TG Newsletter: REGIONAL 600cc LADIES RACE


Regional 600cc Ladies Race


27 March 2010

Zwartkops Raceway


It was a hard race that will go down in memory as the battle of near misses (be it for riding or for punching).


At the first race of the season, I spent most of the eight laps on my own. The faster five or six girls broke away from the start, leaving the rest of the field hoping they wouldn’t lap us before the end of the race.


I had a small gap between myself and the rest of the girls. Even though we were all new to the racing scene (aka read the ‘development’ squad), I had spent numerous Wednesday afternoons practicing and picking up tips from other more professional riders. It was a small advantage, but I knew I had to make the most of it, as the other chickens would be catching up to me soon.


But for this race, I had a competitor breathing in my neck – VERONIKA!


She was good…!!!


I had my work cut out for me, but as the season progressed, I quickly learned that her trick was to keep hanging in my shadow and then only pass me on the last possible moment. Making it impossible (maybe more like improbable) that I could overtake her again.


Eight laps might not sound so far, but for eight whole laps your heart pumps like a V8 engine, your muscles cramp swinging your butt over the seat for every corner, acid sweat runs into your eyes, and you grind your teeth to stompies.


I knew Veronika was somewhere behind me, but not too sure where or how far behind?


Then…


On the last lap she grabbed the brakes a millisecond after me and took hole shot into a corner. There wasn’t much time or space left for a counter move. Shaait! Well played Veronika.


But the game wasn’t over, we had no fat ladies, and the chickens hadn’t hatched yet.


Around the very last corner Veronika low sided and skidded down the track – RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! To the right was a sliding bike looking like a Mike’s Kitchen sparkle. To the left was a tumbling black leather ball making *oemph* noises. Inches I tell you – it was inches!!!


I took back the lead, but not with a pat on the back.


When the points came out, we found that they placed her ahead of me on the finish line?!? How could this be???


Their first defence was that I was too late to complain about the scoring (you have something like 20 minutes after the race to protest the points that were awarded).


Their second defence was the two-thirds rule. But they have obviously never dealt with an OCD sufferer. I not only read ALL the rules, but I highlighted the most important ones, and I had the printed rules in my helmet bag. If more than 2 thirds of the laps were completed, but not the whole race before a race is red flagged, then the positions will be awarded as per the last fully completed lap… where she was still behind me.


RESTARTING A RACE STOPPED PREMATURELY

If 75% of the scheduled distance or time has been completed, the event will be concluded and there will be no restart. Classification will be as if the race had been completed in its entirety.


Their third defence was that even though the red flag was waved, the race wasn’t stopped and everybody completed the eight laps, even Veronika. I then sent them photos where she clearly didn’t slide all the way over the checkered flag line.


Their fourth defence was that the checkered flag line was not the end of the race, and that the transponder measuring our times and positions were mounted on top of the pit wall – just after corner eight! I then pointed out that she was not (as per the MSA rules) in control of her vehicle when she slid over this lesser-known-about transponder line.


To be classified as a finisher, a vehicle must have completed not less than two-thirds of the distance of the race (rounded down to the nearest whole number of laps) under its own power (see GCR 274 ii).


By this time, they had enough of my know-it-all wise cracks and told me to lodge an official complaint with MSA. This ‘official complaint’ goes hand in hand with a non-refundable fee.


I left it there and decided to just ride my heart out for the rest of the season.


My gripe was with MSA – not Veronika!


My gripe never went away…


Veronika continued to be my biggest rival for the season and even though we never became good friends, I admired her determination.



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