HPV Super Series 2010, Round 1, Adelaide
With the diasappointment of Wonthaggi all but behind us it was time to refocus. What did we learn from the Wonthaggi experiemental trike other than don't use 1.6mm Aluminium for major structural members, even if it was wrapped in carbon? The general consensus was that the new seat worked well, but the other experimental changes for Wonthagii weren't really worth pursuing. With that in mind Ty & Kel set about further development work on our ever evolving chassis. Feeling confident that at last they had the missing ingredients to improve cornering and overall handling, with some thanks to Jordy's dad, John, confidence was high that things would finally be looking up.
Several weeks later the new prototype rolled off the new build table in the workshop and out on the hallowed asphalt of our secret Castlemaine test track for a few laps before everything was finalised. There was a little more flex in the boom with this design but the machine cornered like it was on rails and the lowered CoG meant it felt even more stable than usual. Would it have lost it's straight line speed though? Only some serious testing could answer that... With the race now less than a week away time was short though.
Henry & Jordy managed to get some time into the new rig out at the sale yards test track in Bendigo one afternoon, but by the time Kel & Ty arrived after work, the local track nazi was out in her angriest mood and demanded they get the "car" off this "private land," odd, given that it is a public road. Apparently "cars" like this need to be registered too. She informed the boys that they needed written permission from her to ride around the sale yards - I wonder if all those learner drivers that go out there to practice in their cars have sought her prior written permission too?
Not to worry, they could just relocate to the Tom Flood velodrome and run laps there for a while. Well until footy training started there about 50 minutes later when Kel was justing getting into a rythym and was asked to vacate that track as well! We'd had enough time to work out that it did indeed corner well, and that the chain ring on it was fractionally too large. With that information in hand plans were made to make the required changes, and get the Cumbak fairing that Henry had painted during the week mounted, and all the usual bits-n-bobs setup ready for the race.
Mick had come up with a formalised pre-race checklist to cover all the usual things that might get missed in the last minute rush to put a vehicle together, and to make that a simple repeatable process and we had it laminated so that each item could be signed off on. All was going great guns on Friday night as we worked through the list, until... Ty decided he needed to weld something else up, and did so on the work table, with the laminated sheet beside where he worked covering it in weld spatter. When queried afterwards, he said he'd seen it but kept welding anyway <rolls eyes>.
An early rise was called for on Saturday morning to finish the loading and head off to Adelaide, well it was planned to be an early departure. A phone call from Ty at about 6:45am informed us that we needed to fit a warmup bike, wind trainer and marquee in with everything else, that there should room, and that it wouldn't slow us down... oh and to make sure we were not late in meeting the the Bendigo departing car in Horsham. Wellll... it did take a little while to get everything secured on the trailer when Henry & Porpy did finally arrive, but we set off only 25 minutes later than planned.
With everything loaded we hit road and made it all the way to the corner 100m away before the driver realised he'd forgotten something and had to do a quick u-bolt to pick it up and try again. Just as we passed the 28km roadside marker you would have sworn we'd just run over some freshly decomposing roadkill, except the smell was coming from the back seart, and try as its occupants might to blame it on Mari in the front seat, we knew the true source!
An unscheduled stop on the back roads heading towards Crowlands was required as the tarp was starting to shred and looked like it would blow away. So another ~10 minutes was spent checking everything and re-tying the trailer back down, with some selective watering of the roadside native flora - all the while worrying about how late we would get to Horsham.
We'd needn't have worried though because when we reached Horsham there was no sign of the Bendigo car being driven by grandma Kyle, in fact they were still 30 km's away (took them another half an hour to get there though!) So much for us not being the late ones. We refuelled, and waited whilst the back seat brigade went and raided the nearest Hungry Jacks. Mari, being somewhat finicky about what she would eat, decided not to have anything at all... until we were almost ready to head off again, when she thought something from the MuckDoanlds across the road would go down a treat afterall... So off we drove (apparently it was too far to walk) and parked out the back. It was just before 11 and unbeknown to us, that meant only the breakfast menu was available, and that wasn't exactly what Mari had in mind, so after some cross words, we headed back towards the car, when yet another change of mind decided a mud-mffin and hot chocolate would suffice. Little did we know that ordering such required a 15+ minute wait during which time the Bendigo car had arrived and headed off again, and the back seat brigade were now standing on the side of the road wondering just where the hell their ride had gone!
Sick of waiting, we went to cancel the order and just leave, only to be told they didn't have authorisation to do a refund and we'd have to wait until a manager could come and do it. Just as the manager did arrive, one of the staff asked if we'd still like our order filled if they were to do it right now? Arrrghh... Feeling only the slightest bit akward about queue jumping a heap people we agreed and 5 minutes later we were finally on our way again. Just as we drove up the road the Bendigo crew were pulling out of a service station and leadfootedly tearing off up the road when we noticed the tarp wasn't staying put and they had to be called to stop and fix it again. That done, they weren't sighted again until later that night at the caravan park in Adelaide having got through scrutineering without a problem - other than not having brought any paperwork with them!
It could just be something in the water over this way, but another car load of Bendigo lads (Joel, Russel & Ben) on their way to Adelaide for the race weekend also had some fun along way. They thought it'd be a good idea if every time they stopped they picked up a music CD from each town to help while away the hours on the trip - needless to say the bargin bin at some stops was sadly lacking in "quality" musical selections. Not that the boys let that stop them from enjoying the trip anyway.
At one of these stops, quite a way into the trip over, Russell came back from the toilet and promptly informed the other boys that he'd just been to empty his bladder and discovered he didn't have any jocks on! And to top it all off... he hadn't brought any with him either - not an overly surprising situation if you know the Nankervis boys
Not having thought to book early enough for the usual digs at the Adelaide caravan park, just up the road from the track, we'd opted for the Levi Park caravan park just a little further away, altnough not without some sweet talking to get a couple of cabins there. The initial phone call went something along the lines of:
"How many parents and how many children are you needing accommodation for?"
"10 people in total."
"How many of them are under 12?"
"None. 13 is the youngest."
"Ok, how many parents?"
"Um... 1, why?"
"Sooo... it's just yourself and 9 children?"
"Well, they're not exactly all children, most are aged 18-22"
"How on earth do you manage, and why isn't your wife coming to give you a hand?"
"All those siblings together must be a handful at times!"
"No, not really, I mean, they're not all siblings and anyay they're usually pretty good together, so can we please organise 2 cabins?"
"Welll, we don't normally rent cabins to that many people in that age group."
"They'll be fine, I'll make sure there aren't any problems."
"And you'll ensure they keep the noise down and don't damage anything?"
"Er, what, yeah OK, I'll make sure, now can we have the cabins?"
Somewhat in a state of confusion at it having been assumed all these people aged 13-22 were my own, and that they were somehow going to wreck the place and cause noise disturbances... oh wait, maybe they heard about the Tassie trip earlier in the month, hmmm....
Anyways, upon arriving at the caravan park the staff enquired as to the nature of our visit, and on informing them that it was for the Pedal Prix race on sunday were promptly informed that TriSled were staying at the caravan park too, did we know them? Tri-who? No I don't think so... Oh wait, could it be our arch enemies on the race track they meant? We promptly left reception with an evil laugh still echoing around the room.
Saturday evening we all headed off to the Bocca restaurant for some pizza & pasta carb loading where the sneaks at one end of the table promptly scoffed the delicous garlic bread that was ordered by those of us at the other end. Henry and Mick decided they could easily down a bowl of penne something-or-other AND share half a huge pizza between them - needless to say that half of the pizza was carried home in a doggy box. By the time we arrived back at the cabins, it was time to go over the checklist again, and with a trike in the cabin there really wasn't room for 10 people as well, so most of the riders called it an early night headed off to the other cabin, save for Henry who'd decided he wanted to sleep in a cabin where he thought he might actually get some sleep. Oops, little did he know it would be around 12:30 when Tim & Mick finished peeling plastic coating off the PET windows and sticking it on as the last step in the last run through the checklist - something that Mari repeatedly pointed out made it "bloody hard to sleep!"
To quote a well known (Highview EBT Coordinator) Terry Payne'ism PPPPPP... Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance with all the preventables covered, it would only be unforseeables that could cause problems come race day. So with everything ticked off, it was time for a pleasant stroll around the Adelaide burbs in the wee hours before a restful sleep and race day.