Kieran Making the Pass. Pics by Ryan Burrows
My attempt at round two of the Backflips NZ MX Champs started with what felt like the hand of God. Feeling strong and fast on my awesome Botany Honda machine, I held the number one spot in qualifying from the very first lap until around the 20 minute mark, before laying down a time three seconds quicker again which put me back in front. Which made the rest of the day somewhat frustrating.
Being the third bike into the first corner, I put on my best battle but it seems my fight left much to be desired, exiting that turn in eighth. Pretty soon I had reached fourth place but it was seriously a freight train with the top five of us locked in place with Rhys Carter out front and DK breathing down his neck.
To and Fro
It turns out that the only change came when points leader Scotty Columb passed me after a lap or two of trying, before I passed him back shortly after. A lap later he managed to get on my inside and launched with no intention of making the next corner, the only thing saving us from disaster being that, knowing our history, I had better give him room. Ethan Martens finished third with Scotty in fourth and myself fifth.
Apart from their tyre shredding ways, concrete starts are traditionally pretty good to me, but todays starts went from bad to worse. The only thing saving complete disaster was the patience to hold a tight inside line through the first turn, coming out in the top ten again.
This time my pace had the edge it needed. I just couldn’t execute the passes.
Can’t Quite Make it Stick
Three times I rapidly caught Rhys while he was trying to pass DK, and three times I found that the big run I had was not enough to finish the pass with and nearly saw me go down with one very loose moment that had both of us pooping our pants. Sadly, it was enough to knock me right off my game, falling back to finish in sixth place while Scotty took the win.
As average as that might have been considering the circumstances, it was worse for Daryll King. An old foot injury resurfaced which was enough to put him both out of the race and effectively the series. While he is sure to be back for Pukekohe in two weeks time, he was also a non starter in race three.
The awesome track conditions definitely deserve a mention. There was probably three decent lines in the majority of turns, morphing as the day went on to give the riders a continual quest for which one was fastest, without a hint of water needed during the whole day. Not to say the track was easy though. Every lap was punishing, especially in the strong heat.
I just couldn’t wait to get out there in race three. The podium presentation seemed to take forever and when we finally got under way I was ready for action. Sadly my pass on Scotty and John Phillips was again unable to stick with another near miss putting me right off again. I finished in fifth while Ethan Martens took the win, with Scotty once again finishing just in front of me.
The speed was definitely there, and with less coaching coming up over the next couple of weeks I have a definite plan to iron out those weak points before the next round at Pukekohe, beginning with the starts of course. Bring it on!