Where speeds may exceed 60 kmph
3nd January 2010
Christmas Carnival Day 5 â€“ Dunc Gray Velodrome
Well to my surprise Iâ€™d made it to the final day without breaking down, loosing interest or sleeping through. Iâ€™ll be honest and say my legs were sore and the last thing I wanted to be doing was riding but a championship beckoned and be damned if I was going to gift it to Alchemist!
D Grade 10 lap warm-up Scratch: Having 2 days in a row at DGV forced Paul to change the program to keep it interesting for us easily bored riders and so our warm up scratch dropped itâ€™s wheel race qualification status and became just a wheel race. Although I rode around the track in the warm up I really needed this race as a wake up. I decided to just sit on the front and stay out of trouble happy to let the others fight out the win and save a bit of energy. Finished mid pack.
D Grade Wheel Race: No women to race against today so having my status raised to back marker for the first time in my life I strutted up to my mark of 25m to the thunderous applause of the packed stands. A lack of handlers saw a new initiative whereby A grade would hold for the Womens grade, B grade hold for D grade and so on and I was quite relieved to hear the girls werenâ€™t holding D grade as weâ€™re not the lightest bunch around. I went against protocol and used my normal handler in Tirians dad Trevor who gives me a lot of confidence that Iâ€™ll get a good start and Iâ€™ll take this chance to thank very much for holding me at the start of virtually every wheel race I do. Thanks Trevor.
A smart move would have been dropping my gearing down to get off the line quick but I went with the high one and paid the price by not quite getting on to Alchemists wheel and so worked on my own for the entire six laps. I finally got the front bunch on the last lap but had nothing left from chasing and had to watch from the back of the bunch as Alchemist took a great win and five points off my lead.
D Grade 3 lap derby: The changed program appeared to favor me with the sprint becoming a three lap derby taking away Alchemists one lap dominance. But obviously nothings a certainty in track racing and with the points gap down to 7 I felt I needed to wrap things up or I could crumble under the pressure. With the four top points holders racing off in reality it was just a match race between Alchemist and I and as I led out in my preferred position he hugged my hip keeping me low so I couldnâ€™t get use of the bank. Keeping a close eye for his inevitable attack Alchemist hadnâ€™t moved by 350m so I decided it was time to go and gave it everything getting a slight jump. Once around and with the final turn upon us he was by my side and giving it everything I strayed high in the sprinters lane not sure if I ventured out but Alchemist was higher up and he said it didnâ€™t affect him although he said I may have just wandered over a bit. I held on for the win and no approaches from the commissaries meant I had wrapped up the championship to my relief and could head out for the last points race with no pressure.
Endurance race Mystery lapper â€“ 10 laps, final sprint anywhere from lap 11 to 23: RAW trackers are well familiar with this Paul Craft special and know what to expect. Like the Winners race different tactics can be employed but gamble with the bell at your own peril. Tired legs saw the chance of an exciting attack evaporate and everyone was content to let Alchemist lead us around for the majority of laps covering his surges leading up to the non existent bell. It fortunately for us came relatively early on lap 15 and R2160 (aka Glenn) jumped from second wheel with me in close pursuit. He showed a good last lap effort and no matter how I tried I couldnâ€™t get past and followed him through for second with young Arron close behind waiting to pounce on any weaknesses. Great work to Aaron who had a strong carnival and only just missed out on 4th place overall.
D Grade motor pace: Now for a bit of fun. With Dave Wilmott leading us out as our motorbike he was under instructions to trying to drop as many as he could with out dropping everyone. A tough ask if you ask me. So he built the speed over his 4 laps till we were going flat out but probably didnâ€™t go hard enough early enough as there were still a few of us on his wheel all be it a little stretched. Once he was off it came back together for the final 3 laps and just as I was lining up Alchemist for an attack the Bankstown train of Asquith and New flew buy like we were standing still. Good to see they saved all their energy for the last race of the series or Alchemist and I would have been in big trouble! So Alchemist and I rolled through in 3rd and 4th with Arron again close behind.
So there you have it. Five events in six days, 22 races, over 180 laps and around 25km of flat out racing. I havenâ€™t done anything like this since I was an A grade hockey player a lifetime ago and I had great reservations whether I be able to do it all but with the help of magnesium tablets, Dencorub, skins, lots of pasta and lollies between races I made it much to my surprise. For me it was hard work backing up each day and the legs got pretty sore but I bet that it was the same for a lot of others. To win D grade was fantastic but I think I got the most satisfaction out of being able to do the whole series and be able to back up each day and be competitive. I got huge enjoyment mixing with everyone and appreciated the encouragement I received along the way. Thanks Paul Craft for putting on such a great carnival and for daring me to push myself well past what I though was possible, all the sponsors for the great prizes, the commissares, clubs and fellow competitors. I had a blast battling it out with Alchemist so thanks Rob for being such a great sport. I learnt a lot in the past week but the most I learnt is that I have so much more to learn. Iâ€™m already looking forward to next year.
BNA Challenge final standings:
Fats 57 points
Alchemist 45 points
R2160 35 points
That's good, that you enjoyed it Fats. Hope you're aiming for a higher grade for the next one. This sounds like what used to be around when I was racing,back in the seventies. At that stage there were two circuits, that you could do. One was called the Southern circuit, which started on Boxing Day and finished New Years Eve. The second was the Northern Circuit and started the same day,but there was only four days, and they started at a different track around either southern or northern parts of the state (NSW)
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
Aint that the truth.There used to be a carnival every weekend,and Friday night racing to. Nothing like a real fast 20k scratch race on a still and cool night, or a 50k points score race, where you could hurt the sprinters big time. They would be good for the first half, but after that, bye bye.
Ahh my dream. Thats one thing us low graders don't get a chance to do. I'd just love the opportunity to do a looong scratch or points race. if I could get up to Masters State titles standard I might get the chance. Something to aim for. I'm just glad though that CNSW give us old old gumbys the chance to compete in opens.
If you keep on improving it will be the other way
A helmet saved my life
I can assure you all that fats certainly outclassed the field. He was strong in every race. He deserves to be in the next grade.
It was a great carnival.
I have never raced like this before and the legs are still hurting LOL
"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever" Lance Armstrong
Then again, I know to attack you mid corner
A helmet saved my life
I got alot better on corners over the Christmas Carnival Mike so you may have missed your chance to exploit that weakness. I was doing our clubs race calender last night and in the process noticed on the CNSW calender the Masters State Scratch and Points race events, both long races, in a couple of months. Have you done either of these before as I was thinking they may be a good target?
I've done similar events. Its my intention to race the majority of the MMAS4 graded events this year, as its my last year in MMAS4, I want to go out with a bang (not the crashing sort)
In answer to your question, it all depends on how well you go endurance wise or how much you enjoy racing them. Even if you are outclassed, you can use the experience as a reference point to strive towards in the future.
A helmet saved my life
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