It feels like ages since I last raced. It was about two months since Oulton Park but last weekend I was racing at probably one of the most picturesque circuits in the UK. It looks like the kind of place with nice weather it is awesome but bad weather and it will be horrid. Thankfully we got the good weather.
Duncan, Dan and I went out for a track walk on the Friday night as only Brian had been before. The track reminded me a bit of a supersized Knockhill. A lot of wee twisty up and downhill corners but with a couple of added balls out high speed bends too. Looked like a fun track.
Saturday morning rolls around and we all get through scrutineering and out for the morning practice session. I was trying to learn the track quickly but also push a little bit so that I have more of a chance in the race. Setting a time of 1m29.75 I was happy with that but knew I could go a lot quicker when driving in anger. I set my goal of getting under 1m25 for the weekend.
We start the first race based on our position in the championship so I started 12th on the grid. I really shouldn’t be there in the grid but for the first race the Class A bikes start in front of the Class B. So I knew I had someone like Pete Prichard to come past. I got off the line well and made a bit of an audacious overtake move going into the uphill left hander called Rocket. I stuck it up the inside, really late on the brakes and basically parked it mid corner. It worked quite well for me as I was just behind Kev Ellis who was battling with Mark Hamilton, David Young and Giles Hepworth. I really wanted to get onto the back of this group as I knew they were a bit faster that me and could drag me round. Unfortunately I messed up a few of the faster corners and saw them gap me. I wasn’t able to make up the time to them and finished in 11th. Quite happy with that result and my fastest lap was 1m24.44 so had achieved my goal of breaking 1m25. That group in front where all doing comparative times so next race I was determined to get onto the back of them and try and mix it with them.
So time for race two. I had my plan. Starting 11th on the grid was a better position on the road so I didn’t get squeezed out at the start. That was the plan, what could possibly go wrong. Off the line I didn’t get the best start but was in an ok position round the first two corners and onto the faster back section. Again I blasted into the left hand Rocket corner at the top of the hill on the inside hard on the brakes. My poor start had put me behind Lee Moxham. I knew I needed to get past him quickly to have a chance of getting onto the back of Kev and the others. I was trying too hard to get past Lee. I had closed some of gap to him on the faster sections as he is on a B bike. Turning down through the corkscrew and onto the start finish straight I was making up the gap. He took a tighter line than me into the fast left hander into turn 1, I came sweeping in with a wider line but carrying more speed, mid corner I was positioned on the inside of him but I knew if I held my line I would run right into the side of him and probably take us both out. I tried to tighten my line to make the corner and the pass in one. It was not a good idea. I was asking a lot of the bike and it agreed. I lost the front and slide off behind Lee narrowly avoiding him.
Much rage as I should have been more patient and passed him on the back straight where my bike has more speed. Lesson learned. I also took a nice chunk out my elbow. It’s almost a perfect circle. Not sure how I managed that but Lee was kind enough to give me bits to repair my leathers for not wiping him out. The damage to the bike wasn’t much. A left footpeg and the front fairing bracket. Thankfully I had a spare footpeg and Kev loaned me the fairing bracket. I was due to race in the newbies race but we couldn’t get the bike fixed in time.
After the crash I had to get the bike, my leathers and me scrutineered again. I was able to go out for a practice session on the Sunday morning too which helped. For race 3 I had to start of the back of the grid, 22nd because of my crash. I had planned to take it a bit easier that race to make sure I finish and get my license card signed. I got a good start off the line and was able to make up some places going into the first couple of corners. By lap 2 I was in 16th. I was then passed by Alan Ball to push me into 17th on lap 3 then by last years champion Dallas Hornblow on the 4th lap. I was starting to feel a bit more comfortable now I was into the race and picking up speed again. When Dallas came past me, Andy Taylor and Dan it seemed to slow up Andy and I was able to get past him and back up to 17th. Seeing Dan just again I started to push a bit harder. Unfortunately I was not paying enough attention and didn’t see the last lap flag. I just needed one more lap and I recon I would have passed him. I finished 0.18s behind him as we crossed the line. I was happy with my race not where I wanted to be but I finished and didn’t fall off. Happy days.
Onto the final race of the day. With my license signed I knew I could be a bit more aggressive on this race. Started 17th on the grid I got off the line well and pulled my now usual overtake move going into Rocket. This time I was a bit hotter than I had been before, I could feel the rear tyre in the air and front skipping hard trying to get grip. I managed to get it stopped, parked on the corner to block pass Dan and move to 16th. I started to get into a bit of rhythm and I could see Lee Moxham on front. I was trying to keep the red mist under control and not do anything silly. I could see myself make up some time but I knew I was taking the faster sections slower than I should and that’s really where I could make up the time on him. Ultimately I wasn’t able to pull him in and finished 4.22 seconds behind. On a positive note I did set my fastest lap of the weekend at 1m23.58 so really pleased with that.
Next up is East Fortune this weekend. Racing with the CB500’s. Should be an interesting round.