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ExPats in Tassie 2007

Tasmania, RACT Salamanca 6 Hour HPV Challenge, Sunday April 29th, 2007

After an eventful last week of fund-raising the boys were faced with a conundrum; short of funds, and with one rider already unable to go, the trip was in doubt. Last minute sizeable donations from NiftyComputing, Leech Earthmoving, Subway, Tonks, and Castlemaine Garden Supplies made the trip viable again and the boys would like to thank all their sponsors who made the trip possible.

However, that still left them a rider short. Calls to some friends they had ridden against in the past turned up Aaron Stewart from Maryborough who willingly stepped in at the last minute despite having never ridden a dual handled HPV trike before. They were finally set to go...

With the trike in Mark's ute and all the tools and gear in a borrowed car, after Ty's ute had died during the week, the boys left Castlemaine Friday afternoon immediately after school and headed for the Spirit of Tasmania for the journey to Devonport. After a quite rough Tasman Straight crossing on the Friday night they arrived in Devonport Saturday morning and headed off for the 300km drive to Hobart. Once there they faced the task of finding the scrutineering check point at Rosny College before 2pm. Several misadventures later both vehicles finally arrived, albeit from different directions and half an hour apart. Note for next year - take someone who can read a map!

A few more wrong turns later on Hobart's many one-way streets and they found the track, and then finally their way to their accommodation at the house of the race organiser. Saturday night was spent on some running repairs and trying to fix a broken gear change lever. Thankfully Ben Goodall from Trisled was also staying at the same house and he helped Ty sort the problem out so they could race the next day, albeit without all their gears.

Race morning came and as Aaron hadn't ridden the dual handled trike before it was deemed that he should spend the entire practice session in the trike, the other riders made do with a walk around the track. The track is located on the Salamanca wharf with well over 100m of it actually being in a shed on the wharf where the pits are located, and with good reason - it rains every year during the race.

With tight hair-pin turns at each end of the track and some bumps that literally had the trike airborne at speed the riders had to keep their wits about them. Add to that the constant attention the rear of the trike was receiving from their closest competitors, HPRacing from Berwick, and the scene was set for a tight tussle.

Ty started the race for the ExPats Racing team, as he usually does, only to have to come in after 50 minutes. Aaron had fitted his pedals to the trike the day before and had only put them in finger tight. The right hand pedal had wound itself out, and under load, had partially stripped the thread in the crank! Ty jumped out and tried to get it back in, the only way was to cross thread the pedal back in and hope it held. The rest of the race saw them without full power on that pedal, just in case. The 5 lap lead Ty had built in his first stint had evaporated during this pit stop and they were now chasing HPRacing again.

Kel jumped in and proceeded to chase and hound HPRacing at extreme speed for the next hour and a quarter during which time he also set a new lap record (footnote to HPRacing - when there is a sustantial change to a track, i.e. chicane added to slow vehicles this year, that dicates the fastest lap will in fact be a new lap record. As for the Hobart College lap, you'll note that they only completed 36 laps, on lap 31 they broke down and carried the trike back across the timing line... in 58 seconds ;-). When he finally returned to the pits ExPats were again several laps in the lead.

Mark followed up with an hour long stint during which time HPRacing had problems of their own which enabled him to put in some quick laps and build the lead even further. Aaron was next up for his first ride for ExPats. He put in a creditable stint holding his ground and making sure he stayed away from the ever keen to nudge and bump HPRacing.

At the end of the first rotation of riders ExPats were leading by 9 laps, which was quite an achievement given the state of the pedal, and lack of gears they had available. Ty put in another solid hour and half stint and extended the lead by a few more laps. Kel followed up with a short, hard, and fast stint for 40 minutes and the lead grew again. With just half an hour to go Mark rode his second stint to the finishing line where they crossed in first place 17 laps ahead of their nearest rival - smashing the total laps for race record by some 40 laps!

By the time the boys arrived back in Castlemaine on Tuesday morning they were ready for some well earned R&R.


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