May 28th saw Taupo MCC hold the second running of its MX of Nations fundraiser, titled the Battle of the Clubs. With a fun looking race like this happening on a Saturday it was practically a shoe in that I would be there. Having fun is the key to doing your best at most things so a friendly Tauranga MCC team was just the ticket.
Botany Honda had blessed me with the use of a race bike used for this years nationals, a very capable CRF250R that I was most at home on, especially with a new Hinson clutch installed for the meet.
Right from the start of the days riding there were heated battles, beginning with who would get the clear track for practice. It has always been a joke for someone to win the warm up but I was pretty stoked to oust a charging Jonathan Martelli for the green flag then manage the fastest lap over Suzuki’s Rhys Carter by a couple of hundredths. All I know is if I muck around early on it is hard to get out of that funk!
Rhys and I continued to swap places during the day, starting with qualifying which he won by one second. We were a fair distance ahead of my fellow Honda riders Jamie Ainsworth and Jessie Wiki but as always it was the start that was going to be the clincher!
With a decent jump off the gates of the MX2 versus Vets race I then snuck the inside line to come out in third. The Bay of Plenty clubs Veteran rider Darren Capill laid a solid early charge to hold me out for half a lap before I could aim to clear off out front. Darren was someone I had looked up to when I first got into racing (he gave us the thumbs up one time while driving to the track, yes I felt special) so it was good to see him still ripping. Rhys must have been held up as I suddenly had a huge lead, so I concentrated on the solid laps, just doing enough to hold him off in the end. It felt great to win again but was a bit close to warrant any celebrating, especially as our best lap times were identical down to the thousandth of a second- both getting exactly a 2:02.728- check out http://www.mylaps.com/results/showrun.jsp?id=1895422 if you don’t believe it!
The big final saw us up against the MX1 class which would have started well had a friend of mine not gotten a bit excited and tipped a big bunch of us over in the first corner. I managed to keep the bike going but had alot of people to pass! The first two laps went by in a blur of weaving through bikes left right and centre until suddenly the only bike that I could see in front of me was Mason Wilkie whipping his YZF450 rather flat a couple hundred metres ahead of me.
That meant I was in fourth place which could have been ok had my brain not started doing the math when I realized Rhys was the position ahead of him. “If this event was scored individually I would need to finish in third behind Rhys to win the MX2 overall with a 1-3 finish compared to his 2-2 results.
“Lets go Broxeee!”
It wasn’t until the very last lap that Mason realized he had to stop showing off and get down to business evidenced by his very straight line jumps on the final lap to which I responded with a thumbs up as we were side by side over the Centre Point. I then used the slingshot of the outside berm after that to get a run down the next sloppy straight. That meant I could out brake him into the following right hander. He then made a charge before the DAM jump where I felt his wheels brush past my left handside as he hit the ski jump much harder and would have passed me if I hadn’t held the inside before the rollers with an over jump of my own, holding on to get my 3rd at the finish.
With Michael Phillips’ collision with a stray tyre in race one and Cody Coopers misfortune with not being able to start the second race it almost felt like I had won the day even though Rotorua got the teams overall and the Tauranga MCC finished in thirteenth place. Anyway it felt great to be giving it heaps and is a good lead up to the endurance races I have coming up, the Leatt Four Hour I am teaming up with Karl Power for and the Tarawera 100 coming up in July that Bay Honda would like me to win, no pressure of course.