Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Wee Monster at Donnington Park

A few weekends ago, the day after the DTRA flattrackin at DirtQuake II, I got the Wee Monster up to Donnington Park to do the last of my ManxGP Qualification races.

I cannot remember where I got these pics from...
Apologies for no credits and thanks for the pics
After the get-off at Oulton, she was down 5 bhp across the rev range. Mike at MD Racing did a compression test and found the front cylinder is down 35psi. She must have eaten a stone from the gravel pit. So I got up to Donnington just wanting a finish.

I unloaded the bike and then realised that I had forgotten my leathers. Doh! I normally have a check-list that I use... after flattrackin the day before, I was full of confidence and reckoned that I'd done this enough times to be able to remember everything. Yeah, right!

Bike, check. Fuel, check, kit, check... no hang on... whe're my leathers?

With a two-hour round-trip back home not really feasible, I started asking fellow Ducati Desmo riders around the paddock and garages if anyone had a spare set of leathers. I was in luck! Kevin Ellis had a spare set on hand that were the rightish size (they were up for sale). He kindly offered let me borrow them for the day. Thanks Kevin!

Kevin Ellis was so kind as to lend me his spare leathers... we then fought it out on track!
Apologies for no credits and thanks for the pics

I haven't been to Donnington since 2004. It's a big track for a wee 54bhp bike. With loads of blind corners and 'faith' sections, I just felt me way around... careful not to repeat my gravel feats of Oulton Park. I qualified second from last. Hmmmmm.

I could hardly see the start lights from back there!
Apologies for no credits and thanks for the pics

With the GP grid at Donnington (bigger spaces and only 3 slots in each row), the 11th row is a million miles back from the front row... I had to squint hard just to see the start lights! I got a good start and got up to the next row by the time we hit Redgate. I'm still learning the place and just take it easy, making sure I finish. The underpowered little bike is getting killed on the straights... even by some of the Class B bikes. On lap 5 the race is stopped with a red flag incident. No worries. I bag my last qualifying finish for the Manx GP. Not a proper race and a crap result, but relieved that I'm now qualified :-)

Apologies for no credits and thanks for the pics

Race two and I push a bit harder. But with only 4 laps in qualifying and 4 laps in race one, I only have 8 laps experience around the place. I can go a bit quicker through sections and am not pushing as hard as the bike will go... so I reckon I'm down 3 or 4 seconds a lap off where I should be. Turns out I was 8 seconds a lap off the winning pace... I guess that'll be my 10 bhp deficit (class limit is 65bhp). The race goes full distance and I get my second finish of the day. Job done.

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