Armoy Race Report
Well how's this for efficient, only hours after racing I'm posting, as opposed to my normal delay?
We arrived at the circuit Friday morning and did a lap in the van en route to the paddock. I know some do a few laps in a car of a new circuit, but I've found that a circuit is only really learnt on a bike as being able to learn one is best done on a bike as the road is totally different once you can use both sides of the road.
The other thing is that it can put you off as the perspective from a van is a massive difference.
A case in point is a drop at Armoy. In the van it felt like you were dropping of the edge of the world in the van but on a bike was no where near as daunting.
Once all set up and signed on it was off for the newcomers trip.
Again this was an excellent insight on how to tackle the course and picked up some valuable tips.
So then it was my turn under the control of MCUI, the federation who run Irish racing, instructors.
A few years ago I came and watched racing at Armoy so felt quite odd actually racing there.
The circuit has quite a few leaps on it and so it takes a while learning, not only where the laps are but also where you land and what is next. The ideal take off for a leap may put you on the wrong line for the next corner, which at Armoy, at one corner, is on you as soon as you land.
I just took it steady as if you frighten yourself on a corner it takes a while to build yourself back up to it at a decent speed.
Church bends is a great section of the course and loads of time can be made up here.
My first proper practice was on the 400. Sadly I only got round 90% of the lap and had to pull in due to oil coming out of the bike.
Back at the pits it became obvious that I'd got a hole in my oil cooler. I hadn't had time between the last lot of races to replace my radiator guard which came off at the Southern, and as luck would have it a stone hit the cooler.
I got the 600 ready for the next session, but due to a thunder storm practice was cancelled.
For some reason the organisers decided to give a couple of sidecars a practice, as they were in a parade lap on Saturday.
Lots commented on the fact that this was a stupid idea as they knew weather was closing in so why not run a proper practice session for the racers rather than the parade lap?
Still this gave us time to sort the 400. Basically I removed the cooler and fixed a pipe in its place. I've heard a lot of people do this and the bike still runs cool enough, so gave it a try as I don't have a spare cooler.
Saturday we awoke to clear skies, so we continued with practice.
I only got 2 laps on the 400, due to the shortage of time, so then it was out on the 600. By the time I'd put the 400 on the stand and got the 600 down to the holding area they closed the gates, so I missed the session.
I wasn't the only one so there were a few annoyed people around.
There is never enough practice for a road circuit so to put two classes out, one after the other, which a lot of people take part in is bad organisation as there are some classes people don't compete in which they could've put between the two sessions, but hey thats the way it is.
So my practice on both bikes amounted to 8 laps, not a great start.
Still I qualified for two races, one on each bike, so not all bad, typically they were one after the other, so another mad dash between bikes.
So off I went on the 400. I made a good start and overtook acouple of bikes and had a good dice with Wee Roy, who I met at Cookstown, also on a ZXR and Yvonne from the ZXR forum. I followed Roy through the back section and saw him get both wheels off the ground, by about a foot, and realised I was about to do the same. Still I landed ok and was good to see someone do it and it gives you confidence to do the same.
Yvonne didn't come past me and I know she's been before so that was good for the confidence.
Next out was the 600. Again I got an ok start and followed Yvonne on her GSXR 600.
No matter what I did I just couldn't pass her. There were places we were both stronger than the other at so we were in a state of stale mate.
I follwed Yvonne at Tandragee and it was a great help and before practice she told me some of the lines to take around Armoy. So sadly she took the same lines as I took around the circuit, hence the difficulty I had passing her.
Still it was a cracking race and was smiling like a cheshire cat at the end, so couldn't ask for more.
As I've said before all I want is to finish safe and have a smile on my face at the end of a race, no matter where I finish, so both goals achieved.
All in all, I enjoyed the meeting as it was a good circuit with some good racing and met up with loads of good people.
I have to say I think the club tries to run too many classes for the window of time they have. This isn't just my thoughts but a good few people I spoke to whilst there.
But then it's a mammoth task organising such an event and I'm sure everyone thinks they have a better idea as how to run it, but I'm just grateful to those that do organise them.
Luckily I don't have too many jobs to do so I hope to have a bit of a break until Friday when I head up to Mid Antrim.
If I get any pictures I'll post just as soon as I can.
So until then.