Tuesday 29 April 2014

Supertwin & Cookstown Update

Hi all

I arrived in Northern Ireland mid day on Thursday and headed straight for the shed to finish building the Supertwin in readiness for Cookstown the following day.

I only had a few jobs to do but each took 3 times longer than they should.

This was the first time I saw the freshly painted fairings, and it was worth the wait as they looked class.

I fitted the front sub frame,no problems with airport security this trip, and then set about fitting the tank.

Sadly a clip had broken off the petrol pipe attached to the tank so it was a quick trip to TAS again who as always were only too happy to help,thanks guys.

With the tank fitted it was onto the fairings. All was going well until we tried fitting the belly pan. Luckily Steve and Adrian were on hand to assist and between them they ground bits off, made brackets and got it fitted.

Once all together she looks mint as you can see.

I did manage to secure a quick test ride on a private road,which gave me a quick taste of how she felt.

I'm so pleased with how she turned out, it was worth all the work I think.

Cookstown 100

I'd hoped to have dropped the van off in the paddock Thursday evening but as everything took longer than expected to on Thursday we had to abort this plan and drive there Friday morning.

We found one of the last few spaces and set up home.

I was nervous about scruitineering as the 400 hadn't been run since Scarborough last year and the 650 had been finished just hours before.

Still both passed and so it was to practice.

I'd realised that up until now I'd had the 650 running, and I'd sat on it, but not at the same time, so really was in at the deep end.

Still all went well and the bike felt really good. My fastest lap was a 1.55, which didn't set the world alight but I was happy enough.

It was then off to race in Junior Support. I had a great dice and just lost out on the last lap.

I finished up with a best lap time of 1.53, so was heading in the right direction.

After the race it was back to practice on the 400. It felt odd,but good to be back on the 400. It was
good as I remembered places I was using as reference points last year, which helped when I got back on the Supertwin as I'd been concentrating on the bike rather than the circuit.

After practice we returned home and waited with baited breath as weather reports for Saturday varied wildly.

Saturday we woke to rain, but luckily this cleared and after Dave Hewson, TT racer, film star and
master baker, delivered some of his wonderful lemon drizzle cake, we waited for racing to start.

The 400 was the first one out and I had a great battle with Yvonne and Darren, throughout the race.

Yvonne went flying passed on the brakes but she didn't get the bike stopped in time, so ran wide. She did this on three laps and on the last lap she got the bike stopped. Later she admitted it was the last 'do or die' type manoeuvre before she had to think of another over take.

The whole race was a dice between the three of us, at one point we were three abreast around the first corner.

It was one of those races I didn't want to end. When the chequered flag came out I finished last,but it was a truly great race. Apart from a great race I found I'd gone a second quicker than I did last year, so a good improvement and hopefully a good omen for the rest of the season.

The last race of the weekend for me was the Supertwin race.

Sadly I made a mistake with my gearing and watched as the rest of the field pulled away.

On about the third lap I had waved yellows showing, so slowed. I rounded the corner to see a policeman climbing over a wall. I wondered what could have happened to cause this, I found out soon enough.

A farmer who lives on the circuit is not a great fan of racing so does all he can to disrupt the racing.

In the past he has put diesel on the road, scattered nails on the circuit and this year rolled a bale of straw in front of racers, as well as aiming his cattle feeder to throw feed at the racers, which is what I came across. It's such a regular event that police are stationed at points around his farm to catch him in the act.

I'm not going to get on my high horse about this, but basically this guy is attempting to murder with each of his actions. Ok closing roads is an inconvenience but so is getting stuck behind tractors and having to avoid mud that farmers can't be bothered to clean up outside their gates,which by the way is against the law. Get a grip mate.

Despite this I got my lap time down to 1.52, so am pleased with my progress so far.

All in all it was a grand weekends racing and am now doing a few odd jobs in preparation for Tandragee this weekend.

Fingers crossed I will continue to improve on the 650, which I do feel quite confident on, and we all have a great, safe weekend.

 So hopefully I will get an update to you as soon as I can.