Friday, 26 August 2011

ManxGP 2011 - Day 6 - Half-wet Qualification

Up on Thursday morning and prep the bikes for the evening practice. Check everything... check everything again. As I was getting Suzy V up to skrootineering... it started to rain.

It's not often I wear a clear visor
Once in skrootineering, we had our first skrootineering failure! When I dropped the bike earlier in the week, the knob on the end of the clutch lever broke off. I filed the edge round and got through skrootineering so far lik ethat. But the rulebook says 'ball' ends and I was picked up on it this time. Suzy V was sent to the 'sin bin'.

Suzy V forlorn in the 'sin bin'... waiting for a new lever. At least she had company...

I visited the race shops in the paddock and scrounged a Yamaha lever that was exactly the same. Must be a Yamaha clutch lever/cable setup on her. I replaced the lever and she was released to pit lane. Only then did the rain stop... and we were way at the back of the queue.

Suzy was soaked by the time we got her into pit lane - no point in a cover
I didn't have too much time till the session started, so decided on leaving Candy at the van. She was playing backup today anyway as I intended to only use the wee bike.

How to break a bead... Mark and Alan do it the old-skool way
It was declared a wet session and got away on time. It was pretty wet in places, but good that it had stopped raining. I just kept out of the other bikes' spray and visibility was good. I tentatively picked my way past a number of slower riders until the Cronk Y Voddy straight where it was dry. We let Suzy V go... and she went!

By chance, this rider's moniker is 'Bullet'... them stones are vicious!
Bone dry all the way to Ramsay... where it was wet again.. so I just picked around over the mountain. I only needed onelap on Suzy V to qualify and only intended one lap... unless I was having fun and learning something. The section from Cronk Y Voddy to Ramsay was great fun... and I was learning. So I set off on another flying lap

Governor's Dip - first time through and she stalled... it was the only time I got through there...
I thought nothing of the stall at Governers Dip... thought it was just because of going carefull in too high a gear. But she spluttered a few times during the lap. Nothing much, just a hiccup. Through the fun dry section in to a wet Parliament Square (Ramsay). And she starts running on one cylinder. I rev her and she evens out. She crackles up May hill and then almost stalls as she goes into 1 cylinder through the Hairpin. Somethings not right.. I rev her nuts off... but it doesn't clear and I'm getting no drive.

Brollies up for the Classic boys skroot queue
I wasn't a good day to get stuck on the mountain. it would be at least an hour's wait before the roads opened again, so I pulled off at Tower Bends. I had a look for anything obvious... fuel... loose wire... oil... nothing all looked good. I asked the marshals not to call me in as a retirement and I got back on the course to pull off at the Gooseneck. There is an access lane there that leads back to the A2 which takes one back to Douglas along the coast road.
Local Islander Roger Jones with his classic Suzuki 250
It's extremely dangerous to tour on the circuit when live... so I got off so I could tour back on the normal roads. We get special insurance here to be able to ride a race bike for 1 hour before and 3 hours after a practice or race on normal roads :-).
Pretty scenery on the way home
I took Suzy V down the access lane and joined the coast road to Douglas. It was a long old ride back... nursing Suzy on one cylinder most of the way back. And chilly too! My vented race suit isn't good for touring. About 45 minutes later, as the session was ending, I pulled into the day paddock, slung Suzy onto the trailer, retrieved my trolley and headed back to the house.

A wee jump over Ballaugh...
I have a hunch that the problem is electrical and something to do with the 'total loss' system I'm running her with. But, despite the conditions I went out to get the last qualifying lap in the bank... I have now qualified with both Suzy V and Candy. Yeah!

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