Season 2015 finished on a high for the Ballistic Performance Parts Nitrous Kawasaki. Following an accident at the Nitro Champs in Sydney in May 2014 and sitting out the 2014 Winternationals, with bike and body repaired Rob finished off his 2014 season with an appearance on his Z900 Modified bike at the Springnationals in Adelaide. He was determined to make amends in 2015, though the season would be short.
January saw the Ballistic Performance Parts team compete the Z900 at the Summit round at Portland. Qualifying with 5.89 ET over the eighth, we lost in the Quarter finals to Tony Frost.
We made our way to Adelaide in March for the 1000 foot Nationals. It was to be the first race back on the Nitrous Comp Bike. With no Competition Bike field due to lack of entry numbers we competed in Modified Bike. Top qualifying for the race, we were happy with the performance of the bike and Rob returned his Mojo with two out of three solid passes. Round one of eliminations saw us with a break out handing the win to Shane Walker. The weekend a success in terms of getting back on the horse!
With Competition Bike not contested at Adelaide the team decided to sit out the Summit round at Willowbank in April, along with the Nitro Champs in Sydney given the previous years accident was still very raw.
June long weekend saw the team head to Willowbank for the Winternationals, Rob’s favourite meeting of the year. With our first qualifier late Thursday afternoon there were some nerves for both rider and crew. Surprisingly the bike ran a 7.56 second pass straight off the trailer placing us 2nd in the qualifying order of 19. With an index of 7.90- the pressure was off. Missing every gear shift in the second qualifier on Friday the bike ran a 7.78 and Rob progressed further down the qualifying order. Trying a slightly different combination for the third and final qualifier on Saturday, we ran a 7.76 finishing us in 6th qualifying place.
Preparing for Race day we returned the tune up to what we knew would work – the old trusty. We had Todd Johnson from WA in first round of eliminations. After helping him repair his bike in the staging lanes we had a win running 7.53, well under our index.
With our index refactored to 7.71 for 2nd round eliminations we were feeling a bit nervous taking on the number 2 qualifier. With a small change to the tune up we hit the track without lane choice. The bike ran like a dream and Rob made it to the end first with another 7.53. He had to pinch himself, he was going to the semi finals at the Winternationals and better still had preserved his 7.71 index.
With a well practised procedure between rounds we refilled nitrous bottles, refuelled and were ready for the semi finals in no time. Semi finals saw us take on Peter Puznik, 4th qualifier. The closest race of the meeting both racers cut good lights and Rob was in chase all of the way until he pipped him at the post winning by 0.017. Rob ran a 7.51 shutting off just before the finish line. He was awash with emotion- he couldn’t believe what was happening- he was into the final at the Winternationals!
Making a dash back to the pits, Katie and Rob sat and looked at each other. It was all a bit surreal- we weren’t sure how we were supposed to be feeling. The final wouldn’t be easy- we would take on the number one qualifier, but the bike was running like a bracket bike. Rob had marginally refactored his index to 7.70. The temperature had dropped significantly and he was concerned that the track could be slippery so took a small amount of power out.
With some confusion about indexes as we headed into stage, Rob disarmed the nitrous whilst it was sorted out. With the pressure of the final he moved into full stage without rearming the nitrous. He realised his mistake as the bike launched without power but it was too late he was unable to catch up – running a 10 second pass. Disappointed by his error, He was soon overjoyed as he realised he had come Runner Up at the Winternationals.
With an amazing finish to the season, Rob can’t wait to compete at the Spring Nationals in October. We would like to thank all of our sponsors; Powerplus Race Fuels, Lucas Oils Australia, Denso Australia, Shinko Tyres and Ballistic Performance Parts and of course our family.