2014 July - December Racing
Please scroll down to find all entries for July - December 2014
Summer Cross, Awakaponga Whakatane. 27 December 2014
A tough day "at the office" for Vinnys first race meeting, at Summer Cross in Awakaponga Bay of Plenty, after a 2 months break!!
We had a practice at Tokoroa to make sure all was well with the 85 bike. After no spark we had swapped the plug and the bike started well. Problem sorted.... And the clutch master cylinder was leaking so a new 'plunger' was ordered plus a new rear brake disc.
When the disc turned up it was the wrong size so we would have to survive with the old one. But the clutch plunger arrived and I fitted it in the master cylinder. We were ready!
We arrived on Friday and camped on site. Nice and warm weather, and some burgers we made on our camping stove kept us happy.
Saturday looked good. No rain and a cloud cover that stopped the sun from burning us.
The bike started 2'nd kick and Vinny rode to the startline for the 12-13yo 85cc practice. He turned off the bike and waited for the start... and the bike never started again no matter how we pushed. kicked and prodded. Back to the pits to look deeper in to it. Second time in 3 years of 85cc racing we did not have a spare bike with us and exactly the same problem, a dead stator! (We had sold the spare 85 to buy the 125 that Vinny is still to race with).
That would have been the end of it... But we learnt that Jacob Beals KTM had a developed a noisy main bearing ending his riding for the day. We borrowed his stator (thanks a Million Jacob!!) and Vinny's bike was alive again! We just made it to the starting line for Race 1 and there was a chance for some riding.
But a lap in the new clutch plunger seized and left the clutch on. A DNF for Vinny.
Back in the pits I found that the O-ring on the new plunger had swollen and jammed the plunger. (a brand new unit and using the KTM recommended/supplied hydraulic clutch fluid...what?). Some White Man Magic and the clutch was again usable and Vinny was lined up for Race 2.
OK start and Vinny looked good as he settled in to 9'th (of 37 riders). He was keeping ahead of Carlin and Leroy lap after lap at times pulling a little ahead but never getting away. Then on the last lap the presure took its toll and a small mistake allowed both past. Vinny finished 11'th and his racing had looked good. He also loved it and could not wait for Race 3 where he wanted to climb a few spots...
That was before he forgot to turn on the fuel tap at the starting gates. (Hear me scream in the video...) Vinny started the chase from 10 seconds behind. He passed the backmarkers before end of lap one and by end of the race had worked him self just past half the field to 18'th. That gave him a DNF, 11'th and a 18'th for a 24'th in the Champs.
Clearly this was not the return to MX we had planned for. But we all have one of these days. We never came here for placings but to do some good riding, plus in Race 2 and 3 Vinny got just that. Now a couple weeks until Valley Champs in Patetonga!
Waikato Champs, 1 November 2014
Vinny had less than a month ago moved up a grade to 13-16yo 85cc and found the transition hard. There were faster riders, more pressure and expectations that he put on himself. He also had a poor NI Champs here a few weeks ago where the muddy track caused him many issues and he blew the motor. So we came to Waikato Champs to learn the track and not so much to fight for positions. But it did not really work out.
In practice Vinny looked good and was around 10’th fastest out of the 27 rider group.
Vinnys start in Race 1 was not what we had expected and he found himself in 19’th place at the holeshot. (When looking closely at the video of the start, we can see that Vinny’s comment after the race that the r/h side (from the riders view) started earlier, were correct. The starter first releases the r/h side riders and then a second later Vinny’s l/h side riders. A second is a big margin at the start and we estimated that he would have been approx. 10’th at the first corner if his side had been released first…).
Then at end of lap 1 (can be seen on video) Vinny crashes and gets back up in 24’th place. He soon passes a few riders and finds his rhythm (even clearing table tops in same fashion as the top riders!). Vinny’s riding started looking good. But on lap 3 a second crash where he hits his head and shoulder on the hard ground. Vinny gets up and finishes the race but is now 27’th and last.
Vinny is not feeling well and we decide to put a halt to his riding, pack up and travel home. Luckily he is OK apart from a sore shoulder and a new selection of bruises and scratches
20'th in 12-16 85cc class at MX Fest in Taupo is middle of the pack for Vinny.
We knew it would be hard to get in to top 10 (even if it was our aim) as so many top 13-16 riders were here. But we aimed to try! There was about 45 riders who had entered, and with only 40 gates being available the extras became reserves. As the meeting went on the numbers dropped and all got a chance to ride.
It was a perfect day for MX with 18 degrees and sunshine. Very little wind and a well prepared track made it even better.
Vinny had blown the motor at NI Champs a couple of weeks ago. So we had fitted a new barrel and piston. He had been out on the bike twice to run it in and informed that all was well. Sadly that was not the case as we found out in Race 1. Once the pressure came on we learnt that the clutch had also worn out at NI Champs! (This was a 2 race meetings old clutch...)
Vinny worked as hard as he could to stay inside top 20 in the first race. But the slipping clutch, plus a constant missfiring at high revs made it tricky and he placed 23'rd.
Before Race 2 we had swapped clutch, rear brake disc, carburettor and tested our range of main jets. The rear brake issue he reported (that the brake was either on or off..) was sorted. The clutch was sorted. But the missfiring at high revs was only marginally better. Once on the starting line I had one of those "clarity" moments... The motor had overheated at NI Champs, so the spark plug would most probably be faulty too... With only a few minutes to start I managed to get back to the pits, grab a new spark plug, get back to the gate and swap the plug. Problem solved! (Now in hindsight it seems so obvious, but...).
A better start and sitting in 19'th gave hope. That was before Vinnys only crash on the day. He lost 2 places but claimed one back finishing in 20'th.
Race 3 was Vinny's best one and after a scare at the start, (where another rider caught his handlebars in Vinnys MX Vest) and where I expected a crash that luckily did not eventuate (the other rider crashed, see vid), he settled in to race with two riders who were a few spots above him in the results after Race 2. They stayed together the whole race and all had areas of the track where they were faster than the others. Vinny got his best placing of the day; 18'th. As a result he placed 20'th in the Championship. Clearly not what we came looking for and we are now trying to figure out why he did not preform as he did last time here a month ago. Sure, that was in the 11-12yo class, so we knew that this would be much harder. But...
We have work to do!
And for the record: Maximus Purvis won all three races, even if he at times had to come from behind. Trent Collins 2'nd and Hayden Smith 3'rd kept him honest! But as the top ten from each class also did ride in the Trent Haywood Memorial Race, and the points from that race would also count towards the final result in the 12-16yo 85cc, it was all still open. And so in the Memorial Race Trent Collins managed a 9'th with Hayden a 12'th and Maximus a lowly 21'st after a crash. So the final podium results in the 12-16yo 85cc were Trent 1'st, Maxumus 2'nd and Hayden 3'rd!
1 1/2h MX, Hawkes Bay MCC Round 1
Sunday 12 October
With the 2013 motor still awaiting the bits to fix the damage from NI Junior Champs ( New piston and barrel are on the way) we fitted the 2011 engine in the frame and were ready for racing!
A warm Sunday greeted us at the track that was set-up in a large paddock close to the hills 40 minutes outside Hastings. There was enough of small hills to make the riding interesting and a little of a challenge.
For the Juniors 18 riders lined up for the 85cc class and 9 for the 125cc class. The start was a "Le Mans" one where, at the start shot (shotgun used!), the riders had to run to their bikes held up by the support person, kick the bike in to life and take off. Vinny tangled with another rider when running to the bike and then did not get going straight away. But with 1 1/2 hour of racing ahead of him there was no major panic.
At end of the first lap Reece, from the 125 class, was way ahead of everyone on his KTM (has just changed from Yamaha). He would go on to easily win the 125cc race. In the 85cc class Jacob was in the lead with Ben second. Vinny was in 5'th but slowly climbing up.
We had decided for two fuel stops making it three 30 minute intervals of racing. At the first stop Vinny had climbed up to 3'rd after Jacob and Ben. Then Jacob crashed giving Ben the lead with Vinny in 2'nd. Both boys were running at approx same speed but Ben was about a half lap ahead of Vinny. (Jacob continued racing but only at slow speed to the finish).
At his second fuel-stop Vinny came out in a group of other 85cc riders, but we did not know where they fitted in. He managed to pass them all. But closer to the end Cameron caught up with Vinny and managed to finish just ahead of him. Ben won the 85cc race, Cameron just managed to hold on to 2'nd and Vinny placed 3'rd. All three boys completed 31 laps.
Vinny loved the 1 1/2 hour format of fast racing and only made a small mistake when throttling on too much in a corner making him cut the corner. But as he did not get any advantage from this it did not matter.
The 2'nd round is run same weekend as Waikato Champs. As the Juniors ride on Saturday in Waikato we might come back for the Sunday to complete this series. And we really hope the bits for Vinnys 2013 motor are here by then!
North Island Junior Championships, North King Country MCC, Otorohanga
3-4 October 2014
This was Vinny’s first race in the 13-16yo 85cc class. (He turned 13 two days before the Champs…). We had no expectations of a top placing. In fact the reason we came here was that the NZ Junior Champs will be held here in April 2015, so Vinny will need time on this track before then. The only time we have been here was in 2012 for the Waikato Champs while Vinny was riding in the 9-11yo 65cc Mini class.
We had decided to drive up on Saturday morning, and at 3.30am we were on the road. When we were half way between Napier and Taupo we hit a snow storm! Yep. The speed dropped to 40K/h and we had problems seeing the road. Once in Taupo the storm loosened it's grip. But we had lost approx 45 minutes when looking at the plan. We made it to the track 2 minutes before sign-in ended...
Saturday was a very soggy day and after trying to complete the practice the club decided that this was it for the day, and the format would change from a 5 race one over two days to a 3 race one on Sunday only. Vinny only managed two laps in practice and had 3-4 crashes. This would be a looong weekend...
After staying the night in Otorohanga we were back at 7am the next day, and even if the rain from Saturday had stopped the track was still very wet and soggy. We had considered pulling out, but decided to stay and do our best. (In hindsight it might have been a good decision to pack up as we now have a blown engine to repair…)
In Race 1 Vinny struggled and had a few crashes. He placed 18’th from the 24 riders.
In Race 2 the track had started to become a little easier to ride. But with a crash Vinny dropped to 20’th and still struggled on the loose clay surface.
For Race 3 we decided that he would give it all he had. Initially it looked good and he even got some air in the jumps. But he lost compression on lap 2 and crashed. The motor would not start and that was it.
Vinny placed a lowly 20’th in the NI Junior Champs from 24 riders who turned up (36 had been registered). But we will come back to this track many times before the NZ Champs in 2015 with the aim to master its difficulties. Next up here is the Waikato Champs in beginning of November and then their summer series.
Now the motor needs rebuilding. Anyone has a 2013 barrel and piston kit for sale cheap…??
Vinny leaves his best to last!
Round 6 (final) Taupo Winter Series 28 October 2014
We had entered this years Taupo Winter Series with the aim of a podium finish. Sadly a broken collarboe two days before Round 4 meant it would not happen even if all had been on track until then.
This being the last round Vinny felt he had something to prove. We had spent time with Broxy here a few weeks ago to finetune Vinnys riding and find a few seconds per lap.
The prognosis was for rain, but apart from a short shower it was all fine even if windy (particular in Race 3...).
In Race 1 Vinny came out well and was 2'nd at the holeshot when hit from behind by a rider who was crashing. Vinny got up fast and was back racing, but now in approx 15'th place of the 20 riders. At end of lap 1 he had climbed up to 7'th, and by end of lap 2 he was in 5'th. That was where he finished. But as Hunter and Zac (who both finished ahead of Vinny) had elected not to use transponders Vinny's official placing was 3'rd. It was clear that the Broxy coaching here at Taupo had made a difference!
Race 2 started better and Vinny came out of holeshot corner in 5'th. At end of lap 1 he was in 3'rd and by end of lap 2 he was in the lead! There was only two riders challenging him: Zac and Hunter, but with Vinny having his best ride of the series they could only hang on. On second-to-last lap Hunter passed Zac over the doubles as Zac did not jump them. But it was clear that for Hunter to beat Vinny he would have to pull a rabbit out of his hat...and he did just that. On the last lap Hunter put all on one card and jumped both doubles at the back (Vinny was only doing the second one) and managed to pass Vinny. Once Hunter was ahead Vinny only managed to stay with him but not find anywhere to pass in the final 1/2 lap. Officially Vinny won the race, but he really wanted to beat Hunter too!
Before Race 3 the wind really picked up. It became a little of a gamble doing jumps and all riders made shorter ones. Vinny really struggled with the wind and settled for a 4'th (officially 2'nd) after Hunter, Zak and Dylan.
The official placings of 3'rd, 1'st and 2'nd gave Vinny his first Rounds win of the series! He finished the series in 5'th and we are happy with that even if a podium would have been nice. But the encouraging thing here was Vinnys development as a rider.
Vinny will turn 13 on Thursday and will move up to the 13-16yo 85cc class, plus start riding in the 12-14yo 125cc class as soon as we find a suitable bike.
Thanks to all our sponsors who make all this possible:
MOTOZ ( Thor MX NZ ) that provides the best gripping tyres!!
Motomuck that make the cleaning up a breeze!
Motocrossvestnz Motocrossvestnz that keeps Vinny safe!
Broxy Rider Coaching who has made a big difference in Vinnys riding!
Sandra who provides support we could not be without!!
Hawke's Bay Champs, Round 2. Sunday 21 September.
R2 was held at the Dick Gurkel track in Sherenden on Napier-Taihape Rd. This is where the old HBMCC MX track is situated, but as the track has not been used for a few years it would have needed quite a few hours work to bring back to shape. As this Champs is run on mainly natural terrain tracks there was no major work needed. Some parts of the old track were used but all was now overgrown with grass.
In Race 1 Vinny took the holeshot and pulled away from start. Only Ben was able to hang on. But a crash on lapt two by Ben opened the gap even more and even if Vinny also had a small off in the mud it was never a question of who would win this race. V1 - B0
Vinny started Race 2 with another holeshot and kept the lead, but Ben did not let the gap grow too big. And when, on lap 2, Vinny selected a wrong rut and half the bike was swollowed by the mud (True! Check the vid), Ben passed and won the race leaving Vinny in 2'nd. V1 - B1
Before Race 3 Vinny had spent the time out studying the track and he felt confident he had found a few places where he could make better choices and be faster. At the start he decided not to use the ruts, but start from a clean grass patch. Wrong choice, as he did not get the traction and found him self in 4'h. He was soon in second after the big muddy uphill (where he always took the most direct path of the 12 riders) only to crash and let Ben away. Once back riding Vinny was in 5'th and he started the chase. At start of the last lap Vinny was again in 2'nd and had cut Ben's lead to 7 seconds. At halfway he caught Ben but got held up in the mud and Ben managed to keep the lead. But not for long. In the back-section Vinny used the knowledge he had gathered when studying the track before the race and easily passed Ben for the win. V2 - B1
The win was well deserved and I was very proud of Vinny and that he had come up with how to beat Ben by himself. But thanks to Ben winning the second race Vinny now goes in to the last round 14 points behind and even if Vinny wins all three races it will still be 5 points short of winning the Champs if Ben places 2'nd in them all.
It was very interesting to watch the two of them ride as they have a very different approach. Ben rides very safely and takes very few chances. He will ride on the grass in muddy corners taking longer but limiting the chance of falling. Vinny has a much more direct approach where he will attack the mud with the throttle open and pick the shortest way around. I put this difference in riding down to Ben's cross-country riding experience v. Vinnys mainly MX track riding experience.
Hawke's Bay Champs Round 1 Sunday 14 September 2014.
This Champs is shared between HBMCC and Central HBMCC. Three rounds of racing. First round was held outside Waipukurau on a natural terrain track that had been set-up on a farm. Rolling hills, dirt, rain and a chilly day was the recipe.
Eight riders turned up for the 8-12yo 85cc class. They had a split start together with the 13-16yo 85cc class that had only four riders for the day.
In Race 1 Vinny came out firing and took the holeshot and managed a good lead when turning in to disappear around the back of the hill. But that was as far as he got. He got off track and hit his knee hard in to one of the wooden markers and then he crashed. After getting back up he only managed a few hundred meters before he crashed again. He was now last and had all the work to do. The track was unforgiving and riders got stuck or crashed all over the place. Ben, who came second after Vinny in the Magic Series, loved the track and easily took the win. Vinny climbed back up to fourth at the chequered flag.
For Race 2 Vinny's orders were to stay up and try to hang on to Ben. He managed this for two laps before he crashed again...twice. Another win for Ben and another fourth for Vinny.
By Race 3 the rain had made the tricky track even harder to get around and apart from Ben, who was unstoppable on the day, everyone else had a misshap or two. Vinny was in second when he had his crash, but quickly got back up and finished in second.
Vinny is now 17 points behind Ben and will have to win all six races left in the Champs to claim the win. It will be tough, but has to be our aim! Next round is in a week and we are hoping for a dry and hard track!
Winter Cross 2014. 13 September, Foxton NZ.
Held by Gold Coast MCC.
This was the inaugural Winter Cross. The club has a good track very well suited for the occasion. Being sand-based (think yellow beach type sand) it can handle the rain th...at normally is associated with winter here. But this day there was no rain. A pleasant 18 degrees all day, a friendly athmosphere and good racing was what we got.
As mentioned, the track is a sand one. Heaps of loose sand, heavy in corners and deceptive on the straights. Get your jump wrong and you will loose it in the sand.
The 13-16yo 85cc, 8-11yo 'Pro' 65cc and 8-12yo 85cc would all race together and start at the same time. Vinny's 8-12yo class had 12 starters, but the other two a disappointing three riders each. The Mini's (who raced on a separate Mini track) had trophies down to 5'th place, but all Junior and Senior classes would get prizemoney only. The prize-money in each class would be 50% of that class' entry fees and paid to the three podium finishers. We liked this idea as MX is costly and every little bit helps!
We had spent two days practicing here a few weekends ago and Vinny had managed to cut close to 20 seconds of his lap time then. We knew it would not be enough to beat the ones who had this as their home track. But we were hoping that it would be enough for a podium.
In Race 1 Vinny started well and was in the front group (where the three 13-16yo riders all were too). On Lap 2 he was sitting in 2'nd in his class after Hunter Miller. (We knew Hunter would be fast here on his home track, but that there was still 10 seconds/lap that Vinny would have to cut to stay with Hunter was a surprise!). Then a crash as he was hit in the backwheel in a corner. On next lap a second crash in the uphill corner and then on the last lap a third crash after a small table-top. We did not know where he finished, but were hoping that his fast riding would have limited the damage. Vinny placed 4'th so there was still time to climb up on the podium!
For Race 2 we had agreed that it would be almost impossible to beat Hunter, so we would aim for 2'nd in the Championship by trying to get 2'nd in the two remaining races. Vinny again had a good start at 6'th and after a few laps he was sitting in 2'nd in his class after Hunter (and 4'th from all riders). He looked more focused and did what was needed to place 2'nd.
In Race 3 more of the same. The riders we wanted to beat were already, after lap one, a good bit behind Vinny and he got the message to ride safe and keep the distance to stay ahead.
It worked and Vinny placed 2'nd in his class (after having same amount of points as Hamish but better placings).
He now wants to do more riding here as the track is challenging but also fun to ride. We will try to incorporate that in our schedule!
Looking ahead (8 September 2014)
We took the weekend off racing to allow Vinnys small niggling injuries to have time to heal. He also had time to ‘hang out’ with his oldest brother who was back home for a week before moving to Australia with his wife.
We have had a good look at where we are aiming with Vinny’s MX and how we will get there. As a result we have agreed on some changes:
In the last 3 years we have raced almost every weekend, sometimes two/three days per week. There has been very little practice going on as we do not have a decent place to practice in HB, but also because every weekend has been racing commitments. As a result Vinny has become a rider who is able to race, pass and fight at race meetings. Now is the time to fine-tune his riding with the help of Broxy. As a result we will put a higher emphasis on coaching and practices and not travel to all and every race meeting that is going on.
Vinny is already doing a one hour cardio routine 5 days/week. We will now also add some strength training to this. Vinny has also been biking to school (12Km one way) a couple of times/week lately. He will now do this every school day. Add to this swimming twice/week and you can see the commitment!
We will also put more emphasis on his eating and make sure he gets all a growing young man needs to be the best he can in his chosen sport (Motocross).
The High School he will attend from 2015 (Havelock North HS) does not have an active MX team even if this is one of the sports they have listed. I will from 2015 become active here and help build up MX at the school.
Vinny is turning 13 on 2’nd October meaning he will be two days too old to race in the 8-12yo 85cc class at the NI Champs. We will by end of this week have a 2013 KTM125sx for Vinny so he can ride in the 12-14yo 125 class at race meetings. By beginning of 2015 this will be his main class, and apart from some major Championships, in the beginning of the year, where he will still race in the 85cc class, our focus will become the 125cc riding.
We will again look for somewhere in Hawke’s Bay where Vinny can practice a couple days per week. We really envy most other areas in NZ where there is practice tracks/facilities you can use for a small fee. (Do you know that little Wairoa has five MX tracks…)
We have a few more things planned than listed here to help Vinny become the best he can be in MX. But we need to keep some secrets…
Taupo Winter Series Round 5
The Taupo club had spent many days doing major changes to the senior/junior track and everyone was keen to test it out. Through the day there was a higher than normal amout of serious crashes with the worst ones happening only a couple of minutes apart in the 3'rd race of the day. Two of the riders in the 13-16yo 85cc class crashed badly and stayed down for a good 30 minutes. Two ambulances took them to the hospital, and as the racing could not go on without ambulances, there was a stoppage of two hours. This meant that there was only time for two races (instead of three) for every class.
The weather stayed dry even if a fraction windy. Temperature was just below 15 degrees so a good final racing day for the NZ winter.
In the first race Vinny managed a 4'th at the holeshot. He did not look totally confident out on the track. (Perhaps the memory of his resently broken collarbone, that happened last time here, played on his mind). Brody Connolly was unstoppable and was in first from start to chequered flag. Only Hunter Miller was able to challenge him for the first lap. Heath Crighton again showed why he is leading the class by fighting with Hunter all the way. (Hunter is not in the results as he does not race with a transponder electing to come here for practice racing only). That left Trent Duggan and Vinny to fight for 4'th. In Race 1 Vinny had to settle for 5'th but with a closing Dylan Kenny on his heals. Carlin Headley, who was sitting in third in the series, had crashed out of contention and did not ride again on the day.
We had a look at the points and had to admit, that with only this round and the next left to race, there was not much chance for Vinny to climb higher than his current 5'th in the series. Without his broken collarbone he would not have missed Round 4 and would have been in 3'rd. As a result we changed the approach and Vinny was asked to ride freely without worrying about placings. This worked well and he was a different rider in Race 2.
Vinnys start was not very good in Race 2 and he found him self in 7'th at the holeshot (from 25 riders). But he then quickly climbed up to third. This looked good! His jumps became longer and his corner speed was higher too. Just before end of lap 1 Heath passed Vinny. He then kept 4'th until last lap when one small mistake allowed Trent past leaving Vinny in 5'th again.
We felt quite happy re Vinnys riding today and have a clear picture of where he needs more work. The aim in the last round is to finish behind Brody in all three races! (OK, we would like to win every race, but beating Brody is yet close to impossible. But one day in the near future...)
As Hunter, who finished 2'nd and 3'rd in the two races, did not ride with a transponder (as he has been riding at other events when the Taupo series os on), Vinny was officially 4'th giving him 36 points for the days effort and still leaving him in 5'th.
East Coast Beach Racing Challenge 2014. Gisborne. 30 August.
Time for another Beach Racing Challenge. In 2013 Vinny managed 3'rd. This year he climbed one to 2'nd.
We realised in the first race that we needed more straight line speed. A smaller main jet helped a bit, but a two tooth smaller rear sprocket would have completed the setup. Sadly we did not have one so Vinny had to make do with the 49 sprocket we use in MX.
Vinny had his cornering mostly dialled in and coming out of the corner he was fastest. But had no answer to the top speed of the winners Kawasaki.
The 85cc A grade raced together with the Junior 125cc class. (Scored separately) The bigger wheels and motors make a huge difference. Vinny is looking forward to racing here on a 125cc next year!
(The video is from Race 2). Vinny placed 3'rd, 2'nd and 2'nd giving him 2'nd in the challenge.
Thanks to Gisborne MCC for another brilliant day at the beach!
Sunday 17 August, Wanganui Winter Series Round 5 (final round)
The day was a mixed bag: Vinny got the holeshot money, got caught in the gate, suffered a broken throttle cable, managed a win and a second.
As Vinny had missed two rounds, resulting from other racing commitments, there was no chance for a podium in the series. This took away most of the pressure. But we had plans to grab the holeshot money in the last race... (and so, we assume, had many other too...).
A sunny day with not much wind and the temperature got up to about 15 degrees. The track was dusty but handled the days racing well. We were on the road at 5.30am so we would make the 9am sign-in without too much hurry.
In Race 1 Vinny had plans to test his holeshot technique and wanted to get out of the gate fast. As soon as he saw the gate move he gunned it... but was too fast and got caught in the gate! (This was an issue all day for many other riders too as the gates were very sluggish). Vinny got going last (of the 13 riders) and started the chase. He picked them off one-by-one and when starting the last lap only had Trent ahead of him. Vinny threw everything he had in to it, but came short with just a few meters at the chequered flag!
Redemption in Race 2 where Vinny was 2'nd at the holeshot and quickly moved in to the lead. He then made sure he kept well ahead of Trent and won the race.
Race 3 had the holeshot money as a carrot. Vinny came out of the gate in second, but some clever work in the turn got him in to a comfortable lead and the holeshot was his! He kept going and was never challenged... until when, on lap 3, his throttle cable broke and any plans of another win evaporated.
Race 3 was clearly a disappointment, but the day was still considered a success as Vinny got some good racing done, the holeshot win and proved again that he can chase and pass riders. Vinny placed 6'th in the series after 5 riders who had all completed all 5 rounds. If only the clubs could make their race meetings on different days...
Sunday 10 August, Hawke’s Bay Taylor Corp. Magic Series, Final Round
With Vinny breaking his collarbone two weeks ago the odds were against him being able to race in the final round. Considering that he had won all races in his 8-12yo 85cc class until now and had a 43 points lead he was not very happy re this. If Ben, who was currently in second place, was there and raced Vinny would lose the lead. So we went to see our doctor at 5pm on Friday and managed to get a clearance!
Vinnys orders on Sunday were to take it easy, to protect the collarbone, and not worry re winning the races as it would be enough if he finished last in every race to win the series. (7 riders turned up for his class).
But being a racer the adrenaline kicked in and Vinny won all three races comfortably. When I asked what happened to the “take it easy” I was told that he did just that! But he did follow part of the plan and did not fight with the 13-16yo riders, he allowed them all (only 3 turned up) to beat him at the start.
In Race 1 Vinny had the lead in his class from start. He then got himself a good gap to Ben and once he considered the gap enough he just monitored it and kept it constant.
Race 2 was more of the same.
In Race 3 Ben tried really hard and managed to get ahead of Vinny after the start. Vinny followed for just over a lap before passing and again putting a distance between them.
A very happy Vinny stood on top of the podium at end of the day!
Enough rain and mud for everyone! Round 4 Taylor Magic Series, Hawke's Bay 20 July
Two of the Winter Series Vinny is riding in (Hawke's Bay and Wanganui) had their second-to-last round on this Sunday. We had hopes of one of them postponing as result of rain so we would not have to choose/miss a round, but no such luck. We decided on Hawke's Bay; Only 20 minutes from home, Vinny's 'Home Club', and where Vinny has won every race so-far (he is the only one in all this years HB classes who has achieved this).
Only once before has Vinny been riding in similar full-on rain. That was in 2012 at Whakatane on a 65cc mini. We remember that meeting well. He won 2 out of three races in torrential rain and water up to the wheel hubs! Initially we had tried to stay dry, but soon gave up on that and just pushed through the meeting. We actually enjoyed the day! So we knew what we would be up against but it did not worry us too much. We had also brought the water-blaster and a big barrel of water...
Vinny was again entered in his 85cc 8-12yo class and the 125cc junior class. But after practice we decided that he would only focus on his 85cc class as it was hard work out there! The plan was to stay upright and focus on steady riding and we hoped that the results would come...
Both 85cc classes would start together and not in a split start. Five 13-16 riders and seven 8-12 riders lined up for Race 1. (I missed the start so not on the vid sorry). Vinny got stuck in the mud and was close to last on to the track. He then crashed soon after and so he had his work cut out to get the win. But with everyone else also crashing (and some more than once) he soon caught up and passed for the lead. As a result of the rain and track conditions the race was cut to three laps.
Back in the pits we put the water-blaster to good work and soon the bike and his gear was almost mud-free. We both jumped in to the van and kept the motor running so we could use the van heater to warm us up!
As this was the Grand Opening of the new Ngaruroro Raceway there was quite a few riders from other areas. But for Race 2 very few of them lined up (also many locals had decided it was no fun...) and Vinnys class was down to three riders... Vinny stayed upright the whole race and did not worry about fighting with the 13-16yo riders. After lap 2 the chequered flag was by mistake waved for Vinny and he pulled off thinking he had won. But we soon realised that it was a mistake as all others kept on riding... Vinny went back out in last place and managed to pass the two other riders in his class to comfortably win his race.
The club decided to only run two races, and so the meeting was over!
After water-blasting all the gear and the bike once more we went home for a warm shower! Even if the track got muddy and tricky to ride it was doable, and the weather was a good extreme test for the new track. Being on the riverbed the water will drain off very soon. The pits also stayed good all day and there was none of the normal sliding around with cars and vans!
So with one Round to go (10 August) of the Magic Series Vinny has maximum points and a lead of 43 points. Keep the fingers crossed that all goes well!
New Zealand TT Championships, Sat-Sun 12-13 July, Kuratau, Lake Taupo
The NZ TT Championship is a yearly event that has been run by the Taumarunui MCC for 14 years. All MX and ATV classes are catered for (20 classes...). Vinny was entered in to the 8-12 yo 85cc class. The event is run on an almost flat paddock with long straights and sweeping corners. The promise was for rain and apart from a dry practice and a sunny Price Giving, rain was what we got.
This was our first time at this event. We stayed the nights at friends in the Kuratau village (Thanks Alex and Carla!!!) and only had a 20 minute drive to the track in the mornings.
We arrived early for the first day and found the pits filled with vans, caravans and campers many who had arrived on Friday and were all ready to go.
Practice went well, even if a 125cc rider crashed in to Vinny dropping him. But nothing more than some dirt on his gear that we brushed off. Vinny felt confident for Race 1. A good start and he was 4'th at the holeshot. A steady ride saw Vinny place 4'th.
Race 2 was very similar and another 4'th for Vinny. The pattern that established for the w/e was James Scott and Brody Connolly leading, then Daniel White with Vinny following.
For Race 3 the rain had intensified and the track was getting muddier. A slower start for Vinny and he finished 5'th after Jed Bixley on the only Honda 150cc 4 stroker. Vinny was 4'th in the TT after Day One.
Day two provided more rain and drizzle. In race one (Race 4) Vinny continued as he had finished yesterday and a solid race again gave him another 4'th.
For the final race in the TT (Race 5) Vinny wanted to get a top three placing. His start was not the best, but he kept the throttle on and climbed up to 3'rd at the second corner. Two laps of good riding, but then a poor line choice when trying to pass a 13-16yo rider (they had started first in a split start) and Vinny crashes. He gets back up in 4'th and starts the chase. But only 2 corners from the finish line Vinny crashes again on the last lap as his front wheel hits one of the only rocks on the track and he finishes the race in 6'th.
Vinny placed 4'th at the NZ TT, and even if he had managed a 3'rd in the last race it would not have altered his placing. A good weekend of racing against top competition where Vinny's beach racing experience became useful.
Flat-Tracking on a dirt paddock in Onga Onga, Sunday 6 July 2014
This w/e’s plan had been to ride in the Tauranga School MX held at Taupo on Friday 4 July. But the poor weather made the organisers postpone to the end of the month. For Sunday we had 5 options re where to race. After consideration we elected to race in Central HB. This was a flat-track race on a paddock just south of Onga Onga on SH50 (close to home), and would provide a good practice for the NZ TT Champs that is Vinny’s next race meeting.
A crispy day with the snow topped mountain range as a backdrop provided a feel for what the Kuratau meeting next weekend would offer. (Reminder to self: Take loads of warm clothes!!). The sky was blue and there was sun, but the temperature struggled to climb much over 10 degrees.
In practice Vinny was struggling and could not get the feel for the track. It was time for Vinny to learn something new. Vinny was to use less brake and more throttle allowing the back wheel to take charge and push him around the corners while sliding out (proper flat-tracking!)
Vinny was eager to give this a go and found that it was a huge improvement!
10 riders lined up for Race 1 and Vinny managed 2’nd at the holeshot. He held this placing close to end of the first lap but had to settle for 4’th.
In Race 2 Vinny had another good start, but again could not beat the 4-stroke 250cc to the holeshot. He again placed 4’th but kept much closer to the others.
For Race 3 Vinny really wanted the holeshot, but so did 3 others… and he only managed 4’th at the first corner. A mistake by Hadleigh (125cc) late in the race and 3’rd was Vinny’s after Jacob (85cc) and the 250cc rider.
A brilliant day of racing that will help next w/e at the NZ TT Champs!