Thursday, 22 August 2013

IOM 2013 - Day 4 - The Quickening

Tuesday was beautiful on the island. Sunny and warminsh :-)
Spent the morning prepping the bikes and then hauled the Aprilia and Ducati up to skrootineering. Again, at skrootineering there was a queue halfway to Douglas Promenade. A bit disorganised. We got both bikes through no problem and the bikes into Pitlane and Parc ferme.

First session was the Duke and we started on time. I set off at a steady pace... a bit slow through to Ballacraine with loads of traffic but then started to get back into the rhythm. Over the mountain there were rain drops on my screen/visor, but nothing to be concerned about.

Some fantastic machines in the paddock...

Blasting past the Grandstand on a flying lap is awesome... flat out down Bray Hill. It's so fast. The Duke was feeling good, but a bit slow to turn and running a little wide. Had to man-handle her through the bottom of Bray Hill.

Some oddball ones too!

The second lap was good. Not too much traffic and the old girl pulling well on the changed gearing. The fairing design and seating position pushes ones knees into the wind. At over 140mph down the long straights, the wind is trying to push my knees open. I have to really work hard and the insides of my thighs were burning at the end of 2 laps.

The first lap was 98mph second was clocked at 102mph. Super happy with that :-) We've got more to come.

Norton Rotary...
Permanently being worked on...

I came into Parc Firme and Nic had the Aprilia warmed-up and waiting. A quick drink, visor clean and we're off again on the big bike.

She feels totally different to the old Duke. Different riding position. Feet not so high, bum lower than your hands, long and stretched out. Big. Fast! First time I have ridden big Betty since breaking down at Ballaugh in last year's Senior. The 10 000 mile completely standard eBay engine in her pulls well. Don at Southern Cross has sorted her fuelling beautifully and the power 'curve' is a straight line. Kaboodles of torque too.

Rotary engine on display

The Ducati has a close ration box, so I'm changing gear a lot more than with the Aprilia. The Aprilia drives like anything from 5000 rpm so I can short-shift a lot more and generally be a bit lazier. No knees battering through the wind and with that big screen she's a lot easier to ride fast. But, on the really fast sections I'm struggling to breathe. I have to gasp for breath. I think there is a big negative air pressure happening and it is literally sucking the breath out of me. Need to try sort that.

Lining the old girl up down Glencrutchery Road

First lap on the big girl and I'm on 105mph. Nice :-) I get a second lap in... with the flyer down Bray Hill I clock in at 107.5 mph. Awesome. Pretty close to the fastest I've ever gone around here (108mph) and I wasn't pushing at all. Definitely more to come.

An awesome day's practice with 4 good laps in. Back of shoulders, neck and back aching like anything. Very unfit for riding a bike... but with the first race in less than a week: no pain, no gain.

Pic of the SV at Ballacraine from Monday

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