-on rain that had been promised never eventuated and even if the track was a little slippery first thing in the morning, it never really caused an issue for the riders.
In first race for the day (Race 5) Vinny had an average start and was sitting 9'th at the first doubles. In the turn after he dropped the bike and got going again in last. As the racing went on he slowly clawed his way back and finished in 12'th. This was the only race Vinny was lapped as Reef, who won this race, managed to pass him a few corners before te finish line. Grason also passed Vinny, but dropped his bike just before the finish and Vinny managed to go past him.
For Race 6 we decided to take a different approach; Vinny changed starting gate to the left, he was to be more aggressove in the start and then keep the speed up more. This worked well to starters as he was 6'th at end of lap 1. Then a crash and he dropped down to 12'th. He again chased hard and managed a 10'th at end of the race after an epic 3 lap battle with Cory! This was also Vinny's fastest race and he cut almost 10 seconds of his best lap time! Vinny was now sitting in 9'th in the championships with one race to go!
In the final race Vinny had his best start and was in 5'th for the first lap. Then disaster! In a double at the back of the track Vinny gets it wrong and cases the bike on landing. He crashes out and breaks the tibia and fibular of his right leg just above the ankle. That is the end of his NZ Champs for this year and he gets a DNF in the race placing him just outside the goal in 11'th. Still his best NZ Champs by far, but it is frustrating as we were so close to the elusive top-ten finish. Next Year!!!
Grason takes the win with 6 x 1'st placings, Reef comes second and Jesse is 3'rd. Congrats to the three of them who were never challenged by the rest of the riders the whole day!