No sooner than the season starts and it's to Killalane,and the last meeting of the year, is upon us.
So, to make it a bit more special I decided to take my 600 out for a spin as it was only sitting doing nothing. Luckily I got a last minute entry for it and John McCann, he of Moto Merchants fame and all round star, kindly offered to transport her down for me.
I had a few days before racing to check her over and do a few odd jobs on all the bikes before we set off.
We arrived safe and sound on Friday evening and awoke to a lovely dry and sunny day for practice.
I haven’t ridden the 600 for a while so luckily we were given 3 extra practice laps, which was just as well as the 600 wouldn’t pull over 10k revs. James, my pit crew for the weekend, and I lifted the tank to reveal a dodgy fuel hose, which we replaced and seemed to work.
The 650 went well in both practices but sadly the battery went flat on the 400. As this runs a system which doesn’t charge the battery as she runs, meant she wouldn’t rev out, so missed out on getting a good time on her.
Still, success with the 600 and the fuel hose repair worked and she went really well.
We awoke to sunny dry weather again on Sunday and was really looking forward to racing on one of my favourite tracks.
First up was the 600. I started from the back of the grid and was staying with the pack until she coughed and spluttered to a halt, which was down to my fuel calculations.
I always run with just enough petrol in the tank as a litre of fuel weighs approximately 1kg. Now to save that sort of weight normally takes some doing, so the easy way is not to take petrol for a ride.
Two things lead to me running out. Firstly we were red flagged, so we did another 2 warm up laps to get some heat back into our tyres and secondly I was working on the fact the circuit was 1.3 miles shorter than it actually was. Hands up my mistake.
Oh well it was now off out on the 400.
Due to me not finishing practice I once again started from the back of the grid. Still I got a good start and had a great race with Robert Cairns. Neither of us could loose the other and we had a great race until the red flags came out again.
They were talking about us doing two more warm up laps and a 3 lap race, once the incident had been cleared. All of us expressed our concerns over lack of fuel, and the race was called as a result. I was pleased to find out that despite starting last I worked my way up to 14th when the flag came out. I also improved my best lap time from last year by 5 seconds, so was very pleased with that.
Next up was the Supertwin race on my 650. I lined up with John and we had a race long dice, each of us taking the lead from one another at least 3 times, a real cracker of a race. I managed to get passed John and set off after the guy in front, who I got as we crossed the line. I then set off and quickly overtook the guy in front of him, who we’d be gaining on all race. It was only after I over took the next two guys I saw people clapping and then realised that I’d missed the finish flag and we were on our slowing down lap. I was told later from people watching, they could see I hadn’t seen the flag as was still going for it. Trouble is that when racing, and especially when you are that close to the guy in front, all your attention is how can you get passed him so you tend not to focus on the surroundings.
I had one race to recover and get my breath back before I was off out again, so a quick drink and a visor clean and I was back out on the 650.
I started from 9th on the grid and got a decent start, and once again ensued in a battle with John.
All was going well until I tipped into a set of fast right handers, when out of the corner of my eye I saw the front wheel of another bike. I felt us touch and remembered thinking ‘this is going to hurt’. Next thing I knew I woke up in a ditch being tendered to by a travelling marshal. I remembered not feeling any pain, apart from my legs felt as if they’d been used as a wishbone. After that the next thing I recall is being checked over by a Doctor in an ambulance. After about an hour I was released from the medical team, and so set off home.
Needless to say I ached when I woke up the next morning and when I tried to stand up fell back down again as I had no balance, so Monday was spent at various Doctors and A&E’s. Eventually I was given the all clear and was told I was suffering from a tear to my inner ear, nothing worse.
I know how lucky I was as the corner is taken at about 100mph and there is a grass verge, about 2 foot wide, then you’re down a ditch, so could’ve been far, far worse than being knocked out for an hour and a few aching muscles. Luckily I was wearing some great gear, which I think helped lessen my injuries, so will be replacing them with like for like before next year.
My thoughts go out to the other guy involved, Donnacha Healy, who suffered several broken bones and had to undergo an operation on his back, hope you get well soon.
As you can see from the pictures, my bike appears to have got off lightly as well. I’ve had a look and can’t see any major damage, but will have a better look next time I’m over.
So all in all not a bad weekend race wise with some good racing and improved times, a good way to end the season, April and Cookstown seems too far away.
I’d like to thank all those that helped me after my off, I owe you all. Thanks also to all those that sent well wishes, it was nice to know people were watching.
I’ve had a great season, improving my times at each circuit I’ve been too, and of course not forgetting a trophy and prize money at Cookstown at the beginning of the season.
The Winter will hopefully be spent repairing and refreshing the 650, as well as a few little jobs on the 400, so keep your eyes peeled for updates on my, now, Winter project, rebuilding the 650.