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philhowardfall

Phil Howard emerged with barely a scratch following his braking area off at Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder.

Howard was slowing his Suzuki down from a 154mph pass in the first round of racing when the bike laid over and he went for a slide along the asphalt (images by Rob Sparkes).

philhowardfall

“It was weird, I was aware of the bumps at the finish line and because we had the three round format it wasn't life or death to go through under speed so I rolled off the throttle early,” he said. “Next minute I am laying on the ground and thinking what happened there? There was smoke everywhere, but it didn't feel like the front wheel locked up. When it is locked up and sliding you can feel it, but the front tyre was hardly locked.

“I am just piecing bits together from what you can see, I am okay and that is the main thing.”

philhowardfall

While Sydney Dragway's notorious finish line bumps have claimed a number of riders, Howard said he doesn't know if they were the cause.

“I knew I had rolled off early deliberately to feel everything out and a carb came off so it wasn't under full steam, only on three cylinders. The bike had been handling differently in the braking area.

philhowardfall

“A lot of people have run me with opinions on what happened from cement dust to bumps.

“There is an issue with the track bumps that need to be fixed, it is a duty of care situation. Under power you know you are under control, but under braking you rely on track conditions. The suspension on these bikes has short travel and they can bottom out easily. If the wheels aren't on the ground they don't brake well. But I don't think I hit the bump so badly.

“I was going to think about heading for the Winternationals but I want to pull everything apart and make sure it is all straight. I need to have confidence in the bike, I'm not getting any younger and shit happens.”

philhowardfall

The short slide resulted in no major injuries for Howard, though the bike took a beating.

“I can't complain, I've got a cut on my finger and one rib is sore but really nothing. The carbon fibre body is torn up and the fairing is messed up too.”

philhowardfall

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