This past month has seen me back on my MTF Finance Kawasaki ZX6R, finally! After not riding the 600cc road race machine all winter, I got myself out to Mike Pero Motorsport Park for a spin in late October – seven months after my last ride on this motorcycle at the final round of NZSBK back in March. It felt so good to get back on my own race bike and flowing through the corners again. I thought the 120 horsepower might be a shock after riding around on my 30 horsepower KX100 dirt bike and the Ninja 300, but I was impressed how quickly my brain got back up to speed. I guess I have competed on the 600cc for enough years now that it’s beginning to come much easier. Without a lap timer I have no idea what my lap times were, but I’m sure the true pace will be revealed very soon at a one hour endurance race on November 24th back at the same circuit. There is still plenty of time to get up to speed before the New Zealand Championship kicks off in January however, so I’m more focused on building up confidence and bike fitness at this stage of the pre-season.
I’m really excited about the racing we have planned between now and NZSBK season opener in January. As I mentioned last month, my race calendar is very busy from here until the end of Summer. December is ‘full on’ with the Classic Festival at Levels the first weekend of the month, followed by the Cemetry Circuit Suzuki series at Taupo and Manfeild. I am riding something EPIC at the Classic Festival in Timaru so keep your eyes peeled for the December issue of BRM where all will be revealed! Even better, get yourself trackside for the event and relive the good ol’ times while inhaling the two stroke fumes. It’s good for your soul I’m sure 😉
On top of racing, there is a ton going on behind the scenes to make these on track exploits possible. I am working hard on some advertising campaigns with MTF Finance and gearing up for some filming with SKYspeed, all to be released in December. Additionally, last weekend I flew up to Auckland for the MTF Finance annual conference which was hosted by Jeremy Corbett. What a laugh! The MTF franchise owners are such a superb bunch; I can truly vouch for their positive energy around their business efforts and honestly, I take as much inspiration from them as they do from me. On Sunday we all headed out to Pukekohe for the V8 Supercars event which was also a great time.
Between racing, work, sponsor commitments and a bit of motocross training, I honestly think I have spent at least one day of every weekend this year at a race track. Sometimes four wheels and sometimes two, there has certainly been plenty of power and petrol involved! It has been very interesting for me to notice the difference between the varying forms of motorsport I am involved with. One thing I can say about motorcycle road racing is that it is accessible to anyone who is determined enough to get on track. While other sports may come across more ‘professional’ with live television coverage and state-of-the-art vehicles, the associated increase in costs for competing in these sports make it horrifically expensive. For a seaon in even the lower categories of circuit racing on four wheels drivers are paying over $100,000 NZD to go racing! It makes the $1500 entry fee to compete in five rounds of the national superbike championship look pretty achievable really.
That leads to another of my objectives this summer – to encourage more road riders to the track over summer to give track days (or even racing) a shot. I will be a guest speaker at the Shiny Side up motorcycle events in Kapiti, Nelson and Christchurch to talk about increasing your skill base and riding technique. I’m a huge advocate for rider safety, having broken 10 bones I would like to use my ‘learning experiences to prevent similar happening to others! If you haven’t already tried a track day why not give it a shot? It’s a much safer environment to learn new skills than trying to do so on the public roads.
My final piece of good news for this month is that I have finished university exams for the year so you will no longer hear complaining about that. It’s all motorbikes from here on in! Let the good times roll…