Tuesday, 21 August 2012

ManxGP 2012 - Day 3 - First Practice

After a no-go day and a day of rest, there wasnlt much to do on the bikes. Opportunity to tart them up a bit. I like tarting the bikes up. Hand cutting vinyl is like making cut-out pictures back at pre-school. It's therapeutic... and your hands stay clean :-)

All smiles 'n sunshine on the appraoch to Kirkmicheal

In the afternoon I hauled the bikes up to skrootineering. Most of the day-paddock swamp had dried out and it was warm and sunny. I got both bikes through skrootineering with no problemo. Somehow I got the start time of practice wrong by an hour... the air-ambulances taking off let me know practice would be underway soon. I got siuted and booted and headed up to pit-lane with my trolley of paddock-stands, emergency tools and fuel.

The number police got me in yesterdays scrootineering... so I added more '38's to keep everyone happy 

Practice was delayed 20 minutes while marshals got to thier posts. After Saturday's lack of marshals, I think they had an influx of new marshals... they'll get into the swing of things soon.

I call the Aprilia RSV Factory 'Betty'... she call's me 'Al'

After Saturday's disaapointment, it was a relief to be pointing down Glencrutchery Road with the starter's hand on my shoulder. I feel the tap. Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaap! I forgot to get the wee bike into gear. Doh! Clunk! Braaaaap-braaaaap-braaap. Following the rider ahead down towards St. Ninians.

Betty gets Sideburned up!

The other rider was going really carefully. I had to sit up down Bray Hill... not risking a pass till over Ago's Leap. Take it easy... some heat into the old, worn tyres. After Union Mills I get me head down. It was like I was never away!

I take it steady, remembering I'm on old tyres, dodging the damp patches and re-aquainting myself with the course... and the speed! :-)

Suzy lookin' sweet with here bling front-end

The new front-end on the Suzuki feels awesome. Firm and planted. The biggest improvement is on the brakes - Brembo's rule! At the heavy braking points (end of Sulby Straight, into the Cregg) I'm holding up 50 yards short! Great forks and brakes with such a light bike - big-time negative g's. No more squeezing the brakes as hard as I can and then feeling the front-end squirm around as the forks flex backwards under stress. I need to get used to this.

The queue for skrootineering - Alan Jackson is back on his #14 Moriwaki

Up the mountain. Just after the Mountain mile and I'm eveloped in swiring mist... by the Verandah is thick fog. Visibility down to less than 50 meters. I knock it back two gears and just follow the white line. At Kate's Cottage it clears but the session is red-flagged. They run the next practice session up to Ramsay and then red-flag it again. Everyone gets a lap in.

Great to get on the bike and do 2/3 of a lap. Great to know my home-brew front-end is working.

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