Pembrey - Lansdowne
3rd - 5th April 2015

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Pembrey was the first round of the British Historic GP Championship AKA the Lansdowne series. Over the winter both machines 'Millie & Mork' had been taken to their uncle Fred Walmsey for an overhaul, Millie particularly had worked hard throughout 2014 and needed a freshen up.

 

I had also asked Fred could he investigate the front end and offer suggestions to see if we could improve the suspension.

 

We wanted to do some pre season testing however with Steve living in Thailand he arrived just before the season started, Fred was away on holiday, and I nipped off to Spain to ride my ZX10 so logistically it never happened.

Friday test day was our official 'pre season test' the first chance to see how the bikes were going to perform this year; I shouldn't have worried though both bikes felt really good and it was nice to reacquaint myself with them again.

 

However Pembrey can be a challenging circuit to set up a bike and often you get chatter causing problems and that's what we encountered, more so with Mork as Fred had focused his suspension work on Millie so we used Millie for the weekend with Mork as backup.

 

Friday was wet nearly all day but I had to both motors to run in anyway so got out on track, and by the end of the day I was able to pick up the pace in the last session and was ready for the racing.

Saturday was much better, cool but dry and sunny warming up throughout the day.

 

Our qualifying practice went well and I found a bit of clear track and managed to get a good time in putting Millie on pole with a 1:07.2 just over a second from Mike Russell, then Duncan Fitchett and Glen English making up the front row.


Action shots: Sport-Pics.co.uk

Race one soon came around and after a great start, well for me anyway, I was hot on the heals of Duncan out of the hairpin first corner.

Duncan was slightly steady going into turn two and I felt confident to run round the outside of him grabbing the lead.

I knew if I pressed on I could stretch the pack out on the first lap and generate a nice cushion, leaving the chasing pack scrapping it out and holding themselves up. It worked and crossing the line for the first time I had a 2 second lead.

Pushing on I gradually opened the gap and won race one comfortably.

I think I had shown my hand though too early in the weekend, as race two was a carbon copy start but this time it was Glen putting up a fight at turn two and I had to follow him round for the first lap.

 

He and his bike are quick so I knew I had to bag him as early in the lap as possible if I was to gap him and the group but there was a yellow flag out at the hairpin so I couldn't overtake him there.

 

This allowed the pack to close up. The yellow flag was caused by Andy Molnar crashing at turn two on the opening lap and the marshals couldn't move the bike and it was left there for the rest of the race.

This meant the yellow was out lap after lap. Now, because of the yellow flag, I had to follow Glen round, until the start of lap four as we exited the last corner I could see down the straight and the yellow flags had been withdrawn.

Making my move as we came to the braking area I came alongside Glen. Unfortunately the marshal must have been watching the back markers and suddenly stuck out the flag again. I desperately had to stop overtaking him or I would have been penalised and although I tried to drop back it was all a bit late and Glen cut in front of me and I ended up running into him as we entered the hairpin. Resulting in me loosing the front wheel and crashing.

I was trapped under the bike and couldn't move so the race was stopped, but because I was the faller I was excluded. I was furious with the marshal for miss reading the situation and although I protested to the clerk of the course the result stood and I lost my points which hurt me more than the fall.

 

There was virtually no damage to the bike but just to be sure I ran the bike in the extra morning practice on Sunday ready for race three.

I made yet another good start for race three and was up behind Duncan again exiting the hairpin but he too put up a fight and I followed him for the first lap, I did an uber late braking job into the hairpin going under him as we came out of corner.

I led for the rest of the race but Glen and returning to the series rider Chris Firmin were taking lumps out of each other and closed up on the last lap. I had a very small gap as the last lap flag came out but I could see back markers in the distance, some you win some you loose when it comes to catching them and this time I lost having to run wide at the old hairpin allowing Glen to close up on rear tyre exiting the corner.

I had no response to his Norton and the fact he weighs little more than a bag of sugar, he came by on the run to the last corner, my only hope was to either get under him into the last turn or out drag him to the line.

Glen covered the entry into the corner but ran a little wide, I picked up the throttle earlier than I ever had and powered hard under him as we exited the corner, both wheels were sliding and as we sat up on the run to the line we were side by side.

 

However he just had the legs on me and piped me by 0.018 of a second to take the win.

I was determined to get maximum points in the last race of the weekend with yet another great start I was soon leading from Duncan, Glen and Chris with Alex putting in a good last race showing.

 

I managed like in the first race to gap the pack and leave them to it.

 

I almost wish I had a rear facing mirror so I could see the scrap going on behind, well I do sometimes run rear cameras but only get to see the footage after the race is over. This time I won with Alex was second and Glen coming in third.

A great weekend's racing overall and a good points haul. I'm currently in second place in the Championship on 42 points with Glen on 52, third is Duncan on 37 so there is everything to play for looking forward to round two at Cadwell Park on the May Bank holiday weekend from Saturday 2nd. See you there?

 

It was great to welcome several new riders and sponsors in to the class at Pembrey.

 

It shows that there is real interest in competing at such a great 'family style' event, adding depth and quality, to offer exciting racing throughout the field.

These will go Alex if you lap faster than me at Cadwell - again...

Might fancy a bit of ICGP this year...

Upcoming Lansdowne Events:

May 2/3/4 Cadwell Park 4 races CRMC
May 29/30 Oulton Park 2 races BMCRC
June 27/28  Castle Combe 3 races as 2014 NG
July 25/26 Cadwell Park 3 races MSV
August 7/8/9 Donington 4 races, Classic Festival CRMC
October 2/3/4 Snetterton 300 4 races CRMC