Friday, 8th August
On the whole, it’s been a fairly quiet few weeks for Projects Fast Hamster and Lemming. A small race was entered at Snetterton just for fun (there were only three TZRs on the grid) which proved to be enormous fun.
On the maintenance side, I’ve finally fitted a new pair of tyres, as the old ones really were getting a bit past it. I’ve got a race at Cadwell coming up next weekend, which will hopefully get my head back into gear as I’ve been getting a bit too relaxed about this whole racing thing recently.
And that, really, is about that. Whilst I’d like to have entered more races and spent a bit more time fiddling with the bike I’ve been rather occupied playing with my daugter and searching for gainful employment. Good news on the job front through, as it looks like I’ll be able to work from home next year now, which holds several key benefits:
- No travelling to/from work
- See more of my family
- Get to build a fully internet-enabled shed to use as a study
- Get to work on my bikes during the day when work is a bit slack (only joking boss)
Oh, and one last thing must be commented on while I’m here – I’ve now sorted myself out with a road bike at last. And yes, of course, it’s a TZR… Picked up from a friend for a paltry £275 it flew through the MOT with no attention at all, and I am a very happy chappy. I’m debating on the best course of action now, whether to make it all nice and sparkly and do a proper paint job on it (I quite fancy the old Kenny Roberts yellow & black) or just to ride it until something goes pop and then fix it on a shoestring. I rather know which option I’ll be taking, as I can’t handle another TZR project bike right now. Besides, I have nothing to call it.
2013 Postscript: New photo of me being chased by Scotty through Corams.
Thursday, 14th August
A rather exciting development of Project Fast Hamster… It now has eyes. (Well, only one to be precise, but it’s a start). I spent the evening out in the garage a couple of nights ago with Simon Morley of Team Mojo fame. First step was to fit a miniDV unit under the seat hump. This was remarkably easy, and just involved a couple of elastic bands, a bit of lockwire, and an old DT125 seat unit. Next up, the camera mounts. These were fabricated beautifully by Simon from a bit of ally plate and pipe. We needed to drill a few holes here and there, and hit the front one with a large mallet, but it all worked out OK. Finally, a small camera from RF Concepts was mounted using cable ties, and all the wiring tidied up.
Full details of the installation and a few photies (yes, I have finally retrieved my camera from BDK) will appear on The Project Fast Hamster Development Pages soon.
So, I can hear you all ask, why have I bothered with all this? Well, firstly I like the idea of having some on bike video anyway. Secondly, I’m off to Cadwell tomorrow, and we’ve got a bit of a special TZR race in store, as I’ve managed to convince quite a few good mates to enter on top of the usual crowd. Hopefully this should prove to be a bit of fun, and so I’ll be capturing it on video for posterity. It’s OK – I’ve mounted the camera rear-facing initially so everyone can get plenty of camera time as they come round to lap me.
Friday, 15th August
A long day… I knocked off work at about 4:30ish, and picked up Lexy from nursery as Faye was working. This meant that I couldn’t leave for Cadwell until about 9:30pm. My friend Sol was to convoy up with me in the van, while I had the car with the trailer. We got to Cadwell at about midnight, and got the tent up before meeting up with a few mates for a quiet beer before turning in for the night at about 1am. Zzzzzzzzzzz…
Saturday, 16th August
Up with the lark to get scrutineed and ready for practise. Scrutineering wasn’t a total success, as for the first time ever, my bike failed. Nothing serious – just that the rear disk mounting bolts had started to loosen off and let the disk rotate a little bit on the wheel. Nothing that a little tweak with an allen key couldn’t fix. Once this was done I got my clothes scrooted, and signed on ready for the days activities.
Practise turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag for me and everyone else in the session. Personally, I had a great time, if somewhat slow, as I’m not that confident around Cadwell. However, the onboard camera worked a treat, and I started to get some confidence in my lines and braking points. Things weren’t so good for the rest of the TeamIxion crew though. Neal Champion unloaded at the bottom of the mountain after trying to outbrake the entire field (in practise…) and James Dening seized Paul Robbins’ bike so badly that the piston melted into the bore.
Things were looking good for race one…
We were held in the collecting area for what seemed like an hour, as the 600s before us were red flagged after 2 laps. Note to self. Never get to the collecting area early when we’re after the 600s. However, we soon scooted out for the warm up lap, and I did my normal trick of nipping past a few of the chaps in front just to show them that I’m there. The chap with the flag scuttled off to the right, and the lights went green… For once, I got a half decent start, but completely bottled out of the bunfight at Coppice, and let a few people through rather than bounce off them. Andy Bryant saw this opportunity to go around the outside of me, which he did with such success that the last I saw of him he was bouncing towards Charlies II on the infield grass. Head down along the Park Straight, and again, at Park corner it all got a bit hectic, and Colin nipped up the inside. I was determined not to lose any more places, so got my head down… 1 lap later I was minding my own business trying to close the gap on Roger in front when he collided with a 400 and exited stage left in a cloud of dust and cartwheeling bikes. I backed off to avoid the worst of the debris, and was immediately mugged by Neal Champion, Martyn White and a 400. Over the course of the next few laps I managed to get back past them all, and as I saw the last lap flag I saw Sol up ahead. A long way ahead… 3.5 seconds ahead to be precise. I decided to either pass him, or crash trying. Somehow I made the time up, and passed him out of Barn on the run to the line. I got the verdict by less than .3 of a second, with Champ a further .3 behind. A cracking race.
I got back to the collecting area to find out that as well as Rogers crash, Andy had got back on track after his Coppice exit only to go in headfirst at Hall Bends, and Colin had DNFd after the bike refused to run cleanly. So, that left 4 TeamIxion finishers of Kev, myself, Sol and Champ in that order.
The second race was delayed by several hours due to an accident in the GP250s that claimed the life of Lee Johnson. As always, my thoughts are with his family and friends, and also with the medics and marshals who have to deal with these incidents. We all know that it’s part and parcel of motorcycle racing, but it’s still shocking when it happens.
The second race was a rather quieter affair than the first race. I lined up in between Kev and Sol, and got a pretty good start. After about a lap or so I managed to pass Kev on the Park Straight, and could see Frank Barrett up ahead. Now, Frank is one of the faster TZR riders and a regular top 5 finisher. So, I gave chase. However, he was faster than me, and that’s that. I couldn’t close the gap, and if anything, it got slightly larger by the time the chequered flag came out. Of the TeamIxion brigade I was first this time, with Kev behind me. James had got out on Daz Mowats bike this time after it was rebuilt following Rogers crash in race one. To celebrate its new found lease of life it spat him off at the Gooseneck.
So, all in all, it was a bit of a parsons egg of a day. My racing was pretty good on the whole. Getting one over Kev in race two was particularly surprising, but nice all the same. Seeing so many friends crashing out wasn’t pleasant at all, but the camerarderie as the bikes were rebuilt with all hands to the pump was quite extraordinary. The death of Lee in the GP250s is just numbing.
And, to cap the day off, it was Scottys stag night in the evening. I’m typing this up two days later and I’m still knackered.
2013 Postscript: Since this lot was written, the race video has been processed, and is now hosted on YouTube, along with some video of the events in the paddock on the day. Obviously I don’t own the copyright to the music, but I have a feeling that YouTube handle all that kind of stuff anyway, and won’t let you see the vid if it’s a problem.