We will be featuring race reports from our sponsor rider Geoff Batt as his race season progresses. First up is Round 1 of the Auckland Club Champs at Hampton Downs.
So a new season and a new bike.
Auckland Club Champs R1
I’ve said for a long time I’d really like to race a fully set up 600 and came to the conclusion it was now or never. So during the winter I sold my bike and all my gear and found myself a 2011 GSXR super stock race bike. It had been competitive in the national super stock class so seemed like a good buy.
The 600 super stock class was only run at national level and appears to have died which is a shame as anything which makes racing cheaper seems a good idea to me. For all club meetings this bike will run in the Formula 2 class.
The super stock rules state no engine mods, standard exhaust headers and standard suspension must be used but it can be re-valved. This bike has been well set up and it’s about 15hp down on a super sport 600 which is typical of a super stock bike.
Compared to the SV this is going to be like strapping myself to a missile so I don’t think I’ll be too worried about 15hp for now!
I want to take a more relaxed approach to my racing this year and enjoy it. I’d started to get a bit too serious last season and found myself getting frustrated and not really enjoying my racing so it was definitely time for a change.
This season I’m looking for some good fun racing that leaves me with a smile on my face.
I’d only managed to ride the bike twice before the first round which wasn’t ideal preparation, what was less ideal was the pouring rain all night long leaving the track soaking for when I arrived. F1 & F2 was first out and the track had dried but was greasy, I also had a new Metzeler front tyre which needed scrubbing in so I was very tentative as we went out. I was even more tentative after having a front end slide on the 2nd lap in turn 4. That was enough to blow my confidence for the session and leave me 17th on the grid.
Not ideal but I wasn’t too concerned, it was my first race day, I’d never even tried launching it before and didn’t really want to be in the middle of a huge pack charging into turn 1!
Race 1 –
As I pulled onto the start grid I found someone in my starting position, I attempted to tell them they were in the wrong spot but they didn’t want a bar of it. There was a space in 18th so I thought perhaps I had made a mistake and moved into that spot. The whole grid was now waiting for me and I’d barely got close to my spot when I noticed the start lights were already on, I had no time to prepare, clicked it into gear and took off with my visor still up!
A pretty appalling start closely followed by an incredibly tentative first corner left me well down the field with no idea of what position I was in!
I settled down and cautiously picked up my pace. I quickly caught up to a group of 600’s in front and slowly set about working my way through the group. There were about 5 bikes in the pack so it was a bit of a dog fight. I pretty much got past a bike a lap until I got to the front bike. I couldn’t quite get to him before the checkers came out. I finished 7th in class but had a sniff of 6th and was happy. It might not have been the front of the field but I had a great race from start to finish and really enjoyed it.
Race 2 –
As usual a similar story to race 1, I’d double checked my starting position and was correct but the same guy was still in my spot. But this time the only other spot was 20th on the outside of the 5th row. That definitely didn’t help as I again got a less than average start. It did give me a chance to sweep around a few guys on the first corner but I didn’t make any great gains.
Within a couple of laps I found myself on the back of the same pack of guys but had some trouble getting past the first guy I caught. I definitely had more pace but wasn’t aggressive enough, his R6 had good punch off the corners and I didn’t get past until about the 5th lap. I put in my fastest lap of the day to get onto the next 2 but couldn’t quite get through before I ran out of laps.
I finished 8th in class but again had a great race and really enjoyed it.
Race 3 –
Finally I got to start from the correct position although it didn’t help me much! It did give me a chance to prepare properly and think about what I was doing. I learnt more form that last start and now have a good idea what I need to do better next time.
I got quite pinched in the first corner and found myself in a very similar position. I got through the first guy quickly and tried again to get through the pack. I got onto the back of the same 2 guys I was with before although this time they were in a different order. As the guy in front made a move on the guy in front of him I managed to slip through too. I got right onto the pack leaders rear wheel but again just ran out of laps before being able to make a move. I crossed the line 7th in class.
Overall I was happy with the day, it would have been nice to be lapping a bit quicker and finishing a bit higher up the order but the racing was great. I know I’ve got more pace and with a warmer track and some more time on the bike it will come. The 600’s a really exciting bike to ride and I don’t think it would be possible to do a lap without cracking a smile!
Huge thanks to Botany Honda for helping me get on the grid, Metzeler tyres for providing some great rubber and Neil for helping me out.