grandprixmachine grandprixmachine

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Racing in Europe was an incredible eye opener to say the least! And I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to race here directly after the 2018 national championship which I competed in with my 125. Europe is not cheap as it is, but coming with kiwi dollars directly after another championship makes it even more challenging to make happen. We really don’t know how lucky and cheap we have it in New Zealand!

I owe a really heart felt thank you to all those generous supporters who contributed to my give-a-little fund raiser. Every dollar counted! And another massive thank you to Motorcycling New Zealand Inc who gave me a riders grant earlier in the year to support my campaign. I’ve learnt so much this season and I look forward to sharing it with my fellow racers when I get back. Thank you for supporting the overseas ventures of your racers. Lastly, thank you to all the racers from the Auckland and Canterbury bucket racing community who sent me massive words of encouragement the whole championship. I really felt the support from New Zealand.

Between all the local kiwi support and being brought straight into the Freetech racing community like a brother, I was able to race the stunning European circuits pictured. A current Formula 1 circuit, a current MotoGP circuit, a historically significant street circuit, a current IDM circuit and a brave Polish circuit. Can you believe it. Real, world class venues which I’ll never forget! Thank you.

I had a dream. I thought it was totally outrageous and had no hope of happening. But I put myself out into the world anyway and with the help of some incredibly generous Dutch racers, we made it happen. Consider that dream lived. And I’ll never forget some of those elbows out, to the line battles. Thank you so much to Team Wobben for taking a punt and offering up your spare machine to a strange, barefoot hobbit like kiwi to race this championship. I hope I did yah proud, I pushed as hard as I knew how to and learnt a tonne along the way. I hope you had as much fun as I did.
Another massive thank you to the Freetech racers and crowd of supporters who were so much fun to spend the weekends with and put on a cracker of a championship. That’s what racing should be! I really enjoyed meeting you all and thanks for showing me your incredible machines. I’m floating around Europe for quite a while still so will probably run into you at some point. Yewww! #teamLTD

P.s if you’re wondering, Jan put his back out recently which is why he was hobbling around bent over like uncle fester. Heal well!

When your machine looks like this when your morning warm up is in progress, you know you’re in for a crapper of a day. We fixed all we thought that needed to be fixed last night then just before the first session today realised the front brake master was stuffed and wasn’t working, and, can you believe it, the gearbox selector spring tab broke again! What are the odds? So the gearbox wasn’t working and needed another replacement shifter shaft. Out came the engine.

Between the frustration, working on the bike with Roland and Jan, and throwing it into the gravel in the rain the day before, I had zero rhythm and none of the momentum I try and build through the weekend. None the less I put my headphones in, did some visualisation and punched out another great start to chase at the back of the front group. The lack of rhythm and track time punished me though and I got swallowed up by the field to finish 8th. This circuit requires total commitment and confidence, and millimetre precision so I wasn’t in a good place to make it work for me. I improved my time a lot though and the gamble on gearing I made worked out well so there’s that. I also learnt a lot and riding Tor Poznan is such an amazing experience so I still had fun. Ahhhh well, that’s racing for yah huh. A massive thanks to Roland and Jan for working on the bike alongside me to get it fixed and to the Jonker team for the loan of their spare brake master cylinder so I could get out there.

Poland! Who would have ever thought. Poland! Hahaha, pinching myself. After a few days in the southern Polish mountains hiking I’m finally here for the final round of the championship. Sebastian Jonker and I are tied on points for 5th place in the championship and I’m really going to have to work hard beat him here! Man this is a fast circuit. Turn one is a top of 6th, flat out 180ish degree sweeper and there are a few other full throttle, edge of your seat corners. There are 3 solid straights which means there will be loads of slipstreaming and tight racing.

Only one session yesterday (Friday) to figure out the layout of the circuit and another 8:25am session with cool, slippery conditions from overnight rain to test gearing and my bravery. Not a lot of confidence in my tyres this morning and riding alone so not running a great pace at all. A few changes to fix that will bring some pace in our last practice/qualifying before our race today. This track doesn’t really play to the strengths of my riding or to the bikes so I’m pretty realistic about potential placings. Aim for the weekend is learning and fun as always which shouldn’t be hard to achieve, what a cool circuit!

European MotoGP, full of all the hype and enthusiasm I expected! What a mental crowd. I couldn’t imagine how many kegs were emptied into the crowd’s guts and how many tonnes of water was poured onto the crowd to stop the heat stroke. Regardless it was one hell of a build up over the last two days. Tomorrow will be fireworks for sure!! #CzechGP #everyroundisahomeroundforVR

A T T A C K ~ M O D E

There’s a lot to be proud of coming from literally the other side of the planet to race. While I’m generally not one for nationalism, we’re all just skin, having my kiwi homie James with us in the pits really contrasted just how foreign all this really is. James and I rolling around the pits like barefoot hobbits getting the occasional stink eye and having loads of laughs along the way really makes it feel like the kiwi community back home. I even had a kiwi from Nelson come find me when he heard over the load speaker during prize giving that I was from New Zealand. Chur (‘cheers’ in Kiwi) to Team Wobben for another great weekend of racing, to James for help in the pits and to the other legends who showed us all your machines.
I was pretty bloody disappointed having to drop out of a really solid position in the second race on Sunday after the gearbox broke but after a cool down shower I remembered just how crazy cool it is to be here anyway. That’s racing, it happens, onto the final round. Motor Arena Oschersleben was just as awesome as I was expecting and the racing keeps pushing me to new levels.

Smashed my PB... Oh yeah, and the gearbox 😢 I did run with the front group after a great start though! Happy none the less and had heaps of fun so no complaints. That’s racing.

5th! And a wicked start which got me right up into the front group. I got into 4th place in the early stages of the race care of some cool track conditions and not much grip but soon lost confidence in my tyres after regular slides. Unfortunately I got dropped from the front pack but it was exciting while it lasted. Roland was all over me the entire race and truth be told was definitely faster through the complex bits. I managed to keep him behind me to finish 0.1s on the line though. The gap to first place is one of the smallest of all the rounds so I’m happy with that.

Attack mode engaged. I love this turn! Just the kind of slightly cambered, heavy on the front end corner I like. Thanks for the photos Miranda van der Hulst

I qualified 6th in what was a total mind game of a session between 4 of us. Roland showed his Freetech experience and got the better of me on the last lap. It’ll be a tough race for sure. I jostled around the group most of the session to find a pace that worked for me and picked up a tonne of time to get closer to where I want to be. The track walk James and I did last night in the dying light before the lunar eclipse really helped today. I know there’s still a lot out there for me but I at least found good rhythm and confidence in some of the trickier sections of the circuit.

My kiwi homie James drove his Mini Cooper all the way from London has come to pit crew for us this weekend at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. In NZ at away meetings we play ‘Port on the corner’ where you stop on each corner on a track walk, drink port and talk shit about racing lines. Naturally, we’ve brought this kiwi racing classic to Germany. Stinking hot today and 4 practice sessions for me to get used to the complex circuit. Hyped. Out there!

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