RACE REPORT – NORTHERN INLAND PONY EXPRESS RD 2 SEPTEMBER 2ND 2012 – BANAWEERA (URALLA)

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NORTHERN INLAND PONY EXPRESS RD 2 SEPTEMBER 2ND 2012 – BANAWEERA (URALLA)

So off we go again.  The Banaweera venue is feeling like a second home and following on from a solid sprint series here, I’m feeling  quiet confident of a good showing here plus having 4 rounds of setting my bike up for the area, I’m looking to seek some revenge from Coolatai.

We trek up the Dorrigo mountain on Friday morning, heading to our normal point of accommodation for all Uralla events, the New England Brumby Sanctuary.  Basically it’s free to stay and we just do a bit of farm work Saturday to pay our way which is a huge help with expenses – thanks to Megan Hyde who runs the sanctuary and the Save the Brumbies organisation.

With some work done Saturday we decided to head into Armidale RSL for a feed and a bit of down time to get the head right.  It’s a massive mental strain IRON MAN –  4 hours on your own where most people do it in teams.  Got back to sanctuary nice and early and there was already frost on the ground so it was gonna be a cold start to the morning but this is a good sign that it should be an awesome day.

Sunday morning rolls round, I get up feeling strong and some good nerves about me – having a very straight forward morning with no hiccups. Arriving at the track saw a nice frost but was shaping up to be a glorious day – the best I’ve seen here all year!  No WIND (which is the killer up here )  Signed on and scrutineering done, I set up my fuel stop with spare goggles, gloves, spare parts, fuel – now just waiting for  the sighting lap.

Uralla is renowned for its rock so I was glad to running mousse tubes, as even out on the sighting lap I noticed Dan Ralph get a flat and a few others and not even at race pace yet!  One less thing to worry about.  The track was quite fast and flowing and 18km long with a gnarley downhill with loose plate rocks – don’t want to get it wrong here!,  and it didn’t look like dust would be too much of an issue.

Finishing sighting lap, back to pits to top fuel up, clean goggles, tape hands  and get into the zone.  10:15 – we’re off with a poor start AS USUAL with me second last there was a bit off dust but learning from Coolatai just hung back and let the traffic clear to mount my charge.  By 5km I had past 5 iron men, then realised I hadn’t done my camel back up properly!  I had to stop and fix it – those 5 guys past me again.  DAM!  So I just got down to business – up on the pegs and started to flow, push where I could, and rode smart where I couldn’t.  Things were going GREAT first lap down and no crashes which is what brought me unstuck at Coolatai a first lap crash.

I was feeling great just doing my thing it’s really hard to guess where you are running so all I do is count camel backs as usually only iron men wear them.  Lap by lap I just kept picking off camel backs but not really sure where I was.

Lap 5 over  time to refuel, fresh goggles, some snakes, and banana.  While in the pits I noticed Jack Borger refuelling at the same time.  He beat me two weeks ago up here at the last sprint so I knew I must be somewhere at the front but still not too confident.  With the best pit stop of my life (one minuet thanks to my partner Sonia and son Jacub) I was back out there.

Lap 6 Sam Pennell (A grade teams) passed me. I was happy that it took more than two hours for A grade teams to catch me.  Come lap 7 I was feeling a little tired, then a guy with a camel back passed me and that deflated me a little.  I thought I was right off the pace but as I found out he was doing over 35s they only do 2 hours but at the time I didn’t know he wasn’t an iron man so I had a little mind wander and blew a corner and nearly crashed on a small downhill.  I knew  I had to suck it up and get motivated again so I just started talking my way around the track telling myself you’ve done the hard work training off the bike you can do it.

Passing through for lap 8 I’m thinking “times gotta be running out” so I got motivated again and started pushing.  My last couple of laps are always my fastest too.  We were coming through for lap nine – I was sure that would be it, but no last lap board was up so I just went out and push hard home.  I really WANTED THIS LAP OVER!, but no mistakes I didn’t want to wreck all this hard work.

I was thinking I wasn’t a podium chance.  Finally the chequers fell for me I was absolutely spent but felt I really could not have rode any better and was very happy with my effort.

Heading up for presentation there were no real surprises in the teams with the local Coffs Harbour pairing of Dan Ralph and Jordan Rose winning A grade teams with 11 laps.  Sam Pennell and Jessie Jenkins taking 3rd in A grade teams (unfortunately I think Sam and Jessie  got more flats between them than all the riders that day combined).

Finally it was iron man’s turn – 3rd place going to Jack Borger I thought I’ve just missed out but then to my surprise 2nd place Adam Scofield.  I was over the moon!!  1st went to local rider Nick Rummery who has dominated iron man the last two years.  He beat me by 3 minutes – not too bad really and I was 1:30 ahead of 3rd and the only riders to beat us in amount of laps was Dan and Jordan due to Sam and Jessie’s troubles.  My times were good enough for 4th OUGHTRIGHT only being beaten home by 1st and 2nd A grade teams and Nick Rummery iron man.

I’ve also thrown down a challenge to Nick – come upper Horton on October 20th that I’m gonna beat him! (but later thought I really should not have done that).  But, a healthy ego is a good thing racing dirt bikes.  So with a solid result and the next one only a week away at Inverell,  time to get home and do some recovering.

As always, a BIG THANK YOU COFFS KTM

Thanks ADAM Scofield

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