Cadwell - Lansdowne
2nd - 4th May 2015

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

 

The Cadwell round of the Lansdowne series was a long weekend as it was a Bank holiday and we were testing on the Friday, still trying to bottom out the front end chatter we were suffering at Pembrey.

The weather was looking 'mixed' at best with Sunday looking the worst however Friday was warm and dry just perfect for testing. Mork was pattering the worst at Pembrey so we started there in the first session and as predicted the patter was bad round Charlie's two and going into Chris's curve, but the big surprise was when I went out on Millie she was worse. It was a real head scratcher being the opposite to the feeling at Pembrey.

Steve changed the fork oil in Millie and the two bikes were very close handling wise by the end of the day. I thought about changing the gearing but although it would improve in places it would mess other sections up so we decided to stick with what we had. We also changed the carburetion setting to help the motor when on part throttle, not that there is much part throttle when riding these machines, it's either braking or full throttle most of the time. Saturday was going to be a slow day as there was practice available in the morning but we had a good set up so decided to save the motors and just do qualifying later in the afternoon.

Just before qualifying the rain clouds started to gather and things looked very grim as we rolled out onto the track for our 10 minute session.

It was spitting with rain and windy making the track slightly slippy and unpredictable and although it was only 10 minutes the conditions changed every lap.

I started mid pack hoping to get some heat in the tyres as I came through the field and by the time I reached the front I would have a clear run for the remaining few minutes of the session. The plan worked with the exception the other riders hung on for a tow. I managed to open a small gap from the pack and that was just enough to give me pole position with a 1:47.36 from Keith Clark on 1:47. 82 then Mike Russell on 1:47.85, it was tight but I felt I could push harder if it dried out for the races on Sunday.

Waking up in the morning to rain smashing on your window isn't the best start to the day but I reminded myself the fact it's the same for everyone!

Arriving at the circuit was a shock as there were puddles everywhere, everyone was scurrying round under umbrellas and hiding in their awnings out of the rain. We were the third race in the morning so we were soon called down for our race and by this time it was raining stair rods.

As we waited in the holding area I knew there was something wrong as the officials were rushing around and came round the riders to say they were postponing the races until the weather improved. There was laying water on the start straight and Park straight plus rivers running across the circuit in several places so it was a no brainer, back to the awnings for a cup of tea.

Two hours later there was a short announcement for all Lansdowne competitors to come for there first race and we rushed to get Millie started and try to get some heat into her, we would normally run her for 15-20 minutes from cold but it was only 5 minutes before we were down in the collection area for the second time.

It had just about stopped raining but the conditions were dreadful, laying water and rivers still flowing in places. Thankfully the Avon tyres we run in the series make great rain tyres and after a warm up lap we were soon away from the flag start.

I managed a great start with just Mike Russell beating me into Coppice for the first time but I was determined to try and break away from the group early and open a gap. Running round the outside of Mike into Charlie's one I got my head down and pressed on. I had a few slides front and rear but knew the others would be in the same boat in these wet conditions, sorry for the pun, a quick look over my shoulder as I crossed the line for the first time and was surprised to see I had a huge gap from the pack.


Action shots: Sport-Pics.co.uk

''Don't slow down'' I thought to myself and pushed on for the next couple of laps keeping an eye on my pit board watching the gap go up to 6 then 9 seconds, thankfully the organisers had reduced the race length to 5 laps because of the delays so the last lap I could ease back to the flag by 9.9 seconds from Duncan and Chris Firmin third.

Everyone was pleased with the result as I returned back at the awning and the sun came out as well.

Race two was soon upon us and by now the track was almost dry with just the odd damp patch here and there other than a really wet section right on the tip in point at Barn corner, just what you don't need.

Another great start and I was leading going down the Park straight with Mike biting my ankles then passing me before the brakes into Park corner and for the next few laps we traded places.

The big issue was Millie was jumping out of fourth gear almost every time I went into it, I thought I was going to blow up the motor as she would over rev every time so I had to go from 3rd to 5th with a nasty revvy bit in the middle.

 

This was not doing me any favours and although I pushed hard but was loosing so much acceleration, like a wounded animal Mike could smell blood and closed in for the kill on the last lap bagging me down the Park straight. I kept close and tried to re pass him but as the bike jumped out of gear I would loose time, as we went over the mountain I ran up alongside him but once again lost 4th gear.

 I decided to settle for second place rather than trying a 'do or die' manoeuvre into the hairpin for the last time. Alex Sinclair came home in third and with Duncan failing to finish again and Glen English have only a 5th place it did me a big favour in the points table.

I was pleased for Mike, as he rode so well and deserved the win ...said through gritted teeth...

 

Returning the the awning Steve pulled the gearbox out of Millie and striped it looking for the problem, unfortunately there seemed little wrong but Fred Walmsley said don't use it as it's a safety issue and suggest we run Mork for Mondays races, to be honest that's what she's there for anyway.

Monday the sun was out and it was like we were in another country, warm and dry the races were going to be fast and furious a real contrast from Sunday.

 

Race three was called and everyone gathered in the warm up area again, there was a real buzz, Glen and Duncan were determined to get a result Mike was up for it again after his win and I was just pleased it was at last warm and dry.

Flag down and yet another great start with me and Mike having a 'ding dong' for a few laps before I opened a gap early in the lap on lap 3, I was quicker round the twist sections and Mike was quicker on the open part of Cadwell so I knew if I could be in front with a small gap as we arrived at Mansfield I could get away and that's what happened.

 

I pulled a gap and crossed the line to take the win by 5.3 seconds from Mike with Chris Firmin in third place.

 

For our last race I knew Mike would raise his game and after another good start I lead onto the Park straight but both Mike and Glen came passed before Park corner, I got under Glen into the Goose Neck but Mike was absolutely on it!

I knew I had to re establish the lead very quickly and bagged him going into Hall bends however Mike was close and re passed me down the Park straight.

 

It was a different Mike I was now following, his body language told me he was up for a fight so I tried another tactic slip streaming him along the start finish straight and getting under him into Coppice, but he once again past me going down Park straight.

However coming out of the Goose Neck I made a great run up behind him and out braked him into Mansfield, I say out braked him, it was a bit more like I was alongside him and couldn't slowdown anymore arriving at the apex first or is that the same thing? Anyway I pulled the pin and rode as hard as I could opening a small gap, Mike to his credit hung on and we had a fantastic couple of laps pulling away from the chasing pack.

I couldn't relax for a second and my pit board told me told me the same with him keeping me honest right to the line. It was without doubt the best race of the weekend and the timed proved it too with me being just 2 hundredths of a second off Alex Sinclair's lap record.

Having done so well in all four races and with Duncan and Glen having a nightmare weekend the points table has had a big change.

I'm now leading the Championship on 99 points with Mike on 80 and Alex on 71.

So Oulton Park is our next round, a one day event with only two races to score in, however Mike is unable to race there so at the moment it appears to put me in a very strong position.

A big thanks for everyone involved in making the weekend such a great team effort.

Might fancy asking Lea to build me a bike for ICGP, what do you think Andreas?

Upcoming Lansdowne Events:

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