Monday, 14 March 2011

Three Down - Three to Go

Headed out to Mallory Park for a wee bit o road racing on Saturday for the third of my six qualifying races for the ManxGP (I earned my first two by finishing ManxGP 2010). It was a ThundersportGB event - well organised.

Suzy V lookin' damn fine an sweet!

When I got there the paddock was rammed - everyone had been there since Friday morning doing testing/practice. My first session was Qualifying. Having had zero practice, being a crap 'Qualifier' and the first time on Suzy V on a short circuit - I only placed #19 on the grid of 21.

First time out on wickedly-sick-bling Braking discs from one of my sponsors: Talon Engineering. Man, they are the mutts-nuts on track... and just propped up on paddock stands

Race 1 - I get a rubbish start and stay out of trouble in the first corner - easy when you're last! I make up a couple of places on the first lap. Things settle down and a few laps later I'm at the tail of 4 bike train. I'm thinking "Race On! This is gonna be fun!". Then dear Suzy starts to feel flat above 8000 rpm. Like she's running on one cylinder. I just twist that throttle harder! She gets worse and I start dropping off the pace... over 7000 rpm and she chugs along. I couldn't hear any strange noises from the engine so figure it must be a spark or fuel problem... I screw that throttle harder. I get overtaken... she's just not going. Now over 6000 rpm she's running one one cylinder. I keep going. I HAVE to finish!

I get lapped by the leaders... a good thing because I have 1 less lap to do! It's the first time I've ever been relieved to be lapped! Suzy was getting worse and I was just circulating... expecting to be black-flagged. I finish second last - no idea what the guy in last place was doing out there!

The part of racing I hate - sorting bikes that don't work properly

Between races I pop the tank up and find a frayed and loose coil connector.They have such crappy connectors on the coil - cheap Suzuki shit. I sort it and she seems ok.

The offending 2 penny shitty connector

Race 2 - Of course... the more time you have before a race, the less sorted you'll be for the race. I started riding to the assembly area without gloves... I was wondering why my hands were so cold! Doh. The grid is just about to set off on the warm-up lap as I scramble to my spot. 'Sorry' I wave and then it starts raining. It really comes down during the warm-lap, but by the time we're around it's stopped. They hold us there for 5 minutes, then give us another warm-up lap. It's not going to be a wet race as the track is drying.

Plenty of time for a gearing change and some suspension tweaks between races - more wicked Talon products!

I get a decent start off the line and we all tip-toe into the first corner. I barrel through the spray and make up another 3 or 4 places. Wet race - bring it on! I make up a few more places during the next 2 or 3 laps and am in the top 10. Yeeha! Then everyone starts going faster... apparently there was a dry line - but I couldn't see it through my dark visor. Doh! I can only think of the finish as I'm doubtful the lapped, second-last place in Race 1 is going to count. I ride careful to make sure of the finish. I must have pulled quite a gap on the guys behind by lap 5 because I was only caught by 2 riders on the last lap. They passed me easily and I took 12th.

Happy with that, but a little annoyed with myself that I had the wrong visor on and I backed off so much to make ultra-sure of the finish. A 10th was there for the taking. Oh - and Suzy was faultless!

Three down - three to go!

Suzy came good in the end - but I couldn't really make good of her in the limited laps and conditions

In all a successful day and I made a new race friend - I parked up next to Rob Chisholm on a similar (old and cheap) SV with a 916 fairing (nice!). Rob also has ManxGP aspirations, is a heck of a nice guy and a living hero. He's a combat medic in the Army who has already done 3 tours in Iraq and is off to Afganistan in a few months. I think Anglesey in early May is my next meeting with ThundersportGB - hope to see you there Rob!

 Sergeant Rob C


  1. Hi there Paul. Good to see the roadracing is starting again. All the best for this season. Will be checking you out !

    Cheers from Holland !

  2. Very, very naaais Peter. Awesome looking Suzy V! We must chat anonymously