Sunday 28 April 2013

How's Yous Doing?

Hi all

Back in the world of internet connection so time for a much overdue update.
Cast your mind back to Wednesday, which seems like an age ago to me, and we set off for the ferry from Liverpool. Not five minutes down the road and we had to turn back as of all the stuff I've had to sort and pack I forgot my leathers. As I might need these we had to turn around, load them and start again.

Rest of journey went well and had a good night in a hotel enroute.

Next morning arrived at the ferry terminal to be greeted by vans all heading to Cookstown.

After a lifetime, well 9 hours, on the ferry we arrived safe and sound in Belfast birthplace of Titanic. She was ok when she left Belfast I've been told.

After collecting my pit crew from Belfast airport we set off for our B&B. Top tip if visiting the airport. Get your pit crew to walk out of the pick up zone because if you are in a van it'll cost you four quid to get them.

Arrived at B&B to be told we'd been moved, so off we set again.

Arrived at a great house and told we were sharing with another couple of racers, namely Sarah Boynes and Maria Costello.

We had to pop out to sample a local Guinness and had the best I've ever tasted in a great Irish country pub. Sadly I was driving so just the one for me. Whilst driving back it started snowing, not what I wanted to see.

We arrived back at the house to find Maria putting sponsor stickers on her newly painted fairing. Glad its not just me that winds up doing last minute jobs.

Woke Friday morning to sunshine and showers, and that was how it stayed all day.

My first lap of the circuit was in the newcomers coach. This is a lap with commentary from two very knowledgeable racers.

Bikes were inspected and then it was off for some laps.

It's fairly daunting setting off for your first laps of a new road circuit but the chat on the coach helped and had some markers to look out for.

Sadly there isn't a great deal of practice time and the weather didn't help, we spent most of any down time changing from wet to intermediate tyres. Which ever tyres we put on were wrong as the weather was that changeable. One practice I went out on wets as it was starting to rain and during the practice a track side air bag deflated so they stopped the session. In the time it took to reinflate the bag it had stopped raining and was bright sunshine causing the track to dry.

 By the end of the day I'd done a best lap of 2:06 on the 400 and 1:59 on the 600. As I'd only done one session on the 600 and two on the 400 and considering the conditions I was pretty happy with this.

The 400 wasn't running great so we changed the carbs to see if this cured the problem.

So to race day.

Weather was perfect, clear, bright and most importantly dry.

Bikes were inspected again and no problems so headed out to the grid for my first 400 race.

Changing the carbs hadn't cured the problem we'd had in practice so I pulled in at the end of my sighting lap.

Whilst changing the carbs again I noticed the fuel tap was working properly causing fuel starvation, so we hoped this was the main problem.

It was then time for the 600 race. For some reason I started 5th on the grid so managed to get a good start especially as the guy in front bogged down so was left standing.

Sadly I didn't hold 5th for long and was slowly overtaken my most of the field.

Still I felt loads more confident and the track started to make sense and I could link corners together.

I finished second from last but my time had dropped from 1:59 in  practice to 1:48, so was very happy with that.

Chatting to a guy in the paddock he said if you want to run with the fast boys you need the bank of Ireland funding you.

I started the next 400 race from 23rd on the grid. I was almost round the last corner the grid was so long and thought I'd need strategically placed mirrors set up so I could actually see the flag raised at the start of the race.

Still I saw it and got a reasonable start. I was no match for the others and finished last but had dropped my time from a 2:06 to a 1:55 so again was happy with that. The running problem was much better and whilst checking the bike over after the race we found an oil leak which was coating the spark plug caps with oil, so fingers crossed this will be the route of the problem.

So all in all I had a great start to the season. There are places that need improvement but as a newcomer to the circuit I was pleased with what I achieved especially considering the changeable conditions in practice.

I met some really good people in the paddock and a special hello goes to Owen from Slim Jim's cafe Draperstown, hope to see you in the week.

Luckily now I have a weeks rest before Tandragee, time I hope to spend doing some homework by watching loads of on board footage of the circuit.

I've been told that maybe there is a MCUI track day at Kirkistown so may head over for that if weather is ok just to get some miles on the bikes in readiness for next weekend.

Here's some pictures from the weekend.

Black Dub HQ with bikes ready for the off.

Awaiting nervously for racing to start

Time to take the 600 out.

This is it.......
600 in action
Flying 400

For more pictures and race results go to

I've been told that there will be highlights from the racing on BBC NI 14th May so I'm sure is worth a watch.

I started the year saying that I'd do as many as I can, and all being well would only select certain races to return to, well Cookstown is on that list.

Until next time


Sunday 21 April 2013

Follow By email

Just a quick post to say I've added a 'follow by email' option to my blog. If you subscribe you will get an email each day I've posted something.
No new posts, no email.  Might save you some wasted visits!

Saturday 20 April 2013

Hi all

Well its less than a week to go now until my first race of the year, and I can't wait.

I've been busy helping my Dad fit the last of the shelves in the van, I have to say it's looking very smart now inside the van, a place for everything and everything in it's place.

Looks far better than the floordrobe arrangement I had previously, ie everything on the floor.

Bikes are both ready to be loaded, and hopefully just wheeled out the other side.

I'm hoping to be able to keep you updated whilst away but as you can appreciate I'll be quite busy. All being well though I will have a week between races when I can update the blog as will be spending the week in Ireland rather than travelling back and forth.

I'd like to thank everyone for keeping an eye on what I'm up to, I can't believe I've had over one thousand views of my page since I started it.

Hopefully things will get a bit more interesting and I will be able to supply race related updates rather than stories from my garage.

It's going to be a busy week so next time I write I will hopefully be in Ireland.

It goes without saying if you are at Cookstown or Tandragee then it would be great to see you, and the kettle is always on at Black Dub HQ.

If you are coming to the races, safe journey and hope you enjoy it.


Sunday 14 April 2013

Track Day Photo's

As promised some pictures from Fridays track day, taken by Stuart.

Heading out for the first run in anger, well up to 10k revs anyway.

It was a touch damp out as you can see.

Waiting for the off, in sunshine can you believe?

Couldn't believe the change in weather, from torrential rain to perfect conditions all in the space of a few hours.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Track Day Report

0515hrs came around far too early yesterday morning, but sadly that was the time I had to get up as had to be at Castle Combe by 0800hrs.

I'd been woken several times during the night by the noise of the rain, and sure enough it was still raining when I got up.

By the time we got to the circuit it was not raining but still really wet. So whilst I went and signed on and had a riders briefing my pit crew had changed my wheels. Maybe I should've read Staffords comment the night before?

We started bike up and she seemed to run ok, apart from the tickover which I knew about. By the time I was ready to go the expansion bottle from the radiator had almost filled. Still we agreed best thing was to keep an eye on it. By the time I was qued up in the holding area, the water level had dropped and temperature was reading normal so off I went.

I kept her to below 10k revs and had Stuart counting how many laps I'd done. I'd been told by Bob Farnham that below 10k for 20 miles and she'll be run in.

It was great to be back on a track again and bike felt great. She sounded really sweet, according to those stood on the pit wall, apart from the time when I missed a gear and went slightly over the 10k limit. Typically I did this in front of the pit wall so everyone heard it, oh well.

Track days at Castle Combe are really enjoyable and well run. The circuit is quite bumpy in places, which is why the TT boys use it for testing, and as the track is nearly two miles long there is plenty of room for everyone just to do their thing.

I think I did about 5 sessions in the end and she ran great all day, with no obvious problems. By the end of the day I was taking her up to 12k as she had done the required 20 miles below 10.

We kept an eye on the water level and it didn't change all day so am guessing that it was an air lock which cleared itself.

I had a great day and would like to thank Stuart, John , Liz and Stafford 'oh my back' Evans for all their help.

Stuart took some cracking pictures and once he has selected the best ones will post them up.

I did feel really sorry for Stafford as I know he'd worked really hard to get his bike ready for yesterday, but whilst drilling a hole just before he was due to leave, he did his back in, so was reduced to sitting on the sidelines. Still it did give Liz a chance to go out and despite the fact she says she's slow she did beat me back to the paddock on a couple of occasions.

I've got a small list of jobs to be getting on with before Cookstown in two weeks, but fingers crossed nothing major.

Thanks once again to all those that helped.



Saturday 6 April 2013

Hi all

Well it's less than a week to go until my track day, so I hope this good weather continues for Friday.

Today my master carpenter, Dad, came over to help put some shelves in the van.

Stuart also turned up, saw what we were up to and shot off, to return with some wood, which came in handy and also some ali angle iron and some Dexion.

What a great combination. So now my genny has its very own cradle to sit in. This is great as it won't move about and also takes up less floor space.

Dad put in a shelf which holds all my spare wheels in place, which is a great help.

Most of the stuff you need to take racing is difficult to pack so to have my own van which I can kit out to hold stuff makes life so much better than hiring a van as I used to do.

I've also been starting up the 400 when I can and letting her warm nicely so that Friday isn't too much of a shock for her.

She seems to run ok but is reluctant to tick over, so I'm hoping its just the carbs need a 'spirited' ride to clear them. I will take a spare set on Friday in case this doesn't clear them.

I must say after spending months rebuilding the bike it feels odd to know that I'm actually going to ride them this week. Shortly followed two weeks later by racing them. I'm sure it was only a couple of weeks ago that I raced at Killalane, time does fly when you are in a garage.

I realised the other day that I will now be racing every month now until October, all being well.

And do you know what? I can't wait.

Speak soon




Tuesday 2 April 2013


Well bike is nearly ready for next Friday, so much so I even had time to clean the bike a bit. So out with the Autosol and frame looks cracking again.

Now April has arrived it all starts.

All being well I will be racing each month between now and September, at least once a month.

As another taster of what I'll be up to here's an on bike video of Tandragee.

Again its not me but an R6 in the Senior Support race, a class which I've entered this year. 

Hope you enjoy