Sunday, 11 May 2014

Tandragee Race Report

Hi all

After getting back into racing at Cookstown and still enjoying it, I was off to Tandragee.

I really enjoyed the Tandragee circuit last year and was looking forward to racing there again, I have to say it was of my favourite circuits on the calender.

We arrived mid day on Friday and set up quickly. We even had time to make a brake protector for the 400 as mine had not yet arrived. I could've made one during the week but we hung on until the postman had come before we left, also I'd hoped we could've just swapped the one from the Supertwin to the 400, but when I saw how someone else had made one, set about making my own out of a bit of aluminium tube I had in my box of bits, pays never to throw anything away.

With both bikes scruitineered it was off to practice.

Tandragee is a very fast circuit so went for a small rear sprocket on both which increases top speed but lowers acceleration, should've remembered this at Cookstown!

The first run out was on my Supertwin. Am really enjoying riding this bike, it's such a fun bike to ride. Nimble, fast and now with some new brake pads, stops a treat too.

As this is the first year I've ridden this bike I have no times to compare it to from last year, but by the end of the day I'd done a 4:01, which was just one second slower than I'd done in the race last year on my 600.

There were a few places that I realised I could go faster during practice, so tried on the next lap and it worked, which means I'm still moving in the right direction.

400 practice was next and tried some new lines on this one too which also worked. I realised I was to high geared on the 400 as the guy I usually race with was just pulling out on me as we left corners, so thought if I'm with him in the race it would be better to out accelerate him as this is where he was quicker than me.

Like most road circuits, once you get in front it is quite difficult to get passed someone as the roads are so narrow, especially as I seem a lot quicker in corners than those around me.

Practice finished with a lap of 4:11 on the 400. This was 2 seconds a lap slower than last year, but felt that I had made progress with some of my lines and also had a better idea of gearing.

We were promised rain for Sunday, so the organisers wanted to get things moving before the rain set in.

I was in the second race on the Supertwin.

I got a good start and overtook a couple of people off the line. I then set my sights on John McCann, who I'd raced with at Cookstown.

One of my new lines lined him up nicely and managed to get passed on the first lap. On the second lap I was overtaken but as far as I recall no one else did. Apart from John that is.

On the last corner I missed a gear and John came passed me. I chased him down but the race was red flagged half way round so didn't get him back. There were a few places on the second half of the lap that I may have got passed but we'll never know.

Due to the race being red flagged the result is taken from the previous lap, so technically I finished before him.

John is a really nice guy and I enjoy racing with him and am sure, all being well, we will have a few battles over the season.

The other positive from this race was that I'd done a fastest lap of 3:56, 4 seconds quicker than on my 600, so the fastest I'd ever been round the circuit.

After Noel's tragic accident I wasn't sure if I wanted to go out in the 400 race. Steve understood why and said I should go out, and if my head wasn't in it, pull in.So with heavy heart I set off.

On the warm up lap I passed the point of Noel's accident and he was in my thoughts.

I was third on the grid in my group and when the lights went out I got a good start. Despite one guy jumping the start, I lead the group by the end of the first lap.

On the second lap Yvonne came passed me and I then thought that with her brakes she will beat me. This was totally the wrong way to think about things and talked myself out of trying to pass her.

Come the end of the race I had done a lap of 4:04, 5 seconds faster than last year, so another improvement.

Despite the events at Tandragee I did come away with a lot of positives, apart from the faster lap times.

I've proven to myself that I still have the drive to get passed the person in front and also the racecraft to do that. I also can see where I am slow and can see where I can improve this, and the ability to do so.

This year I am also racing with others, not just riding around on my own, getting faster and not being lapped.

So all in all I am enjoying my racing and can't wait until Skerries in July, seems an age away but am sure it will be here soon enough.

Cheers
Stuart


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