Posite Race Day - 13th June 1999 @ Hallwood, Vittoria, NSW, Australia
What a day!. It would seem that many postie races stick in
your mind for one reason or another, but the June long weekend
had to take the cake. Bits of Hallwood terra-firma are still
being expelled from my nose and eyes, my knees, thumbs and toes
are still in hiding and I believe that this hacking cough that I
have developed since the day will stay with me till summer.
But amidst all of these downfalls, the 'Ride-of-the day' trophy has now found place of pride on the bookshelf and I haven't washed my helmet and boots down yet.
Let me tell you about the day.
Wayne (me bro) and I spent Saturday back on home town turf, performing the final tightenings and mixes and lubes that every good steppie needs before a race. My bike, the old Violet Crumble, is slowing down in its old age, so I'm happy that it just gets around the track and keeps on the same lap as every-one else. Wayne, on the other hand, has the shining blade in the team defenses- his bike, the 'Techni Coloured Yawn'. Many hours have been spent, bring this little beast up to specs. With it's engine, suspension and exhaust mods', it feels nothing like a Steppie to ride. After riding you standard postie for a few races and then to jump on this thing, it feels as though you wouldn't get around the first turn, but the ride position and bars are very easy to get used to.
Anyway, we hit the road on a chilly Sunday morning under a very threatening sky. And had a good long hard think (it's a 2 hour drive) whether the day was realy worth it. Snow was forecast with generally windy showery weather during the afternoon.
Upon arrival to the track, things were looking up. No mud, no water, no polar bears. There was even a slight dust rising from the track surface.
We unloaded and joined the milling throng, even ran a few races. Various riders were looking tight and fast. Wayne was back in most of the packs. The methanol powered Parko bike and the polished Blayney boys were usually up front. After the 5 lappers, we lined up for a 4X3 team relay event. By the second change over, the very low dark shy open up and track conditions were changed from firm and pliable to "Hey* whoah #%*, what tha %#$**# !!!". Riding styles changed considerably too from "I know my lines and I am gonna stick to them !" to well, I'm not dropping the bike again on that corner, what about this cornaaaaarrrrrrhhhh!!.
And that's when it got even colder. When we arived it was just plain old nasty cold, now it was blooooody freeezing! The horizontal sleet didn't help as everybody packed into the slab-walled-shed and discussed if the enduro was gonna' be a gonna'. Somewhere the sences were numbed enough to loose and we decided that a one hour enduro was the way to go. The sleet wasn't easing up either. 7 Brazen teams set out to the start line with the plastic bags strapped around the knees and cold icy water dripping off visors and fingertips. I drew the short straw and went out to ride the first leg. My ever faithful team member put an extra Driza-bone on and went back to the fire. We set of in a easterly wet gale at 3.00pm.
For me the track was very forgiving, for about 300 metres. That's when out 50:50 methanol mix froze up the carby and my throttle was stuck hard open. I overshot the top corner under dubious full throttle and slipping brakes, went way out wide, back through the pack, out wide again and was at the bottom of crash corner before the carby freed up. Wayne was now standing at trackside giving me the what tha' hell are you doing?' look. Next thing I began to notice was the fearful amounts of roost that a little knobby back tire can produce from these little Hondas. Every move I took to pass Tim (Blayney team), filled the helmet with turf and cold mud. After the initial pack began to open up I had to only get around the Tim/Tony Team to lead. The fingers were getting numb and all orifices were chock full of mud. I fluked the berm on crash corner and rounded Tim up shouting 'Eat mud sucker' on the way past. The tyre combo on our bike were responding beautifully to the conditions and while many riders were sticking to the grippier grass verges, the Techni Coloured Yawn felt very secure following the well worn mud track.
I slowly pulled up about half a lap on the next nearest rivals and pulled over to let Wayne take the bars. My fingers we killing me, and I felt a bit worried that I could see them but not feel a thing.. (what's frostbite feel like?). From a drying spot in from of a damp fire by the shed, the race was progressing quite well. Jess was pulling some marvelously executed stacks just before the jump (about one crash every 6 laps). Crash corner was being well used, the straight looked even colder and longer than I remembered and the best past of it all was the big mean right hander coming down the hill. It was mean and slippery and ate unsuspecting back ends for breakfast. Once the back end was out, it usually led to a good muddy tank slapper crash, which kept the crowd amused.
Wayne was now up two laps on the rest of the field. Tim/Tony Team has broken down and gone for BIKE B, my mud was slowly drying in front of the fire and I was enjoying a nice cuppa-tea. I decided that Wayne could ride out the rest of the race Then it happened ! With a clattering crunch, the chain was thrown and suddenly the techni-coloured yawn was on the ground. I raced to the scene, to find that the chain had folded back on itself and had been dragged and jammed between the front sprocket and crankcase, and it was jammed solid. I was watching the Tim/Tony Team take the lead, when Tony got crossed up badly in the goo before the jump, took the jump sideways and unicycled another 20 metres before throwing it away. It was sort of heartening to have the front row seat to the taking of the lead of such a momentous race. But he hardly stopped sliding before he was up and off again. The chain was stuck solid. Until I looked to the pits and saw Wayne franticly trying to start the Violet crumble, I had thought nothing of BIKE B. So after a exhausted push start I was off again to try and regain the lead . No hope, the tyres of the Crumble were well worn and all over the place. Every corner was a near fall, and I went down twice on crash corner. With only 4 minutes left in the race we had no hope of getting back our lead. Tim and Tony Team from Blayney (on BIKE B) went over the line first followed half a lap down by Wayne and I (BIKE B), then by the Parko team, then Ray and Donna- (Superb ride Donna!) Jess and JR (Bike B) and the Windsor lads DNF.
The scores were added in the rain by the shed, everyone was freezing but all agreed on a good race day. Parko team was awarded the Enduro race due to their bike going the distance, Tim took out the next highest points score trophy with Jess taking the 'Fall(s) of the day' award. And little old me got the ride of the day trophy which has PRIDE OF PLACE at home right now.
And that's the day as I saw it. Like I said, it was a very memorable race day, and I reckon it was from most of us there.
Dean Lavers - June 1999
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