First Race Meeting Report - Extra Long Extended Version (Warning- It's Really Long, Honest)

Discussion in 'UK Motorcycles' started by antonye, May 3, 2005.

  1. antonye

    antonye Guest

    Friday night and the bike got loaded onto the trailer, and the boot was
    loaded up with all the tools, spares and accessories I thought I would
    need. I'd been thorough enough to spend the week before compiling a
    checklist of everything I could think of which I may possibly need, to
    ensure that I didn't forget the one thing I would need. It ran to nearly
    two pages of A4, and the boot of the Bimmer was very tightly packed, and
    it even overflowed onto the back seats. The plan was to set off at about
    9am on saturday morning to make midday, get the bike sorted (it needed a
    few last minute adjustments) and then make the free practise in the
    afternoon once it was through scrutineering.

    Saturday morning came and I hadn't even had breakfast by 9am, so I was
    already running late. The last few things went into the car and I set
    off at about 10am, to make the mammoth 160 mile trip up to Cadwell. The
    prospect of nearly 4 hours in the car didn't fill me with joy, but
    that's the gruelling aspect of being a Proper Racer. The route would
    take me up the M11, A1 and then A16, and for those who have driven it
    the last part (the A16) feels about three times longer than it actually
    is, especially with a trailer.

    The car is normally tuned to Capital FM as it's the kind of mindless
    musical pap that makes the time pass more quickly, but I must be getting
    old as once the signal had faded a few miles up the M11, I retuned to
    Radio Two for a bit of thinking listening. Jonathon Ross was on and
    although I'm not a great fan, he is inoffensive enough to listen to and
    he kept me company for most of the drive with his cheeky chat and
    amusing guest slots. Christ I must be getting old.

    A quick stop for a top up of petrol and a coffee somewhere very flat -
    must be the Fens then - and I decided not to fill the fuel cans and the
    bike as I could do this later. There would be nothing worse than filling
    the boot of the car with the stink of petrol, and most of my kit was in

    Turning off the A1 and onto the A16 and it was like going back in time.
    Now, I'm no City boy as I was brought up in the most backwards backwater
    of Suffolk (population: 50,000 - surnames: 3) but the bright lights of
    Olde London Town attracted me many years ago and I've worked there ever
    since, only moving out to Essex to do the Family Thing. However, I was
    getting slightly worried when not only are there no visible habitats in
    any direction on the horizon, but there are also six foot ditches either
    side of the road that would swallow both the bimmer and the trailer
    whole, only to be found by some archaeologist team in 39573 as they laid
    foundations for the latest Hyperdrive Point to Nebulus 92 on the Outer Rim.

    The one thing that did keep me sane (although this is one point of
    contention anyway) through the journey was to marvel at a rare site in
    Essex - Policemen. It seems that this particular stretch of road was
    full of them! I walk past the Essex Police Headquarters every day and
    you don't see that many outside there! I must have passed nearly half a
    dozen marked cars, a marked van, a camera van and even a marked
    motorbike! Either Lincolnshire is a hive of scum and villany, or the
    local Chief Constable has his head screwed on the right way round.
    Either way, for a place that is so empty it made a change to see more
    plod than a Dunkin' Donuts on Free Trial Day.

    Now my plan of filling up with petrol as I got closer to Cadwell went up
    the wall as, I'm sure most of you reading this will know, all the money
    in Lincolnshire has been spent on policemen and certainly not petrol
    stations. In most 21st century towns in England, you cannot drive more
    than 3 miles without passing either some kind of supermarket with
    attached petrol station, or a petrol station with some kind of attached
    supermarket. But Louth has neither. The only petrol station I know of in
    Louth (on the industrial estate near Keddington House, for those that
    know it) is a pokey affair with clockwork pumps and one of those old
    "typewriter" tills that pops up the numbers. You think I'm kidding...

    In my rush to just get to Cadwell, I decide that I can find petrol
    later, ponce some of somebody else to make the free practise and worry
    about it later.

    I finally arrive through the gates of Cadwell Park Raceway at around
    1.30pm - after what seems like 4 days solid driving. I had sent a text
    message to my mate Tony the day before to let me know where he had setup
    camp once he'd arrived, but I'm sure he'd just forgotten to do it in the
    rush rather than not tell me. Didn't you Tony. Didn't you? I tried his
    mobile but no answer. Fair enough, I know he was racing the Sound of
    Thunder (SoT) so I'm sure he was busy and wouldn't have time to park up
    and answer. So I gave other mate Dickie a call, but his phone too didn't
    ring through. Then I remembered that Cadwell was particularly crap for
    mobile phone reception, so decided to hunt them down in the paddock.

    Driving down the paddock road, it was very hard not to miss the large
    Ducati Sporting Club flag, flying from a twenty foot pole in the middle
    of the paddock. That could be a good place to start then! My instinct
    was right as this was Michael and Lizzie's van, who run the membership
    side of the club, and it was parked next to Tony with Dickie on the
    other side. I parked in a spare spot, and went to find some familiar
    faces. There were plenty of people around who I knew and by the time I
    found Tony he had already been out for his SoT race.

    I got the bike unloaded off the trailer and parked it out the front of
    the tents with all the others. As the bike had only been completed a
    week before, due to it being off for a week having an exhaust made and
    then spending time fitting the fairing to the last minute rush ACU
    approved belly pan from Sigma, the bike was unpainted and looked rather
    shabby amongt all the much better looking examples.

    The first thing to do was to pickup my oil pack from Monty, as the bike
    had no oil in it. I had put fresh oil in after then engine rebuild and
    setup (when the big-bore was also done) but this needed to be changed
    after running the bike in at Snetterton on the moday. I'd drained the
    oil, fitted a new oil filter and new plugs but rather than pay money to
    refill it with more oil, I had decided to wait until getting the free
    oil pack as part of the series sponsorship. Then I needed to get the oil
    sump plug, oil filter and oil filler lockwired, as I had no lockwire
    pliers, and I also needed some race numbers too. My previous experience
    with paddock life, helping out a mate who raced a KR1S and then later a
    TZ250, told me that I would be able to get all this sorted in the paddock.

    Monty and the Oil Packs (a good name for a band there) had not yet
    arrived, so I went and bought myself some race numbers - 9x Numbers 1s -
    a bargain for £1 although I was tempted to haggle on the price. They
    didn't have any lockwire pliers, so these would be borrowed from
    somebody else.

    Back at the bike, Duncan arrived and pitched up the other side of the
    tarmac strip (it's not wide enough to be called a "road") and got his
    bike unloaded. Once I'd finished applying all nine of my number one
    stickers, Monty and the Passion Wagon (note: this would be a better band
    name) arrived and parked up close by. Without Monty even setting foot on
    the ground, I'd asked for my oil pack. He motioned with a wisened hand
    to the back to the camper, much like Gandalf casting a spell, and my
    eyes fell upon the stacks of boxes with Shell logos on them. Being
    desperate for my share of the loot, I agreed to help Monty unload and
    setup Dodgy Monty's Oil Emporium (prefer the Passion Wagon one I think)
    outside the van. Boxen upon boxen of oil came out and was stacked up,
    ready to be distributed to the crazed racers, like food to the starving
    (nb. don't overdo it...).

    Clutching my haul, I got back to the bike and topped it up with the
    required amount. Then I set about borrowing some lockwire pliers and
    wire from someone, which happened to be just across the tarmac in the
    form of Duncan. He gave me a quick lesson in how to operate the lockwire
    pliers, which was a bit like trying to figure out how a magician
    produces an orange from empty hands, and off I went armed to lockwire
    anything that moved. Or at least attempted to.

    So it went... put the lockwire through. Hold it in the jaws. Clamp it
    with the slidy thing, then pull the plunger and hey presto! Lockwire! It
    wasn't that difficult after all. The hardest thing was to find out where
    to lockwire too, but the bellypan brackets did ok for that. I had
    actually cheated on the lockwire front as I'd bought pre-drilled billet
    alloy filler cap and sump plug, along with a K&N oil filter which comes
    with a pre-drilled nut on the end. These all made the lockwiring much
    easier, for not much more expense.

    Back on with the bellypan, with some help to hold it all in place, and
    the bike was ready for scrutineering. This was the bit that I wasn't
    looking forward to as it was like an MOT where they were bound to find
    the loose bolt I hadn't spotted and I would be riddiculed for years to
    come as the guy that hadn't noticed the most important bolt on the bike.

    Rolling down to the scrutineers bay with my leathers on and the
    scrutineering card in my hand, I leant the bike against the wall and
    went inside to find two very fat men sitting around doing nothing, like
    all good fat men do. They looked at me blankly (another trait of the
    Very Fat Man) and I wondered if I'd managed to grow another head, but
    they seemed to understand my question of "scrutineering?" as they looked
    at each other, grunted and then said something which resembled English
    but consisted of lots of "eeeeee" and "duck" or "dook" or some strange
    Northern lingo.

    The slightly less fat very fat bloke got me to hold the bike upright
    from behind as he went round the front and gripped the bars in some kind
    of perverse mechanical spitroast. Apparently he was checking the head
    bearings but I'm not too sure. He then checked the brakes (yep, there
    were some on it) and then looked inside the fairing. Now, considering
    that the fairing covers the bellypan, which covers up the lockwiring, he
    didn't probe too far. In fact, I'm sure that he couldn't even see that
    I'd managed to perform the Best Lockwiring On A Motorcycle Ever, but
    just grunted again and said "Eeeeee. That'll do yer." or something. Was
    that it? Had it failed? Apparently not, as he marked my card, put a
    yellow sticker by the numbers and waved me away. It was all very odd.

    Back up at our mini-collection area and I realised that it was empty.
    Everyone else had gone out for practise! Bugger. That will teach me to
    leave things until the last minute. I still hadn't signed on nor paid
    the balance owed, or picked up a transponder, so there was no way I
    would be allowed out to practise. Instead I wandered down to the New Era
    office and got signed on, paid for a transponder and handed over all my
    scrutineering and "Get Out Of Jail" liability cards to complete the
    paperwork required to race.

    Back at our area in the paddock, the others chewed the fat about the
    free practise and started getting ready for tomorrow's race. I chatted
    with a few of the other racers, and more people turned up to take the
    mickey out of everyone as usual. It was then that I decided on a last
    minute gearing change - not because I'd worked out what was best for the
    track but because Kev (who had raced previously and been out in races
    that day) had told me what he was running. That was good enough for me,
    so with the light starting to fade, out came the tools and the spare
    sprockets and off came the back wheel for a sprocket change. Luckily it
    swapped over very easy (I had a nightmare getting the original sprocket
    off the hub when sorting the bike as it was so tight) and so I was done
    for the day and ready to go for the racing tomorrow.

    But first I needed petrol, so I unhooked the trailer and set off out of
    Cadwell to find some. I drove into Louth which is about 10 minutes away,
    but the fog had started to obscure the land around Cadwell like some
    kind of horror film. My mind flicked back to American Werewolf In London
    (which had scared me shitless as a child as it was the first film I'd
    watched on video, but only made me laugh when I watched it again as an
    adult!) and the tales of Misty Moors at night. I made a resolution to
    stick to the road and not stray from the path, and I'd be alright. I
    found the only garage in Louth, but it was predictably closed, along
    with everywhere else in Louth it seemed. So the only thing for it was to
    head somewhere on a major road and pray for a garage.

    As I'd arrived on the A16 from the South and there had been no garages
    with at least 20 miles, common sense and a quick flip of a coin in my
    head said to go North on the A16. After a few miles, the signs to
    Grimsby started counting down the miles and I just reminded myself that
    even though that was *really* northern, at least they may have some
    petrol. And I'd never been to Grimsby either. Bonus!

    Luckily I found what must be North Lincs only Esso station and filled
    the cans and the car with petrol right to the brim. I also grabbed some
    supplies, a paper (just in case I got bored like) and paid the cashier.
    With a credit card. But they did get me to sign a bit of paper rather
    than put in my PIN, so they weren't that advanced near Grimsby.

    Back at the camp it was now properly dark and the barbies were in full
    flame mode as the food came out. I'd brought along some of the wife's
    famous Chilli which I'd nabbed from the freezer in the morning, and
    Tony's wife Ange found me a pot and a spoon large enough to cope with
    it. To make it go round a bit more, I added a tin of baked beans. Dave
    Harris offered the mini-stove to get it heated on but was having no luck
    getting it to light. So I read the instructions and had a go at getting
    it to light. You're right - it did light first time.

    The beers came out, the sausages were burnt and the chicken checked that
    it wasn't pink in the middle - all the good stuff about having a barbie.
    Tony and his Aussie mate Jason had wafted a couple of steaks over the
    barbie and then put them in a roll. I swear one of them was still
    wiggling. I'd been talking up the wife's Chilli and managed to get
    Duncan to try some and he said it was good. I thought to myself that he
    was probably just being polite, but that the tester would be if he had
    some more, which he did, so it obviously wasn't that bad.

    It was getting late and Dave and Annette, our hosts for the night,
    wanted to get some sleep so they kicked us all out of their marquee.
    They had kindly agreed to let myself and Tony stash our bikes in there
    overnight, as their tent was also inside the marquee (check with Dave
    about hire rates for weddings and parties...) and the bikes would be
    safe in there. So we wheeled the bike in and kissed them goodnight
    before settling down ourselves.

    Tony had offered a room in his tent for the night, and I'd brought along
    my own sleeping bag and a blow up single mattress I use with it. As luck
    would have it, the mattress had a slow puncture so I ended up sleeping
    in relative comfort. The sleeping bag, one of those cocoon/mummy affairs
    which narrow at the bottom and have a hood at the top, also seemed to
    have shrunk since the last time I'd used it as I just couldn't get
    comfy. I drifted in and out of sleep - Tony was snoring away across the
    "hall" in his side of the tent - and then it started with the thunder
    and the pissing rain. Great stuff.

    The morning came all too quickly and I did my usual trick of waking up
    two minutes before the alarm on my phone went off to get me out of bed.
    It's funny how your body clock can be so precise like that sometimes. I
    got up and wandered outside as Tony's tent was empty, and everyone was
    again at Dave and Annette's marquee. I was handed a nice hot cup of tea,
    and we all stood outside looking up at the sky. The ground was wet,
    there were puddles of water everywhere, and poor Duncan was lucky not to
    have floated away in the night from the looks of things - not the best
    start to a weekend of racing.

    We debated the weather - would it rain more or clear up? Would the track
    dry or would it be wet? - and although the prospect of a wet track
    didn't bother me, I'd obviously prefer it to be dry. There wasn't much
    time before we all had to be kitted up and ready for practise at 9am as
    they call you in a good 10-15 minutes early. My mate Phil had arrived to
    support me during the day, and help out where needed, so I got kitted up
    and he helped with the awkward stuff like getting my novice bib on and
    getting the bike off the stand.

    Heading down to the collecting area for practise, everyone was wide eyed
    with excitement - there were no sleepy heads in this lot. I've ridden
    Cadwell many times before, so it was only the hairpin to get used to and
    the rest would be fine. I was in the middle of the pack as we were let
    out onto the track, and took it steady going round to spot the puddles
    of water and the damp patches under the trees and so on. Cadwell is an
    odd track as it can be dry for most of the track, but the mountain
    section is shaded by the trees around it so sometimes it can still be
    damp and very slippery, so you need to take care.

    Building up the speed and getting used to the bike and the new hairpin,
    the gearing felt good and I was happy with the bike moving about a bit
    in the wet, and sometimes with some good slides in the corners - all
    predictable stuff and I was comfortable with it.

    Accelerating out of the hairpin, just before the left into the mountain,
    I'd caught up with Dickie on his 620 Monster. Suddenly he was rushing
    towards me and I hit the brakes. The front washed out and before I knew
    it I was sliding along on my arse, onto the grassed area behind the bike
    on it's side. ****.

    It turned out that Dickie had missed a gear, which is why he'd slowed
    down so quickly. It's surprising the speed at which he'd come towards me
    (or at least it felt like it, as I was accelerating and he was only
    slowing slightly) and it was a case of smack into the back of him or
    brake. My brain had screamed BRAKE HARD and the track had been too
    slippery to cope, so the front had just let go.

    The marshalls laughed as the grass had been freshly laid and I was the
    first one to test it out. Thanks for laughing at me guys! The bike
    looked fine - just a bent footrest but then I spotted the gear lever
    rubber and peg had gone ... and I didn't have a spare. The bike was soon
    into the back of the recovery van, along with me, and they dropped me
    off at our pit area. No sooner was the bike out of the back than Dave
    Harris took charge and formed a plan to get me sorted.

    The handle bar had taken a hit, and had bent at the clamp, so this was
    replaced with the spare I had by my mate Phil. Dave was sorting the
    footpeg as this had ground away nicely (good decision to make them out
    of nice soft ally there Nigel!) and it had bent the bolt which held it
    in place. It would be easy to replace the bolt, but the problem would be
    getting the bolt out of the threaded rearset as it was bent at 45
    degrees. Using Brute Force, I bent the peg back to straight under Dave's
    directions and he then set about unwinding it. Luckily the peg came off
    without damage but the bolt was mashed. Dave was unsure if the bolt
    would come out without taking the threads out with it, but we gave it a
    go and with some gentle spannering, Dave came up trumps.

    The next thing to do was find a replacement bolt. The only one that was
    the right type (M10 fine pitch) was a shanked bolt, so the threaded
    rearset plate would be a problem. An executive decision was made to
    drill out the thread from an adjacent hole (to save my preferred postion
    hole from damage) to accomodate the shanked bolt. A cordless drill was
    borrowed from Nick (cheers!) and the plate de-threaded. The thread in
    the peg would be a problem too, to this was drilled down slightly and
    the bolt packed with washers. Dave again spannered some magic and the
    footpeg was good to go.

    Next was the gear lever missing it's pedal. There was a small bit of
    pedal there, but it was riveted in place rather than screwed. Luckily it
    was soft alloy so this was easily drilled, then the excess removed with
    a hacksaw and a bolt and two-nuts arrangement put in place to create a
    pedal. With an large application of black gaffer tape, you'd think it
    was meant to look like that!

    With the bike now sorted, I nipped down to scrutineering while Phil
    cleared away, and they checked it over and said it was fine. As I pulled
    out the other side, the DD bikes were rolling down into the collecting
    area for qualifying - now this was the one thing I couldn't miss! I went
    back up to our area, frantically waving at Phil to get me some petrol.
    Our years of riding together meant he understood what I wanted and
    dashed off to retrieve the can of petrol. We topped the bike up and I
    raced off again to the holding area. The bike was running rough - but I
    put this down to the fact the carbs had probably drained when it had a
    lay down.

    As I was late to qualifying, I was near the back of the pack and this
    had stuffed me for a clear run at the track and hopefully a good time.
    Bugger - late again and I've screwed things up.

    Out on the track it was drying now and there were plenty of dry lines to
    take, but everywhere was chokka with traffic. The only place to overtake
    was off the dry line and braking into the hairpin - not the best place
    to do it and certainly after just losing the front on the brakes coming
    out the other side! I just gritted my teeth and went for it a few times,
    kept it together and did my best. The bike had cleared it's coughing,
    so it must have just been empty float bowls.

    Coming round Barn (the right hander before the start/finish straight)
    there were at least 3 bikes on the ground. The DSC'er in you says "****,
    that's my mates there" while the racer in you says "that's three less to
    worry about" and you're torn with which way to go. But no time to think
    about that as it's head down, fast laps, hold it together and Don't
    Fucking Crash.

    All too quickly the chequered flag comes out and we're off up the pit
    lane and back to our paddock area. I'm only just off the bike and helmet
    off when Annette comes up the paddock with the timed sheet. I've
    qualified in 14th spot with a fastest lap time of 53.55s - just over 4
    seconds off pole but bloody good for my first outing none the less. I'm
    happy with that!

    Now it's time to relax a bit until our race but first the bike is
    checked for fuel and a quick bolt check to make sure that nothing has
    worked loose.

    It turns out that Nick had taken out both Phil (not Mate Phil) and
    Duncan at Barn, and those were the bikes I'd seen. Duncan looks in a bad
    way - very pale and shaken - but his bike looks like it can be repaired.
    He's nursing a sore wrist but is not able to continue. Man, I'd be
    gutted if that was me and I'm sure he was too. Worst case would be to
    not race the first round due to a non-fault or a stupid mistake and I
    had those feelings when I cocked off earlier. I'm sure he doesn't blame
    Nick but it's gotta piss you off and all respect to Duncan for not
    lamping anyone/anything. I know Nick spoke to him later and I'm sure he
    apologised even though that's racing for you.

    I chat with my mate Phil back at the paddock and we meet a few guys from
    from the Essex DSC region as they've been watching practise and have
    walked up to the pits. Myself and Phil walk down to the bar and grab a
    cuppa, as I collect my thoughts and try to focus on the race ahead.

    The bit upto our race is a blur now, and it came all too soon. Helmet
    on, gloves on, off the paddock stand and down to collecting. We're all
    given a sticker on the front of our bikes showing our grid positions,
    and they let us out onto the track and we form up on the grid. Now
    there's two sets of numbers on the grid - one yellow for cars (which is
    more spaced out) and one white for bikes. I know this now, but I didn't
    at the time. The first number 14 I came to was yellow, but it seemed
    like miles away from the line - I'm hoping that fourth line of the grid
    really isn't this far back! Then I spot the white numbers, so I gas it
    like I'm doing a practise start, and hope nobody notices...

    Forming up, the chap with a flag waves us off a line at a time. We take
    it easy round the track - don't be a cock and fall off now! - and round
    again to line up for the off. I remembered from my ACU training that our
    instructor said that weaving the bike did nothing to warm your tyres and
    braking and accelerating hard were thing things to do. He also said that
    once someone started to weave, you could guarantee that all the chumps
    behind them would too, so I gave it a quick wiggle and chuckled to
    myself, hoping that people behind would be suckered into it.

    Lining up on the grid and my heart is pounding. The man holding the flag
    points up to the gantry to the left and above the track where the lights
    are. Engines rev. I rev too and brace for the off. The red light comes
    on. Engines rev more. The red light goes out. **** - I'm supposed to
    have left! I wasn't concentrating enough on the lights and had the grid
    in my field of vision, that it was only when they moved that I went too
    - a long time after the lights had gone out!

    Two rows in front and there's a bike making skyward with a huge wheelie.
    He makes the classic mistake of shutting off the throttle and it slams
    into the ground, and in the mean time he's opened the throttle again and
    it's gone straight back up in the air. This time he's leaning over to
    the left - away from me - and he leaps onto the side like a salmon
    coming out of the water. It's a beautiful site for a few microseconds,
    until *that* sound of crunching plastic. No time to watch as I'm in a
    race and I'm round them now anyway, and off for the hairpin.

    It wasn't a bad start - I've probably lost a couple of places - but it
    seems like the jumper at the gate may have held people up for me. I
    settle into a routine trying to keep pace with the guys in front as by
    god those 620s have some power. Relatively speaking, of course.

    I can't remember how many people I went past, or how many came past me,
    but I do remember thinking half-way through that I wish they'd hurry up
    and get the chequered flag out, as I'm sure I can't keep this up for
    twelve laps! I braking later and later into the hairpin, as it's the
    only place to make up time on people and overtake. On one lap somebody
    shows a wheel on the inside but I drift over and close the door. I make
    myself wide for the track as I know that you haven't got a hope in hell
    of coming past until Barn, and I play some tricks so hold them up then
    get a good drive out and hopefully the jump on the straight.

    Coming into the hairpin, the front wheel appears, and then the forks
    too. I've left my braking later to try and hold them off, but they've
    got the inside. **** **** ****. I'm braking harder than I ever have in
    my life and the back wheel is off the ground and the front is skipping
    the tarmac and locking up - I can hear it squealing as it skip skip
    skips! **** **** ****! Just as it looks like he's done me, he grabs a
    bit too much front and it catches him out. The bike stands on the end
    and he's over the front! I see his arms go out and think that's going to
    hurt. It's so close I feel the draft of the bike as it slams over after
    him. The guy in front of us was just rolling through the hairpin and the
    acrobatic bike slams into his back wheel, taking him with it. I've
    fucked the gears completely and it's put me off, but I bang it down as I
    pull up and coast it round the hairpin as bikes slide off in front of
    me. Back in gear, off up the mountain, no time to stop, orange monster
    in front to catch.

    The Orange Monster becomes my next target and I reel him in, catching
    him on the bends but he goes on the straight. I try him up the inside
    and out brake him in the hairpin, skipping the front again. I can't keep
    this up, it's madness! I've made the pass stick and I make myself wide
    again but try to get my head down and pull away. Back out at Barn and I
    see the monster edging out beside me but I drift over and shut the door,
    leaving the braking late again. Off round the hairpin and away, getting
    my head down again.

    Next time round Barn there's no monster beside me and the Last Lap flag
    is out. Head down, go go go. Don't relax now. Don't bin it - you've made
    it this far. No target in front, so hold it together and you're less
    than 60 seconds from the finish.

    Round Barn, head down nail the throttle - don't want any last minute
    muggings on the line. Crossing the chequered flag felt fantastic, and I
    glance back behind me but there's nobody there, so I'd managed to pull
    out some space.

    Back in the pits I'm all trembly and buzzing from that. It was fantastic
    - absolute carnage but fantastic. Dickie and Michael are already there,
    and Dave Harris is arriving too. I've no idea where I came, who came
    off, but I know Tony isn't there. The news reaches us that Tony got
    taken out on the line, but his bike is soon back and Dave Harris again
    jumps straight in to get it sorted. Luckily it's only a footpeg, but TP
    looks mighty pissed off. Then we hear that it was Domski who did the
    acrobatics and took out Mike Atack on his Multipasta. Domski landed hard
    on his arm and it's probably broken, so he'll be out for the next race
    at least. Mike's MS is looking poorly with a bashed swingarm, but the
    mechanics have sorted Tony so they're off to sort Mike out. We see a
    hammer and a big screwdriver being handed out, a foot to brace it then
    the blows rain down to smack it straight. Pitlane mechanics at it's best!

    Annette has the results again and I placed 11th! Superb! I wanted to
    make the top half of the results as a personal goal and I'm nearly in
    the top third! Absolutely chuffed with that!

    Time to unwind, see more people, calm down from the buzz and grab
    another coffee. My hip is going stiff from the fall earlier in the
    morning, but it's nothing to worry about now. I don't feel like eating
    either, but grab some crisps. We walk out and try to watch the racing
    but my mind is not on that. We watch the nutters on the 600s racing and
    an old granny standing next to me asks if I race out there. Fearing the
    "you're all mad" speech us motorcyclists normally get, I say "Yes, I've
    just been out just now." Old Granny catches me off guard by pointing to
    a bike whizzing past and says "That's my grandson, but he's not having a
    good day today." Quitely surprised I say he looks fast, but she's too
    busy watching. He comes round again and she shouts "Come on!" so loud I
    nearly spit my coffee out. Quality!

    We have a wonder round parts of the circuit and try to get some tips for
    going a bit faster. The races come and go and my second is getting near
    now, so we head back up and fuel and check the bike over again. Our race
    gets called and I head down to the collecting area, but there's only
    Nick there, so I draw up beside him and we have a chat. Just a few jokes
    to ease the tension really. A few people are taking pictures from the
    fench so we mug it up for the camera a bit, sticking fingers up,
    crossing eyes, trying to look serious. I look around and Ali is behind
    me, so I roll back and we chat - again a few jokes to ease the wait.
    They're taking forever and I'm sweating like you wouldn't believe.
    Finally the rope drops and we're off to form up again.

    We line up for the formation lap - I get the right spot this time - and
    I practise my start off the line, trying to remember what I did and how
    fast it was. Andrew Roberts is beside me, one place up in 13th, and
    we're running similar bikes. I make a good start so I'm confident I've
    got starts nailed now, if I can just concentrate on the lights this
    time! Round we go and back to the grid.

    Man With Flag points up to lights. Engines Rev. Red Light comes on. The
    engines are deafening and the light goes out. A pretty good start and
    I'm ahead of Andrew and drift across to block anyone up the inside. I'm
    behind Ali into the hairpin as I recognise the bike and the helmet - he
    locks his back wheel or his front as there's a big puff of black smoke
    but he stays upright and goes through. There are bikes everywhere and
    everyone seems to jump in front of me and Ali disappears up the track
    amongst the bikes. I'm bracing myself for a shove from behind, almost
    tensing up waiting for it, but it doesn't come and I'm clean through the

    We form into a long snake up the mounting until it's out to Barn and
    things start to move again. Bikes come past and I try to tag along. I
    get past some at the hairpin on the brakes, or chicken out as they
    almost match me. I'm keeping it tight to keep the door shut, and to stop
    anyone nipping up the inside and having me off. It seems to be working
    as I'm still upright! Round again, and again, not really going anywhere
    but full on it every single lap.

    I'm sucked into a three-way battle with Orange Monster and Andrew on his
    SS. I know I can take Orange Monster as I did that in Race 1, but I've
    got to get past Andrew first. My bike is quicker on the straight by a
    touch, but he's as good on the brakes and he's smart with his lines too.

    Round Barn we go and I'm up close but Orange Monster pulls away and I've
    got the jump on Andrew as drift past him, level at the start/finish
    line. Orange Monster is too far in front now, and I can see carnage at
    the hairpin. The yellow flag is out but Andrew nips up the inside on the
    brakes. The cheeky fucker - on a yellow flag too! I stick with him and
    Orange Monster in front, and round we go to Barn again and I get the
    jump once more out of Barn and down the straights. I pull a gap but the
    yellows are still out at the hairpin - and that fucker has just slipped
    up the inside of me again! Right you ****, I'm having you now!

    Orange Monster and Andrew have pulled a lead on me and I'm closing them
    down through the woods. Out to Barn and I'm too far to go past either,
    but I close them both down at the hairpin. Orange Monster has the lead
    but he's been caught up by us both braking late at the hairpin. I'm
    tailing them now, right behind as we go through the woods.

    Into Barn and I'm not letting this go now. Orange Monster get the jump
    but Andrew is very slow coming out - so much so that I'm past him really
    early down the straight. Head down, through the gears, no mistakes now
    and make this stick. But what's this? Chequered flag? Yes! Yes! Yes!
    I've mugged him on the line! That'll teach you, cheating wanker ;)

    Back to the pits and I'm ecstatic that I mugged Andrew for the place, I
    feel like I've just won a GP! Off the bike and try to calm down, we all
    rambling on like loons. I saw Ali's bike parked up at the hairpin -
    hopefully he just got it wrong and it didn't go bang. Didn't look like
    anything wrong.

    Somebody has the results sheet and I'm 11th again. If only I'd gone past
    Orange Monster I'd have been 10th, and I know I can get past him! Oh
    well, I'm more than happy with 11th. But 10th would have been better.

    I get my leathers off and I'm dripping with sweat. I change into jeans
    as I don't want to run the invitation race. As I'm getting changed,
    Andrew comes over and we have a laugh at me mugging him on the line. I
    point out the error of his ways, but all is fair in love and racing!

    The rest of the day is another blur - we watch Ali in the invitation
    race from the stand at the mountain, and cheer him as he passes Chris
    Butcher who has managed to keep it upright for once. Kev and Paul Payne
    go out within seconds of each other - they've both suffered problems
    with their fully floating disks as in earlier races. The disks are
    slapping the pads and knocking the pistons back, so they have to pump up
    to get any power back into the brakes - not the sort of thing you need
    to worry about in a race!

    Ali gets a huge cheer as he finishes first with a big lead over Chris's
    second place, on a much less powerful bike. A deserved and well ridden
    win there. It's a shame I can't watch all the races if they're this
    exciting, but I know I'd rather be on the track.

    We hang around and chat, saying goodbyes, catching people who I didn't
    see earlier and we're all pumped on the adrenaline. It's depressing to
    think I've now got to sit for nearly four hours in the car to drive
    home, but it was worth every minute.

    This racing lark is fucking mental. And I love it :D
    antonye, May 3, 2005
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  2. Using the patented Mavis Beacon "Hunt&Peck" Technique, antonye
    <> typed

    well... shitloads, really. ;^)

    (The Mother Of All Snips)
    It's hard to tell.

    Great post mate.

    AIUI, you need some pegs, but the hanger's OK, yes? I *think* I made the
    pegs 100mm(ish) long. Check that for me and let me know, would you?

    I did wonder whether those threaded holes in the hangers might come back
    to bite us, but it gave us the best flexibility in terms of peg/lever
    mounting points. Which reminds me, take a measurement from the two frame
    mounting bolts to each of the peg and lever mounting holes that you used
    (centre to centre)[1]. That'll make it easier to make replacements. Not
    that I expect you'll need any...

    I got the bolts from It's probably
    easiest if you order them yourself. They're M10 x 1.25 x 50mm Hex
    Setscrews. They're in stainless, but only because that's all they do. If
    you find a source for the same things in mild steel, they'd be fine.

    Lastly, if any of the experienced spanna-wanka types made "why the ****
    did he do it *that* way?" type noises, that's good information too.

    [1] i.e. I want the dimensions for two 'triangles' on each hanger. One
    for the peg, and one for the lever.

    Wicked Uncle Nigel - Manufacturer of the "Champion-105" range of rearsets
    and Ducati Race Engineer.

    ZZR1100, Enfield 500 Curry House Racer "The Basmati Rice Burner",
    Honda GL1000K2 (On its hols) Kawasaki ZN1300 Voyager "Oh, Oh, It's so big"
    Wicked Uncle Nigel, May 3, 2005
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  3. antonye

    sweller Guest

    sweller, May 3, 2005
  4. antonye

    Lady Nina Guest

    Big snip.
    Heh. Good write up.

    Now is the time for someone to explain the following terms as I am not
    entirely sure what they mean despite hearing them bandied about in
    Posh cable ties?
    Bearings are the things that let other things turn as in wheel
    Actually I think I've got this one, that's were the petrol sits before
    it goes into the carbs and mr spark makes it go boom?
    It shows, nice post.
    Lady Nina, May 3, 2005
  5. Using the patented Mavis Beacon "Hunt&Peck" Technique, Lady Nina
    <pats LN on the bum>

    Don't you worry your pretty little head about them dear. Leave it to the

    Wicked Uncle Nigel - Manufacturer of the "Champion-105" range of rearsets
    and Ducati Race Engineer.

    ZZR1100, Enfield 500 Curry House Racer "The Basmati Rice Burner",
    Honda GL1000K2 (On its hols) Kawasaki ZN1300 Voyager "Oh, Oh, It's so big"
    Wicked Uncle Nigel, May 3, 2005
  6. antonye

    Lady Nina Guest

    <Performs Ude garami.> Now what you going to about that then? Hard to
    pat bums now isn't it. <pivots on left foot and sweeps Mr Eaton to the
    He called me pretty <giggles inanely and reaches out a hand to the
    prostate body>
    And where's that going to get us eh?
    Lady Nina, May 3, 2005
  7. Using the patented Mavis Beacon "Hunt&Peck" Technique, Lady Nina
    What when it's that size and that close to the floor? No problemo!

    <flutter eyelashes>

    Oi! Watch where you're putting that hand! Oh, wait... You said

    Wicked Uncle Nigel - Manufacturer of the "Champion-105" range of rearsets
    and Ducati Race Engineer.

    ZZR1100, Enfield 500 Curry House Racer "The Basmati Rice Burner",
    Honda GL1000K2 (On its hols) Kawasaki ZN1300 Voyager "Oh, Oh, It's so big"
    Wicked Uncle Nigel, May 3, 2005
  8. antonye

    Champ Guest

    Fantastic write up. I've read a fair few informal race reports over
    the last few years, and they all have the air of someone on a mixtuire
    of speed and cocaine about them, but yours is the most extreme I've
    read! I had a huge grin on my mush as I read it, as I knew *exactly*
    how you felt as you were describing it.

    Bloody well done.
    Champ, May 3, 2005
  9. antonye

    antonye Guest

    Cheers mate, much appreciated.

    Snetterton should be interesting - I'm wondering if my knowledge
    of the circuit will win out against the more powerful injected
    bikes. Hopefully I can get the gearing sorted enough for the
    straights not to be a problem and keep the corner speed up.

    Lets just hope it lasts long enough as it's toasting the oil
    at the moment. It needs the ignition sorting to cure the heat
    and I'll also get an oil cooler onto it to help. I have a
    feeling that quite a few engines will go bang...
    antonye, May 3, 2005
  10. antonye

    Champ Guest

    I'll catch this one, lads

    Thin gauge wire, which you thread thru holes specially drilled in the
    heads of bolts - the wire is then twisted back on itself, so the bolt
    can't come undone.
    That's about it. Head bearings allow the steering to turn nicely.

    A phrase usually used to describe the front tyre losing grip and
    sliding sideways before dumping you on your ear.

    A bolt where the thread doesn't go all the way to the head.

    "rearset plate" is the piece of metal to which the footpegs are
    attached. This in turn is bolted to the frame.
    Close - the float bowls are actually part of the carb, and where the
    fuel vapour is drawn from.

    "Shows a wheel" means they just about come alongside, so you see them
    for the first time. "Closing the door" is moving over to the bit of
    track they want so they can't come past.

    Don't understand this one myself.

    The disks mounting mechanism allows side to side movement.

    Champ, May 3, 2005
  11. antonye

    Champ Guest

    A long straight needn't mean that power wins out. I'm sure you've
    seen plenty of races on telly where bikes with less power hang on to
    faster ones by using the slipstream (I recall Schwantz's Suzuki living
    with the Honda's at Hockenheim). And don't forget a 600 won the 6
    hour race we did there last month. The key, of course, is having the
    gearing bang on and making sure you get the drive off the corners
    leading on the straights *just* right.
    Let's hope it's not yours! I don't understand your remark about the
    ignition - is it over-advanced or something?
    Champ, May 3, 2005
  12. antonye wrote
    Well done.

    I don't know what particular mental disease it is that causes you guys
    and girls to risk life and limb in the way that you do but I for one am
    grateful for the entertainment it provides. Keep it up.
    steve auvache, May 3, 2005
  13. antonye

    Muck Guest

    Am I right in saying that most road going bikes have semi floating disks
    on them these days?
    Muck, May 3, 2005
  14. antonye

    Krusty Guest

    Excellent write up - well done. I wonder who'll be #1 on the 'most
    original content' stats this month... ;-)
    Krusty, May 3, 2005
  15. antonye

    antonye Guest

    Yep. I'm pretty good round there and I'm quite confident that
    I will do well. As you say, gearing is going to be the key.
    The big-bore makes the engine run really, really hot. I've
    been told (by the TecMoto mechanic) that retarding the
    ignition will help it run cooler, but I'll leave that to
    them anyway. I ran it with Super Unleaded at the weekend
    and it didn't seem as hot, but it was cool out at Cadwell.
    antonye, May 3, 2005
  16. antonye

    Champ Guest

    I think that is the case. "Semi" floating means that the amount of
    movement is very limited.
    Champ, May 3, 2005
  17. antonye

    Pip Guest

    It was indeed. Superb work, Ant - and the race result was well worth
    it too ;-)
    Some fucker who posts a binary, as usual.
    Pip, May 3, 2005
  18. antonye

    Muck Guest

    That's what I thought. Some know it all _told_ me that my FZR brakes had
    fully floating disks, I stopped short of calling the bloke a ****
    because I haven't actually seen a fully floating setup yet.
    Muck, May 3, 2005
  19. antonye

    Lady Nina Guest

    Aah, you see I've been having a few problems with the ude garami move
    so I asked Matt to demonstrate. That's not my arse.
    How dare you sir, such a slight on my reputation, as if I'd run a
    house of ill repute.
    The best ones are those were you're not entirely sure if it is a
    mistype or not ;-) <goes to have a word with the subconcious>
    Lady Nina, May 3, 2005
  20. antonye

    antonye Guest

    It is possibly to change a semi-floating to a full-floating
    setup by changing the bobbins that hold the disk to the

    The Ducatis use Brembo oem kit and the bobbins are the
    only difference between semi and fully floating, so it's
    a cheaper mod to replace them than buy new disks.
    antonye, May 3, 2005
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