Well they say what doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger. If that is the case, then last week would have been a high intensity strength workout. With Launceston being located in Tasmania, which is an island off the main land of Australia, they do not have near the resources to pull from. That said, the equipment was definitely not the latest technology. So we knew it was going to be a battle from the get-go. We just tried to keep a positive outlook and deal with the task at hand. Next hurdle, the dirt. If you can imagine what slabs of sun-baked modeling clay would look like, that is what we would have to build the track with. This left us scratching our heads while we tried to come up with a plan on how we would form these chunks of clay into a track. Without a bulldozer to help break up the large chunks of clay we used trial and error to come up with a system that would work. In the end, the new method of track building was to dump the clay into large piles, then beat it down with the bucket of the excavators. Once our pile was formed we would use the cutting edge of the excavator buckets like a knife, and cut the excess clay off the pile which would form our jumps. This left me reminiscing about my high school pottery class, only on a much larger scale. It did not take us long to figure out the the skidsteers were not nearly strong enough or heavy enough to carry out there normal task of putting the final clean-up on our oversized sculptures. Back to the drawing board. With rain in the forecast and the unfinished appearance of the track, I decided it would be best to use a track building secret that I learned from my buddy Brooksie and find a top dressing. I jumped in the truck with the dirt broker and we went on a scavenger hunt to find the right material. What we found would prove to be orange gold. The material was 70% sand 30% clay mix that would allow us to put the butter smooth finish on the track. Fianaly at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning we completed the track. After all the pounding and sculpting of the clay, the extra time to lay a complete blanket of finishing material, and some track changes the Dream Traxx crew still came out on top. The never say die attitude of my crew is something I can’t begin to thank them for.
After the riders track walk there was some question to why there were not any whoops. With the nature of the clay and lack of a dozer, there was no way for us to build a safe and proper set of whoops. What we did build though, was a very tricky sand section that would allow you to make a serious time advantage if done correctly. Once practice got under way, our efforts were rewarded by all the positive feedback that we received from the riders. The top layer was mixing perfectly with the under-base and created a great surface material.
The last hurdle was the high percentage of rain, and mother nature did not let us down. Right before track maintenance, the rain began to fall. Here is where the top surface layer that we put down proved its worth. Because of the higher sand content in the material, it absorbed the rain like a sponge, and the orange color shined like gold to us.
All obstacles had been overcome and we had some great racing. It is challenges like these that leave you the proudest when you succeed. I can’t say enough about my crew this year and could not have done it without them. I am looking forward to my much needed week off. Then it is 2 rounds in New Zealand, before heading back to Australia for the final 2 races.
So, this week did not start off quite as smooth as last week. As we arrived at the airport and began to check our bags, we quickly realized that the travel agency booked us the wrong type of ticket – allowing for only 15kg (about 33 pounds) of luggage. So by the time three of us had put our bags up, we were already at $480 in excess baggage fees. That’s quite a large bill to swallow. So we talked to the guys at SuperX, and figured it would be cheaper, and more fun to rent a car and take a 5 hour scenic drive to Canberra. So, we loaded up our bags and we were off! Though driving is not my favorite thing to do, mix it up with driving on the other side of the car, the other side of the road, and having no clue where we were going, and it actually made for an exciting drive. We saw some really neat sights on our way to Canberra. Have to say that this snag in the plan actually turned out to be a good one in a way. So, once we arrived at Canberra it was time to go to the stadium and start marking out the track for the dirt to be brought in. As we remembered from last year, the groundskeeper of this stadium is a tough one. He is very particular about his field. And though we were told we could start marking the track out on Tuesday, we were quickly informed we could not start on his turf until Wednesday. As we started our day on Wednesday, a reminder of that tough groundskeeper was fresh in our minds as we were having to lay double the amount of geo-fab than we normally use to protect his turf. This created a slower start than normal getting all of the dirt hauled in. We were going at it pretty steadily when at about 9pm Wednesday night a seal on the grease cylinder track tensioner blew on the bulldozer. That pretty much stopped all work for a few hours until we got the dozer fixed. Then we called it a night. We were all up bright and early on Thursday hoping to have a smooth day. The day only started with a few hiccups – trying to get all the dirt brought in and dropped in the right spots since we were a little behind on our build was a bit of a challenge. Then the Union showed up. They gave us quite a hassle last year, and this year was no different. Australia has different rules and guidelines for equipment operators than America does, so we were shut down for about an hour making sure everything was in order. Once the all clear was given, we were in high gear! Everything was actually going well, and the track was coming together. Then, after our dinner break we were at it again, when an idle pulley on the excavator was so worn out that it twisted sideways and the track came off. Not Good!!! After another 3 1/2 hours of working on a piece of equipment, we called it quits for the night. We came in on Friday with a mission and kicked butt! We had the track complete by about 5pm and then started to water and prep for Saturdays races. This track required a bit more prep work because the dirt is the type that seals up quick, so we had to put quite a bit of water down. By Saturday morning, the 4 1/2 hours of watering we had done was absorbed into the dirt like a sponge. So we put another coat on. Jason made the decision to put a second coat on trying to stay ahead of the game. This made practices a bit muddy, but the track was coming around perfect for race time…but Mother Nature had a game of her own! After practice it rained on and off for about 3 hours, and with the track already being pretty wet from the second coat of water this was a bit of salt in the wounds, or so we thought. By the last motos of the night the track was at its best, which is normally the complete opposite. Typically the end of the night the track is in its worst shape. But tonight, the final races were awesome. The racers were pumped with the final races and the racing action was packed. The crew kicked butt again this week, and SuperX Round 2 Canberra was a success. Stay tuned each week for behind the scenes updates on the build process for each round. For more information on SuperX, visit www.superx.com.au. For more information on Dream Traxx, visit www.dreamtraxx.com. Be sure to follow us on www.facebook.com/dreamtraxx, www.twitter.com/dreamtraxx
Behind the Scenes – Building the Australasian Super X SeriesRound 1 – Newcastle
Well, it is time for the Australasian SuperX Series to start once again! This is the 3rd year of the series, and our 3rd year heading down under to build the tracks. We really wanted to start things off with a bang, so we designed the track with some really cool sections that the riders will enjoy and will keep the fans on their feet! Typically we start the build on Tuesday, but this year we had to start on Wednesday, putting the crew in high gear right off the start. As the dirt started coming in we were pumped, it was probably some of the best dirt we have worked with in Australia. With the shorter build time given to us, the crew cranked in an insane amount of hours, and had the track completed in 2 days – Awesome!! Overall this was a pretty smooth build. Nothing too crazy happened, and the track easily took shape. We were thrilled with the overall outcome of the track! Plus, with the great dirt we received, it helped make the track even better. When media day came, the riders were impressed with what they saw and super-pumped on the track. We are excited for the racing to get started and to put the first round in the books!