Angelsey 2008

Angelsey 2008

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9th October 2011

Okay I admit it I never got round to writing this up. I didn't get on with Plods gixer which got me endlessly abused by Jules the walking head injury. However I managed to pull my finger out eventually and we finished 8th in class which was ok. Other than that it was the usual mayhem and yet another enjoyable endurance race. Can't beat 4 hours round a twisty track in random weather conditions.

24th - 25th September 2011

We arrived at the airfield in plenty of time, and parked up next to Jules Ray my good buddy and the foolish behaviour began fairly quickly. So after scrootineering and signing on etc I was ready for practice sort of. I had no idea what gearing to use, had not ridden the bike yet and who know if it was going to last after the MGP? Practice came and went and I realised I had completely forgotten what to do but it seemed fun. I was entered in the Singles, Twins and Triples race (known as the wacky races) and the 400/650/250 race. I was qualified at the back of the grid which suited me and basically I spent 2 races trying to get up the field, so improved my laptimes all day and finished not last. Good enough.

Sunday was looking to be a wet day and the organisers to their credit told us at the briefing that they were going to try and get through the race program as fast as possible to avoid the rain forecast for the afternoon. So a change of gearing for the different circuit ensued and out we went. The club circuit was a lot more fun on the 250 and I'd put the trusty Bridgestones on so I just spent the 2 races going faster and having a good scrap with a lad on a 125 in the singles twins and triples race. The 400 race came round and it was just spotting a bit of rain but still dry, I got a good start and got into a scrap with a novice on a vfr400 which was good fun, and I passed a few bikes on the first 2 laps. Around lap 8 it wasn't dry anymore, and it literally went from dry on lap 7 to greasy and slippy on lap 8. The first I knew of it I was going sideways round a bend in the middle of the circuit, thinking I was off, but the improved suspension worked and I ended up running wide and getting the bike upright and back on the straight in time to see the red flag as 2 other bikes had come off at the same time. It turned out on of them was Jules and he'd knocked himself out. Racing was over result declared and we packed his van for him and got him back to his house (opposite the airfield!), and he seemed fine apart from being a bit stiff. About 4 hours later I got a text to say he was in the hospital as he had concussion and was proper doolally. He's out now and sorted but can't do the Endurance race so I'm now signed up to do it on another gixer600 with Steven "Plod" Beale.

The RGV is awesome to ride

23rd September 2011

I put an entry in for the 2 day meet at Jurby for a bit of a laugh, I'm looking forward to it, the van is loaded and it'll be up at 7.00am and a quick drive up the road for some catching up and general foolishness, till the first race starts probably... Poor bike probably thinks I'm picking on her now.

5th September 2011

Back to work today, it's all over and done with and the bike is safely back in the garage. It has been fantastic fun and a lot of hard work, but very very worth it. Made lots of new friends, had a lot of laughs, and proved we could do it, even though people thought it was a mad idea. Even me. I think I'll be riding the 250 in next years pre TT races at Billown and do a few fun races that take my fancy. There is also talk of getting a GP bike for Cargo for the Manx next year. Oh dear.

Thanks for reading this madness.

3rd September 2011 --- The aftermath...

What a day the 2nd was. The weather looked very iffy in the morning but the forecast was for a slot of dry weather from 10.00am till around 4.00pm so it was all systems go for the Senior race in the morning which Cargo was riding his 600 in, then after that the Post Classic Junior/Senior race. We got the 600 through scrootineering then I took the 250 up with a very dodgy fuel load which I hoped wouldn't leak, basically it was brimmed to the top. All was ok and we got the bikes set up in the holding area. I loaned Cargo some tyre warmers to help him out and the race went ahead slightly delayed. He had a rubbish race and didn't really enjoy it, the pit stop although fire free was very hectic. The bike below us looked like it was going to come in about 30 seconds behind Cargo so we agreed with the other crew to try and make enough room however the bike above us in the pits came in and had no fuel cap, it had fallen out! so they were held while the crew tried to sort something out. This meant the bike got shuffled down the pits then Cargo came in and so did the other bike. We proceeded to throw fuel all over the place and then had to waddle Cargo and the bike round the chaos to get him out. You could tell he wasn't happy and when he finished the race he was fairly peeved. Meanwhile I had got the 250 prepped in the holding area and the pits had been reorganised for the next race. It promised to be an interesting race as there was a good mix of TZ's some 350s a couple of GPZ600s and us. Waiting for the start was very nerve racking but not as bad as watching Cargo and my bike fly away off down Bray hill. 1st lap we watched as the scout operated board showed Cargo making good time over the mountain course, I had my stopwatch so I could keep track of where he was supposed to be. 24 minutes or so later Cargo came through the start finish at a very nice 119mph and an average lap of 90mph. 2nd lap more sitting and waiting and watching the minutes tick by, and 24 odd minutes later his light came on and the siren went for Cargo coming in the pits. The pit stop went pretty well, although it looked like the tank breather was now spraying fuel out onto the front of the bike. Cargo was really enjoying himself, he was happy and couldn't wait to get straight back out. Away he went and fingers crossed he'd get the last 2 laps in. 3rd lap and the leaders of the senior race where already on their last lap. Still Cargo's marker was slowly showing his progress round the course, and by now several bikes had retired, which is not surprising as ours was probably the youngest bike there at a mere 20 years old. Ramsey Hairpin and Cargo got a mention so we knew all was still well. End of the lap came and went and Cargo brought the bike through the start finish again, another 119mph but a slower average due to the pit stop. He was going well and by now it was fingers crossed again for the last lap. 4th lap and the race leaders had all come home and the champagne corks were being popped above the pit lane, 20 mins to go and one by one the markers for the bikes left in the race either kept moving on or the dreaded R was hung on the board. Cargo's marker still kept plodding round although it looked like he had slowed down, and I was starting to think the bike might be about to expire. By the time he should have been back his marker showed he was just through the bungalow, and by the time his green light came on he was about 3 mins overdue. Not to worry though, he came over the line limping along at 72mph and a slow lap average. I assumed he had run out of fuel or something, but it turned out on the last lap the front brake lever bracket bolts had worked loose, and from Sulby straight onwards he had to use the back brake as the front lever was unuseable, and actually fell off at Creg ny Bayr. The bike came home to the parc feme covered in fuel, bird entrails from a rogue pheasant, and brake fluid. We bloody did it though. 4 starts, 4 finishes and the best result was on the 250, 11th overall, 19 started, 12 finished and maybe if the brake hadn't failed Cargo might have got to a replica. And the bike still works after 226.5 back to back miles of the TT circuit with no major problems (who needs brakes it's all about corner speed anyway). Job well done.

It's been emotional and bloody great.

2nd September 2011 --- Race Day

I'll write this up properly later, but it has been a great day. We done it! and come 11th.

Time for a pint

1st September 2011

Wednesdays racing was wet but went well for Cargo who got a top 20 finish in the 400 race. Basically I spent the day going over the bike while everyone went out having fun on bikes or watching bikes. By the end of the racing we all got together for a fish and chip dinner and went to the presentation night at the Villa Marina, serious drinking ensued. When I woke this morning I was not well, so finished the bike off tonight. Everything is done and now it's a case of fingers crossed for good weather and 4 laps.

It's been a long fortnight

29th August 2011

The 28th was a day off although I did a bit of tinkering with the bike at first, then back to Peel for a sleep in a proper bed, and a night out. Back to the Paddock early monday morning, Cargo was in the Junior race on the 600 followed by the practice session. The weather was moist to say the least, Cargo wasn't happy when he went out as he only had dry tyres and it looked pretty bad going off the start line. It did dry out and all was proceeding according to plan when he came in for the pit stop, then it went a bit tits up as the locking fuel cap wouldn't go in properly, as I pushed Cargo away a rag that his helper Ian was holding caught fire in the pit lane as it was soaked in spilt fuel and caught the exhaust. A bit too much excitment frankly. Cargo finished the race and by now the conditions were good. So out he went on the 250 and we all had our fingers crossed. 25 minutes later he flew past the finish line and went on another lap. Relieved was not the word, then another long wait worrying but no need as he brought it home in 24 mins which was a lap of 92.5mph with a top speed of 131.3mph on sulby straight. Outstanding.

Now the work really begins, raceday Friday.

27th August 2011

Another day in the garage. But I got a lot done and the bike is sorted. It was the newcomers race and I left the bike to see the race and it was a nice sunny day with perfect racing conditions. I have to say well done to Les Fruitcake Carter and Stuart Osborne on getting the job done, lots of happy faces and a great BBQ ensued afterwards. The plan now is 2 laps in practice Monday after Cargo finishes the Junior race. Shit or Bust.

Onwards and upwards

26th August 2011

Up early, back to peel to pick up the parcels of spares that had arrived and another day in the garage. We have discovered that the tank basically doesn't breathe and when it's full nothing can come out, so it's been blown for an extra litre or so and had a breather modification made. I'm now rebuilding the bike so that Cargo can go out Monday in practice and do 2 laps straight off. If that works then next stop race day and 4 laps Friday if it doesn't work then that's the end of the 250 at the manx and we are going to enjoy the racing for the rest of the week.

It will do it or I put a 650 engine in it...

25th August 2011

Bike was sorted by 10 am so we went up to Jurby to run it in, 10 litres of fuel in the tank, and Cargo got to ride up and down the runway at low revs, I took it up the road for a plug chop but got stopped by the health and safety wanker who had no idea what was going on. So it was back to the paddock and set the bike up for practice, which was wet but drying and away Cargo went down the hill as far as St Ninians when it ran out of fuel and nuked a piston again. Totally and utterly pissed off now.

Back to work, so much for the holiday...

24th August 2011

Spent all day fixing the bike, and trying to sort out why it had no fuel. Generally I was fed up with the whole silly business today, which is probably why when Cargo generously bought pizza for everyone I ended up necking a load of tequila. I don't remember much else.

It makes me happy...

23rd August 2011

Got up early and got stuck into fixing the bike, initially I thought that the head had leaked water into the cylinder causing the seizure but after a lot of investigation and conversations with people who actually know what they are doing it appeared the bike had not got enough fuel on one side and after looking at the other cylinders plug it looked like it had run out of fuel even though there was 14 litres in the tank. After a lot of faffing about and draining carbs and filling from the tank it seems there is something causing the fuel pipe to get airlocked. Why I have no idea and it'll get looked into tomorrow. Practice went badly as it was red flagged and cut short, not that the 250 was going anywhere yet. Even worse the forecast for the rest of the week is pretty bad. So who knows when the little 250 will get a lap in. On the plus side Cargo said the bike handled really well down Bray hill and over Ago's Leap so it's not all bad.

Could be worse I suppose.

22nd August 2011

Spent a relaxed day traveling to peel for a bit of time away from the swamp and get a shower, then around dinnertime we set about getting the bike sorted for scrootineering which I'm happy to say it flew through. All went well and come 7.30pm I was stood in the holding area warming the bike up waiting for Cargo to come in from a lap lap on the 600. He arrived and I sent him on his way on the 250 down Bray Hill feeling quite excited and worried at the same time. About 20 mins later we were by his 400 thinking about warming that up when he came running up the paddock. It turned out he'd got as far as Braddan Bridge when it nipped up and he coasted up the slip road. Bugger. Cargo went back out on the 400 as planned and I went with Cargo's helper Ian and we picked the bike up. Back at base I had a quick look and the front piston had melted.

Not a good start.

21st August 2011

Sunday should have been the day after first practice where we check the bikes over and get ready for Monday night. However we had nothing to do so it was a day trip round the island with Dino and Shaz where we did the tourist thing, and paid a visit to Steve and Ali who got engaged yesterday. They are best friends of ours and racers too, Ali's website is Things got mildly exciting when we got back to the paddock and started a bit of downhill racing on a kiddies scooter we acquired.

It was then BBQ time. It'll be a slow day tomorrow until around 4pm when scrootineering opens, then the fun begins....


20th August 2011

Friday night was a nice social event of chatting and finding our place in the paddock and setting up. I saved unveiling the RGV until Saturday morning and Cargo was very happy. When we fired it up there were people over to look and comment. All good fun. Then we set to getting ready for the evening practice, the weather was sunny and warm but the forecast was not good. I pottered around with the bike getting it set to suit Cargo and at 1.00pm ish Jackie and I headed off to Peel for the viking longboat races. We were a bit pushed for time and used the "I need to get back to the paddock for the practice" excuse to get our team bumped up the starting list. It was hard going and fun to do, but it was rainy and I could see clouds on the Mountains. As we got out of the longboat we found out the racing had been cancelled so I nipped home for a shower and we went back to the paddock. Our friends Dino and Shaz rolled off the ferry at 6.00pm (his birthday treat to come over and see first practice) and night of drinking and socialising ensued. Hopefully Monday will be better.

Roll on Monday!

19th August 2011

It's teatime in Peel, time to load up the van and Jackies car with everything for the next 2 weeks. Of course were only going 10 miles or so so the car will be supply shuttle for the next 2 weeks.

Here we go!

18th August 2011

Spent the evening in the garage trying to get everything sorted, the only problem at the mo is we have no suspension settings as the forks and shock are totally new to the bike and I don't really have much of a reference to work from so everything is set to the middle and I'll let Cargo play with it till he's happy. Put everything together just about and decided at 10pm enough was enough, we still have most of Saturday to get sorted, apart from the small matter of me needing to be in Peel at 13.45 for the Viking longboat races, oops.

Nearly there.

17th August 2011

Jackie and I went down to the grandstand after work and met up with Cargo and his helper Ian who were setting up camp. We threw down our tent to add to the sprawling shanty town and it was roasting hot work. Let's hope the weather stays good for the next 2 weeks. The entry list is on the MGP site here, and we are the only RGV, the rest are TZ's and a bunch of 80's 4 strokes. Hopefully Cargo can beat all the 4 strokes, if he manages to keep up with a TZ I'll be impressed.

Up until last week

I've spent the last 6 months building a good RGV250M VJ22 for the MGP, realistically I've been faffing around til about June then I started to think it wouldn't be ready, because I'd done bugger all. Currently it has been built and dynoed and has a nice healthy 65hp which will do as the aim of this is to first have fun, so no breakdowns, second finish the race, so no breakdowns, Cargo wants to do a 98mph lap (good luck with that) so no breakdowns, and I think it would be nice to crack 130mph on Sulby straight so definitely no breakdowns.

Photos of the build are here, and we will be camped out at the MGP paddock all fortnight so I'll try and put as it happens updates on here.

We must be off our heads.