Big gap in the diary, including a couple of races at Lydden and Brands. Sorry, but I’ve just not had time to get things up to date, as I’ve got to look for another job… Long story.
Projects Fast Hamster and Lemming in their natural habitat. This photo also demonstrates graphically the paddock importance of a nice cup of tea. Taken at Lydden in early June by the splendid Pete Fishwick.
Sunday, 29th June
Another early start, as the alarm went off at 4:30 am in order to get me to Brands in time for the 7:30am scrooting, as described in the final instructions. After a leisurely breakfast of tea and Cheerios  I hit the road, and got there for about 7:15. It was like the Marie Celeste. Tumbleweed rolled lazily across the empty paddock…
A quick call to Kevvy C revealed that in fact, scrooting would take place at around 8:30. There was nothing for it but a quick snooze in the car. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… After an hour or so I puxhed the bike to scrooting, and rather than the usual queues, there were 5 scroots sitting there twiddling their thumbs  who pounced on my bike with some enthusiasm as they appeared to be rather bored sitting there.
Anyway, the bike was scrooted, and before I knew it I was being waved out of the collecting area for practise. To be honest, I’d completely forgotten which way the track went, so set about just following people for a couple of laps. Until, that is, I saw Wiz up ahead. I know how fast he is at Brands, so got my head down, and gave chase. Eventually I got a draught  off him up the back straight, and slipped one up the inside at Hawthorn. I rather suspect that this took him somewhat by surprise given my lethargic performances so far this year.
Race one: 34th on the grid due to my inability to launch a bike this year. I think I kind of kept station off the line, other than Wiz who made a flyer from the row behind into Paddock. I held a wide line into Druids, in the hope that everyone would bunch up on the inside, and I could ride around the outside of them and get the line into Paddock. What actually happened was that Keith Roisetter was tagged by a 400, went down, and took 5 others with him. I was stuck in the middle of this lot, and had to wait for the marshals to clear the bikes away from me before I could carry on! So, I had nothing to lose, half a lap to gain, and seven laps to do it in…
I went potty. Completely bananas. On lap 2 I started catching backmarkers, and working my way though. On lap 4 I got Scotty on the drag out of Clearways. On lap 5 I took Martin White (on a preposterously grunty LC350) on the way into Clearways. On lap 6 I tagged onto the back of Andy Bryant, who was riding bloody well, and very consistently. I got a draught off his bike up the straight, and repeated my practise move on Wiz with a pass up the inside into Hawthorn, flat on the stop in fifth. A corner for the very brave… Andy had other ideas though, and rode around the outside of me with a breathtaking display of corner speed at Westfield. I tucked in behind, and tried to get him into Paddock. No chance – I got alongside, but my bike didn’t have the legs without the benefit of a draught, so Andy took the corner shortly after we took the last lap flag. My plan was to repeat my move into Hawthorn again, but Andy was *sooo* much quicker than me through Graham Hill that I couldn’t get close enough out of Surtees to get the necessary draught.
All thoughts of peace and love and happy karma racing went out the window at this point.
I knew I was faster through Hawthorn, but Andy had a 5 yd. gap, so I really, really had to push it this time. My knee went down, shortly follwed by the fairing and pipes. On the fastest corner on the track. I bucked and weaved my way though, and emerged right on Andys tailpipes. Again, he was quicker than me through Westfield, but was overly defensive into Sterlings, and lost the drive out. I nipped up the inside into Clearways, and held on for grim death to the line.
I was mildly surprised to discover that I had, in fact, finished 7th TZR with faster lap times than most of the chaps in front, including Daz Mowat in 3rd. From 34th on the grid to 21st finisher, including my concession of a half lap headstart to most of them.
Race two was a rather more involved affair, which had Scotty performing one of the most enthusiastic overtaking moves I’d ever seen into Graham Hill. I though I was on a tight line, but he managed to squeeze his bike between the white line and the grass to take the corner from me. Not to worry though, ‘cos I got him back into Westfield 2 corners later. Again, a scrap with Andy Bryant ensued, but this time I got the better of him with a few laps to spare, and again, saw an empty track in front, so got my head down. Hold on… Up ahead (a long way ahead) were three bikes, and one of them looked distinctly like Wiz. I had to get closer to double check. A lap later, and I’d pulled in a couple of yards, and could now see that it clearly was Wiz, Wayne Bullen and a 400. I tried. I really, really tried, but it wasn’t to be. I was knackered, and just ran out of laps and concentration towards the end.
I think it was seventh again, but can’t be 100% sure.
 One of the best things about having kids. You get to eat Frosties and Cheerios again.
 Or thumb, in the case of Mike the Scroot.
 Actually, more of a small hurricane