Saturday, 27 December 2008

2009 Full Specification

Over the last few months I've had quite a few messages and requests for more information on the specifications of the race scooter.

So i thought it sensible to do a full listing!

Will save a lot of answering questions!

So........... here goes.................
  • Frame - Indian GP150
  • Forks - GP200. Rebuilt with Taffspeed progressive springs, stainless steel one-off spring bushes, fork links modified to take brass bushes in place of nylon, Stainless pivot bolts.
  • Front Brake - ScootRS external hydraulic disc, stainless hose, Gilera runner master cylinder
  • Bodywork - GP200, fibreglass front mudguard, fibreglass side panels, strengthened floorboards.
  • Handlebars - SX200 (lower than GP), perfectly matched rods internally, perfectly free throttle operation.
  • Ignition - BGM stator plate, custom lightened Vespa PK flywheel, plastic cooling fan. Ducati Coil, Agusto advance/retard unit.
  • Barrel - Rapido Race 200. Tuning by Chalky White - Replay Scooters. Full Race Tune. 31.5HP
  • Piston - Suzuki
  • Cylinder Head - Readspeed Centre Plug - Nippon Denso Spark Plug - NGK rubber HT cap
  • Crankshaft - Chalky White special. GP split and rebuilt with Jap con rod. Tig welded
  • Carburettor - Mikuni TMX35
  • Crankcase - Italian SX200 (!)
  • Gearbox - Li150 Pacemaker
  • Clutch - 6 plate - Surflex clutch plates
  • Chaincase cover - Li 150 - internal modifications to take 6 plate clutch
  • Gearing - adjusted to circuit, using 46 or 47T rear sprockets, 15. 16, 17 ,18 fronts.
  • Chain adjustment - Nylon top adjuster only
  • Exhaust - Hand made one off full race exhaust , carbon mufller , Malc Anderson / MSC design specification, fully rubber mounted.
  • Rear Suspension - Hagon adjustable
  • Rear Brake - one off rear set brake, GP performance brake shoes.
  • Tyres - Dry - Dunlop TT92
  • Tyres - Wet - Sava Monsun wets
  • Seat Unit - Fibre glass single seat
  • Cables - Nylon lined, gear tie rod drilled and m6 retaining nut.

Friday, 26 December 2008

2009 Engine Upgrades - Dyno Results

Since the racing at Joigny in France, the engine from the race bike has been with Chalky White at Replay Scooters in Rothwell.

Chalky originally built the engine for himself to race, but never really got around to it! Chalky spoke to me at Cadwell, and was delighted that his engine had finally made it onto the track!

You may remember that at the final BSSO race at Cadwell I had what proved to be a 'phantom' twisted crank... i.e. it wasn't actually twisted despite giving the symptoms of a twisted crank! I had managed to run at Cadwell and at Joigny by using Ralph Remnant's (SRP Tuning) spare Motoplat ignition set up.

So after France, Chalky offered very kindly to check over the motor, and try to get to the bottom of the ignition problem. We also agreed that he would do some more work on the barrel to provide some more power for 2009. When he had originally tuned the engine, he wanted something with a reasonable spread of power and a rideable delivery. The engine had proved to be great for my return to the race track after 13 years away...... enough power to scare me, but not enough to spit me off...... but above all (except for the ignition problem) reliable!

I had been giving 2009 a lot of thought after Joigny. I was enjoying very much the thrill and adrenalin fix of being on a race track, but realisitically at 45 and such a long time away, I ain't going to be challenging Stuart Day and Charlie Edmonds any time soon!

So I decided that some economical power improvements to the motor, and as much track time as possible using test days at Mallory and the like, would be the best way to go!

So.......... fast forward.......... Chalky has done an absolutely superb job on the engine. Improvements are;

Crankshaft - New crankshaft has been built and fitted. A good quality GP crank was split by Chalky and rebuilt with a longer Japanese con rod. This new crank will be able to handle the extra power Chalky was working on!

Barrel - The existing Rapido barrel was reworked. Transfers were enlarged through their whole length. Exhaust port considerably altered and raised to give 192 degrees of exhaust. The inlet was enlarged and smoothed to improve the matching of the barrel to the inlet manifold.

Ignition - The old ignition stator plate has been totally replaced with a new one. A BGM stator plate was used to provide the sparks! The previous flywheel (modified Vespa PK with plastic fan) was cleaned up and skimmed to tidy up the internal damage.

Agusto 8000 - Chalky's superb Agusto advance / retard box of tricks has been added to improve power and pickup.

Exhaust - A few cracks were found in the exhaust system, so these have been welded and fixed. New exhaust rubber mounts.

So.... after Chalky had done all the above changes, I took my frame down on Christmas Eve and we re-fitted the engine, and put the bike on the dyno for a couple of 3rd gear power runs to see the improvement. At the start of 2008 the engine had been setup with a Mikuni 35mm carb on the Chiselspeed dyno and had produced 23.96 HP so both of us were keen to see the improvements. In my mind I was hoping for 27-28 HP.

The engine started easily when we bumped it up outside (to please Chalky's neighbours!) then it was up the ramp and through the workshop keeping the engine running whilst we strapped down on the dyno. We had checked the Agusto advance / retard system with a strobe, so we were good to go!

The first run..... just under 31HP............. big smiles all round.....

The second run ..... 31.5HP!!!!!!!!! ..........

Heres the dyno chart>> ( click Chart for full view )

Chalky said that as he accelerated the engine felt really smooth - like a very powerful road bike...... great spread of power...... should be superb out of bends.

The engine is producing over 30HP across a pretty broad rev range. I have always preferred engines with this type of power delivery so I am well pleased with the results. Torque is pretty good as well with maximum of 20.7 Nm at 7700 revs (peak power was at 8100 revs).

Theres a little work to do on jetting, with something wild occuring between 6 and 7,000 revs, but it's safe so we will play around with jetting at a later date.

So..... were we pleased? You bet!!!!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately due to external factors I was not able to go play at Mallory Park Plum Pudding on Boxing Day, but hopefully in February / March I will be able to start testing at Mallory practice days..... I reckon the first race meeting will be a great feeling !

A really big Thanks to Chalky White at Replay for all his help and great work on the engine. Very much appreciated!

Chalky's Contact details are;

Replay Scooters
2 The Avenue
NN14 6EY
Tel (01536) 418893

Saturday, 13 December 2008

December Update

Well people............... not a great deal happening with regard to the bike at the moment....... but here's an update.

I had decided originally to build a new motor for next year, but have you heard............. there's a credit crunch!!!!!!! I also decided that in reality....... money would be better spent on track time re-learning to ride fast rather than on some mega motor that I can't ride!

Chalky White of Replay Scooters in Rothwell had originally built my engine for himself, but never really made it out onto the track. Chalky introduced himself at Cadwell, and very kindly offered to relook at the engine and do some more work on it to help me out.

So after the racing in France, I dropped the engine out and took it to Chalky. The plan is to do some interim work on the barrel to produce some more power, and of course sort out the knackered ignition system! (Thanks again to Ralph at SRP for the loan of the Motoplat) and then in the spring do some further developments for 2009 with a possible change of exhaust system, and also going to direct scoop cooling. With Chalky's help this can be achieved hopefully with minimal outlay, leaving money from my small racing fund to use for some track days and tests, which in reality will probably be worth more time than a bonkers engine!

So...... what else has been happening? Well over a few evenings, rather than waste time sitting in front of the TV, I used it productively to edit a video which is a spoof of Hitler's reaction to Tony O'Brien's mega small frame Vespa. Its been well accepted and already doing the rounds of scooter forums, and quickly racked up 1,000 views! For those that don't know, there's a number of alternative versions of this video clip from the German subtitle film 'Downfall'. The original film is apparently very good, but somehow people have produced umpteen spoofs of this video clip with alternative subtitles, with everything from Churchill stealing his Big Macs, to him having problems with Microsoft Vista!

So I can't claim originality for the idea, but it was great fun, and actually harder than it looked trying to make things fit, and in places even match the sound of the German words.


So................ what else is happening? Well, the BSSO AGM is only a month away so it will be interesting to see if anyone is going to propose anything radical or controversial! With all the development going on in the road scene, with some VERY well engineered clutches, barrels and even gearboxes coming along, it would seem the right time to complete a well overdue review of the BSSO Racing regulations and specifications. The published ones are desperately in need of review and it would be great to simplify them and help out the many newcomers showing interest in racing. At the moment it's looking like we will have some full grids in 2009...... economy permitting!

We don't have a calendar of events finalised yet but I know we have the offer from the VMCC to race with them again. They are really a great bunch, and they and the spectators make us very welcome and enjoy the spectacle of howling scooters blasting around!

My good friend Dave Crampton will be a new entry next year on another bright green machine! This one will be a Gilera Runner, built to compete in Group 6. Dave's from an engineering background and has a number of subtle, but very trick additions and modifications to his Runner. It will be interesting to see how he goes - but I have a sneaking suspicion he ain't going to be at the back (no pressure!)

If I don't update before Christmas........ Peace and Love....... Happy Christmas (war is over!)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


Well, shortly before Cadwell Park, I received an email, which made my day! The offer of some sponsorship!

Why? Well I reckon this blog had a great deal to do with it! The blog had come to the notice of someone who had been following and decided he would like to help out for the future!

Pete Davies runs the British Lambretta Archive and is well known in the Lambretta scene. He is one of the main authorities on Lambretta details! ( You could say he wears an anorak at times lol)

The British Lambretta Archive web site is a mine of information.... frame and engine numbers year by year, Italian and Indian! Paint codes, guides to Lambretta Series by Series, even J Range and 3 wheelers.

Pete also is a main provider of DVLA accepted authentication letters, which are essential for registering foreign frames

Pete has also recently written and published a book - The Lambretta Bible.
This is a great and interesting book and is an in-depth look at the world's finest scooter from the Model A to the GP 200. The Lambretta story doesn't end there though, with the focus moving onto machines prepared and built by Lambretta Concessionaires. The book ends with a look at the main British dealer specials of the 1960s.

Pete is also a main contributor to Classic Scooterist Scene magazine, and the initial interest was actually to ask for permission to reprint this very blog as a set of articles in the magazine. Of course I was quite happy to give permission for this as its a great way of getting more publicity for racing......... and as we know .... magazine articles always generate extra interest in scooter racing and can only be good for the sport. At the start of the blog, the main reason for its existance was to document building the race scooter, just to show you don't have to spend £1000's or be a young whippersnapper to get on the track! Eds Tightwad blog does pretty much the same thing!

So...... The British Lambretta Archive logo's are now on the scooter and the BLA's contribution of £500 towards the costs of the 2009 season are really appreciated - Thanks Pete!

I look forward to helping out bringing some publicity and exposure to the BLA, and of course the excellent Lambretta Bible which can be bought direct from the BLA web site - Click here!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Racing in Joigny - France! What - No Leathers!

Wow....... what an absolutely Top weekend!

After the ignition problems at Cadwell I wasn't sure things would come together to be able to go! But after feeling better with my riding on track at Cadwell, I sooooo wanted to go over to France and basically just get track time!

I have always been a fan of small twisty circuits, so this kart circuit south of Paris looked good to me. A few guys from England were going..... Stuart Day, Bert Conneely, Phil Bevis, Chris Geyton, and Charlie Edmonds amongst others, so I thought it seemed like it would be fun.

I'd asked my old mate Matt Gooch if he fancied coming along, and he jumped at the chance, and of course my son Miles wanted to go, so I took the plunge and decided to go for it and booked the ferry! However......... a bit of a problem.... new ignition was fitted, but within minutes of a test run round the car park it had been wrecked!

Ralph Remnant came to the rescue ( again) with the loan of his spare Motoplat, which Paul Baker was going to take with him, so we could fit it when we got there ( scary!)

So..... 7.15 Friday night there we were on a SpeedFerry, myself, Miles and Matt enroute to deepest Francais, armed with sat nav and big bags of snacks!

We had a good journey, even negotiating the periphique of Paris successfully, Matt did the driving on the last leg of the journey and we got there a bit before 2am. All was quiet when we arrived, so we unpacked the scooter so Miles and I could sleep in the van, Matt was in tented accommodation!

Had a reasonable nights sleep after the journey, then awoke at 6.30 with a start, sat up and suddenly realised....... Damn..... No leathers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 10 minutes of swearing and cursing ensued as I sat not quite believing my own stupidity!

As the rest of the guys woke up we said hello to everyone, the general conscensus being as the rules were quite 'open', just wearing 3 pairs of trousers and a jacket would be ok! I started to feel a little better....... at least if push comes to shove I could at least get on the track!

Matt and Miles went off into the nearest town - Joigny - where they had found out there was a motorbike shop....... wonder if they sold leathers! They didn't! However Matt did come back with a jacket with some armour in it......... no trousers though. By this time I'd fixed the motoplat so was ready to go.

So it was a jacket, and 2 pairs of stout underpants I reckon! I'd just put on two pairs of trousers when Sticky very kindly came to the rescue with the offer of borrowing his leathers as A - his bike was still in pieces as he changed his clutch and B - he was in a different race class to me! Sticky - you're a hero mate!

Now..... all I needed to do was wedge my finely chiselled physique into them! legs were ok..... waist was ok...... problems were with the chest! I had to breathe in and squeeze myself into them an inch at a time! I felt like Dita von Teese in some sort of corset! But once into them, they were surprisingly comfortable....... even though they had a definite Power Ranger look about them!

By now we'd had a proper look around..... John Howe was also here, along with a couple of guys on road scooters from Cambridge Lambretta who were doing the track experience class.

There was basically no scrutineering as we were English Professionals! It has to be said there is a distinct difference in the general preparation of bikes across the channel lol

So....... first practice...... oh no..... the organisers were giving everyone transponders to put inside their leathers for timing! Not sure there was gonna be any room in mine lol!

The circuit was certainly very tight and twisty! Pretty hard work, with only one straight really, well two, but one had a chicane in the middle............. just before a tight left hand bend where after a couple of laps the only French full frame Lambretta rider went down heavy trying to keep up the quicker English Lambrettas. This caused a stoppage as he was taken care of and ambulanced off to hospital to get his broken shoulder sorted! This caused a minor ticking off for the quicker English guys - too fast they were told! Hhmmmmmm ........!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We got two timed practice sessions which would be used as qualifying for the afternoons racing. I liked the circuit more and more during the sessions and lap times came tumbling down as I experimented with lines and riding style. The circuit surface was very grippy indeed.  I ended practice qualifying 13th out of 19 ( would have been 20 but the frenchman was not going to be coming back!)
First race I managed to pass a couple of Vespas, but after running wide a couple of times still learning lines I got re-passed. It seemed a flipping long race compared to our English races and I have to admit to be relived to see the last lap signal...... actually relief turned to laughter as there was no signal, just a French guy sticking his thumb up to signify the last lap! Across the line I was 12th. Of course Charlie led the way at the front!

All too quickly it was time for the second race. The start was all a bit botched really. The start line officials started lining everyone up but seemed to give up and everyone just moved forward and placed themselves where they liked, then suddenly a guy lifted a flag and dropped it...... I wasn't even in gear and was actually just getting into some sort of position! So I lost a few places and found myself in a group of vespas! I spent most of the race in a battle with a french guy wearing ankle boots and a pair of grey cotton overalls! We passed and re-passed each other till I decided I'd had enough of that and really concentrated for a couple of laps and pulled a gap! Across the line I ended the race 10th, so overall a 3 place improvement and fastest lap nearly 2 seconds quicker.  I was by now really loving the circuit.

In between races I was getting out of the leathers and taking them over to Sticky, who was racing a small frame Vespa and was having some great battles with a dutchman also on a small frame.  As the day went on those leathers seemed to get heavier and heavier and were certainly very sweaty in the heat!

A very relaxed and leisurely lunch break gave us plenty of time to chat and circulate around.
We were made to feel really welcome by the French riders and organisers. They seemed really pleased we had made the long journey and were pretty blown away I think by the speeds of the front running bikes! Lunch was a barbecue, sat in absolutely superb weather... it was pretty hot! There was a couple of dealers stalls to look around , some lovely road scooters, even a Vespa 50 with original pedal shaft! We wondered how much that would be worth!

So...... the third race !!!!!!!!!! Oh how great it would be to 3 or 4 races in England! I decided after the shambles of the last start that I was being way too polite and if the rest were not going to stick to the allocated grid then neither was I! As the flag dropped I was already underway and a gap opened to the left - so I dived across and filled it, diving up the inside of a couple of P ranges and brushing shoulders as I forced my way into the almost dead stop right hander. I'd passed about 5-6 bikes, but ran wide on the second bend and let a couple back past. I was now a few places higher up than the first two races and was very much dragged long by some quicker guys, which felt great, and indeed after only about 3-4 laps I saw the guy with the grey overalls (who I had spent most of the previous race tussling with) about half a lap down on me.

It very much felt like I got into some kind of groove and felt I was going quicker and quicker. As the race progressed a couple of the frontrunners threw themselves down the track, and I picked up some more places. The scooter felt great and I was really leaning now, knee even skimming the tarmac in a couple of places! I felt the most comfortable I've felt on the scooter since starting racing again. All too soon now we got the last lap thumbs up. I knew I'd finished much higher and lapped much more quickly. Across the finish line I knew I'd probably just had one of my best ever races. I immediately felt very emotional, as I thought about how much my Dad would have loved to have been there. He ALWAYS was there when I used to race, and I miss him around now I'm racing again. Its 3 years since he passed away, but I still miss him massively, and this suddenly was one of those times, and I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I completed the slowing down lap.

My old mate Matt and my son Miles were waiting for me as I peeled off the track, and they were beaming great smiles. Miles told me I'd made him proud, and that meant such a lot to me.

By now dusk was falling, racing was all over for the day. In the evening ( after most of the English guys had dashed to catch a ferry) the French did a great presentation with very generous prizes. For the Brits Charlie was first overall for the meeting, Chris Geyton third overall (as he'd like I collected his helmet prize on his behalf) , Bert Conneely was 5th overall, and I was classified 8th overall even getting a prize of sunglasses and gloves! To say I was chuffed was an understatement!
The day ended much better than it started and I can honestly say that I really struggle to think of many better days I have ever had involving scooters.

The French put on a fantastic event and wild horses would not keep me from going back next year!

This has been a long old blog entry, and I feel I've only really scratched the surface of a great weekend.

More thoughts and observations to follow!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Cadwell Park - Sunday 28th - Day 2 !

Well........ Sunday dawned damply........ I opened the doors of the luxury executive accomodation (the van!) to see clouds and definite feel of rain in the air.... which to be honest I was kind of looking forward to as historically I've always gone well in the wet.

Most of my local club - Grantham Daytrippers were coming over - Miles was riding with them on his Dragster and had been looking forward to the ride.

Anyway, I had this nagging doubt after yesterdays escapades with the first non finish of my second time around race career, so I decided to bump the scooter up and check everything was ok again. It started up straight away fine, so I ran it around a while in the paddock, then decided to give it a few more revs up the entrance road....... pop ....bang .... misfire..... then stop....... oh dear...... so it wasn't the coil after all then!


So as most of my local club and friends arrive it was off with the ignition..... this time the ignition pickup has most definitely clouted the flywheel, and it has actually knocked the head round out of line!

Reckon its broken again!

Much scratching of heads and the general conclusion points to a twisted crank (?).  I felt gutted.... there I was , my local circuit, 25 friends and family there, and I'm not even running!

Ralph Remnant, amongst others, comes over and offers his spare Motoplat ignition - which has a far greater clearance.  So we proceed to take the old one off and Ralph brings his ignition over and kindly fits it, whilst I'm running around finding earth leads, and bracket for the coil.

Biz and Mick formulate a plan to cut plastic!

Jigsy next to me is a hero as he offers his spare plastic cooling fan.... cheers mate! Biz and Mick from Datrippers SC are set on with Tony O'Brien's soldering iron trimming down the fins and centre of the fan to fit onto the Motoplat.  Scotty provided a decent earth strap whilst several interested parties sneaked a look at what was going on!

Bizarrely, Chalky White who tuned and built my motor also introduced himself along with the guy who made the ignition setup - he recognised it as he was walking by!

What - no spark plug? We won't say anything about trying to start it without fitting one!

Once the Motoplat was all fitted there was only a few minutes to the start of race 1, so we were rushing to make sure it ran ok..... it wouldn't start!  Ralph told us we'd need loads of engine revs in first gear as the Motoplat needed revolutions to generate a decent spark.  Still no luck and we were feeling knackered pushing the damn thing!  So in steps Ralph and Chris Geyton who started it up on the SRP rollers.... what a great gadget that is!  Mental note to add to shopping list!

It ran fine and revved cleanly - result!  A little vibration... but sounded and felt fine!  Game On!

Race 1 - relieved to be running, I'd pre-warned friends that motor had problems so don't necessarily expect a finish!  Got a great initial start off the line, but then a vibration kicked in and I backed off before going for it again, with a second wind I took a wide line to the right up the first hill and managed to pick up a couple of places, setting my sights on Jigsy, who I slipstreamed down the main straight, but the extra grunt of his Group 6 bike was too much.  I was a little reluctant to go totally flat out - I was a little reluctant to use full power as I had visions of wrecking Ralphs Motoplat.  I made a right hash of the left hander before the Mountain on both the first laps - right in front of my friends!  But managed to get it right after I decided it would be very embarrassing to run off the track there!

Race 1!

As the race went on I started to feel more confident and was riding around the problems, lapping around 6 seconds quicker than the day previous.

Just about everyone was on wet tyres as it had been quite damp through the Woodlands section, but as we were on the track a dry line quickly formed, and as it turned out I reckon everyone would have been fine on dry tyres.

Race over............ I wasn't last, and I wasn't lapped...... which was progress as far as I was concerned!

Race 2 - Decided to just try and go for it..... but had a less than desirable start and got bogged down, tried to go for the same wide line, but came across Tom Oliver and a Group 6 bike sliding down the track.... people running off the tarmac to avoid the carnage...... but it put me close to Jigsy exiting Charlies and along Park Straight I used full throttle which I'd been reluctant to do in the first race, I was reeling him in and almost alongside him into Park bend, which we both managed to make a little bit of a mess of!  We stayed close the whole of the first lap till we got back to the start straight where he got a better drive and pulled away a little, then came drunkmonkey the little bugger........ still, at least I was being passed by Group 6 bikes!

Lap 4 and all of a sudden the Coventry new boy on Bert Conneeely's old engine came by me as I started to sit in a comfort zone.  This gave me a wake up call and I went the fastest I'd ever gone through the Gooseneck - conquering a demon there - and dived up the inside into Mansfield being pretty late on the brakes.

I then pulled away and across the line had pulled a gap.  I got a big cheer from friends as I pulled off the track.... cheers guys!

Phew...... above all I was happy to have finshed both races, wasn't last and wasn't lapped again!

We hung around in the vain hope of getting our third race, but it was not to be.

Overall there were lots of positives to take from my third days racing, I had felt comfortable on the scooter - no doubt in part due to riding my road scooter daily for the previous three weeks (car troubles!)

I felt I'd made a small but significant step in feeling more comfortable and a little quicker.

As for the state of the engine...... well the initial assessment of twisted crank proved to be incorrect! The crank was checked by Chalky White at Replay scooters - It was only two thou out!  Refitting the crank and starting the bike with a new ignition pick up revealed that there was still a problem though as the new pickup head was also smashed as soon as the engine was given any decent revs!

After cadwell I really wanted to do this race in France that a few of the guys were going to...... so the next week and a half was spent messing around with crank and ignition, till eventually I gave it up and contacted Ralph with a plea for the Motoplat to be sent over to France with Paul Baker....... and very big crossed fingers!

Thanks to Chalky for prompt checking of the crank and ignition....

So...... Friday 10th of October saw me loading the scooter into the van with no ignition setting off on the 450 mile journey to Joigny in France - with a little bit of wing and prayer feeling!

What would racing in France be like? >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Find out soon!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Cadwell Park - Saturday 27th - Day 1!

Well....... it was going to be a full paddock, with the VMCC meeting having the biggest entry of the year, so I decided to travel the 45 miles to Cadwell on the Friday night and get a decent space in the paddock! If I left it till Saturday morning I had a feeling I'd be somewhere up the Louth Road!

I got there around 8.00 and after a couple of circuits of the paddock found Jigsy in his palatial motorhome with a decent space alongside him! He had the barbecue on and the beer opened.
>> Jigsy's rattler >>

I set up the van, and finished up a couple of small jobs I still had to do on the scooter..... I'd picked up the temporary rev counter from KA sensors, and found a bracket suitable for it in the workshop, so I fitted that in readiness, and did a couple of other small tinkering jobs.... isn't there some kind of law that says you should start tinkering with your bike in the dark as soon as you get there?

I had a wander around, shared a couple of beers and some chat with the usual suspects before retiring to sleep on a luxurious blow up mattress in the van! A disturbed night when i couldn't switch the light off in the back at 3am...... opening and closing the doors obviously made me really popular with the neighbours at - sorry Dan!

Jigsy was all excited and woke me with a bang on the door at 7am.... the crazy dude. We awoke to fog.... lots of it! Parctice was called around teh usual time 9.30, but it was still real foggy. I was in the queue to go out next but the fog just came down again and even during the 15 minute practice session came down to the point where the marshalls posts were not visible, so that put an immediate halt to proceedings!

The fog just hung around will lunch time so we lost a good three hours! It was clear we were not going to get our races in that afternoon!

Eventually i got out to practice as a few friends started to arrive........ Bike felt great and I felt great myself on it - relaxed - and comfortable. My car has been in the garage for over 3 weeks ( long story - but its best to heed red warning lights! ) so i'd been riding my road scooter daily, which i am certain helps things along!

It was immediately apparent that the scooter was revving nicely, but I'd maybe not made the right gearing choice after all the deliberation! I was a bit too high I felt....... I was flying down the straights passing bikes, but didn't have enough power to pull up the hills at Cadwell, so I decided to change back to my original first gearing choice and made a mental note to follow gut instincts more!

So more friends and family arrive to find me with clutch and gears out. My benevolent sponsor (!) arrived to find the scooter on its side with its guts out! ha ha. My nephew also arrived around this time, and it made me chuckle that the environment was not was he is used to ( he's a Formula 1 mechanic!).

Anyways - gearing all sorted and its down for the first race. Got an ok start, but it was awesome to see and hear 38 scooters blasting off! I wasn't last - hurrah!

I had never ridden the full circuit at Cadwell before and struggled a little to find the right lines at the Mountain and Park Bends, where unfortunately I missed a gear...... Ooops...... clatter clatter ///...... fistful of revs ..... during which i seemed to select most of the gearbox at some point including any hint of false neutrals I could find! This would come back to haunt within a lap...... I could hear a slight change in the tone of the engine, and a vibration started to appear along the start straight and up the sweeping hill.... then a couple of misfires and on the exit of the Gooseneck down hill the motor just stopped! Game over! I tried to bump it back up, but nowt happened so my first non finish! Gutted!

I watched the show from behind the straw bails...... man those front runners are flippin quick.... and Tony O'Briens little Vespa is bloody amazing!

The long push up to the paddock about killed me -! I needed an iron lung at the top! Thanks for the pushers who appeared at the top to help!

We started to examine what may be wrong! All wires in place present and correct..... hhmmmm...... process of elimination...... so plug out - no spark! Put a new plug in ...... a spark! result me thinks! Bumped it up and it started straight away...... and ran for a whole 1o seconds before stopping again..... hmmmmm..... stator? coil ?? We took flywheel off,,, checked the stator - all appeared well, although there was a mark where the ignition pick up had rubbed on the flywheel. JB Tuning had a spare coil so that was tried and it was running fine again! I ran it up and down the paddock slowly ( mistake) and let it run for a couple of minutes.... al seemed well! Conclusion drawn was that it must have been the coil!.

>>> Whats wrong here then? Is it broken? >

Saturday night I ran the SRP boys into Horncastle and we fetched ourselves a chinky chinese which was very welcome! Between us I managed to cause a little upset by driving off to turn around not knowing there were a couple of bottles of beer standing up in the back which promptly fell over and smashed - oops beer in my sleeping quarters! Also a black bollard jumped out at me too and hit the side door! Double whammy!

A few drink in the clubhouse then midnight burgers at the Hardy encampment (always a pleasure) then back to bed and a really good nights sleep!

Sunday will be a whole new day!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Cadwell almost here!

Well people, 24 hours to go till Cadwell, and the final rounds of the 2009 Championship.

Lots to tell........

First off the scooter! I have been really undecided about gearing, and after much indecision I plumped for a change. However - ! as is always the case when you solicit some opinion you seem to end with with a wide variety of input! - which is great, but of course may just confuse matters further!

Anyways........ as I'm stuck with only currently having the option of a 47T clutch sprocket, some gearing options are limited. On the winter engineering list is a 46T sprocket! I'm using a 6 plate clutch so the slutch sprockets needs to be way deeper than normal.

I've had 16/47 combination so far with an Li150 Pacemaker gearbox. on the first two outings at Mallory and Cadwell I pobably didn't have a feel for the gearing as i was hanging on for grim death alternating between grinning and screaming under the helmet! A few more races and I'm sure I'll be more in tune with exactly whats occuring as i get more comfortable ( he says confidently!)

It would be a big help to actually have a rev counter so I know what the motor is revving too ..... now in comes my old skateboarding mate Pete Trevor. Pete runs a company specialising in motorsport sensors, and has a unit just around the corner! Pete has made me a small didgital rev counter unit up as a temporary measure whilst we design something better. We tested this yesterday on teh road scooter and it all worked, so in true style I'll be making up a bracket to hold it - so fingers crossed at Cadwell I'll actually get to know what the bike is revving to! This will of course allow me to fine tune gearing to teh optimum once i've actually got the hang of keeping the throttle pinned!

Pete is hoping to get to Cadwell at some point over the weekend to have a chat with a few riders about what kind of data they would like to measure on race scooters, and pete may be able to make a scooter specific unit! He does a lot of work in Formula 1 and Superbikes, indeed as i was there to test the rev counter I noticed Leon Haslams rear wheel on a test rig, and his race engineers arrived as I was there! for more on the kind of things available!

I treated myself to a nice new Arai Helmet this week. My old helmet was ok, but the visor sealing was pants and wind whistles through and makes eyes run! I had laser surgery on my eyes a couple of years ago, so they are quite sensitive to wind and pressure. The old helmet venting system was not much cop either and at Anglesey on teh Saturday I was having really big problems with visor steaming to the point where i amlost had to stop, so hopefully the Arai will cure that! These guys are just down the road and as i was only 15 miles away on business I called in to the warehouse and they sorted me out a deal. Very efficient they were too and definitely recommended!

Now some mega news......... as a direct result of writing this blog I've managed to be offered some sponsorship for 2009.... and not just a bottle of oil, but a proper amount! All will be revealed shortly, but I'm really pleased and happy to have been offered this. I may not be running at the front, but with some help like this, and the publicity that blogs, pictures and 'doing the extra bit' its really pleasing to know that there are people out there willing to help and support.

I hope that in a small way this sponsorship will help to further publicise and help attract people into racing, and also help the sponsor to achive some benefits too!

That will have you all guessing won't it! All will be revealed shortly!

For 2009 expect a new addition the HG Racing stable (!) with Dave Crampton making a 20 year delayed return to racing! Expect to see a green Gilera Runner in Group 6 !!!!!!!!! Dave's got some great engineering support from Brian Raynor who is an ex bike TT racer and master of techy race parts! More on Daves unique Runner over the next few weeks!

Finally a mention for drunkmonkey! He's out for the first time ( eventually) on a group 6 bike. Bizarrely he's never even seen scooter racing yet has built a race bike!
Watch a video of the bike running !

In closing for this time, good luck to everyone this weekend.... I hope the last 4 races are super close at the front, Watch out for Bert Conneely 667 from 2nd on the grid with a new engine, and Stuart Day hopefully blasting through from the back to challange for the front!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Thinking of Cadwell......

Well troopers, I've just returned from meeting up wth an ex scooter racing mate - Matthew Gooch - who was doing a track day at Cadwell on a borrowed fireblade.

It was great to meet up with Matt after not seeing him for maybe even 13-14 years!

His scooter racing career was cut short after a nasty accident at Three Sisters. His elbow was pretty much shattered and now he has a few lumps of metal in there to keep it all together. After struggling for the first few years withthe injury, he's now getting along fine and was certainly enjoying his laps of the full Cadwell Circuit.

We had a good few discussions about lap times..... and just how quick the leading scooters actually are! Charlie Edmonds winning lap time last year was 2 minutes 2 seconds........ which would actually have been quicker than many of the 750cc bikes there today at the Performance bikes track day. Indeed Charlies laps are only 30 seconds adrift of Leon Haslams British superbike lap...... which in pretty incredible when you consider the machinery!

Sticking with Cadwell it was interesting to see Bert Conneely's post about when he took his Lambretta to a recent Cadwell Track day...... form the sound of it he certainly gave a good account of himself! I've been really impressed with Berts riding this year as a newcomer to scooter racing.

I know there is some inevitable sibling rivalry between Bert and his establshed scooter racing brother Steve, but they certainly push each other along very hard, and I would say have probably pushed each others skills on greatly in 2008. They raced each other very hard on the Saturday practice at Anglesey earlier this year, and I know I was pretty impressed when they both flew by me in the wet with their knees on the tarmac! Despite the wet conditions, it was awesome to see such riding skill. I actually think that when Bert gets his new motor for 2009, he will be running Charlie Edmonds and Stuart Day pretty close for the 2009 Group 4 Championship. In fact........ I'd go as far as to say that with the right engine and reliability, Bert could win the champioship in his second year of competition! - No pressure though Bert ! :)

Theres a really big entry in both the bikes and scooters for Cadwell, with full grids all round! Its certainly going to be a full paddock I reckon! The down side of this is that due to the number of entries, we will be racing the full circuit both days. Normally we race the short Woodlands circuit on Saturday and the full circuit on Sunday. Naturally its great to have good entry levels - especially in the current economic climate - but on a personal basis it would have been great to race the Woodlands circuit. My bike is not big on power, so the shorter circuit levels things out a bit!

I've been struggling a bit to work out the best gearing to use at Cadwell. I guess my 2 races so far this year have just got me back on track.... not much more - I still have so much to (re)learn and data to build up on circuits and gearing, what works, what doesn't etc etc so its all a pretty steep learning curve. But as always a few regular riders have been a great help with help and advice.... thanks fellas..... much appreciated!

Anyways..... that will do me for now...... hopefully another blog before Cadwell..... transmission is currently apart whilst I make final decisions on gear ratios to use, so you never know - next entry might have a photo of a chain and some clutch plates !

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Anglesey ( late report ! )

Well people, sorry to have taken soooo long to update since the last report! Holiday and works gets in the way of all the fun!

Well...... Anglesey.... long old drive for me to get there - much delay on the way and a road closed didn't exactly help things along!

The last hour or so was quite a nice drive though along the coast, i was tempted to stop, but just wanted to get there !

Friday night I walked the track, and wow! What a track it is. It's almost as if the circuit is made up of the best elements of several other circuits.... even a mini Laguna Seca corkscrew bend! The 10 degree banked bend looked like it was going to be fun, the main 'straight' (technically a very long curve actually) rose uphill to a blind crest left hander, swiftly followed by a right hander, and a short straight to a right hand bend at the highest part of the circuit, dropping back downhill if you had sufficient time to actually see it there was a superb view straight out to sea! dropping down the corkscrew to another short straight, then a nice left hander back to the start straight you then had another left hander to return you to the banked bend for another lap!

All in all it was a superb circuit, very smooth, however its downside must be its exposure to coastal weather....... which during Friday night / ealry Saturday morning arrived with a vengeance!

The paddock was just littered with broken and bent awnings! The wind and rain had been wild and it was deemed too dangerous to race!

Now I knew rain had been forecast, but unfortunately I had no wet tyres! Carl neath was getting me some rims and Martin Hylands of JustLambretta was going to bring me some Sava Monsum tyres... but unfortunately his bike is still not playing so he did not go. Steve Wright came to the rescue and picked me up some Sava's and tubes from Rayspeed alongwith the new rims for Carl to give to me! So whilst we were sat waiting (hoping) for the wind to drop, I built the wheels and tyres together... a little bit of filing of the stud holes and they eventually fitted together! So then i sat filing the surface off the tyres to 'scrub' them in...... thankfully Phil Bevis walked by and came back with the monster super sharp file that helped take the surface off ( alongwith several bits of skin from my fingers!)

Captain kroozer jealously looked over as he'd also been sat for some considerable time doing his with wet and dry , possible even a girls finger nail file even (!) Actually - apologies Capatin for that comment ( he's a big fella !)

Anyways eventually after half two in the afternoon, we eventually got on track, but racing was cancelled and it was just going to be a practice session for a couple of hours.!

So....... baptism of fire time, as after 13 years away this would be my first wet session! funnily enough I really never felt bad at all about it in fact i actually felt more comfortable in the wet than I had in the dry! In fact I felt so comfortable that after pulling onto the track, the first bend is the banked 180 degree bend, I just went straight round the outside of three of the vintage bikes who were very gently tip toeing around it!

in that first twenty minute session I managed to pass quite a few bikes which was great fun! Just as I thought i was actually going pretty well, the Conneely brothers came by me round the outside with Bert having his knee down! ( Didn't anyone tell him it was wet? )

So the afternoon passed with me going out on track for as many sessions as I possibly could - (I really need the track time) but after a couple of hours the sea mist came in and took away the visiblilty, so it was game over for the day!

Time to pack up and get changed, which was when i realised basically everything was soaking wet! My one pair of shoes was absolutely soaked! Only one thing for it - so I took a drive into Hollyhead to try and catch the shops before they shut! I managed to just grab a pair of dry shoes just as the shop was closing..... and wearing them was heaven!

I picked up a chinese and went back to the circuit to eat it...... and very welcome it was too! Now i don't know what they eat down on the south coast, but Kat and PJ had never eaten banana fritters before!!!!! So of course I shared some with them, and Kats face was a picture as she tried fritters for the first time..... decision..... well...... plain weird she reckons! PJ was quite clear in his assessment though ( doubt he'll be eating them again lol)

Saturday night, and a few drinks and a hot dog standing in the cold with the Hardys, Pollits and Woods's before settling back for an uncomfortable night in the back of the HG van.

Sunday arrived windy again, but dry, which to be honest I was disappointed about as after how I felt on saturday I would have loved it wet again! So as it was my second race in 13 years saw me pootling around, not troubling the front runners, but closer than I was on my first outing at Mallory. The second race saw Charlie Edmonds drop it into the start straight chasing Stuart Day, which was a shame as i reckon the spectators were due to see a Battle Royal between them two! its a rare occurence for Charlie to throw his bike down the track so it was a real shame. the second race I was closer again and it was near the end of the race before the leaders came by (!) which was a big improvement......

So... all in all, I really enjoyed Anglesey, I just need to get lots of track time to get comfortable and quicker, at 45 I'm not going to be troubling the front runners , but I look forward to net being lapped as my first target for improvement!

The scooter ran really well again, with no mechanical gremlins, which i have been really pleased about!

I'm not able to make the next meeting ( Lydden Hill) but am looking forward to Cadwell Park which is at least in the same county as I live in!

Now...... if it rains at Cadwell........... hhhmmmmmm theres a thought!

Thanks to Captain Kroozer for the fuel, Carl Neath and Steve Wright for sorting me the tyres and rims and the Hardy posse for sausages and beer! Steve Pollit for entertainment as always ( and don't mention the tumble!!!!!!!)

Friday, 25 July 2008

Testing Testing 1-2-3

Well ... we are just about through July now, - no race meetings this month!

I was quite pleased with how the scooter ran first time out at Mallory, but I was pretty disappointed with the riders performance - i.e me!

So i figured some track time is necessary to get some decent practice. I felt ok straight line, and braking / slow bends, but really never felt confident at all in the high speed and very very long Gerards bend at Mallory.

I'd never raced at Mallory before and didn't actually appreciate just how flipping long that bend is! I read somewhere its the longest single race track bend in the world...... don't know how true that actually is (!) but it sure goes on for seemingly miles! I was looking at some aerial pictures of Mallory, and a plan of the track and you spend a heck of a lot of the lap on Gerards!

So I found out that Mallory do open motorcyle practice most wednesday afternoons. You just need an ACU licence, and a bike that would pass scrutineering ( if there was any!) Also there were fellow BSSO competitors Scott Chapman, Chris Taylor, and Ed Hocking (Captain Tightwad). Steve Conneely and Martin Wing also turned up to spectate. They were there to see the first exposure(!) of the scooter built on a very tight budget (£285 so far!) by fellow blogger Captain Tightwad. No-one really knew Tightwads true identity until now, as Ed was building the scooter in secret!

so..... heres the Silver Dream Machine! Eds done a great job of begging stealing and borrowing to get his bike on the track..... and not to say brave as well - drum brakes - they are the future!

It just goes to show you can at least get on the track without spending a fortune!

So...... how did it go? Well, i lost most of the first session after a rear brake pedal issue - it has hanging loose! dodgy thread, so only managed a couple of flying laps really!

Second session was better, and immediately on second flying lap was under me best time from the first time out at Mallory last month. Steady improvement continued, and by the end of it i'd gained a bit over three seconds a lap, so was quite chuffed. Still not feeling anywhere near comfortable in the fast sweeping Gerards, and having 600cc bikes and supermotos blasting past you doesn't really help matters! Ed and I were taking a wide line through Gerards to give the much faster bikes the inside so we could stay safely out of their way ( well most of them anyway ! lol )

It was very hot out there though and after 11 or 12 laps we'd about had enough lol.... sticky, sweaty and boiling up inside those leathers! 12 laps is surprisingly tiring, and you certainly know about it!

So a little tinker and check over, refuel, and away we go in the third and last session for the day.

We were straight out this time early doors, and again, immediately faster than the prevoius session. Tyres were really coming in now and the Dunlops felt so sticky. I gradually felt much more confident, was loving the section from Edwina's up to the bus stop, even diving up the inside of a bike at one point which made me grin a little under the helmet. Ed was leading me on coming around the outside and passing me several times round Gerards, then I pass him back after Edwinas up to the hairpin, but it was good fun and gave me something to chase which helped me gain confidence and speed for sure...... so cheers Ed......

after about 12 laps fatigue was setting in and i reckon we'd peaked! we found ourselves in a big group of way faster bikes at this point so we tried to stay out of their way a bit! i had a bit of a tank slapper moment and the session was nearing its end. But we still managed 16 laps in all, but we were about shagged out!

I ended this session a whole 6 seconds faster than first time out, so overall I was quite chuffed. Still a long way to go but was feeling much better on the bike after 13 years away thats for sure! Tyres were very sticky, and worn pretty far off the side, so i was quite chuffed as they passed Mr Conneely's test ! They certainly showed I'd been trying thats for sure!

Performance Art were there taking pictures, which they publish on their web site which is a nice touch as you can buy them....

Monday, 23 June 2008

Take It Easy.......

Take It East They said - So I Did...... very!

Heres how it went! >>

Tell you what …. After 13 years away is F^%$ing scary! The corner speeds they are carrying now are simply amazing! The tyres are so much better…. You can really feel the grip straight away.

I think I was getting carried away before the race with my over expectations! In my mind I was going to make up 2 rows from the start and then hold that place ……. How wrong was I !

First off……. I REALLY should have done a track day! The bike has been ridden up and down our road for 500 yards…. That’s it! I had no idea about how it would handle or anything…. So there I was……. 4 whole laps of practice and then race! Bit silly really!

So……. I don’t know what it like in your neck of the woods, but it was bloody windy at Mallory Park – 50mph + gusts that were coming at you on the straight, turning into cross winds through the first big long sweeping bend…… so I set off down the straight…. Flat out… into the wind grinning like a cheshire cat as the power came in……. which quickly turned to ‘ Oh Fuck!’ as the wind catches you – front end goes light and I’m wavering all over the place in the wind!

Tip into the right hander – but I’m all wrong – is it 3rd or 4th? Has to be 3rd….. not carrying enough speed to make it 4th,….. oh yes… and practice is mixed, so I got bikes all around me…… so I’m very very tentative around Gerards….. it seems to go on for ever……. As I try to put power on, back end wavering… is that wind or suspension? Get to the straight and off we go again, cruise past a couple of bikes…. Then where the hells the braking point for Edwina’s chicane? I’d been warned about it…… I brake way way too early – over cautious – hang on… back brakes not right – no pedal!

Wobble through the chicane and look down – pedal is just sitting against the floor board doing nothing! Oops… oh well… press on…….. just use the front – cast it from your mind!

So now the real tight up hill hairpin is looming fast – out brake a bike into it which I was quite chuffed with first time into it….. wobble around it, bikes flies past me out of it into bus stop chicane… I have no idea of best line through that so get it all wrong and exit cranked over on rumble strip that nearly chucks me off, then its downhill left flat out back onto start straight and off we go again!

3 laps of that then its back into pits, each lap feels a little better, but I know I’m real slow with corner speeds!

So….. in the pits Jane and Miles arrive – they’ve missed practice by about 10 mins!

The rear brake problem is down to the link pin coming out or shearing off, so I fix a new bolt and nyloc nut through it… check fuel – bugger – I’d used tons! That’s one thirsty motor!

Checked plug….. a bit rich….. will just leave it like that – hopefully in race I’ll be using more revs…

So…… an hour passes and our race is called…… man… I was shaking! Got to the dummy grid then realised I’d not got the orange newcomers bib on…….. back to the van…….. good job I realised in plenty of time!

Back up to the dummy grid…… about a minute passes and we’re off …. I was going to go straight to the grid… forgot all about the sighting lap!... so whack the throttle open again and off we go……… man it feels even windier down the straight, especially at the end of it the front end’s going real light, and we’re drifting all over!.

Now I’m just with scooters I get a chance to see instantly I’m way too slow through the bends…. Straights are fine – but then anyone can go fast in a straight line! – so its all the way around to the start…… take up my grid slot right at the back……. Red flag is held……. Dropped …. Watch the lights…….. hell – where are they? …. There they are …. On …… off after 2 seconds….. away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nerves just disappear and I’m almost alongside the row in front of me through second gear, third gear, gain slightly…….. just catch 4th, then I’m backing off way way too early for Gerards…. How the hell are they going through it that fast!.... I’m messing round with the rear end weaving, then onto straight, damn…. could have been way earlier on the throttle, stay with them on the straight, and then I’m braking way too early again for Edwina’s and wobble through it. Up to the hairpin for the first time… that felt great…. I was always good on brakes into hairpins, still can’t get the right way to be quicker through the Bus Stop…… but its feeling better, then around for second lap… by now I’m on my own …. Where have they gone?

I’m so slow around Gerards, just no confidence or corner speed……. I’m trying to concentrate on lines and trying to get smoother, after another lap, I venture a look back in the vain hope that theres someone behind me…. There isn’t , but Guy Topper is approaching fast to lap me! Bugger! This early! He’s flying with Charlie Edmonds in hot persuit. Shit…. Now I have to think about being smooth and predictable so the rest know where I’m going … slowly!

All too soon I got Lambretta’s and zips flying round me……. Especially around Gerards, man they are quick.

All too soon the race is over, I’m lapped by most people and I have to say somewhat disappointed and a little pissed off… I expected to be around the back, but not flat last and lapped my most people!

In a funny way Ed Hocking cheers me up as he comes over and immediately bounces the rear end of the scooter – way too soft he says! Well at this point….. maybe I should mention two things I was not 100% confident about with the bike……. One was the front suspension – I’d fitted Taffy springs with 12mm bushes, making it very stiff but was it too stiff? The second was the rear suspension…… the Yamaha rear shock from my road bike still has the original spring, so is more or less solid – way to stiff, so I’d just been left with a standard shock, as I’d run out of kitty really for building the bike,…… the Escort shock was just way to soft really…. And yes – squirming all over. It had felt like that, and Ed said it was just very visible from track side. So I kind of felt better ( slightly) that a squirming rear end was really not going to be helping matters. As it was first time out with the bike, its difficult to tell with some of these things how much is bike, how much is wind because its still blowing a gale!

So for the second race I put on a borrowed Bitubo shock from Chris Geyton ( cheers Chris!). I add a bit to the tyre pressures, after talking to a couple of people it seems a few run tyres pressures way higher than standard, so I added a little to mine.

So… off to the start….. determined to get a better strat this time, I select first as the flag is carried off… wahey… the bikes going forward,,,,,, clutch not freeing…. I’m edging forward… sure no-one will notice as I’m at the back row for goodness sake, flag drops and we’re away….. exactly the same pattern as the first race……. But rear end does feel better! This time I’m a lap further on before Charlie comes flying by first this time on the exit of Edwina’s closely followed by Guy.

James Campen is now watching from the hairpin, and Chris Taylor is now stopped after the bus stop and watching from the bank! Second race I generally feel a bit more confident, but not by anywhere near enough…….. I’m still lapped, but not by as many people – so that must be progress!

The last couple of laps are tricky as gear selection is all over the place – the clutch is not freeing and changing down is really hard. After the race – can’t even change down at all as I’m back in pits….. new cable has either stretched or trunnion slipped. Will adjust / fix for next time! Oh and I have an oil leak from the gearbox gear selecter arm……. Not too bad… but will need a new ‘O’ ring to seal it I reckon.

Its an over simplification, but I just need to feel confident to corner way way faster than I am ! Oh how I wish now I’d done a track day! So that’s it! £110… 4 practice laps, 12 laps of sort of racing……… a track day suddenly seems cheap - £49 for 3 or 4 hours of practice and confidence building. Should have done ….. am definitely going to do it now!

So…….. after 13 years away from the track…….. what do we now know?

Did I enjoy it?……. Well yes – I loved being back on the track and at least trying to get round quickly

Was I happy ? …. Well not really as I was pretty fed up with myself……for being too damn slow

What do I need for next time? ….. some practice at a circuit…. And some bigger testicles

Will I be doing it again…….. well…. Hell yes…..

The main positives – I finished – mechanical reliability is always good, and I was glad I’d prepared the bike well and not rushed and skimped. Other than the rear brake issue, and stretched clutch cable there were no real issues with the scooter ( oh yes… and a new rear shocker will be added for next time! ). The scooter was bright and shiny, and stayed that way! Got some good comments from people seeing it which is always nice. It was rewarding to see it standing on its paddock stand glinting in the sun.

The negatives…….. myself really……. Need to quickly find confidence to go around bends quickly! The cost to do 16 laps!

So……………………….. that was how my first race back after 13 years away went!