Friday, 24 August 2012

ManxGP 2012 - Day 6 - Betty Gets Going

Not enough time earlier to blog about yesterday... so here goes...

Hussling the big girl through Greeba Bridge

Spent 3 hours in the morning trying to sort the wee bike. Cleaned all the fuel lines and doo-dabs after I found some old paint in the tank. Had a look at the carbs as well. Fired her up. She was better... but not right. I got to work prepping the big Aprilia.

Little Suzy V is not well...

Got everything loaded and to the day paddock in good time... determined to be at the front of the queue. Offload and ready to get the bike up to skrootineering 15 minutes before it opens. Getting my overalls on, behind me I hear "Clunk!". I spin around and the bike has fallen over... not on the sofy mushy grass side, but on the hardcore road side. "Fuck!".

Monster throttle-bodies and factory carbon

I haul the bike up and get her on the stand again. Check for damage. Clutch lever and footpeg broken. "Tree-fuckin-mendous!". My spares are back at the house. I didn't have time to be pissed off or laugh. Un-hitch trailer, breakin' the law back to the house, spares box. Clutch lever. Got it. Footpeg. Hmmm... a mingy one that they won't like in skrootineering. Got the same footpegs on the wee bike... she gladly donates one.

Leaking fuel does cosmetic damage... now sorted 

Back to day-paddock. Fix big bike and get her up to skrootineering. Join the long queue. Get through skrootineering okay. The good news is that I was four yards futher towards the front than yesterday. Yeah! Little victories... little victories.

15 minutes after skroot opens and we queue down the tarmac...

Practice starts on time and despite the dire forecast, although overcast, it didn't rain all day. Dry roads, tyre-warmers done their job, I edge to the front and open her up down Glencrutchery Road. The guy on the 600 next to me gets a great start and I follow him down Bray Hill. He holds me up, so I outbrake him into Quarterbridge. I pass quite a few slower bikes, but none hold me up too much. It's a good lap.

There is nothing like lapping the Isle of Man on closed roads... it's fast... so fast. I immerse myself in the moment - pure concentration and focus. It's other-worldly... hard to describe.

A nice Hailwood replica on display

I blast through onto lap two and catch more traffic down Glencrutchery Road. I still haven't got a clear run down Bray Hill this year. I'll get it on Wednesday's Supertwin race. I catch more traffic - a line of 5 bikes just after Greeba Bridge. The freight-train looks cool - but holds me up - I pick them off and finally get past them all somewhere after Handley's. One of them is my mate Neil Vicars on his SV... the big bike flies past the little one down Cronk Y Voddy... I'm holding on so tight I can't even wave.

Old skool

I bring her home safely from my first dry run. But there were some problems. Through the medium speed corners, the back of the bike was sliding... a lot. Especially places like Ginger Hall where the track goes off-camber. Another problem... the bike is hard, hard work to get turned when at speed.  I'm forcing the bars with all my might through the fast, flat-out turns. She's running wide. She was also shaking here head around a bit. Some things to work on. Not many practices left to work on them.

Ready for a few laps on dry roads... at last!

First lap was 105mph from a standing start. That's the same as I did in lap 1 of last year's race. My second lap was 107mph. Only 1 mph off my best. This bike is certainly better than the old RSV. It's faster and handles sweeter. I'm happy :-)

My hosts are brilliant... I came back to the house to some scruptious BLTs :-)

1 comment: