We'd talked about it quite a bit but had pretty much chickened out by a week or two before the event... little did I know though that Joe had actually taken our idle chit-chat very seriously and had transformed his road bike, a 500cc Triumph bitsa, into a track bike! So, upon, hearing this I realised we couldn't wuss out and convinced Bad that we better fuckin get up early on Sunday and get our arses to the track.
Getting there I all but chickened out again as the other bikes started to show up. There were some pretty serious bloody machines – the winning bike I didn't actually get a photo of somehow, but it was a fire-breathing ex-police CB650, and the sound of it alone was enough to make me wanna go home.
Anyway it was too late to pull out obviously and we were gonna have to man up and try this shit out. There was a little more anxiety when they told us we had to remove our front brakes... but again, too late to differ eh! I felt a little better when Brent and his mate showed up with their Vespas (although these were no normal Vespas! Souped-up, fucked-up, flat-trackin' scooters!).
We had a 4 lap practice, which helped a little with the nerves... remember I've never raced anything in my life!... and then the first race – in which I got second to last and Bad got last. We both had the smallest bikes there (a 185 and a 175cc) so that wasn't entirely unexpected, but Bad's bike wasn't running right and he was a bit pissed about that, knowing he wasn't gonna do much better. I on the other hand, felt like I could have been faster...
Following that first race my confidence picked up somewhat and I wasn't constantly looking over my shoulder worried about being lapped by some mad bastard on an 850cc 140HP Yamaha (gold bike 4th photo down)! I started getting the feel of the dirt and slowly improved my ability to carry some speed through the corners (without actually really drifting properly I must admit). Race by race I improved my finishes and ended up coming 4th in the last race. Which I was pretty happy with given the size of my bike and my total lack of experience.
Joe on the other hand was a fucking natural! He and his Triumph were constantly in the front pack and he even got a 2nd in one race. By Sunday night he was already in Trademe looking for a HD Sportster to build into a flat-tracker.
I have to admit it was really fucking exciting and felt quite addictive. It's been hard to think about anything else since... I reckon I might do a few more of these (hopefully we'll be at another one in Ashburton soon) on the xl185, but if I'm still digging it as much as I am now I reckin I'm in the market for a proper flat-tracker!?
Photos above are mine, photos below are from TJPhotos.co.nz (Thanks TJ! Great to have some good photos to remember this with.) I'm #74 in black leathers, Bad is the orange bike with the white flame-proof race suit (!?), and Joe is in the white top with black sleeves.