A curates egg at Brands

Sunday, 1st March

Well, at least it wasn’t snowing any more, and the high winds meant that the track would dry out pretty quickly. Flew through scrutineering, and attempted to get out for first practise. This would have been easy had I not locked my practise permit in the car and given the keys to Faye to look after. Doh! I made second practise after blagging a spare pass.

Practise – The track was by now dry in places, wet in others, and had a line of mud across it at Surtees. This was the only place I had a nasty moment, when I made the mistake of closing the throttle mid turn. Won’t do that again in a hurry…
Race 1 – On the front row for my first race… Eeek! A bad start got me down to about 20th by the time I got to druids. Bummer. Set about chasing people, and ended up 13th overall, and 10th in class. Best lap was a 59.41, which was at least faster than my best lap last time here. I wasn’t completely happy with the way I’d ridden though, particularly the dreadful start.
Race 2 – The track was dry now, but I had a row 7 start. I could barely see the lights from way back there! I could have done with binoculars. Off the start line, and I tucked in behind David O’Donovan and just followed him round. I’ve got no idea why this was, as the world and his dog were blasting past both of us. Finished a dreadful 21st overall and 13th in class. I really don’t know why I wasn’t riding agressively enough to pass. ‘Best’ lap was a 1:00.12, and I’d rather forget about this race thank you. (For information, the MZs were lapping considerably quicker than this).
Race 3 – At last, everything went right. Got a good start from row 3 and held my position. Only Ian Read came past, and that’s OK by me as he’s a serious 250LC rider and was turning in 57s laps. Finished 11th overall, 8th in class, and with a 58.17s lap. Much better. Again, I followed David O’Donovan home, but at least this time I was actually racing him, rather than just being led around. Perhaps more importantly, we were still in touch with the leading pack when we finished.
Overall, I’m happy. Race 2 was an unmitigated disaster, but at least I finished it without blowing the bike up or crashing. Race 3 was more like it, and if I can build on that sort of form throughout the season I should be able to make a concerted attack on the leaders. I later heard that there were abour 15,000 spectators for the days racing, which is a lot of people by anyones standards, and quite daunting for me. I’ve learned two important lessons this weekend: Firstly, that I simply have to improve my starts. From 1st to 20th in two corners is really not all that impressive. Secondly, I’ve got to pass people more quickly. It’s no good hanging behind for two laps in an eight lap race.

Monday, 2nd March

My tyres turn up from Sharples Tyres so I’ll have to see about getting them fitted in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, 4th March

Sent off my entry for Pembrey on 11th/12th April. This is my first two day meeting, and I’m looking forward to it. I just hope it goes better than last time at Pembrey, where I seized the motor.
Cost so far:
Pembrey race entry fee: £105

Thursday, 5th March

At last, my brake pads turn up, and appear to be the correct ones. It seems the first set were for a 1989 TZR not a 1988 one.

Send off entries for the meetings in May I’ll be running in. This looks like being a very busy month, with three meetings in all. Sadly this means that it’s cost an arm and a leg to enter them all. I need to find a sponsor to pay for my race entries…
Cost so far:
Snetterton race entry fee: £70
Lydden race entry fee: £105
Oulton race entry fee: £80

So far this year that’s over £1000. Nearly half of that is on race entries, and I have brought myself a new lid and pair of tyres, so I guess that’s not too bad.

Sunday, 15th March

Spend a fruitful couple of hours at Marks fitting the new tyres. In the process I also discover that all three rear wheel bearings are scrap. The sprocket carrier bearing has exploded completely, and the sprocket side wheel bearing has seized solid. This is slightly scary, as I checked them over when I had the machine apart for the winter rebuild, and they all seemed fine then. So, I’ve ordered the best quality bearings I can find to replace them with (I’ve been told they were originally destined for a jet engine, so they must be pretty good). The downside is the cost…
Cost so far:
Wheel bearings: £60