Monday, 27 June 2011

Flattrackin - GNC at Amman Valley

We woke on Sunday to sunny skies for the next round of the flattrack GNC at Amman Valley. Amman Valley is on a horse trotting track (trac trotian in welsh) and one of the biggest tracks we race on. Fast as fook!

The Speedtherapy garage

The sunshine, heat and flattracker shreddin' soon dried the track... it was so dusty it had to be watered a few times...

Got out for my 6 laps of practice and all was good. Bike was working well, gearing spot on (it's geared way too tall for our normal short tracks... need to fix that...) and I was having fun holding it wide open till the valves bounced.
Always good to see new bikes - This is 'Yankee' John's 500 two-smoke flattracker built by himself from the eBay parts bin
First Shortrack class heat and I start middle row of the grid. I think I got home 6th. This is brilliant, because I'm normally pulverised by the shorttrack bikes and finish at the tail-end. The KTM has mambo and it has less  disadvantage against the DTX shortrack bikes on this long circuit.

Another new bike - novice Stuart Lovell took another win on this beauty 

First Thunderbike heat and I start on the back row... I finish 4th. Yeah! Places in the heats earn you points. In Thunderbikes, the top twelve scoring riders go through to the finals. My goal is to reach the finals and then see what happens. The Shorttrack class works on ellimination and the top 24 go through to the 2 semi-finals... because I'm not competitive in this class with my big heavy Thunderbike, I use it as practice. I've never made a Shorttrack semi-final.

It's so wet in Wales... that seaweed grows on the ground with the grass... I shit you not

Next Shorttrack heat and I finish 4th! The top-two go through to the semis - I'm gettin' closer! The bike hum-dings down those straights and is getting a nice slide on coming out of the turns... I can also get off the gas late and bury it deep into the turn before sliding the back around and getting on the gas early. I'm still losing traction mid-turn... but the drive I get on the exit makes up for it.

Wilky getting some rest in the 30 degree heat

Second Thunderbike heat and I start in the middle row. I get another good start and by lap 2 I'm up to 2nd and close the gap to 1st quickly. I'm on his six as we steam down the straight to turn 3. I look up his inside and make a move... he comes in quickly, off his normal line to shut the door... I'm comitted and am sliding quicker than him... but there's nowhere for me to go. I slide under him and collect him as we hit the apex. We go down.
It was sunscreen weather!

Bollocks! He's unhurt, I apologise and haul the bike up. Footpeg doesn't look good... neither does the gear-lever. The race is red-flagged and I dig the mashed in dirt out from around the footpeg and lever. The footpeg is ok... lever is at a funny angle. The other guy is up and his bike is ok... the grid is waiting for me to join the restart. My gear lever is mullered and I can't change gear at all... I manage to get it into first and ride back to the paddock for repairs as they restart the heat. Bollocks!

'Sideburn' Ben getting a sprinkling of Co-Built 'holy-water'

The gear lever got stripped in the spline. Footpeg just needed de-dirting and handlebars straightening. With my spare lever on I'm all ready for the next Shorttrack heat. This is the last heat and the top 6 go through to the semi-finals.

Newbie Drogo get's his first taste of flattrackin on 'Redmax' Steve's Vertimati...

I make an okay start, but quickly start getting through the pack. I work my way up to 3rd place... then I cock it up again... too much gas mid corner on the now polished turn 2 and the rear comes around on me and I land up under the bike facing the pack bearing down on me. They all see me in time and dodge the muppet. The marshal is right there and helps the bike off me... as he lifts it I hear a tinkle sound and my new gear lever-end falls on the track. Bollocks! Bollocks! Double Bollocks!

Good to be in the shade!

I was comfortably in third with a gap to fourth. I would have easily got into the semi. I feel like such a twit. I get the bike back to the pits for more emergency repairs. But there is just no time and I don't carry 2 spare levers (I will in future!).

Whooo-hooo... this is fun!

Out for the final Thunderbike heat. Because of my DNF, I have to get at least in the top 5 to make the final. I'm on the front row so as long as I can get her off the line and into 3rd (normally start in 2nd and then hook 3rd before turn 1 for the rest of the race) this won't be a problem...

Between the heats fettling

So... do I start in 2nd and then try get her to third with the stump of a gear lever? Or do I try start in 3rd. As we filter out to the track I try the gear-change with the stump. In 3 attempts I only get it once. Not good. I roll up to my start place in 3rd.

More battle scars...

I rev the nuts off her and ride the clutch on the start... but she just bogs down in the smell of burned clutch and the packs dust. Shit! I hammer the stump down into 2nd... but somehow I get neutral and she just revvswith disdain as the rest fight it out through turn 1 and 2. By the time I get 2nd and pull away, the next guy on track is a full half lap ahead of me. Bollocks! Bollocks! Bollocks!

Gear lever end just sheared right off

I manage to catch and pass 2 riders by the time the chequered flag is out. :-( I didn't get enough points to make the final. Mission failed!

Start of the Thunderbike final... shouldda, couldda, wouldda...

Disappointed with myself. I was faster than the guy in front out of the turns and on the straights and when he moved to close the door I should have backed off and and made the pass safely down the straight. I didn't even need to pass him to make the final... just hold station. Silly. The second off... I was comfortably in 3rd and would have made the semi no sweat. I was pushing when I didn't need to. What a dumb-ass!

Thunderbike winner Guto Llewelyn (No 79) makes a pass on John Lee (No 76) for the lead. 'Co-Built' Anthony (No 47) pipped John on the final turn for second

Besides my self-inflicted disappointment the bike got away with a few more scrapes and broken levers... I didn't even get a bruise... and my new number and graphics on my leathers were completely untouched! (the theory is being proven!). The semis and finals made great racing in those rarely hot and sunny Welsh hills. A mixed day on the clay.

Shorttrack Final - A good surface meant many lines around the turns and some great racing

1 comment:

  1. did'nt realise you had such an epic!.
    your well up to speed, so the finals and finishes will come.