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Sound of Thunder 26 Feb 97

by Sean Kennedy

Well, it was mentioned in the paper last week that the Britten team may stick a V-1000 into the F1 and open races out at Ruapuna on the weekend, so I grabbed my little brothers and hooned out there on Saturday.

We pulled up onto one of the banks overlooking the track, and just as I reached for the program to see if they had managed to come out - the Black and Yellow Crepaldi bike shot past us - so we jumped out of the car and went down to the pits to see what was there.

As it was only the warm up part of the day, they didn't have any merchandising stuff out - so when the bike was racing it was almost impossible to find the tent. We went up on another bank to watch the practices, and saw it come in the the pits for a stop. I was just about to run down to the pits to get some photos when Steven got back on, so I managed to get one photo of it coming out before he dropped it!!

I went down to the pits and the mood was very depressing.The bike finally came back on a trailer - Steven was looking a little stunned, and everyone else just looked really sad. I got a couple of photos of the damage - the front of the cowl was scraped on the left hand side, and the right hand side of the fuel tank was badly bashed, and was leaking fuel onto the pipes.The right foot peg and brake assembly seemed to have been sheared off. It was looking pretty messy.

They loaded it up into the van, and I went over to Sarah and asked if the new calendar was around (Just to make conversation...) and she said they might bring some back later in the day or on Sunday when they fix the bike. I didn't think I would be seeing them, and indicated I would stop into the factory this week.

I didn't think that they would have a shit show of getting it running again in 24 hours. And I started to wonder where the magic had gone. We watched the rest of the day's racing and went home.

Sunday dawned and then the weather turned to shit, so I guessed that even if the V-1000 got repaired that the rain would stop the racing, so I didn't even go out.

What a mistake that was!!

It turns out that the bike was racable again, and after starting at the back of the field, managed to take first place from a Ducati in the last lap and win. Steven wasn't happy with the handling, and inspection indicated that the rear shock was cracked, so they pulled out when the rain set in.

Anyway, I guess the magic is still there, especially if the team can pull a machine out of such a big hole and come back to victory the next day.

The bike looked pretty bad - riders were coming up to the van and saying things like "Well, that opens the whole race up now...". I didn't think that Mr Crepaldi would be very pleased to see his $200,000 machine look like the half made kitset one I have at home, covered in primer with no side covers!

Anyway, when I get the film finished, I'll scan the pics and let you have them.



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