Bonhams Lansdowne British Historic Championship
Round 2 - Silverstone - 10th / 11th May 2014

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After a great start to the Championship at Pembrey with 3 wins a second place and a new lap record the team confidence was high for the second round at Silverstone.

This was to be the first road race meeting held on the International circuit layout; I was coaching there the week before so luckily the circuit layout was still fresh in my mind. I posted a small video online of the 'link' section for all the weekend's competitors who hadn't been there on a track day - it proved popular, and lots of people came up and thanked me over the weekend for sharing it.

The team was set up on the Thursday evening in one of the huge garages in the Arena complex, in fact almost the whole BEMSEE paddock was housed in the garages creating an unusual atmosphere.

Friday morning was a dry start but the weather forecast wasn't good and the wind kept bringing clouds across the sky at an alarming rate, to be honest it isn't too much of a problem for the Lansdowne class as there are no tyre warmers or choice of tyres, one tyre for everyone.

Quickly finding a fast pace I was encountering front end chatter most noticeable on the faster corners, Abbey and Stowe both mid corner at maximum angle of lean.

 It was frustrating as I wanted to enter and run through the turns much faster but after a few eyeball bouncing moments I suddenly realised I was going to have to settle for a certain pace. Steve and Rob altered the folk oil level and grade a few times through the day but the improvements were small so it looked like we were stuck at a particular speed.

There was no timing available on the practice day, so we had no real idea if our pace was good enough to get us on the front row however I felt we were at least in the ball park.

 

Then on Saturday the wind was worse but at least it was dry to start off but the forecast was looking grim.

Our 10 minute qualifying session was called up and out we went out to see what it was like, the wind was the main issue and the bike was now only using 5th gear down to Stowe.

There was no time to alter it so there was an anxious wait for the timed sheets. Good news as I was two and a half seconds quicker than Mike Russell and the Keith Clarke in third.

We only had two races scheduled for the day and the first one was after lunch so there was plenty of time to socialise with my competitors, some of my old mates and coaching clients that were also at the meeting.

 

Race one was called up and I had a plan in mind, as I hadn't been on circuit with the rest of the class here I would see where my start took me and hang about with the group weighing up who was doing what - "option two" was to go like the clappers early on and attempt to gap everyone and control the race from there.

However, in actuality I made a great start and passed Duncan into the Loop section to take the lead. As I ended the opening lap I had a 2 second lead, pushing on I opened it to 4 seconds then feeling comfortable held onto take win.

Everyone was made up and we waited for race two to be called up. Race two was the next to last race of the day and there had been several red flags and hold ups, it looked likely that we would be cancelled for the day and run first thing Sunday morning.

 

True to form our fears were confirmed race two in the morning.

Sunday morning the weather was worse, even more wind and a wet start to the day with our 2 lap session. Picking my way round the puddles and damp patches I bedded a new set of tyres ready for the remaining races.

Race two was only ten minutes later and we roared away I knew it was going to be a little harder.

 

I fluffed the start by letting the engine rev bog down and got a little boxed in going into turn one.

 

After a big slide exiting Village I settled down in third place as we crossed the line for the first time, Mike was leading with Duncan hot on his heals.

A couple of corners later I took the lead and pushed on for a few laps to see if I could break the tow however Duncan's magneto failed and this left Mike and myself out in front - and Mike was in hot pursuit.

 

I figured it was going to be a last lap last corner sort of race and as we came into Vale for the last time Mike slipped underneath me but he out braked himself and I managed to get back under he as we exited the corner.

He fought back bravely but I had the advantage and he gave way not wanting to get tangled up as we rounded the last turn.

 

Win number two and I was feeling very confident ready for the next race, the wind had dropped but so had the temperature and no one knew how this would effect things on track.

Race three lights out and we roared off towards Abbey once again, Mike made a great start and I hassled him for the opening lap and we soon opened up a gap from the charging group.

 

We swapped places a few times and were having a great race, then as we started lap three I was leading through the link section when without warning Millie's rear tyre let go highsiding me high in the air.

As I came down Millie was already on her side and I fell right into the front wheel with my hand getting caught up in the wheel as it was still spinning. I was dragged along for a while then some how was freed and tumbled to a stop.

I knew immediately I had hurt my arm and couldn't feel my wrist or fingers, they were still attached but my arm was very pissed off at this point.

 

A quick ride in the ambulance to the medical centre and a nice consult from Doctor Rosie and the prognosis was possible broken bones in and around thumb. "Visit your local A&E for X rays and let us know how you get on" she said and that was that.

I had a back slab cast on my wrist so there was no option to ride for the rest of the day so it was all over for the weekend.

 

Thank goodness for my fantastic Held Gloves, no wounds or open injuries - despite having broken a spoke with my hand!

Luckily I had built up quite a good points advantage by wining 5 of the 6 races I started, so even this early in the series after missing the last two races I am still just one point behind Mike Russell in the championship.

 

After visiting A&E there was nothing broken - so my Held Gloves really did do the trick - I have given the  ligaments around my thumb a severe 'twagging'.

 

On to Oulton Park for round three 24th & 26th May - no racing on the Sunday.

May 24-26  Oulton Park BMCRC
                    - Sunday - no track action
Jun 21/22     Castle Combe NG Racing
Jul 19/20      Cadwell Park BMCRC
Aug 8-10      Donington Park CRMC
                     - Classic Motorcycle Festival
Oct 4/5         Brands Hatch Indy BMCRC
                    - Last race double points