Burt Munro Challenge 2020 was certainly a CHALLENGE! Just getting there had its hurdles and is a whole story in itself. Bluff greeted us with a cold and damp morning but improved enough to stay mostly dry for the day. Not having done the hill climb for over 3 decades I didn't really know what to expect but was keen to give it a shot. Sighting & practice runs don't really prepare you for the course and I have to admit I really struggled. Bumps were big enough to chuck the rear wheel in the air and finding a good line through the bends proved difficult but I kept it upright and managed a best time of 53 seconds. It was certainly something different and yes, I had fun!
Thankfully Teretonga weather was a little better for the Friday practice. I put myself in the slow group for a start and quickly realised my mistake. They were very slow and there was no way to get a clean lap. After a few sessions in the fast group I was putting down laps in the 1:07s. and was pretty stocked with that! Roll on race day.
Weather again was going to test us. It had dumped down overnight, was clearing but still only 11 deg. Would be patchy, cold & windy all day. Qualified 12th in BEARS F1 with a 1:08. Missed the Formula 1 qualifying completely due to a mix up in their schedule. Wasn’t the only one either but needless to say I would have to start off the back in that one.
BEARS race one: There were no sheep stations up for grabs so I took the conservative approach in the first few laps. Picked the pace up a bit and got back into the 1:08s but too late to catch my adversary Glenn Corson. We rolled over the line in 10th& 11th. With there being no real class for our bikes the best to strive for is the first 2 valve bike over the line. Second wasn’t good enough.
Formula 1 race was a bit of a ride round for me as I had discovered late my front tyre warmer hadn’t been working and the front was stone cold. After a few laps I had the confidence to push harder but by now the guys I should have been racing with had cleared off. I did manage to catch and pass a few though finishing 10th.
BEARS race two: Pushed hard from the outset and put my head down. Held Glenn off for a couple of laps but then he braked later into the loop and come under me. The race was on! We changed places several times over the next few laps. Glenn’s bike had more punch out of corners but mine was stronger at the top end. Last corner, last lap I was right on his rear wheel. He launched out of the corner and gapped me by about 20 metres. I thought for a second “shit I’ve lost this” but the M900 evo came on song and reeled him in. There was only a tenth of a second in it but this time I was the first 2 valve to see the chequer. Races like that are why I love the sport and it takes that rivalry to push you to your max. That last lap was my fastest of the weekend. 1:06.72. Pretty respectable on a cold track, worn tyres and spits on your visor.
Big thanks to Sue, Tony, Glenn & Campbell for making BMC 2020 one to remember.