Rain may ruin Burt Munro king's chances
The reigning king of the Burt Munro Challenge is hoping rain won't ruin his attempt to break his own Bluff Hill Climb record today.
Christchurch's Ryan Hampton had dominated the past three editions of the BMC, winning three straight New Zealand hill climb titles in Bluff and three straight Wyndham Street Race crowns on his CBR1000.
For the first time he's also planning on taking part in the beach racing tomorrow night, as long as a crucial sprocket for his motocross bike arrives in time, and with the sprints at Teretonga on Saturday he'll be competing in four of the five official events.
Hampton's southern success was borne out of the relaxed nature of the event, he said.
"I just seem to enjoy the atmosphere. It's not a really highly-competitive series, guys go down to there to have a bit of fun. Compare it to something like the nationals where there isn't the same level of camaraderie. Down there it's a lot more enjoyable, a lot more social," he said.
"The Southland atmosphere is something I enjoy."
Hampton is hoping for good road conditions to have a crack at the 44.74sec record he set last year on Bluff Hill.
Sand placed on a corner to mop up a leak had made for a slower time in 2012 and Hampton believes it is possible to go faster this year.
Along the long straight midway through the run, riders will reach speeds of about 240kmh.
"It's over before you know it, to be quite honest. If we can get some good sunshine and we can get the bike to handle I reckon I should be able to beat that. Once I'm sitting on the line and they give me the countdown, I just seem to change from the placid side to the competitive side, it's put your head down and away you go," he said.
"You get to the top and things are starting to fall into place. The adrenaline is pumping and you feel like you need more."
Wyndham holds a special place in Hampton's heart.
His grandmother grew up in the Eastern Southland town and he'll be celebrating his 25th birthday on Sunday.
"It's quite bizarre that my grandmother can talk about being there in the early days and I'm racing around there quite a few years later. There's a bit of sentimental value there."
Hampton is in superb racing form.
He finished seventh, his best placing, in the Superbikes national series this year and fifth in the Triseries last year to complete his best year on the bike.
"It's the closest I've ever been to those guys who are the next level up. Everything is going basically the best it can, as far as the bike goes and my fitness is the best it's ever been."
Hampton has been working out at a gym for the past six months, training once a week with a personal trainer, as well as kickboxing classes.
"Everything is starting to pay off in terms of the cardio side of things. I get off the bike and I don't feel tired."
Despite that, four days of racing at the BMC always took a toll.
Hampton doesn't like to do the figures, but he things this campaign will cost him between $5000 and $6000.
It's enough to make him think twice about returning, but the allure of the BMC always lures him back.
- The Southland Times