On the 3rd and 4th of June we headed to Phillip Island for the fourth round of the Hartwell Club Championship. We are racing the Honda NSF250R to prepare for the first round of the Australian Superbike series in Darwin. We were not where we wanted to be all weekend but we now move on and look towards Round 1 of ASBK at Darwin which is the first round for 125/Moto3.
It started at Friday practise and the track temperature was only 17 degrees all day. I was feeling very comfortable on the bike until the fourth session when rain had wet the first half of the track and around turn 2 the track was very slippery. On the exit as I got on the power I was high sided and thrown off the bike. Luckily the bike had very minimal damage and we got it running for tomorrow's racing. Nolan Helmets have always protected me in the best way and I'm so thankful to have the best protection possible.
On Saturday the track temperature was a little warmer then Friday but still cold. I went out for the morning warm up that was six minute long to make sure the bike was all good after the crash from Friday. The footpeg had worn away and I could feel that when I was riding so we replaced that and it was all good from there. In qualifying I was by myself and had no one to get slip stream from and no one to chase. I ended up fourth on the grid with a best lap time of 1.47.908.
There was only one race on Saturday that was five laps long. I got a really good start and was right with the other Moto3’s. I tried to go around a TZ 250 at turn 2 on the first lap and another rider had just passed him and he sat up and pushed me off the track into the gravel trap. Luckily I stayed on the bike but I fell back to dead last in 20th position. I was able to re-join the race but there was dirt on my tires so I had to take it easy until I had full grip again. I had moved up three places on the next lap and was catching everyone quickly. I finished 13th in the race as it was red flaged due to another rider crashing.
There was no warm up on Sunday just straight into racing. I got a good start and was right up with the other Moto3’s but the TZ 250 held me up and the other pulled a gap on me. I soon caught a 125 and passed him down the straight using the slip stream advantage. Moving into fourth overall. He passed me back around turn 3 into turn 4. He came in really hot and ran wide onto the cold track when he got onto the power the rear slide around and high sided him off the bike. On the second to last lap the TZ 250 tried to pass me into turn 1 but he could not make a pass. I knew he would be there on the last lap and down the straight his top speed was 30km/h faster than mine so he just got me on the line pushing me back to fifth.
In the last race for the weekend I had lost a lot of feeling while riding the bike. I got a bad start but then caught back up to the leaders around turn 4. Going through the fast back section of the track the other bikes pulled a lot on me and I dropped off of the pack. I then rode a lonely race in fourth and had a good eight second gap over the TZ 250. I finished the race fourth and it was the last race for the weekend.
This weekend was a very hard and difficult weekend. I never really had any good feeling on the bike after the Friday crash and I was battling a head cold. The track was very cold and that caused the bike to move around a lot. My dad never gave up in supporting me even though things were not going right. He always said I rode well and that we will just move on from this weekend.
- Shane Gabel
Posted on: 7 Jun, 2017