Tuesday, 29 July 2008

BY-08 in a tight finish at Round 2, AHPVSS

Bendigo Youth Racing's latest chassis, BY-08, has made a promising debut at Round 2 of the Australian HPV Super Series, finishing 3rd- within seconds of 1st and 2nd. The race was remarkably tight throughout it's duration. BYR attended the race with Flora Hill Secondary College, sharing accomadation and resources over the course of the weekend. The following event report is an account through the eyes of Bendigo Youth Racing member, Michael Micallef;

L-R: Joe, Michael, Chooka, Gav, Dave, Cal, Deven, Rowan, Marcus and Mark
The weekend started pretty early for us Bendigonians attending Round 2 of the Australain HPV Super Series (AHPVSS), with the mini bus leaving Flora Hill Secondary carpark at 5am on the dot. We had 8 and a half hours of travelling ahead of us and it wasn't getting any shorter. The bus trip predictably turned boring within the 1st hour, with no sign of the sun turning everyone on the bus into sleep deprieved zombies. No one dared nod off on the bus- many FH students were armed to the teeth with permanent markers and wern't afraid to graffitti one's face.

The trip soon got exciting when we took one of Daryl Kings patented shortcuts through the countryside. It was a pretty loose dirt road that cut Horsham out of the equation and saved up to 20 minutes off our trip. A little while later we had completed the shortcut, and stopped to admire the mud caked half a foot off the trailer. With no more shortcuts for the rest of the trip it was looking to be a mighty boring day.
In between several toilet stops we soon found ways to amuse oursleves. Some of us down the back played paddocks, car cricket and "Mr Squiggle" on the windows with a white board marker. The guys down the front were amused by Rowans effort to disable the buses pesky speed limiter. A 3rd year apprentice Mechanic/ Engine Builder, Rowan simply undid the engine cover and fiddiled with the engine while we cruised down the highway at 100 km/h. Eventually he gave up because "the limiter was electronic and not hydralic like most buses". After lunch in Murry Bridge we headed for Adelaide, arriving at 2pm.
From here both BYR and Flora Hill headed to scruttineering, passing without any issues. We then went for a lap of the circuit, checking out the surface and it's corners. We then set off to the Caravan Park to set up.
We arrived and settled in an untouched corner of the caravan park. That is, we arrived, threw all our rubbish out the door as we disembarked (at least that's what it looked like to some people) and decided we'd use the entire area for themselves... Eventually the Ex Pats arrived and watched on silently.
With our cabins sorted we did a full service of the vehicle, running through all gears, examining every wheel and bolt for any defects- anything that may jeopardise a race. After 90minutes we were done. We then ate tea at the Lord Melbourne Pub, then went to bed about 9pm. 1st day outta the way, race day still to come!

Race Day Arrives
Cal's alarm woke everyone at 630 sharp and Cal made sure everyone knew "WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING IT WAS!!!!!". Breakfast arrived and everyone scoffed 2 heaped bowls of Cork Flakes whilst Cal reattached his "bedsheet" back onto the curtain rod mounted above the front door. After showers we headed for the circuit. With marshal meetings and a lengthy ceremony to open proceedings, the race eventually got underway.
Cal started the race in BY-08 and battled neck and neck with Dean Gibson in the Blueshift for 2 laps before BY-08 started fogging up. The Blueshift overtook BY-08 up the hill and it was to be hours later that we finally got the lead back. Meanwhile Cal was losing 6 seconds a lap to the Blueshift, Ballistic and eventually the ExPats rig. The nightmare start only ended when a light shower hit the circuit 40 minutes into the race, causing Cal to have zero visibility. He pitted straight away and hopped out, looking very frustrated.
Dave was chucked in whilst a "swiss cheese" windscreen replaced the old one. Hopefully the windscreen change could put us back in the game. It seemed to work for about 3 laps before the windscreen fogged up again. Thankfully at this stage the Ex Pats and Ballistic were having visibility issues too, which kept us in touch with those guys. Blueshift however had obviously worked hard on combating fogging, with those guys somehow escaping the problems the 3 teams behind them were having.
As the day heated up the fogging became less and less. 30 minutes into his 75 minute stint Dave finally started carving into the deficit, pulling 2'20's consistantly until the end. Blueshifts dream run came to an end in the form of an unscheduled pitstop during this period, with said vehicle experiencing "wheel issues". The vehicle was given a full bill of health however, and was sent on it's way. Ballistic then took over the lead, with BY-08 sitting within striking distance of Blueshift.

When Dave finally pitted he jumped out in a bit of a mess. Supposedly a Black Flag was being wave at him for the final 4 laps, with the official getting madder everytime he went around. We in the pits had not been approached by any official concerning this black flag, so hustled on over to the hairpin to get clarification. And boy did we get clarification! Supposedly Dave didn't have his glasses on and we would need to be pulled up at the hairpin. Dave denied he ever had his (clear safety) glasses off, yet admitted he unfogged them by placing them on the tip of his nose, away from his sweaty face. Seemed ligit to everyone else except the official who we figured traveled all the way from Wonthaggi for the priviledge. We were to take our punishment. Chooka flagged down Mark in BY-08 and he interpreted that as a signal to pit for the penalty. It wasn't the case however and he realised the mistake when he rolled into the pits and no one was present to dish out the penalty. Mark exited pits and circulated til he parked in the coned off area of the hairpin. He was given a good old fashioned talking to and released 50 seconds later. Hopefully we'll be more prepared in the furture. Sigh
Mark completed 45 minutes at a not so good speed, an indication that after 30 months of not competing, he had alot of work to do to recapture the form that saw him blitz the field in the 05 Breakthrough and 06 Wonthaggi races.
With a couple of setbacks our stragety changed. We couldn't afford any more unscheduled pitstops so asked Rowan to "just go until he couldn't go anymore". Rowan was happy to oblige! 1 hour and 40 minutes later and we were now in the lead! Rowan had smashed everyone on the timesheets, sitting happily on 2'19's for most of the time, and at the whiff of a blueshift or Ballistic on the horizion, as low as 2'11's. It also helped that Blueshift had a rollover in this period. Rowan signalled 5 laps til pit, which would see him out to 1 hour 50 minutes in BY-08. Around this time Rowan started cramping. With a gun rider in Blueshift and Ballistic only 20 seconds down the road it wasn't the ideal situation. Rowan was soon overhauled by both vehicles, and so he pitted.
My hour and 10 minutes of pain was about to begin. Having seen the race unfold before my eyes, I was extremely nervous to know that our last gasp at this race depended all on my legs. I was crapping myself to say the least! Chooka and Mark provided support, drilling into my head that the team didn't care if I failed today, and that it was all about doing it for myself. I really appreaciated those words, and it helped G me up for a bit of torture. Thanks fellas.
Rowan pitted and I jumped in. The chain was lubed while I was belted up then the door fell and I was on my own riding down pit lane.
After a "practice lap" full of 2 wheels around the bottom hairpin I soon worked it out and did a 2'16 on my first full lap. I rounded the bottom hairpin and proceeded up the hill. Suddendly the right side of the canopy started to scrape and it was pretty obvious I had a flat tyre. It was down before the hill ended and I proceeded to grind my way around to the pitlane. Cal had seen it all unfold and had informed the pits. A spare was awaiting me when I got there. The wheel was quickly replaced and I was back out.
The race was well and truly out of the question now but I might as well have tried. For 45 minutes I chipped away at the 1 minute 50 second lead what I can only suspect was 2nd placed Blueshift had over BY-08. With 12 minutes to go I had the margin down to 1 minute 5 seconds. Next lap around the pit board reads very differently; 21 seconds down?!? Something must've happened. I tried real hard in that last 10 minutes but could only break even with the vehicle in front.
Eventually I passed the finish line. Oh well you can't win them all. I rode up next to Blueshift to congratulate them on 2nd place but was soon told that they had actually won the race after Ballistic had crashed into the pitlane! Sad way to lose a race!
So after awards and the like were given out, the victorious Flora Hill Team and ourselves headed back to Bendigo, with the only highlight happening in Nihill's Subway, where our pit dude Marcus power-spewed after seeing a kid eat a concoction of everything on the Subway menu....

Some quotes from the weekend

"It's a different track to all the others. There's no area of the track that you can rest without losing time. You're pushing for time the whole time." Rowan Nankervis on the Adelaide track.

"He just rode off 2 national champs. Is he like this out of a HPV?" Cycling SA Rep' on Rowan's riding ability.

"I'm still glad we turned up- it's good to have goals for the team and the vehicle based on the outcome of a real race" Gavin King on the topic of progress.

"Hey I watched that wheel change before- It was inspirational stuff, the way you just ripped it out and smashed another wheel in. I've never seen anything like it" Tru Blu rider Steele on our sole wheel change for the day.

"You'd be an idiot to put your money on a specific team winning Bridge. It seems like it could be anyone" Dave Maud on the tight racing seen at Round 2

"We gotta work on that fogging" The entire team on an issue that just wont go away!

Bendigo Youth Racing would like to thank Cartridge World and Flora Hill Secondary College for making our trip possible. BYR also thank the Cat. 4 teams that made us feel welcome at our 1st ever race in Adelaide. BY-08's next appearence will be at the Australian International Pedal Prix in late September

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