Australian HPV Super Series 2008
Round 2, Victoria Park, Adelaide, July 27th 2008 - 6 Hours
Approximately 170 HPVs fronted up to the Victoria Park circuit (part of the old Grand Prix track), as always mostly entered in the school-based categories. So as far as the Open category was concerned, it was shaping up to be an eight-horse race, with everybody else obstacles to try not to get tangled in.
For this race, I was on loan to the Deakin University Student Association (DUSA)-based GT-06; after a close-fought battle for second place in Round 1, the team were confident of putting on another good race, although a couple of later entrants, and some revised vehicles, meant that results were far from a foregone conclusion. Fronting the "Victorian Assault" were Bendigo Youth Racing (BYR), ExPats Racing and us, facing off against the South Australian squad of Cycling SA's 'Ballistic', TAFE SA's 'Blueshift' and 'Greyshift', Team Bluebird with 'Gary', DAS Racing and Barossa Boys with 'Fa(s)t Girl' (Sorry Nauts, but you know everyone calls it 'Fat Girl!)
Starting from the second row of the grid, GT-06 was well placed to avoid the inevitable carnage at the first hairpin corner on the damp track, although Jarrod set the tone for us, wrestling with lack of traction out of the corner, which hampered setting up for the uphill run that followed, before the next off-camber hairpin. From the drop of the flag, 'Blueshift', 'Ballistic' & BYR showed they meant business, running nose to tail, a formation they held for virtually the whole race. ExPats displayed their famous lack of reliability, losing a lap at the start as they battled to fix a bent chainguide. That fixed, they went on to display their equally famous speed as they scythed through the field in the attempt to recover the lost lap.
About 40 minutes in, it was time for our first pit stop. "J-Rod" was out, Ian was in, and it was business as usual for another 40 minutes or so. Finding, and exceeding, the limits on the wet track, he spun it on the hairpin, fortunately avoiding being hit, or hitting anything, and it was the only blip in an otherwise beautifully consistent run. The next two riders, Tim & Ronnie, continued the pattern, running smoothly, apart from one spin each, not helped by a passing shower which deposited a fresh coat of water to the track.
Finally, about 2 1/2 hours into the race, it was my turn. I am always a little nervy before my first stint, more so on a new track. Even more so when said track is wet. And even more
so when I'm in a vehicle I've only had a short test run in. So you could imagine that I was almost crapping myself at this point! I had walked the track earlier, and watched the first stint, so I had a reasonable idea of what lines worked, but the final test was to get out there and feel it.
First, a small diversion; Most HPVs have the two front brakes linked to one lever, with the rear on the other. For some reason, which was never made clear, GT-06 has its right front and rear brakes on the right lever, with the left front on the left lever. The bar-end gear shifter is on the left handlebar, and the button for the horn on top of the right one.
Now, the laps. Exiting the pit lane (Yes the actual racing one!), the track sweeps into a left-right chicane, which dips slightly on the way through. On a flying lap it's taken well in excess of 50km/h. And then comes That Corner. First time through, I nearly stuffed into the hay bales. You start to climb out of the dip just before the corner, so it looks harmless enough, because it's cambered inwards. What you can't see is the traffic island on the exit line, so you swing wide, the camber rolls off and the vehicle unloads the tyres. I came in too hot, trying to shift down a few gears, on the horn at the slow kids in front and trying to juggle brake balance all at the same time had the vehicle slithering all over the place.
Just managed to not hit anything, but lost the momentum I needed to attack the hill, so that was a painful grind up to the next hairpin. A piece of kerbing extends past the apex, 'cos the Grand Prix track comes in from the opposite direction, and the corner for them is a left sweeper. So a wide line is in order to clear this speed hump, and then try to hook in so as not to fall off the outside of the off-cambered track. A left kink then leads into the back straight, a right sweep and then a fairly wide hairpin to bring us back out to the main straight, for a circuit length of 1.5km. I did this for just over an hour, in the process saving us a pitstop, and allowing our sprinter-type riders a bit more recovery time before their second stints. I probably could have gone a few laps longer, but I got balked at That Corner a couple of times, which killed the run up the hill. I could feel the legs starting to go off, so gave a couple of laps notice to the guys before pulling in & handing over to Ross. My riding for the day was done.
The track was finally drying up a bit, and we had no more donuts. After Ross did his ride, Ian, Tim & Ronnie each did a short second stint to bring us home in a solid 5th place. ExPats eventually found some reliability and clawed their way back onto the lead lap to claim 4th. A late tyre change cost BYR a bit of time, putting them in 3rd, top Victorians. Ballistic suffered a crash within the last 15 minutes, which put them back to second, leaving Blueshift to take the chequered flag, adding to their Round 1 win. I am yet to see how things panned out behind us, but I think we had a bit of a gap up our sleeve, while Greyshift, Gary and DAS racing fought out a fairly tight tussle, with Fat Girl further back. I mention these guys, 'cos an occasional Forumite by the name of Nautilator is with these guys, and is becoming a good mate of mine. (Prod for report from his side of things
Photos and confirmed results will follow as they become available, but for me it's now back to Tru Blu Racing for the next couple of races. Stay Tuned.