Thursday, 14 July 2011

Donington Park.... If It Wasn't For Bad Luck There'd Be No Luck! Part One

HHHmmmmmm   .... the week before Donington had been rather manic getting riders passes mailed out, last minute queries, questions and getting trophies and prize bubbly sorted out.

The van seems to become fuller every time these days as I had marquee, trophies, champagne, tee shirts and of course all the race gear!

I was amongst the first to arrive.......  to wind and rain of course!  I set up camp and the marquee and during the afternoon a steady trickle of riders arrived.  Saturday evening after cooking up tea inevitably the drinking started.  I blame messrs Geyton Day and of course Captain Howe for the fact that bed wasn't until well after 1 am..... and you know it must have been a lively night (!) if you are chucked OUT of John Howes motorhome because its late!

First scooter session was a 20 minute practice at 9.05am ..... erm..... yeh.... righto......  we lined up in assembly and were first vehicles on track to sample the full GP circuit.  Entering the circuit via the Melbourne loop and into the start straight I followed John Woods along the start straight into Redgate and bang.....  in a cloud of dust and gravel John went down.....  erm !  first bend!  oops!

Practice couldn't end too quick as it was obvious pretty quickly that the gearing was wrong ( a lot of people were immediately changing gearing !)  and above all ... a badly slipping clutch after a couple of laps!

So..... great start..... engine apart before the first race!  Dave Crampton had arrived and a nice leisurely engine strip somehow became a last minute rush as all of a sudden it was race time!  The floorboards weren't even on as riders came past to line up... so i only Just managed to get there in time!  But in the rush... the rebuilt clutch wasn't adjusted correctly and as soon as the race started it was slipping.....  did my best but it had just about no drive by the end...... oops.... another set of begged stolen and borrowed plates was cobbled together over the lunch break for race 2 and this time Sticky assisted in the final bit with 5 minutes to spare......

I'd hardly even spoken to anyone or seen around the paddock yet - just had myself elbow deep in clutches!

Race 2 it was obvious that the engine felt wrong and underpowered but couldn't find anything obvious except for quite a bit of oil around the casing underneath,,.......  hhhhmmm.....

Before our 3rd race - the last one of the day - we had a presentation of trophies and prizes for riders and officials... including the Unlucky Award for Charlie Edmonds after a very bizarre tumble just outside assembly where he fell off and somehow managed to break both the clutch lever and the brake lever and was unable to start a race!

Paul and Carl look anxiously around............

So after spraying some champagne it was soon time for race three.  initially the engine felt ok, then on lap 1 it started to vibrate badly and start to misfire......  game over really so i pulled off and with the engine racing and sounding pretty poorly It was turned off and put back in the van.......  after 3 years of finishes except for one fuel 'incident' and one accident I'd managed two non finishes out of three !

So all in all a pretty crap day for me!  

I wasn't alone though as the 2.5 mile high speed circuit took its toll on a few engines, especially the Adrenalin team on their Zips..... who hardly had a working engine between them..... although they did have shiny new paint jobs .....

With only a week before the next race at Cadwell Park the engine was quickly stripped to find that the mag housing was loose, the stator plate loose, and the mag gasket had blown out, slightly out of shape crankshaft and damaged main bearings..........   but why had the mag housing come loose again?  It had done this at Three Sisters last year!??