Regional racer eager to use series fortune
WHEN 2011 Street Bike champion Paul Astridge heads to Willowbank Raceway on Saturday for the penultimate round of the Street Series, he will be looking to capitalise on a lucky break.
That came when his championship points lead remained intact despite a substantially unlucky mechanical issue in July.
Astridge led the Street Bike field to the Raceway on his 1000cc Honda VTRSP1 for July's round of the Street Series.
While his points buffer benefited from the event, his bike did not.
Coominya-based Astridge is a leading hand in an aluminium extrusion workshop.
With at least a month on the sidelines for repairs, Astridge was left lamenting a championship opportunity lost - that is, before the weather gods intervened.
"At the end of the July Street Series round, a scary amount of my bike's clutch ended up residing in its sump,'' Astridge said.
"To that point I had made three finals out of the four run to that point, winning two of those and holding a points lead with a nice margin. But I wasn't relaxed at all.
"As we have seen, it isn't hard to come tumbling down from the top much quicker than you can get there.
"That damage was a big letdown for me at the time, as I was sure to miss the next event while making repairs.
"However I had a lucky break with the August round being rained out, which allowed me sufficient time to repair my bike and get back on-track in time for the September event.''
Astridge is determined to cash in on his good fortune.
With a guaranteed spot in the Street Bike Top Eight Shootout on October 25, he is prepared to lay it all on the line this weekend.
"It is kind of ironic how this has played out,'' he said.
"In 2011, I had a clutch failure around the same time and lost one event because of it.
"I went on to win the series that year so hopefully there is a pattern forming.''
Astridge is a former drag racing photographer who has been around the sport for 40 years while racing on and off for 11 seasons.
"While I bowed out in round two of September's event by beating myself with a 0.01 second red light, I still have the points lead and a guaranteed place in the shootout,'' he said.
"The bike is also back on-track performance wise following its repairs.
"The last few months have really demonstrated the highs and lows of this great sport of ours. I will be doing everything I can to make sure this season ends on a high.''
Honours on the line
REGIONAL racer Paul Astridge will be joined at Willowbank Raceway on Saturday by more than 100 racers fighting it out for Street Bike, Street Sedan and Powder Puff honours.
The top eight in the points following this weekend progress the Top Eight Shootout, which will decide the champions for the respective brackets.
The Powder Puff bracket (women only) will hold their Shootout on October 21. Street Bike and Street Sedan winners will be crowned on October 25.
Saturday's Street Series event will blast off with time trials from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, with racing from 7pm.
Spectator entry is available at the gate ($20 for adults and $18 for students with ID). Children aged 13 years and under gain free admission.