Mid Antrim Race Report
Am back safe and sound from my last racing jaunt to Northern Ireland.
Mid Antrim is fairly close to Armoy so there was no need for sat nav, as we're almost locals now.
Arrived on Friday a bit later than I relised, I'd been going on what the web site said and not the instructions I'd been sent, still meant that the bikes were checked over in double quick time as we missed the masses.
Whilst Steve and his staff, Joshua, were busy doing this I went out on the newcomers coach.
This time there was only about 6 of us as it was a mini bus so not everyone could go at once.
Still it did mean we got the chance to stop and walk bits of the course, notably Alexanders Jump.
From the van it looked like a slight rise in the road, but on a bike it's a jump alright.
Anyone who has seen any of the road race reviews they did a few years back may recall Darran Lindsay get really out of shape over it. Still we were given some good tips on how to tackle this part of the circuit.
I went out for my newcomers laps on the 600 and really liked the circuit from the off. Apart from Alexanders, which is one of those places you think you should go faster, until you remember how out of shape you can get, apparently chatting to another racer he got it wrong one year and wobbled the rest of the straight after it before it sorted itself out, there was an s bend which was rather narrow, the rest of the course was fairly flowing.
I was back out on the 600 for timed practice and was on the slowing down lap when I ran out of petrol, or as I was told later 'put the perfect amount of fuel in', so I'll go with that. Sadly had to endure another lift in the back of a recovery van which isn't a great laugh. I was hunched over the front of the bike facing backwards holding the front brake on with the back doors of the van open, glad the brakes were ok.
I realised the gearing was wrong but there were still people who qualified behind me, which made a change.
Knowing this we changed the gearing on the 400 before I went out and went well.
When we arrived Saturday it was drizzling with rain, but had been told the track was still dry so headed off for the first race. We went out on the warm up lap and by this time the track was soaking and you could see spray off the other guys tyres. We got back round to the paddock gate and a few pulled in as guessed they didn't fancy being out on intermediate tyres.
We were held on the grid for 5 minutes and Ryan Farquars team changed the tyres on his mans bike. By the time we went for a second warm up lap the road was bone dry, I've never seen a road dry so quick, it was incredible.
I had my usual dice with Yvonne on her GSXR600 and she managed to overtake me on the last lap. As you go into the village there is a hairpin and even without looking behind you, you can see if someone is there, so saw her on a couple of previous laps before she got passed.
I think we changed the gearing too far and was slightly over geared, still I make a note of all my gear ratio's for future reference, so will know next time.
I did get a good start and was with a big group, but then made a mistake and dropped back. When I looked at my lap times my fastest was on the second lap, when I was still with the group. So I guess I must lose confidence in what I can do when not seeing others in front of me, or it's just the carrot effect of the rider in front?
So it was to the 400. I didn't get a great start but as we had a restart due to a red flag it gave me a second go at it and got a far better one. I had a good dice with a couple of guys on 400's and managed to pass one and make it stick. Shortly after I was overtaken by a guy on a 650, and once he got to the straights he just keep edging further and further away.
I did also make a mistake in the tight s bend I mentioned earlier and was thinking which bale to hit but just kept leaning her over and we got round ok, which is always nice.
I've now had a look at BHP figures and found a standard 400 puts out about 64 and a 650, 71, even tuned 400's put out mid 70's, so no wonder they clear off.
Anyone got a supertwin they'd like to lend me?
Talking of which I found the top speed figures for Armoy. The fastest 400 went at 133mph and mine was 109mph, so that doesn't help much.
Anyway back to Mid Antrim. The second 400 race went well and got a good start. I overtook one bike and was chasing another, when on the last lap I was overtaken by a 125. But it was a good race and wasn't lapped and was told there were quite a few bikes behind me, so am improving.
I am pleased with my progress and there were a couple of times when I nearly ran up the back of people as I was keeping much more corner speed than them, but once we got to the straights they just pulled away so am now considering what to do next year.
I could replace the 400 with a 650 or get both the 400 and 600 tuned. There are fores and against both options so am not sure what to do yet.
The ideal would be to take 3 bikes but there is just no way I could do that as running 2 bikes is hard enough let alone transport.
Still with only two races left it will give me plenty of time to consider my options over the long cold Winter months, as I will be staying in to fund next year.
I have to say that Mid Antrim was really well run and the circuit was grand, so that's another added to my list to return to next year all being well.
Hopefully I'll get some pictures to post up, and will do that as soon as I can.