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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I arrived in Melbourne early Thursday morning and loaded up the Van and headed up to the track. I knew this round would be difficult a difficult one, I had missed the 2 test days offered by Yamaha and the 2 ASBK test days within the last month. I had also suffered a couple of minor injuries from a couple of off's at the track which left me weak and my fitness at an all-time low. Unfortunately staff would not let me do a track walk in the afternoon so I would need to wait until the following morning to learn the layout of the track (track maps really aren't very helpful to me).

FRIDAY (practice)-
I woke up to rain, the ground was soaked and I was excited. I knew the rain would give me the greatest opportunity for a good result. I didn't have my bike completely ready by practice 1 (production) and decided to sit it out instead of rushing and making a mistake or missing something important. It was amazing how many bikes crashed, I couldn't believe everyone was pushing so hard in the cold/wet conditions of the first practice session. By the time my next practice session started I had been able to watch multiple other classes on the track and it was obvious that the track conditions were tretcherous as riders continued to fall. Not only were the riders crashing in an unprecedented number, they were crashing in very unusual places. It wasn't long before it was my session, I was adamant I wasn't going to be one of the crash stats and really took my time easing into the session. I was right to be cautious, it felt like black ice. I had multiple butt clenching moments throughout the day but was consistently setting top 3 times in the R3 cup (this was my focus as the season came to a close). My biggest moments of the day included: nearly high-siding whilst easing the throttle on coming out of turn 2; the front wheel turning to the stops as I tried to brake for turn 11 (thankfully there was literally no grip at all and I was able to straighten the bars out before the bike went down); going in to turn 1 too hot and not having the confidence in the brakes so I ran it on to the grass/mud and basically had a stationary drop; and a minor spill caused by not considering my cold tyres as I detoured the pits waiting for the rain**video on my Facebook page**
https://www.facebook.com/Michael-King-1998879177004449/


SATURDAY
Qualifying 1 (proddy)- it was still wet and raining but forecast to dry out, no one was really pushing but I wanted to put in a decent time just incase the weatherman got it wrong (I can't remember where I qualified in this session)
Qualifying 1 (R3 cup)- I decided I still had enough fuel for this one and didn't top up, the conditions had improved but it was still wet. I put in one flying lap before the bike sputtered as it crossed the line. My time was significantly faster then it had been and my confidence was growing but I was out of fuel and my session was over!
Qualifying 2 (proddy)- the track looked dry but with the grip issues with the slightest bit of moisture it would have taken a brave man to go out with dry tyres for the first lap and I had no time to change my tyres and get the pressures set. My plan was to get out there and push hard for just a couple of laps before I cooked the (wet) tyres. I ended up staying out for 4-5 laps until I set a pace I was happy with. I pulled in well before the end of the session and was 10th at the time, I was sure I would loose a few places by the end of the session but I managed to keep 10th
Qualifying 2 (R3 cup)- this session was definitely dry, the grip levels were great when it wasn't wet. This meant the lines I was previously using were completely different as I needed to learn it all over again. I qualified 5th in this session.
Race 1 (proddy)- a few riders passed me by turn 1, a few others crashed on the opening laps. It was obvious in the race I was loosing time in the tight section at the back of the track, I was so slow I needed to take a defensive line to stop the riders behind from overtaking in this section. I ended up loosing a place in this section on the 2nd last lap and finished in 11th.
Race 1 (R3 cup)- This was my focus, I was tied for 5th in the championship and 6 points behind 4th. HAYES in 4th was riding much better than me this weekend (as usual ) so it would require a mistake from him if I were to beat him so my focus turned to beating LYNCH whom I was tied in points. LYNCH and PASSFIELD smoked me off the start. I stuck with them for a lap before they started gapping me. As I watched them dissapear I was sure I didn't have a chance but decided to push on anyway. A couple of laps later and I noticed I was reeling them in at a rapid pace. I had significantly improved my lines through the back section and I had a lot of confidence under brakes. I had fought with LYNCH multiple times throughout the season and knew he wouldn't be easy to pass. To my surprise he didn't put up a fight and I breezed on past and closed the gap to PASSFIELD. Unfortunately he was a lot harder to pass, I made a few weak attempts that were unsuccessful and lined him up for the slipstream across the finish line... I went to change into 5th but it didn't select and I bounced off the rev limiter finishing 6th, 0.2s behind. Most importantly, infront of LYNCH.

SUNDAY
My muscles were fatigued, I had a lot of pain through my shoulders and my core, my legs were weak and I was far from my peak performance.
Race 2 (proddy)- with difficulty turning the bike because of fatigue and soreness my lap times suffered, I drifted through a few places and don't really remember much other then the pain. I finished 12th but the result really didn't concern me as I was focused on the R3 cup
Race 2 (R3 cup)- I was now really sore and suffering, PASSFIELD passed me by turn 1. By turn 5 the 2 leaders collided causing bikes to fly everywhere. I backed off thinking a red flag would come out, when I didn't see the red flag I continued on. I held LYNCH at bay for 4 laps but he eventually passed me in the tight section as I struggled to change direction. I finished 5th behind LYNCH- we were even on points again and 5th position in the championship would come down to the last race of the season
Race 3 (proddy)- I sat this one out to give myself the best chance for the R3 cup. I copped a bit of slack from the other WA competitors but felt it was the right decision considering the state of my body.
Race 3 (R3 cup)- my only priority was beating LYNCH, unfortunately he passed me into turn 3 on the opening lap. I was happy to sit behind him and wait until later in the race, unfortunately 3laps later I wasn't able to stick with him and he started getting away. I was in so much pain I wanted to come in and retire, I couldn't even turn to see if anyone was behind me. I finished 7th, a massive 9s behind LYNCH. That meant he had finished 5th in the championship... or so I thought. There must have been an error in the points calculation prior to the round (I actually entered the round 2points ahead) which meant I finished 1 point infront to claim 5th in the championship I was stoked!!!!


This track was absolutely terrifying in the wet (due to the burnouts a week or 2 before) but it was such a great and enjoyable track once it dried out. There were more than 60 crashes which highlights how difficult the conditions were (Friday and Saturday morning).

This year was a huge learning curve and required a lot of sacrifices to make the pilgrimage all the way from the other side of the country but I'm so glad I did! I enjoyed every single second of it, even when I was buried in the gravel traps Met some amazing people and made some great friendships, racing in the R3 cup was just like racing with mates, everyone would be ecstatic if I got a good result (even if I beat them) and they'ld always be there to help with advise (and repairs). We shared lots of laughs, meals, beers, go-karting and even accommodation. It really was an amazing group of people.
A huge thanks to James from #brandsense for helping out for the weekend and sponsoring me throughout the season and to my other sponsors #kaneg #votex #pio_stitch #pelican_charters , the season would not have been possible without them
 

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Cool write up @VULGR! I hate rainy race days. You said you arrived in Melbourne. From elsewhere in Australia, or did you travel from out of country? If the latter, wow, that is quite a trip. Never been to Australia. Dying to go. Also, is that a new Race Star on your noggin? How do you like the new Bells? I have been looking at a Star Specter.

Speaking of Australia, you can see in my sig my fondness for Mad Max. Dr George Miller is a genius. Grew up on Star Wars, Bruce Lee, Spaghetti Westerns especially Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood's classics, James Bond, Lord of the Rings, and Mad Max.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Cool write up @VULGR! I hate rainy race days. You said you arrived in Melbourne. From elsewhere in Australia, or did you travel from out of country? If the latter, wow, that is quite a trip. Never been to Australia. Dying to go. Also, is that a new Race Star on your noggin? How do you like the new Bells? I have been looking at a Star Specter.

Speaking of Australia, you can see in my sig my fondness for Mad Max. Dr George Miller is a genius. Grew up on Star Wars, Bruce Lee, Spaghetti Westerns especially Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood's classics, James Bond, Lord of the Rings, and Mad Max.


Thanks. I hate the rain if I'm not racing but seem to excel in the wet conditions at the track. I live on the west coast of Australia, it's a 3,500km trip to just get to Melbourne for me and that's the closest round this year (I do race locally as well but the national level is a whole different story).
It's actually a Bell Qualifier (I think), it was amazingly cheap and actually felt more comfortable then the Bell Star (unfortunately I've replaced a lot of helmets this year so budget was important). So far I'm pleased with it but I don't think the ventilation will be sufficient in Summer.
Hopefully you can make it over this side of the world one day, Australia has a lot of wonderful things and spectacular places
 
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