Most of the boys ventured off down to Melbourne Saturday afternoon for some practice with the rest of the team (now Melbourne based) at the Casey track with a view to a longer session on the Sunday to follow. Within minutes of arriving the parking area looked like our backyard usually does with utes, trikes, tools, spare parts and people everywhere! The boys did a session in some relatively calm conditions into the evening with Kyle standing out and setting the benchmark for the other boys to pickup their fitness and aim for. Sunday rolled around and although they were supposed to be at the track again around lunch time for a longer session the lure of the beach side tracked the boys leaving Nige Preston, who'd come back from visiting family & friends in Bendigo for the weekend for a test ride somewhat stranded. Tim arrived around 2pm to find they still hadn't turned up, a quick phone call informed us they were "just around the corner." Almost half an hour later a second phone call also received the same answer, different corner this time though.
Once again they quickly spread out all their gear and slowly got arund to putting the trikes on the track. With recent sales of a few vehicles through the Pinnacle Trikes business spares were running at an all time low and the training trikes were looking a worse than normal. Kel had spent a couple of days during the previous week cutting up his newest training frame and rebuilding it to fit into one of the training fairings, Aaron has reserected his training frame from last year and bolted the revived (for EB08 team Bendigo Catholic College) Nug-Nug fairing on it, and the Morning Glory fairing which had seen quite a bit of training work over the summer in Maryborough made up the list of trainers available.
With Nigel having waited the longest we sent him out in the howling winds for his first ride in an ExPats trike, commenting upon climbing in that it was a rather "cosey" fit, just a tad tighter than the expansive internals of the BYR rigs he's more used to. Taking it easy in the conditions on his first lap he was caught by a gust wind just as he rounded the bend off the back straight and despite heaps of opposite lock he was suddenly on his roof on the side of the track. When he finally came in ~45 minutes later he'd found that he could pump it along the straights fine, but on the corners he felt he needed some extra ballast to help keep the vehicle on the ground. Here he can be seen on the right re-telling the story to Ducky, John and others
Whilst in the past most of our riders have come from footballing backgrounds and therefore usually have heavier bodies (With the exception of Henry who almost had to keep a rope tied to his waist to stop from blowing away today) the wind hadn't been as big a worry in the past as it was presenting on Sunday. Although Ducky and John Pearman did both comment that even for Casey it was very windy.
However, it wasn't just the wind that was presenting problems... the track was being as hard on tyre wear as it ever has. On his second lap for the day Azza came screaming down pit straight past us heading into the first corner when all of a sudden there was a loud BANG! His rear tyre had blown just as he was about to prepare to turn into the corner. Several nasty crunching barrell rolls later and the trike was done for the day with Aaron's brand new back wheel gouged all around the rim and the front left wheel mangled beyond belief. A few bumps and bruises didn't seem to hurt as much as the damage to his trike & wheels though! Despite this setback, and a rather "quiet" afternoon as a result, Azza jumped back in one of the trikes later in the day and vented some frustration on the track with a very solid showing.
All up, signs were that boys felt the year will be a good one once they all start to get their fitness up to the level of Kyle.
Update: Sun, Feb, 22nd
Most of the crew again made the trek down to Casey Fields again this weekend, with just Azza staying home to work (and work on his trike for next week too - he's built his own trike to race as the ExPats second team at Casey this year, and despite being one of the faster riders has opted to ride in the second team with his own trike). Travelling down Saturday evening with a planned long session on the Sunday the boys again stopped at Porpy's for the night where one restless chap who couldn't sleep decided it'd be a good idea if he woke Henry up, and kept him awake, so he had some company. By the time the finally got to sleep, only to be woken 2 hours later, at least one of them was regretting the decision to stay awake longer than necessary.
Down to the track with the new race trike and a hastily re-assembled Morning Glory and the boys got stuck into a solid 8 hours of riding between the 7 of them. Good times were the order of the day with all riders having the chance for a pretty solid hit out. Highlight of the day was probably the stack Kyle had that had him just a few feet from ending up in the pond when his back tyre blew out a speed and the trike fish-tailed itself inside-out, and upside-down along the track for a quite a while. Thankfully, both rider and trike were fine, just yet another rear wheel damaged.
With the changes we'd worked on in the last week seeming to work well, the boys returned home hopeful of another strong showing on the Casey Fields track come race day.
Race Day Nears...
As Race day approached we were in the unusal situation of having all 3 trikes finished 3 days before the race - something that has been a little rare in the past couple of years as we were always building something new for each race and the guys usually left it a little late to start. This time around though Azza has built his own trike for the second team, and with one of our fairings being bought back by Mick, the 2nd Team should be raring to go. Darryl on the other hand, has managed to wind his way through the political mine field at Highview to bring the juniors team from EB08 down to Casey to show their wares in the refurbished Gordon (formerly Delilia). Ty, Kel, Henry & Mick built a new frame for Casey this year, and with some subtle changes in certain areas we're confident it will be running ~10 seconds a lap quicker this year.
All of this being ready early led to a new approach to training this week, as you can see above with Ty & Henry playing XBox tennis until the early hours on more than one occasion. Not sure that really qualifies as cross-training guys! PS: Look at the massive quads on those two
Update: Fri, Feb, 27th
The boys headed off to Melbourne this arvo, with Ty, Kel, Henry & Jordan taking the Wagon and the trailer, and leaving Tim with the utes for work. Mid-afternoon there was a rather frustrated phone call back to Castlemaine with the news that wagon had just died whilst driving along the road. 3 times to that point. Not knowing exactly what they expected to be done over the phone, Tim suggested they have a look for loose electrical contacts and failing that give Stewie a call if it continued. Just after getting off the phone Tim was driving down a local dirt road for work when bang the exhaust & muffler fell off Kel's ute! Sheite! A return phone call to Kel (who was used to dealing with this little inconvenience) and the exhaust was strapped back on long enough to get home and swap to Ty's ute... which lasted about half an hour when whilst sitting at one of the only 2 traffic lights in Castlemaine, it overheated, pissing steam out everywhere. So here we were hot friday afternoon and not a going vehicle in the family. A VERY inauspicious start to the weekend. Here's hoping things improve Saturday morning...