Jurby 2011

MGP 2011

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End of the Year 2012

Yes as usual I didn't finish writing the blog. Ok this is what happened September to December. September was the last round of the ARA at Jurby, I was 3rd in the F400 championship definitely and I could get 2nd if I won both races and the lad in 2nd didn't finish one race. That didn't happen, and I managed to completely burn my clutch to a crisp. So I finished 3rd in the championship and got a nice big trophy.

October saw the Endurance race at Jurby which I managed to convince Cargo would be fun even though we had no bike. In steps Jimmy with a VFR400 that had been crashed the year before and not been rebuilt. So I helped Jimmy build the bike, he loaned us the bike for the races and bits fell off which we fixed. After 4 hours of battling and finishing the year on a high, we then discovered that they had introduced a mickey mouse rule about having to complete 120% of the number of laps of the winner or some bollocks like that. So even though we crossed the finish line under the chequered flag we got a DNF. What a joke. Rude words were directed at various officials and we buggered off to the curry house. Never racing there again and in a fit of pith here is a end of year review of the season sort of.

Oh wait there was more I bought a ZXR750J2 which will be built into a forgotten era/post classic superbike for Cargo to race at next years Manx GP and I got all the bits together to build the RGV300 mwah ha ha. Wirral 100 for us next year oh yes!

Saturday 1st September 2012

It blew up. Balls. The RGV was jetted rich to avoid this and even flooded the sparkplugs in the holding area. Annoying really, Cargo got as far as Gorse lea before it seized nicely placed in front of his mates who marshal there. He coasted it to Ballacraine and hitched a lift home for the senior race. So we didn't get to see it go round which is a shame. The preliminary investigation looks like the crank gave up on us unfortunately. Hey ho I have a brand new one in a box. I think that's it for the MGP with the 250, next year the classic format is going to be different and talk is of a 750 or bigger. I like the sound of that. As for Cargo he had his last race in the senior in deteriorating conditions and good for him to get to the finish, a lot of bikes retired in the race some of them in the pits with the riders having had enough.

After the racing was all over it was off to the Villa Marina for the prize presentations, where Cargo got his well earned Replica, and the team award for the 400 race. He got a big cheer and everything was going well. Then the amazing end to the presentation was the Spirit of the Manx award being presented to Cargo for all his hard work and contribution. He's a great guy and really deserved recognition for his efforts and now his name is immortalised on a Manx Grand Prix trophy. Class stuff. I must say, though, he is an appallingly bad singer and his karaoke renditions of George formby are going straight on Youtube as soon as I've finished writing this.

Thursday 30th August 2012

We've had 2 days of exciting racing, Tuesday Jackie and I signed up as marshals and had a nice day out at Glen Duff a very fast section. Happily it was a nice uneventful place to watch the days racing, apart from Billy Cummins pulling in on his classic which had seized. Then it was back to the paddock for stew night, which this year was won by Stephen "Cargo" Carr. What a fix! It was a fun night really. Cargo had been out in practice on the 400 and decided he didn't like the intermediate tyres. So for Wednesday the plan was run his second 400 in the lightweight race and then go out on the 600 for one lap. The weather was a bit mixed but was brightening so Cargo got his wish and used the dry tyres. Off he went down Bray Hill and we waited in the pits for 2 laps. The pitstop was good, everyone around us seemed to be having fumbles and trouble but we just did what we do every year nice and calm. Cargo said the track was a bit iffy in places but he was having fun. Away he went again for the last 2 laps and the rest is history. "I'VE WON A FECKING REPLICA" was all we heard in the paddock when he saw the results. Brilliant, great fun and well deserved. The celebrating that followed was slightly over the top as to be expected. Good job today is a rest day. 2 races tomorrow, RGV out first in the Post Classic race then the 600 out in the Senior race. Let's hope he can get another.

Monday 27th August 2012

Well today should have been race day and 1 more practice lap for the RGV, but it's crappy weather again. Everything might happen tomorrow. I've had the bike apart, new rings and gaskets, and all looked good internally. Cargo said the gear changes were a bit clunky so I took the gearbox out and found the kickstart idler gear had come loose due to a wandering circlip and washer. So in went the close ratio gearbox from the other bike. Other than that I think it'll be ok. Just need to run it about and hopefully the new rings will give it a bit of oomf on friday. There are a few more pics of the ever changing bike and broken bits in the Manx Grand Prix 2012 gallery. Other than that it's been nice seeing the newcomers race, and socialising with friends. Most importantly it's stew night tonight so I'm busy in the kitchen now.....

Thursday 23rd August 2012

It's late at night and I've just had my tea in the tent with Jackie and the RGV sat next to us. Last night Cargo did one lap on the 600 then one on the RGV and straight out on the 400. Busy night followed by pizzas and beer. Which is why I didn't get round to writing about it. I spent today having a quick check over the bike and measuring the fuel in left in the tank. It's only using 8 litres a lap so our 18 litre tank is planty big enough. Tonight Carg went out on the 600 for 2 laps and came in and hopped straight on the 250 for 2 laps. He got it round a bit quicker but not as quick as last year. I'm going to have the engine apart tomorrow and see if it needs new rings or pistons and maybe send Cargo out for a steady lap Saturday or Monday just to run her in. All going well so far.

Tuesday 21st August 2012

So far there is nothing to really report 250 wise. I had problems with running the engine in on Saturday at Jurby, but it didn't matter because the evening untimed practice was cancelled due to lack of Marshals. Sunday I spent stripping both bikes and building a new one out of the pair with the good engine and chassis from Rasputin and the suspension from Reggie. Reggie is now in a sorry state in a pile of bits. The future for her involves some 61mm pistons....
Anyway I eventually arrived at the paddock with the bike a bit late but the session was cut short due to fog on the mountain so we would probably not have got the bike out anyway. Never mind it wasn't really ready.
Today I spent fettling, jetting the bike checking everything and the plan was for Cargo to go out on the 400 for a lap and then come in and do a lap on the 250. Unfortunately the session was delayed starting but finished on time so that meant Cargo got back just after the end of the session and missed out on a lap. So nothing to report, the bike went through scrootineering easy enough but basically has been warmed up in the holding area a couple of times. Never mind there's always tomorrow.

Tuesday 14th August 2012

The tent is up in the paddock, Cargo is there with various other people. There's a trackday at Jurby Saturday morning so I'll be running the bike in there and then it's Saturday night practice.

Sunday 12th August 2012

I've just spent the best part of 3 days refreshing the bike ready for next week, and a few pics of the rush job are in the MGP 2012 gallery. It's a week to go, the bike needs running in so probably won't be out on Saturday in the untimed practice. Let's hope the weather turns nice.

Thursday 2nd August 2012

I have neglected to mention something important. Jackie the Pit Monkey. She did a sterling job, keeping us all full of coffee and chilli and biccies. But also she takes care of a lot of little important things like reminding me to change batteries and check the fuel and she even pointed out my chain looked a bit slack. She was on it all weekend, so Jackie my third place trophy is dedicated to you for what it's worth. Oh and keep it up because we've got Cargo to sort out at the MGP and the last round of Jurby to do.

Thanks xxx

Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th July

The weekend at Anglesey with the Wirral 100 Club was lots of fun and eventful although not quite what I expected. We shared a garage with Seamus McDevitt, James Ford and Mr Parsnip and although the forecast looked iffy practice was dry and untimed so pretty much a chance to play. I enjoyed it but the suspension was a little bit off and the track seemed a bit bumpier than I remembered. 1st race came along, we were all in the holding area waiting to go and the heavens opened. We were sent back and everything was postponed until we had all changed tyres. Full wets and not looking like it would dry anytime soon. On to the startline for the qualifying race, lights go out, I get a good start, pass a couple of bikes in the first corner, pass Mr Parsnip out of the hairpin, go underneath another bike into Church bend and slide 100 yards on my arse through freshly cut grass. Front end washed out, and fairing properly trashed.

I spent the rest of the afternoon fixing the bike and planning to do it properly rather than rush it and try and get back out. As it turned out I was nearly finished when I realised there was time to get out in the Junior Open race so as it was now dry I rushed it to get back out! The race was pretty good and I had fiddled with the suspension and found the front end definitely needed tweaking. I finished 4th with a slow laptime but at least everything seemed ok.

Sunday looked a bit moist at first but brightened up into a lovely day. So for the 2 championship F400 races I was back of the grid having not qualified. I got another good start and this time I was making progress through the grid which was a mix of 400's 125's 250's and classics. We came around the corner before the corkscrew and a novice ran into Bill Swallow on his classic taking them both out and leaving me with not much room at which point my front end washed out again. Now I've seen Bill Swallow racing at the MGP and Southern 100 and TT but the first time I meet him he's sitting in the grass watching me sliding towards him on my arse. It's the first time I think I've ever braked using my hands and stopped about a foot in front of him. We picked our bikes up and wheeled them over to the tyre wall, and the conversation went something like this.
Bill to me. "What happened there then?" In a slightly accusing tone.
Me to Bill. "He did it!" Pointing. "I had nowhere to go."
Bill to novice "What were you thinking then?" and proceeded to give him a telling off. I stood back and watched the rollicking. Then we turned our backs on the young hooligan and watched the racing while chatting.

Back at the garage after another trip to scrootineering and the doctor I had a look at the bike and it was a bit scuffed but not so you'd notice after the previous day. I cleaned it up and went out for the last F400 race of the weekend. It was a good one, my knee was sore from the 2 crashes and I was expecting the bike to break but from 24th on the grid I had a good run out and finished 9th overall and 6th 400 so I was quite happy with that, as I wasn't too far off the pace.
The last race of the day was the Junior open final where I was on the front row due to the previous days 4th place. The grid looked a bit thin so I suggested to Mr Parsnip he could get into the race if he asked at the office and paid whatever the fee was. They said yes and as Seamus was chasing signatures too he did the same. Out we went on the grid which was now only 7 bikes and away we went. The plan was to have a bit of fun with Seamus and Mr Parsnip but as I came out of the hairpin I was in 4th thinking that I might be able to make it to 2nd. I had a good scrap with the SV650 in third which ended up with me passing and slowly getting away from him. There was a 600 in 2nd place which although I could hang onto him, I couldn't gain any ground so it was a 3rd place and a trophy to round off the weekend. Happy days. The bike is beaten up and so am I but not to worry, only one more race meeting to do before a complete winter rebuild. I now have to get the MGP bike ready for Cargo in 2 weeks....

Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd July

The plan was win both the F400 races and stand a chance of coming top in the championship. Well it nearly worked. The day was dry and warmish again and the bike was running great. Being a 2 day meeting meant it was one race per class per day but double the number of laps. Great idea. 12 laps is much more fun than the usual 6 lap dash. However practice went horribly wrong due to my front tyre warmer melting the tyre, I found out about 15 mins before I was due out so I threw the intermediate front on and tried to get the tyre changed. It didn't want to play. I ended up going out in practice with mismatched tyres which just wanted to throw me off. I couldn't get the bike to go like it should and there was no time between practices to sort the other front out. Crappy grid positions for me for Saturday then as I could only manage a 1m22s lap at best. I eventually got a new front tyre fitted thanks to the help of Roger Maher and Jules, also Roger was good enough to lend me a spare front tyre warmer for the rest of the weekend. Cheers.

The first Singles, Twins and Triples race came along and I had a rubbish start followed by a fun few laps battling with Ali Foster and almost ran into her on the first corner. Apparently the marshalls enjoyed my rolling stoppie as much as I did. Anyway I was back up to speed doing 1m19s laps and for the next race I was only 2 rows behind the lead 400, Glen Cooke, on the grid. The plan was to try and hang on to him and pass him at some point. Great start and I passed him just after the second corner, easy. For the next 7 laps I just kept it going, looking back out of the bustop to see that there was still a good gap. All fine, then on lap 8 there was a horrible clunk as I changed up to 3rd out of the bus stop chicane. Then it went into 4th etc, then halfway along the straight in 6th it made a noise like a combine harvester eating a skoda and the bike stopped going. I happened to coast to a halt next to the recovery van and sat there watching the rest of the racing. Bugger.

That night was spent replacing the gearbox which had decided to shatter 3rd gear. Sunday was pretty much the same conditions but with a decent tailwind for the back straight which made things interesting. In practice I got down to a 1m18s lap so for the 650/400 race I was second fastest on the middle of the front row of the grid. Mint. The twins race came up first and I said to Jackie before I went out, "this'll just be a steady run round to make sure the bike is ok for the 400 race". Of course after about half a lap I'd forgotten that and got into a battle with a TL1000 ridden by Stephen Ault which then ended up with lots of place changes. Great fun.

The 650/400 race came up and I got a good start (at last) and was in 2nd overall and leading 400. This lasted for about 4 laps until Les on the 650 passed me. Trouble was this meant Glen on the ZXR400 caught up with me and we set to it, I have no idea how many times we passed each other, or how many backmarkers got mixed up in it. It was hard going and when we got to the finish line I was beaten by 300th of a second, and we were both done in. Good job it was the last race. I was 4th overall and 2nd 400 and we were doing 1m17s laps so proper fun. Hopefully I'll be going as quick this coming weekend at Anglesey.

Thursday 28th June.

I've just given the bike a quick check over in the garage and discovered I nearly did it again. I opened the fuel cap to measure how much I had used and there was none there! I must have crossed the line in the last race with about a thimble full in the tank, all that's left is dregs and whatever remains in the carbs. That would have annoyed me if it had run out. Anyway, here is another video compilation from the weekends fun.

Sunday 24th June.

The plan was, it would rain in the morning and everyone would not ride properly from worrying about intermitant conditions while I clean up having the right tyres for the job. It nearly worked. It rained at 10 am on cue as forecast, I had the right tyres on and had jetted the bike quite lean to suit the conditions. Practice comes along but turns into a nightmare because it was bone dry due to the appearance of the sun and it being quite breezy. The target for the day was to drop my laptimes for the club circuit from 1'34 to a more respectable 1'30. It wasn't happening on the bridgestones, I did a crappy 1'38 in the twins practice went back to the van to put more fuel in to find out I should be back out straight away. So I just got to the holding area as they were closing the gate and did a back to normal 1'34 in the 650/400 practice. I was going to save the good tyres for later in the year but thought I might as well put them back on as it was now dry, sunny and getting quite hot. 4 times this has happened at Jurby, it rains the rest of the time then come ARA race day it's 25 degrees and we all get burnt faces.

This is where the swearing started. I changed the front wheel no problem, but the race program was getting changed around to give the sidecars time to sort themselves out so I thought I was short of time. Out comes the back wheel in goes the replacement but the spindle won't fit and it's all jammed up. After a lot of abuse with a hammer and getting cross with help from Jules, we worked out one of the chain adjusters had a dent in it which was throwing all the spacers out of alignment. I've no idea how it happened but I had fitted the new ally adjusters the day before so out came the hammer again and we did some rough arse repairs. Sorted, wheel goes round like it should and it turns out after all the panic there was about to be a lunch break. Phew. I was a bit concerned that the bike was set a bit too lean but decided to risk it as it was getting very warm by now.

Race 4 arrives, but because of problems with the sidecars we were now running race 6 straight after. Double fuel load and a big drink of water and off we go. I was 20th on the grid, 19th after the first corner and 13th 3 corners later, the michelins were doing the business and I was very comfortable pushing the bike. By half way through the first lap I was in a very familiar tussle with Stephen Nathan on the 650 and Conor burns on the steelie 600. The following 5 laps consisted of the 3 of us swapping places until Conor lobbed it at the first corner on the last lap. No damage done though. Finished 13th overall and 7th in the twins class with a laptime of 1'30.624. Mission accomplished and would have been good enough for a 2nd last meeting but Ryan Kneen was going round at crazy fast 1'26s the lunatic. Anyway straight round for the 650/400 race where I was placed 15th on the grid. I had a decent start and just worked at it picking up the odd bike here and there, until I was chasing Ali Foster on her 650. Not in the same race but I knew there was a 400 behind me and I wanted to beat her anyway. I wasn't making much impression until the last lap when Ali ran straight on at the fast left hander near the end of the lap. (Apparently these corners have names??) I had the full view of her landing in the grass with the bike on top of her, it didn't look nice but I was busy having a pair of 400s trying to get past me. As I came round the corner again for the last time I saw Ali was up and about so that was good. Finished 9th overall and 3rd in the F400 with a 1'30.190. Pleased with that.

Race 11 and 12 are usually back to back but this time there had been a sidecar race slotted in between so I though bugger it same again double fuel load and be ready to go straight back out just in case. So race 11 the twins race was a good ding dong battle with Chris Mitch and Stephen Nathan and ended up with me finishing 13th overall and 7th in the twins again. Similar laptime too, probably due to the 3 of us falling all over each other, wish I'd put the onboard camera on. Race 12 or 13 or whatever it was by now looked like I might get a good result as Ryan's bike had shit itself (he probably scared it to death). So again I'm 15th on the grid there are 2 400's next to me and 2 in front. If I can get a good start and get past the 2 in front that'll be a win easy. Crap start follows, swearing etc, so I lose 3 places by the first corner, make 2 back up and get going. Halfway through the first lap I've got back to my grid placing and slowly work through the bikes in front of me. By lap 3 or 4 I'd caught up the 2 lead 400's who where sat behind a pair of 650s. I managed to barge through on the 2nd gear right hander in the middle of the circuit and I realised I was leading the 400 race with about 2 1/2 laps to go. The two 650's in front were Chris Mitch and Staphen Nathan again. So the plan was get past one of them and hopefully that would leave me clear in the lead of the 400 race. Trouble is they wouldn't have any of it. I eventually forced myself past Stephen on the last lap again on the same 2nd gear corner but I didn't get a good enough drive out of the corner and the bloody RVF behind me just slipped past me at the end of the straight, it was all on the power and from there to the finish line there is little room to pass. So slightly miffed with a 7th overall and 2nd in the F400 by 0.278s. Best laptime 1'28.863 blimey! I think I might need new tyres every meeting....

Sunday 10th June.

It was a sunny start to the day, so arriving at Castletown at around 9.30am we went for a drive round in the van and it was no surprise to see a dry track. Fair enough the forecast was for possible showers but this didn't happen, although there was a bit of sea mist in the air at times. The paddock was a bit sparse due to the delays pushing everything on a day. Signing on came and I asked if they'd allow my production 250 run in the 400 class as it is a SS400 bike in reality. The answer was no and I was causing enough trouble having turned up with a late entry anyway. I didn't mind racing with the 650 twins and the gp250s though as it was all setup time for Cargo for the Manx. Roads didn't close till after dinner so I had plenty of time to set the carbs and check the bike over again. Had a nice chat with a guy from Ireland while doing this and quite a few people kept stopping and taking photos which was pretty cool. During the riders briefing, I was chatting with Dave Clark and Chris Mitch about qualifying times and we decided it wouldn't need to be to fast for the 650 class. Technical inspection went fine and so I was all ready for my 15 min qualifying practice, which should be about 4 laps so I had a 5 litre fuel load which is enough for 5 laps. I got my head down straight away and basically just rode the same as I did at the pre TT which should be a fast enough time. On about lap 4 I missed a gear at castletown corner and the 3 650's that had been following me all got past on the straight, which meant I had somebody to chase. Then lap 5 came along and as I was on the straight the engine started to struggle. I thought I'd broke it but it came back in, then was basically on and off all the way to cross 4 ways by which time I was touring back to the pits, into church bends the penny dropped and I coasted into thesame marshal point I stopped at in 2010 with the same problem, no fuel. Oops.

I got the bike picked up and back to the paddock only to find out that Ryan Farquhar had decided to do a 99mph lap so I had been going about 3 seconds a lap too slow. Luckily there was a last non-qualifiers practice which was basically a free practice for anyone due to the reduced grids. I got out (with a full fuel load) and had to go quite a bit harder than I would normally have liked to. I never even tried to get my knee down at the Southern as it seems a bit to much, but 2nd lap knee down at ballakeigan, 4th lap knee down at castletown corner, and the braking points I had gone from safe to lifting the back wheel most places, and I'm glad I did, I was 6 seconds a lap faster than I had been at the pre-TT even though the clutch was starting to slip again. So happy days.

during the wait for our race I got chatting to a guy Steve from NZ who I had only chatted to on the RGV forum so it was nice to talk bikes and have some interest shown in the bike. A lot of people kept stopping and taking pictures and it was a nice sunny day. Time to get racing. I had a rotten start, due to mr slippy the clutch, and despite that was able to keep up with the back 4 bikes all the way to cross 4 ways, where I slipped up the inside of a couple and thought I was going to have fun, till they all came past me on the straight. which was th etheme for the race and would have continued except for a complete numpty knocking my kill switch off. Flat out in top on the straight, I had moved my hand on the bar and killed the power. I managed to brake into the slip road thinking I'd seized it, when I realised what I'd done, so I got a push and fired it up again, and rode for the finish, getting lapped in the process. Stupid but all useful info for the MGP. I'll be moving that switch then. Came home last and lapped due to the 59s stop for a rest, but I was happy with the finish and I'll be having to make it a bit quicker I think.

Saturday 9th June.

Had an nice bank holiday Friday chatting with some old race buddies that were over for TT, and then sorted the bike ready for Sundays Post TT races. Today we sat around for 10 hours at Braddan waiting for the racing to start. Shame really but we got to see a 3 lap dash by the 650 twins. Anyway we're all set for tomorrow and it'll be a case of have fun and get some more setup time on the bike, no idea who will be out but it might be interesting if we have some rain. I love racing round Billown in the wet.

Pre-TT Classic, Billown, 28th May - Race Day!

Sunday I spent getting new tyres put on, while I replaced the clutch which was getting a bit tired. A nice relaxing day off which frankly I think everybody needed to prepare the bikes. There was a lot of activity in the paddock and with the nice weather it was just a really pleasant day. Cargo turned up mid afternoon for a flying visit all the way from Ireland just to keep his eye on the bike and have fun which we did. Monday was more good weather which really should have been more enjoyable but because I was out in the last race of the day meant hours of waiting which in reality made me nervous or to be more specific made my arse nervous. Rough Arse Racing is exactly right.

First race out was the support race which had Marek Wieckowski on pole as he didn't qualify due to machine problems. He was on pole and had to endure endless accusations of sandbagging from me, and he lead the race for 2 laps until his 350 nipped up, which was a shame, I would have enjoyed giving him more abuse when he won which frankly he deserved to. On a good note I think he got a lot of useful information from us which should mean he has a good run out at the MGP this year. The rest of the day went a bit slowly for me, jetting the bike, fueling it up and scrootineering, which al went well, until all of a sudden it was race time, about half an hour ahead of schedule. The weather was still great and the plan was basically try and get in front of the 250 ahead of me on the grid early or at least hang onto the back of him but if that failed then ride for the finish. Well the start wasn't too bad, I got ahead of the 250 number 61 and even slipped past another into the first corner. It didn't last though as he got me back on the long straight down to Iron gate, which is to be expected. By the time I reached Cross 4 Ways the other 250 had caught me up and passed me so I gave it a go at chasing them to Castletown corner but just didn't have the flat out top speed to keep up. By the end of lap 2 they'd buggered off. About lap 4 I got a bit confused as a 350 passed me and I assumed he was the leader as he flew past me and shot off into the distance but it turned out he had been behind me for a while. Then he pulled in with problems. After that all I saw was the leaders as they came past. Jamie Coward and Guy Martin where having a proper battle as the caught me so I got out of the way, and the highlight of the race was Roy Richardson on the reverse cylinder TZ flying by at Great Meadow and showing me a great line around Stadium Corner, so that's how you do it. %th gear instead of 4th and braking well hardly at all. Great. He was probably flat out round there for all I know. Eventually I came around on to the Start/Finish straight for the chequered flag happy with the bike, although I think it was too rich still. It's always nice coming into the paddock as the crowds always show their appreciation. Back at the paddock I was basically done in but happy, and had a nice chat with some lads who had rushed down to the races after their last exams. I even gave a nice fella and autograph. So a good meeting really, I need the bike to be about 20mph faster but maybe that could be done for next year. A nice result was finding out I'd finished 13th overall and was highest placed Newcomer which meant I received the Castletown Chamber of Trade Best Newcomer Award and some prize money. Couldn't be happier.

I was going to stick the onboard camera on but never got round to it as it can be a bit of a pain to get right. So Jackie and I spent a bit of time filming round the paddock and some of the racing which gives an idea of what a great place it is.

Pre-TT Classic, Billown, 27th May

I had too many beers last night. But it was such a nice day, it was called for. Friday night practice was slow as I was running the bike in, and went out for the newcomers sighting laps before my 3 laps of practice. Even though I wasn't revving the engine right out the bike was feeling great and I had a bit of a bash with Marek Wieckowski on his 350 which was fun. There are a lot of interesting machines out in the race and not everyone uses the same lines, so I'm looking forward to the race on Monday. Saturday Practice was another sunny windy day, which makes jetting the RGV interesting, it's hot so go lean but the breeze makes it cooler in theory, so I'm going for a rich setting. Friday night I had to tape the rad and it still didn't get up to temperature, so Saturday I put more tape on. 2 laps into practice I had to pull in at Ballakeigan corner and take all the tape off with help from the marshalls. Of I go again for another 2 laps and the temperature dropped to being quite low again. The practice was fun, and I'm qualified 21st overall and 7th in the 250/350 class. The 4 or 5 bikes in front of me are all within 2 seconds a lap of me so I am hoping for a good battle on race day even if it's with bikes on the other class. The thing with the Southern 100 club is it's all about having fun. I certainly am.

ARA Jurby Airfield April 14th and 15th

It's all going forward, onward and upward said the vicar to the virgin. Between the last meeting and this I've been fiddling with Rasputin mainly applying a fair amount of titanium and getting rid of the nasty heavy steel. Now the bike is 1/2 a kilo lighter but all in the important places namely the wheels and calipers. I was hoping to get him to turn a bit quicker, and as I set off out of the holding area for first practice round the right left 1st and 2nd corner my first impression was "feck me that turns in bloody quick". It was the same conditions again for the third time and I got on with it, I've been looking at video from the other meetings and track days and decided I had to not brake so much. It all worked, by the end of the 2 practice sessions I was a good 3 seconds a lap faster, oh yes it's coming together, on the 5th row in the S,T&T race and 3rd row for the 650/400 race. It was going to be great.

First race was me having a slow get away as usual and making the places back up in th efirst corner, I then had a couple of laps of chasing Dave Corlett on his RVF400(albeit he was in a different class) and found I was getting good speed down the back straight and keeping up, should have passed him though because I spent the last 2 laps getting mugged by 650's including Ali Foster who I then proceeded to try to run off the track for half of the last lap. SORREEE!! The onboard video is here.

The next race the 650/400 I was really up for, I had already gone faster than I had ever before at Jurby and was in the middle of the 3rd row. I got a reasonably start, came round the first corner with the pack and we all stopped for the red flag. $ bikes had had a coming together at the back of the grid. It was all a bit messy and we were sent back to the pits where eventually we found out the meeting had to be cancelled. Nathan Harrison had come a cropper (get well soon) and the tank on his 125 had split dumping premix across the track. A bit too much to clear up with cement unfortunately. Not to worry, we had the rest of the afternoon at home in the sunshine sat in the garden. I'm getting in the groove and should be very ready for the Pre TT in a couple of weeks. Can't wait.

ARA Jurby Airfield April 14th and 15th

Since the last meeting I've done a bit of work on the bike, improving the suspension and I got a quickshifter which should be good for a second a lap. After a lot of faffing about I went up to the track day the day before the race meeting to set the quickshifter and supsension up. It was pretty easy to be honest. I only did 3 sessions and then went home to change the oil and prep the bike for racing. On the Sunday it was looking like it would be a nice day but with the wind it was pretty cold. I set the carbs and taped the radiator and basically got stuck into practice. Having been out the day before it was easy enough to get straight out and use the 2 practice sessions to fine tune the suspension. The track was the club circuit which is a longer twisty track than the GP circuit and quite difficlt to get the gearing right. I qualified on the 6th row for both the F400 and the Single Twins and Triples races which was an improvement on last time. At least this would mean I started on the straight rather than half way round the last corner. We then had to sit and wait for the first S,T&T race due to a number of incidents and red flags in the first few races. After all the excitement we finally got lined up on the grid and I got a good start for a change only to find Chris Mitch the row infront of me had stalled and I narrowly missed him and then went on to make up a couple of spots swapping places with Ali Foster on her ER6 before out came the red flag. We had done 3 laps officially so we were sent back to the grid to do another 3 laps for an aggrigate race. So a 3 lap sprint ensued which looked a bit doubtful on the second corner as Lee Dabs went down scattering a couple of cones in the middle of the track. I got stuck into it and came away with a 6th place which pleased me no end, faster lap times than the meeting last September and I felt like the bike was fun to ride. More importantly as I was going faster I was having to adjust the suspension to suit. It was a bit of a wait for the 650/F400 race due to more crashes I think, and I ended fluffing the start again, jumping before the lights, stopping and trying to restart as everyone else had already set off. I passed a couple of bikes and then got into a 4 way 6 lap tangle with an RVF400 and 2 650's. It was a good battle and I managed to get the lot on video which I'll post asap. The RGV was quick enough to hold it's own on the straight and I was about right with the gearing for the corners but I need to get back into late braking if I want to do better. No excuses I just havent quite got it right yet but I'm moving forward which is great. At the end of the race I came 8th 400 which is ok. The second 2 races are back to back and so I put a double fuel load in the bike and then found out the races were reduced to 4 laps each so I probably had about 3 litres too much. It seems like this race report is a list of stupid niggles and cock ups so far. So I'm on row 6 for the second S,T&T race and got a good start and fluffed a gear change on the way into the first corner after which the gearbox had a very clunky feel to it. The downside of quickshifters! The race went ok but I got into a scrap with one of the 650's that I had been mixed up with in the F400 race. They are a bit annnoying to be frank, hold you up in the corners and then they bugger off down the straights. As a result of this I only managed a 10th place which was a bit disappointing after the first race, mind you 4 laps isn't a lot of time to make up places or so I thought until the last race. Being a back to back race it's ride off the track into the paddock round to the holding area and virtually straight back out to the grid. The bike was hot and I foolishly took some tape off the rad rather than let it overheat. When I came into the grid at the end of the warm up lap the temp was down to 45 degrees, not the best temperature to be running a 2 stroke at. The lights came on, I stalled, I stuck my hand up in the air quick and the lights went out. Everyone buggered off. I got a bump start by which time everyone was round the second corner. Arse. Again. Arse. I got my head down and even though I didn't do my fastest time of the day I did ok and passed a few bikes. It's all here on video filmed by Jackie.
So I was 5th 400 in the end and 12th overall out of 20 bikes which just goes to show 4 laps is enough time to get up the field and I've been talking bollocks. Roll on the 6th of May.

ARA Jurby Airfield March 25th Update

Apparently Dan Sayle on his GP125 is now classed as a 400 so that means I got a 4th not a 3rd. Pah! Never mind, here is some onboard video footage of the day just for a bit of fun.

ARA Jurby Airfield March 25th

Rubbish, rubbish and annoying. There! race report over. Alright, in more detail , practice went ok, but really I was at least 4 seconds a lap slower than I want to be and more like 6 seconds slower than I need to be to get any good results. The weather was hot hot hot so it was ok to run the RGV lean and after a plug chop looked good. The only other job was to get the suspension somewhere near and it does feel good just a little bit too skittery on the exit of snuffies the fast left hander onto the back straight. The gearing I was running was off by about half a tooth maybe. The trouble with Jurby is you only get about 6 laps pf practice per event and 2 x 6 lap races so it's bugger all time to fiddle with settings. Might have to do another trackday. As for the racing, well getting off the line cleanly is a challenge but that's a question of practice, the first Singles Twins and Triples race I was running near the back and on the last lap the chain snapped coming out of the bus stop chicane. A bit annoying but not as annoying as the clerk of course deciding I should stay out there for the rest of the day rather than be recovered. Rude words and shouting ensued. Compromise was reached and I pushed in to the middle of the airfield and got picked up by the recovery van. It did mean I missed the first F400 race but at least I got back into the paddock. I have to say despite the arguing the marshals were great and probably found it quite entertaining, the recovery man and his mate were jolly nice chaps and I had a yarn with them while we watched the sidecars. Back at the van I fitted a spare (very old second hand) chain, not only that it was a bit short so ended up with 2 split links fitted next to each other. I thought it might break again but went with it and completed the next two races counting down the laps and crossing my fingers. The second ST&T race I found we were in the same grid positions and had another rubbish start, worse than that I got lapped about 10 yards from the finish line and went slower than I had all day. Finally I got out for the F400 race which is mixed in with the (proper) 250's and the 650 twins and found the grid a bit thin. It got even thinner as it was red flagged on lap one due to a lot of bikes coming together and Woody coming off the worse for it. Luckily he and the bike survived with a few scrapes. The race was restarted and I had a race all on my own which ended up with me finishing 3rd 400 although there were not many left by then! but at least it means I scored a few points. Thinking hard about it I've been a bit shy with the suspension settings so between now and the next meeting on the 15th of April I'll be making it turn in quicker and go for the more flicky setup (which has often ended up with a highside at some point) but it's more fun that way. I have some video footage to sort through and I'll post it up soonish including the swearing.

The year so far...

There was a trackday at Jurby on the 4th of March, it was damp and windy and dry and feckin freezing. I took both RGV's expecting to try both out but in the end I had fun playing with the new bike (Rasputin) and Reggie got left in the van. Frankly it was ok weather wise but the track was cold and you just got the feeling that if you pushed a little bit too hard you'd just slide off. As Plod and Jimmy both found out, not to mention various other silly buggers. I didn't quite get the bike set up but I think it'll be fun to ride and it's definitely got good top speed. Totally different to the other bike. So all being well I'll turn up to Jurby on the 25th of March and have a good bash in the singles twins and triples races and the F400 races. Should be a giggle or raining or cancelled or something.