Bonhams Lansdowne British Historic Championship
Round 5 - Cadwell Park - 19th & 20th July 2014

 if you are visiting this page via a search engine, please click here for the full website.

 

I was looking forward to going to Cadwell; love the circuit and thought that Millie would go well round there. After Castle Combe I had a comfortable lead in the Championship over Duncan and Alex, unfortunately Mike Russell's motor failed there and he didn't score points so he was now in fourth place.

 

We had the Friday test day to get up to speed, get a good setting for Millie and then turn some laps on 'Mork' (the space machine) so he would be ready to go if necessary.

The weather was looking good for Friday but the weekends weather was described as 'changeable'...

Right from the first few laps I knew we had a patter issue, Steve did say it was the worst circuit on the calendar for the Matchless and he wasn't wrong!

I felt I could lap much quicker but was limited to my corner entry due to the front end, we played with the fork oil level and viscosity but after a few sessions went back to our original settings, only changing the gearing in the end.

 

Looking at the times we were 'on the pace' so switched our attention to 'Mork'.

 

He had come a long way from the first outing at Silverstone and I felt if push came to shove I could race Mork if there was an incident or situation where Millie failed; which to be honest, was the whole point at the end of the day.

Saturday morning and it was wet, it had rained overnight and our qualifying session was very damp to start with but was drying out with every lap, which made it tricky to put in consistent quick laps.

However pushing hard to the end of the session I wanted to make sure I would be on the front row as I knew Alex and Duncan machines would be tough to beat off the line and up the hill from the starts.

Good news to end with as I posted the quickest lap 1:47.59 which was 2.21 seconds quicker than Alex with Duncan completing the front row.


Action shots: racing-line-photography.com

The storm clouds were rumbling around even though it was dry just before our race but then the heavens opened.

At first we thought there would be a delay but the two stroke racers that where going to be in our split race already had their wet weather tyres on, so we were called and went down to the start line.

 

Because of the weather we had been given 2 laps to get a feel of the conditions which were 'interesting' especially as we weren't on wets.

As predicted Duncan flew into the lead but I drafted him down the back straight to Park corner and bagged him on the brakes, I knew I had to attempt to get away so pushed as hard as I could for a few laps.

 

When I did look back Alex had made the pass too and now Duncan had dropped off the back of the pair of us. It was so wet I could feel water running down my boots, gloves and my left grip came loose and was moving around under my hand.

When I pushed on the left bar it would slide off in my hand, so through the Goose neck, Mansfield, chicane and bottom of the mountain I was having to be really careful.

Alex hung on and even though I was pushing and kept me honest for the whole race but I managed to keep him behind me over the line to win by 0.23 of a second and fastest lap of 1:57.51 with Duncan over 14 seconds back.

 

For race two later hat day the sun put his hat on and it was going to be a different race, Duncan would be on the case and Alex would be in the mix too.

Flag down from the start and I was once again sat on the back of Alex and Duncan down the back straight towards Park corner, this time I squeezed passed Alex but Duncan was up for a fight this time.

I pressed him hard for a few laps and eventually bagged him into the chicane, then got my head down for a few laps to see if I could break the tow.

It worked and when I looked back not only had I broke Duncan Alex wasn't in sight too so it was just a case of keeping my rhythm to the flag, this time I had a 2.56 second gap and once again a fastest lap of 1:45.01.

 

There were two races again on Sunday but this time the two strokes would be starting 30 seconds in front of us, I felt it would add a whole new dynamic to the race with more back markers to deal with. The start would prove a nightmare this time, I had noticed as the weekend was going on the carburration on Millie was becoming an issue. As you came back on the throttle she would hunt and hold back slightly, nothing major but irritating and getting worse.

I followed him round for a while and waited for an opportunity to pass to come up, I didn't have to wait long as he ran a little wide going round Chris's Curve and had to ease back a little, I kept my momentum up and went round the outside bagging him into the top of the Goose Neck.

Once again head down, push hard and see where it took me, I managed to pull a 3 second gap, but soon we where in to the back markers. There was a chap on a TZ350 had fuel pouring out of the bottom of his fairing right on the racing line round Park and into Chris's I had to ease right off thinking it would be slippy and waved him off the line as I passed him, this gave Duncan the opportunity to close right up to me so I had to do it all over again, thankfully there was another group of slower riders and I barged past them creating another 2.2 second gap which I managed to keep to the flag and once again took the fastest race lap of 1:45.11.

Unfortunately Alex got caught up with a slower rider and crashed going into the Hairpin, he was OK apart from a sore ankle and dented pride.

The sun was still out for the last race and I was hoping to make it four out of four however fate always deals a hand you have to play.

The carburration issue was still there and as I revved  the motor before the flag came down I was struggling to keep thing together and made a small error letting the clutch out to the biting point, but it pulled the bike forward and it was deemed I had jumped the start. As we roared away I knew I would get a 10 second penalty, I was up behind Duncan again but passed him going into Hall bends for the first time.

I knew the only way I could win now was to get the lead and open a 10 second lead, I felt I could do it and as we crossed the line for the first time I saw -10 on my pit board, Bugger.

 

I rode as hard as I could and pulled a gap but the next time over the line Rob had his hand over the -10 on my board, the next lap it was missing for the board but no + time. I assumed that the organisers had changed their mind and reversed the penalty, I was already nearly 3 second clear and felt I could get away but now I thought all I had to do was keep the gap to the flag. Ironic really crossing the line first comfortably clear but the penalty was still in place and I ended up in third on the time sheet.

This time Alex had the quickest lap 1:44.56 and was the winner with Duncan second.

The last time I jumped a start was in the British 600 Supersport at Snetterton in 1994 - 20 years ago, and it resulted in me losing the championship to Simmo by just one point!

All in all, pole position and three wins is still a reasonable result for the weekend, and extends my Championship lead over Duncan to 46 points.

Next round is at the Donington Park Classic Motorcycle Festival  - see you there?

Aug 8-10      Donington Park CRMC
                     - Classic Motorcycle Festival


Oct 4/5         Brands Hatch Indy BMCRC
                    - Last race double points

I envied these guys, both novices, enjoying their weekend's racing, when everything is still new and unknown...

Always got time to run through stuff with a coaching client, even if he is in the same race!