Classic Racing Motorcycle Club - Croft
Nancy's Debut 7th - 8th May 2016

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Action shots: Sport-Pics.co.uk

Croft was to be Nancy's debut in the CRMC, I couldn't quite get her ready in time for Pembrey, glad really as the weather proved to be horrendous that weekend. A couple of weeks before the race I took her to Mallory for a couple of sessions to see if she stopped, turned and had gears etc. I'm pleased I did as I found a weird front suspension issue which manifested itself in a horrible juddering sensation on part throttle round Gerrards, not nice and undermined any confidence mid corner. It turned out to be the front mudguard bridge was too tight, twisting the forks and causing 'sticksion' in the forks, once loosened off, all was well.

The following week there was a No Limits day at Croft which was perfect timing for the run up to the CMRC races.

The irony was in 34 years of racing I had never raced there and only ever done a couple of track days over that time. Paul Firth came along and brought Myrtle too, so it was a proper family outing.

There were some things like the rear suspension that had really been a 'best guess' that could have thrown up some problems but from the first lap Nancy felt really good in the first session.

 

However, halfway through session two she went on to two cylinders, but mysteriously, on returning to the pits she came back to life. I thought it could be fuel starvation, and as I had fitted a aftermarket race fuel tank cap, first plan was, I drilled a 2mm hole in the cap.

 From then on she never missed a beat, but the weather closed in so by lunchtime, we called the test to an end.

Then, before we knew it, time to go back up to Croft for the race weekend, there was a practice day on the Friday but we felt confident enough not to do it, so used the day to set up camp with Paul and my awning and van to create a nice little base up near the main garages.

It was a packed paddock and as a result we were on the grass but the weather looked like it was going to be nice so no worries.

The weekend's schedule was quite relaxed with only two races on Saturday and one on Sunday due to racing only starting from lunchtime, there were other races we could have done but the whole idea was to should what Nancy could do amongst her own so I didn't want to dilute either her energy or the budget. On Saturday morning we had a 10 minute practice session and the start grid position would be done by previous results and known ability, so it was going to be interesting to see where they were going to put me on the grid. Practice went without issue and we were the first race so there wasn't much time to waste before the first call. Rolling in to the holding area they stick a number on the screen indicating your allotted position on the grid, number 10 which turned out to be the outside of the forth row, "not bad for the first race" I thought and assumed my position.

The warm up lap was Nancy's first launch and it all went well, so felt confident for the real start. Flag down and we all roared off to turn one for the first time, Kevin Wholey the current Champion got the hole shot followed by one of the 1300 Production guys that were running in our race, then me, I quickly ran round the outside of the big bike onto the back straight.

 

Kevin had his head down and elbows tucked in and clearly was the man to chase, he had won almost all the races the previous season so I followed him round to get a feel of his lines etc.

He opened up a small gap as we crossed the line for the first time but made a hash of going through the chicane onto the back straight, and this gave me a golden opportunity to bag him with a good exit and slip stream along the straight.

I roared past him and kept my head down for a couple of laps, the race had been shortened due to a delay at the start so before I knew it the chequered flag was out and Nancy had taken her debut race win and a new lap record of 1:34.91 to boot.

 

She hadn't put a foot wrong and I felt there was nothing needed for race two later in the afternoon. Simply refuelled and run a cloth over her checking everything was tight etc.

Race two quickly came around and we formed in the holding area again, the atmosphere amongst the FZ crowd is great with everyone looking after each other and having genuine fun even before we hit the track, this is what I hoped the class was going to offer me and I wasn't disappointed.

I was now on pole and got another good start following Kevin into to turn one again, this time however I passed him at the end of the straight into Tower and gradually pulled a gap open to the flag, but this time Kevin was closer than in race one so it was obvious he was learning the circuit and the way I was riding which was going to make race three on Sunday afternoon an even more interesting one for sure. Although the weather was reasonable on Saturday Sundays weather was glorious, much warmer so it was assumed the pace would be a bit quicker but the wind was stronger which ended up cancelling out the advantage of the increase in temperature.

It was a lazy start to the day because of noise regulations and our race was early in the schedule so we didn't have long to wait before our turn.

As I had won the first two races quite convincingly I thought it would be better if I mixed it up a bit in this race. It was a much longer race as we only had one race on Sunday so we made sure Nancy had plenty of fuel and topped up her oil which she was slurping quite efficiently. Flag down and off again roaring down to turn one, Kevin bagged the holeshot but I wanted to get the lead right away and control the race from the front, I passed him going down the start finish straight with the intension of opening up a small lead.

The plan was working until as I went through the chicane I clipped the right kerb sending Nancy into a mega handlebar flapping wobble onto the straight, this gave Kevin and Danny Imberg the chance to slipstream past on the back straight.

I quickly repassed Danny and set off after Kevin repassing him on the next lap, I felt comfortable leading but Kevin was right on my heals.

As the race was seven laps in length we  encountered back makers.

I hadn't much experience of who was who in the field, being my first meeting with the FZ crowd so I was perhaps a little over sensitive passing them cautiously, and Kevin jumped at the chance repassing me just before the end of the lap. I thought "he's pushing a bit hard" but didn't put much thought into it until we rounded the last corner onto the start straight only to see the chequered flag! Somehow I had missed the last lap flag, a real school boy error - but I can assure you, one I won't be doing again for a while. It was still a great race and didn't mind finishing behind Kevin as I hope it made a good spectacle for the spectators to watch.

So Nancy's first meeting was a great success, she has proven very capable and I really enjoyed riding her and being part of the FZ crowd.

Next meeting is Cadwell on the 4th and 5th of June, hope to see you there.