nr's blog

Godspeed 1 March, 2000

Filed under: The Racing years — nr @ 3:20 pm

Sunday, 19th March

Bloody hell. Another busy couple of weeks since my last installment has left me very little time to keep this lot up to date. I was pondering on this earlier today. When I started this diary, I was able to keep up with every single nuance of how racing was affecting my life. Nowadays I can’t. Why is this? Simple – Racing has now taken over my life to the point where it’s something I live with every day. What started off as a hobby now takes probably 75% of my spare time (and 175% of my spare income).

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, what has been happening then? Well, I suppose the main even was the season start at Lydden. I was there in a mechanicing capacity for fellow TeamIxion rider and mate James Dening, but also as general helper for the rest of the team. For the most part, it was a very successful (if cold) weekend with Roger notching up his first win of the season, James getting a hatful of trophies, and Sol and Simon putting in some good solid performances on their new R6s. But, mention must be made of the TZR racing… God I missed being out there. The racing was close, and it was also good to bump into all my old mates again from the last couple of seasons.

Cost so far:
Laptimer: £80

Mention must also be made of the death of Ray English in the Sidecars. I suspect I will always find this aspect of racing very hard to deal with, but it has to be faced up to. The two minutes silence before the last sidecar race on the Sunday was very, very moving. There’s something incredibly eerie about a racetrack full of people and bikes but with no sound at all. As I’ve said before, and will say again, racing is all about highs and lows. Times like this will stick in my mind long after the memories of good results have faded. Godspeed Ray.

Saturday, 25th March

Spoke to Martin Taylor, as he’s currently fitting new pistons and rings to the TZ. (Normally I’d do this work myself, but I got a good deal with Martin when I sold him the TZRs, and besides, he’s a lot better at this kind of thing than me). Anyway, he’ll be taking the bike up to Snett next Friday for the practise session, so that’s one less thing for me to worry about. I also ordered another drum of fuel, so…

Cost so far:
Fuel: £55
New top end stuff: £200

Bloody hell. That’s 110 quid on fuel so far and I’ve not even raced the thing yet! Still, my lawnmower loves the mix of 104 octane race fuel and Castrol 747. I think that once I’ve gone through this drum of fuel I may well try looking again for a source of avgas as it is considerably cheaper.

Friday, 31st March

I arrived at Snett pretty early after a good nights kip in my own bed (possibly the greatest advantage of living in the fens) and began the process of signing on. This was made somewhat more challenging for my mate Scotty by the devestatingly stupid BHL Admin Assistant:
“Have you got your license?”
“No, the ACU have it”.
“I can’t let you sign on without seeing a license.”
“OK, so how do I do that?”
“I can’t let you sign on without seeing a license.”
“But the ACU have it.”
“I can’t let you sign on without seeing a license”.
“Can you call them and verify that I do have one then?”
“I can’t let you sign on without seeing a license.”
“OK, shall I call them?”
“I can’t let you sign on without seeing a license”.
“Do you have a fax machine?”
“I can’t let you sign on without seeing a license”.
And so on… Anyway, enough of the tribulations caused by Snettertons helpful administration automaton. Eventually the first session was called, and I went to look for my bike. Martin ‘better late than never’ Taylor of Taymars fame was still en route to Snett somewhere, and more importantly, still had my TZ in the back of his van. I busied myself helping Rog where I could and drinking tea when I couldn’t. About 10 mins into the first session the errant TZ arrived, and I promptly changed the gearing and jetting to suit the conditions. In all the palava I missed the second practise session too. Not to worry though, as this gave me the chance to drink more tea in a bid to calm my nerves.

Anyway, the third session was called, and I removed the tyre warmers and headed for the collecting area. Nervous? Yup. And so onto my first, and possibly slowest ever lap of Snett. I wobbled around for a couple of laps before nailing it hard up the straight. Gassing a bike like this is, I suspect, rather like being strapped to a large firework. One moment there’s just a bit of noise, then all hell breaks loose as the tacho hits about 9000. The close ratio box made the drive up the straight bloody hilarious – I’d nail it in second out of Sear, get the front down again, and just clutchless shift at 12,250, giggling all the way until the 150yd point, where an even more excessive amount of reverse thrust was applied.

I didn’t really experiment with the bike too much, as to be honest, I’m still trying to come to terms with it. Instead, I busied myself with chasing Scotty around for most of the day, and drinking more tea. The afternoons comedy moment was reserved for the final session of the day: I’d followed Scott out of Sear, and slipped past him into the esses. Obviously, this spurred him on to greater things, and he closed right up on me going into Russels ready for a retaliatory out-dragging manoevure into Riches. However, my bike had other ideas, and hard on the gas in 2nd it spat the chain off, and slung it straight at Scotty. He ducked, the chain missed him, and I wobbled up the straight with a noticeable lack of drive. I did the only decent thing and pulled off the circuit into the end of the pitlane, and promptly got bollocked by the f*ckwitted marshal who thought I’d present less of a danger if I’d parked up on the circuit itself. I was slightly annoyed by this episode, as it was a new chain. (Thanks Dennis Trollope).

Once the final session was over I set about checking the bike over. The chain breakage hadn’t done any damage (luckily), so really it was all routine stuff. (Although it has to be said, routine on a GP250 bike is the removal of the exhausts and cylinder heads to check that the pistons are still in one piece. These are not bikes for the mechanically inept).

An epic Chinese meal in the evening ensured that nobody would voluntarily get in my slipstream next day.,,

Cost so far:
Wheelstand: £40 (Ta Rik)
Chain: £60

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