Moto Media
James Stewart

Timaru Senior Nationals - track impressions

Overcast and cool'ish - say 15C - great for the carburetted bikes.

We arrived at the track at 2pm and walked the track. The Honda Racing Team were the only ones there. Sign-on would be from 3pm to 4:30pm.

Myself and riders Tony Cooksley and Scott Henderson had flown into Christchurch, their bikes having been freighted down of Mainstream Freight to the Elf Lubricants depot out in Sockburn.  Sometimes Vet racer, Andrew Stewart, had arranged for us to pick-up the Elf truck for our use over the weekend - thankyou Mainstream and Elf.

First impression was the track layout was not all that different to last year.  Right in the middle, near the Finish, a two storey tower was being completed. One of the characters in MX remarked that it was a perfect example of 'just-in-time' management. Jokes aside, this tower of steel and timber construction will be the envy of every MX track in the country.

Off we went on a track walk.

  1. It is less ripped than last year which is a positive.
  2. The big jump faces are not as steep as they were and have much improved down-ramps.
  3. There is one wet area that has had too much water on it and it will be a problem.
  4. A huge effort has gone into the pits area.  Flat and grassed with a metal ring road.
  5. The small double, single combo before the Finish has changed there is only a small'ish double - more like a ski-jump. Problem last time was many tried to triple it, to their own peril. 
  6. There is a massive amount of rocks and stones on the track.  The start straight especially. Yes, its all part of the alluvial substructure down here but some of them that we tossed aside, were as big as a one litre ice-cream container. 
  7. Over the Finish table-top there is stones galore - pictured right.
  8. At a National level the start-straight is still too tight.  It goes into a narrow 70 degrees left and 70 degrees right.

Don't get me wrong, I am reporting it as I see it and am trying to be pro-active. We are all volunteers and as a Committee Member of Pukekohe I know it's the same people doing 90% of the work and we have 575 members. More often than not you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. 

We arrived back at the pits and the MX DK Rockstar Yamaha crew had arrived. Bikes were out of the truck and DK and Damien went off to ride on the practice track some distance away.  DK has his knockers and I say to them, I don't know of anyone more committed. As abn aside, Courtney Duncan and some other Juniors were over on the practice track as well putting in lap after lap.

Sign-on was underway and riders had to front with boots and helmets before documentation. In 5 minutes of observing I was amazed that three riders turned up without Club Membership.  Your MNZ Licence is not valid without one. One went off to retrieve his but the other two were told to come back tomorrow, if they wanted to ride they has to join the South Canterbury Club.  Sensible call, I have seen riders at a National, told before that they would not be riding.

In the meantime CMR Racings Martin Collins arrived with their van/ trailer combo.  Their MX1 rider Shaun Fogarty will also be riding the 125 Class.  Luke Burkhart is a serious contender for the top of the podium.

Suzuki's Brad Groombridge arrived but we were told Daryl Hurley was not riding - to be officially confirmed.

Fly Team Green Kawasaki arrived.  Mason Phillips and Nick Saunders went off to inspect the track. New recruit Evan Hood was there also - he will be riding Mike Cotter's 125.  As I said before this could well be the 'making of Evan Hood'.  

There is a definite 'buzz' around this year's Nationals and tomorrow, all will be revealed.

Weather forecast is good tomorrow - more of the same. 

Footnote:  Tonight I was politely challenged about my claim that the startgate has been reduced from 40 riders to 30.  Right now (10:30pm) the Supplementray Regs state:  "There will be a 30 gate start in MX 1, MX 2 & 125cc."