Monday, 11 August 2008
After weeks of storms and floods the weather gods finally got their act together and after a very frosty start turned on an absolute pearler of a day.
The drive down through the Waikato to the course was rather sobering seeing so many paddocks still well and truly flooded after the storms and getting to the course was a little challenging to say the least, with 4-wheel drives being the best option to cope with the flooded road and carpark.
We tried coming down the hill, possibly not recommended in a Commodore, towing a boat!
Nick made an early claim for an award for the “Best Presented Boat”, dripping with mud inside and out. Oh dear - an early bath for P14.
Today though, marked the return of P10, the legendary “Black Boat”.
During the last after race BBQ at Meremere in May, Simon and I heard that there was a Predator for sale. We were both very impressed by the concept of Predator racing and the warm friendly group of people we'd met.
Buying P10 wasn't a hard decision and after a few conversations with Greg and Doug, P10 arrived in our driveway. The winter has passed in a blur of cold, late nights in the garage slaving over P10 stripping, cleaning, polishing and rebuilding the boat with the fantastic assistance of Greg.
We had heard so much about P10, how she used to be the fastest boat and we were keen to see how she performed.
Not only was P10 on trial, it was my first day driving on the track and I was as nervous as I was excited. So different to the river - no eels to worry about - just clay banks, tight turns and Baldy! All sorts of opportunities to put in a land claim. I made my first one on my recon run - good to get it out of the way early and reassuring to see many of the more experienced drivers park up over the course of the day!
For some it was a day of technical challenges. Cam and P1 were plagued with problems, first the carburettor, then some unidentified flying underwater object made its way into the impellor and made a real mess. P9 lost a bolt and dropped its bucket leaving Ree and Den without a reverse gear for the rest of the day. Cam tried the theory that it was P9's bolt that wrecked the impellor but something about the laws of physics, mass of metal and water put paid to that one. Good try though!
Racing was competitive with some great times being posted. It was great to see some new drivers and navigators coming through. Rodger took to the track for the first time with Doug navigating. Andrew had a good run, just pipping Alison in P13 to take out first place in the handicap. For a wee while Ree has been in a limited pool for the ladies section and although there are a few ladies driving now we all have a long way to go to be competitive with such an outstanding driver.
Greg's Group A boat is undergoing a metamorphosis into a Superboat (more nights in the garage-just ask to see the baby photos!) but he kept in touch with the track as my navigator, tolerating a very pedestrian round. My excuse is that I was working on my lines and concentrating on getting to know the track!
Den, as usual took 1st place in P9, but both Doug and Greg, 2nd and 3rd respectively posted their fastest times in P10. Don't worry Cam; Simon now knows what it feels like to be beaten in your own boat!
Doug had brought down the MSprint and several drivers took it for a drive. Nick took Julie out on the track for a spin and she was so impressed she used words that Nick didn't even know that she knew!
So how was “the Return of the Black Boat” - did P10 perform to expectations?
It had been a long day and the planned thrust testing was abandoned but the boats were all measured on a GPS timed run down the back straight with P10 coming out the fastest at 68.5. Good to see the old girl back, performing well and looking good. She'll look better after a repaint (even more nights in the garage), but we are going to wait till the end of the season and for me to stop putting dents in her.
There were many contenders for the prestigious Dork of the Day award; Nick for his early morning Mud Run, Amy for nearly forgetting to return the award-she was obviously very attached to it, plenty of land claims to choose from, Den for trying to pull the boat out minus the trailer. Cam nearly scored the award for the number of times he spilled his beer during the prize giving. The award finally went to a highly deserving Den for trying to complete a run on vapour!
Lastly, a huge round of thanks to Cam's daughter Amy for her fantastic work on the timing all day. Enjoyable in the morning sun but ooh - once that southerly picked up in the afternoon. Brrrr….
Look forward to seeing you all in September …..