Saturday, 25 August 2012

ManxGP 2012 - Day 7 - Qualification

One of the problems with the big bike on Thursday night was a vibration on the front wheel. First thing in the morning, I had a look. Didn't like the look of the balancing weights so whipped the wheel out to get it to the race-shop in the paddock for re-balancing (and get some footpegs). I had another look at the Suzuki but she was running worse than the day before. Bugger!

On the way to the paddock, I stopped by at Padgetts to see if they had time to have a look at the little SV. Finally, a bit of luck... they weren't busy. I got the bike to them as quickly as I could then set about prepping the big bike.

Suzy kindly lent Betty a footpeg

Around 2 o'clock, just as I finished prepping the big bike, I got a call from young Andy at Padgetts. The little bike was sorted! It was a rotten HT lead... the plugs weren't that great either. Turns out that not only is Andy a dab hand with the spanners, but is pretty clued up with  racing around here. He's been involved in the Padgetts TT effort for a few years now. We talked setup and came up with a plan to try sort the big bike's problems. Thanks Andy and Padgetts!

Skrootineering queue in the rain... if only it was like this every day!

I hauled little Suzy back to the house to get her clothes on and do final prep for practice. Now that she was fixed, I had to test her. It had been dry and sunny all day so was hoping to get the first dry laps in on the little bike.

The air-ambulances get going in the threatening conditions

Up to the paddock and skrootineering. Whilest in the queue it starts raining... and doesn't stop for an hour or so. But it dries quickly and the first practice session starts a little late - I'm in the second session. The first session is red flagged early and the riders returning are wet and say the course is still wet most of the way around and raining over the mountain. I decide not to go out. There's no way I will go faster than I did earlier in the week, neither would anyone else - so I would qualify. Also, I wouldn't learn anything and just be taking a risk. I start packing up when the Clerk of the Course announces that the session is cancelled due to an incident that they will not be able to clear for an hour or two.

Bikes being warmed up in Prac Firme

With qualifying now over, here are the results of the practice week:

Saturday - Cancelled
Monday - Little Suzy - Fog/rain on the mountain. Red flagged. 93mph
Tuesday - Little Suzy - Damp/wet. 94mph. Big Betty - Damp/wet. 94mph
Wednesday - Big Betty - Dry but red flagged. 52mph
Thursday - Big Betty - Dry! 105mph and 107mph
Friday - Cancelled

Suzy finds a new friend in Parc Firme - takes me a bit of time to haul all the equipment back down to teh van and get changed
Despite the fog and wet laps - I still managed to qualify Suzy. So far all I've been able to do is give the bikes a shake-down and do just enough to qualify. Two laps on each with times good enough and a total of five laps. No chance to test anything or improve the bikes. Final qualification is 39th of 88 for Big Betty and 36 of 47 for Little Suzy. Thankfully this doesn't determine the start position - so I'll be alright for the race.

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