Monday, 14 July 2014

Race Updates


Hi all

Apologies for delay in updates only I haven't had access to a PC to update the site.

Anyhow, back now so here we go.

Skerries

Arrived safe and sound at Joe and Mary's B&B only to be told that the weather had been glourious, but it wasn't going to last.

Friday we woke to dry roads so maybe they were wrong? We headed off to the paddock to set up and get the bikes ready, which didn't take long so was a fairly relaxed affair.

Bikes were passed as good to race so just waited for practice to start, which it did shortly after the rain arrived.

I went out to practice on the 400 and decided to fit a wet front tyre at the last minute and made my way to the holding area. By the time I arrived the rain had arrived in ernest, so we were told that it would be 5 controlled laps on any bike, and that would be qualifying.

I headed back to the van to get the Supertwin, as Steve had been busy fitting wets front and rear, and thought it would be better than chancing it on the 400.

Not much was to be learnt from the 5 laps, but was a good refresher. It also showed that road circuits change as the hedges grow, thus changing the view of the circuit.

5 laps done and we loaded the van up for tomorrow, and hopefully better weather.

We awoke to much better day so racing was to be done in the dry, and not the hailstones that were predicted.

Sadly I only got to race in two races as grid persitions were taken from championship standings, and as I'd scored no points in Supertwin race, was left out.

Still I got a race in 400 and Junior Support races.

It was the 400 race first, and with it came the rain. Luckily we had enough time to fit wet tyres front and rear so was all set. Apart from the fact that the organisers held the race up to allow for tyre changes, which meant that by the time we got out the track was nearly dry again.

Still we had two warm up laps to see where was wet and where was dry, most of which was the latter, which wasn't fun on wet tyres.

I got a reasonable start but on the third corner I missed my braking point due to sticking brakes, so by the time I'd turned the bike round the rest had long gone. Coupled with that and not the best tyres to be on, I pulled in.

Still, the sun came out for the Supertwin race, so all was good.

Again I got a good start and overtook John McCann away from the line. I was also makimng progress on the guy in front and spent all the race trying to get close enough to make a move on him. One lap he made a mistake coming out of the hairpin, but due to lack of practice I didn't have the correct gearing to take advantage of this, so he managed to pull away again.

On the penultimate lap, a bike sneaked passed me at the hairpin, and my worst fear was confirmed, it was John.

I gained enough at the end of the start finish straight, which meant I could've gone underneath him at the first corner. But when all's said and done, it wasn't worth the chance of causing one, or both of us to come off, so backed off.

I know some who read this will be shaking their heads at reading this, but road racing is different than short circuits, you don't have the luxury of acres of run off if you don't make a corner, and the sport has lost more than enough people already this year.

I was pleased with my progress and felt more comfortable with the Supertwin each time I went out, so it was then onto Isle Of Man for The Southern 100.

Southern 100

This is one of my most favourite meetings of the year, being both exceptionally well run and on a great circuit.

This event is getting more and more popular each year. Even arriving for first practice on Monday evening, spectators are lining the circuit hours before the action starts.

Luckily the spectators were bathed in clear blue skies, which fortuneately hung around all week.

During the pre race inspection the official spotted what appeared to be a crack on the top yoke. We looked as much as we could but we couldn't be sure if this was the case, or just a blemish, so we marked the ends of it just to make sure it didn't get any worse, which luckily it didn't.

Practice on both bikes went well and I felt like I was racing the circuit and not just riding it, even on the Supertwin, which obviously hadn't been there before.

The next day we got the yoke welded by a chap in Ramsey, thanks Boal Engineering.

During the week you get three practice sessions and two races in each class.

Initially I was disappointed by my times on the 400, but Dave Clarke, who I've raced with on many occasions, noticed that the 400 was down on speed, so some attention needed over the Winter. Still I had some good races on the 400 and am happy with the corner speed I was carrying. Dave reckoned I pulled 4 or 5 yards at Church Bends alone, so just imagine what I could do with a few more horses in the engine?

As  I said it was my first time on the Supertwin and was pleased that I felt confident on her from the off and my times dropped each time I went out on her.

Dave was also racing a Supertwin, so it was a good yard stick to see how I was doing on this one as we are fairly evenly matched.

In both races I got the better of Dave from the line and expected to see him overtake me at some stage during both races. Luckily this didn't happen, so it was two wins apiece for both of us.

I was pleased to see that I finished 19th out of 24 in the Supertwin, which when you consider I was racing Dean Harrison, Ivan Lintin and Davy Morgan amongst others I think I did well.

So a very enjoyable meeting with a lot of positives.

With the Southern over I move onto The Classic TT in August. I did manage to do a few laps of the Mountain Circuit, sadly only in my van, but it's still practice.

I am looking forward to this and can't wait to try Staffords bike.

I hope to take a laptop with me so I will be able to keep you up to date with goings on whilst there.

But thats 4 weeks away and am sure will be updating before then.

Cheers
Stuart


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