Friday, 29 June 2012

Manx Qualification

Last Saturday I was down at Snetterton for a couple of races on the old Aprilia in the 'Forgotten Era Superbikes'. At my least like circuit I wasn't happy with the bikes handling and those tuned-to-the-moon 750s (including an ex factory HRC RC45) just blew me away down that long straight. I was way off the pace and qualified an embarassing 11th out of 14. Poor.

I was followed all the way to the track and back...

But, I was there to get my last qualification race done for the Manx GP. I just had to finish, I wasn't really up for racing. So I just grinned... and could hardly bear it.

The rain held off but a howling, gusty wind was blowing. Typical Snetterton. First race - I get a rubbish start and am last into the first corner. I struggle in the shitty chicane onto the back straight... compromising my speed and getting passed on most laps. But I'm pretty good on the brakes at the end of the straight and normally take back the places I lost down the straight as I trail brake all the way through the left-hander. This was the only fun I had on track all day.

It was great to be in the paddock with a mate

My friend Don Plane was out for the first time in 5 years on his minty but completely stock RSV. We raced together in 2004 and 2005 in the Supertwins class. Don is a super-fast rider and knows Aprilias backwards. He built and developed the most awesome RSV Factory over a few years that was eventually making a reliable 160bhp at the rear wheel (mine makes about 125bhp). He's also had a hand in my new Manx GP Senior weapon... more about that in a later post...

Don's won many races and a Championship before taking a break. A couple of 5th places on his stock RSV - he's no slouch! A tough class.

Don helped me between races tweak the Aprilia's suspension... but it didn't help much with my laptimes. Only 0.2s a lap faster in race 2 ... my head just wasn't into it. Again, the only fun was doing silly braking moves at the end of the straight. I finished 9th of 14. But we're now qualified for the Manx GP!! :-)

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