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Westernationals Perth Feb 28th & March 1st

Full stage lights for semi final
Full stage lights for semi final


Pit area setup
Pit area setup


Thanks to Redline Oil for the support at this meeting.
Thanks to Redline Oil for the support at this meeting.


TV interview
TV interview


The bike has something new in its sadde.
The bike has something new in its sadde.

 

 

Getting to this meeting was a big worry.  It was only eight days beforehand that transport was arranged for the container/trailer.  The cost of moving across Australia was getting prohibitive and trying to get affordable transport wasn't easy.  Once again Athol made the four day drive from teh East Coast, a very wearying task,..........

 

 

 

 

 requiring a lot of wits.  Don’t forget Athol is the man in the “Hot Seat” going down the drag strip with his life literally on the line if anything goes wrong, so a tiried rider, prior to racing, was not considered the best scenario.

The four other male members of the crew flew from Auckland to Perth early on the Friday, arriving at 2.30pm local time after a Sydney stop over.  Straight out to the track to get set-up and get a couple of jobs done on the bike.  Sharon arrived mid afternoon on Qualifying day (Saturday), with all the shopping already done by Athol and everything in order.

The team had total “Race” focus.  This was a critical meeting for points at 1 ½ times normal accumulation.  Everyone was eager to get the first qualifying run under their belts.

6.35pm and first to go out, we had Sam Parker in the other lane.  Air temperatures were 92 degrees Fahrenheit and altitude was 3300 feet (highest yet).  We wanted top E.T. and m.p.h – just like every other meeting, but here the extra points really counted towards winning the championship.  Of course, we also wanted to be number one qualifier – it’s a shame that there is never a prize or points for that, but it sure does psychological wonders being in that possie.

A 6.47 second run later at 220.58 mph, an okay run, it was acceptable and set the mark.

Two hours later, at 8.30pm and out for the second round.  Third to run – this time no one in the other lane – not sure what happened there or why, but it was a solo qualifying pass.  A slightly improved pass, E.T @ 6.442 and exactly the same m.p.h as the previous run 220.58!

THEN ATHOL PARKS IT IN THE BEACH!

In other words doesn’t stop at the end of the braking area and goes into the sand trap!

That put paid to a third qualifying run – too much grit on the bike – lots to strip and clean.  The air hoses would be working for several hours blowing every last grain of sand off every bit of bike.  It was a blessing the bike stayed upright in the trap.

Never the less, at the end of the night, we were number one Qualifier, and Athol got to proudly represent the team at the “Start Line” certificate presentation the next day. 

Next morning and a weary crew had a late morning start.  The crowd began trickling in and various media came and went from the pit.  There was a casual busy atmosphere.

At the November and prior meetings in Perth we were surprised to encounter so many kiwi spectators and this meeting was no different – so many wishing us well “Good on Ya Kiwi” – more tee-shirts out of the box than ever before.  What a fabulous feeling.  We even had one chap who had got an old rear tyre off us at a previous meeting, telling us how he had made it into a coffee table with Athol’s signature showing thru the round glass top.  He wanted our logo to etch the top – hey chap, send us another email so I know where to send it – thanks – awesome!

Anyway back to the racing.  We had great support from the crowd here and we had to put on a show.

First elimination round, and Dennis Grant in opposition.  Dennis’ best was 7.9 in qualifying but has done better in the past and who knows what can happen on the line, so we weren’t going to make assumptions that we were going to have it easy.  Take every run, one at a time we say, then look to the next.

We ran a 6.681 @ 217.91mph, not great by our standards but today is all about doing rounds and points.  The bike was set for no mistakes and a safe pass.

Turnaround time was busy, but not too stressful.  No majors on the bike that I recall.  The crowd keep coming around to gawk and talk.  It’s getting hard to say, “sorry I’ve got to go out to race now” people are so enthusiastic, especially when they get to talk to the rider and crew – they are so awesome.

The second pass was against Mark Ashelford (Ash).  A good friend of ours was not going to be taken easy.  He has been doing some great 6.70 passes.  The bike was prepared and bang out cam a 6.351 @ 224.43.  This was the fastest pass we had ever done in Perth and just 0.051 off the track record of 6.30.  This was only 0.04 away from our best time.  If we could run within 1% at 6.29 we could have the Perth E.T. record.

For the final, the team were ready and until we test fired the bike in the pit and the lanyard tether got sucked in to the blower!  The engine was shut down immediately.  Luckily there was no damage.  Just a bit of stress.  We did not want to miss another final.  We all were a little disappointed with the final run of only 6.526 @ 211.76, against Ian Ashelford (Single) who ran a 6.686 @ 203.61mph in a very close race – was not what we were after, but the win was the main thing. 

With travel time restraints, we had planned on packing up that night and the team worked way into the early hours of the morning to get the bulk of the container packed, Sharon left the track at 3.30am Monday morning to catch an early flight back to New Zealand and the everyone else slaved away finishing off the packing during Monday and flew back Tuesday morning.  Athol had the long drive back to Sydney, then up to Brisbane…………………..

 

Achievements

Number One Qualifier                                                            Top ET (bonus points)

Event Win                                                                               Top MPH (bonus points)

Gained 165 points to put us first in the points table ahead of Jay Upton by 120  points.

 

Thanks To

Brian of Redline Oil for providing a vehicle and lots of full red oil containers.

Heather Bond and Steve Read for the deal on the prime mover.

 

 

Also Thanks For the Continuing Seasonal Support From:

Stud Welding New Zealand Ltd                                  Jackson Electrical Ltd

HILTI                                                                             APS Tools (Lista)

Gates Racing Ltd                                                        Crystal Colour Graphics Ltd

R B Performance Ltd                                                  The Organic Coffee King (Chris Thornton)