Friday, 20 April 2012

2012 Round Two: Mallory Park

Where do we start? First of all, due to my uncontainable excitement, I will tell you that things went well. Right, now that’s off my chest I will let you exactly what happened...
Packing late on Saturday and leaving early seemed to be a successful formula for my previous experience at Mallory, so we decided to apply the same logic for our first outing. This time gave us a few extra problems though as we were now transporting two Race Scooters meaning things were a little tight.

Issues during the week with Dads Race Scooter had put things a behind. Unfortunately, these issues would ultimately come back. Either way, we arrived in plenty of time for scooter and clothing checks and passed as expected. As soon as noise was permitted both bikes were started up and sounded lovely on what was a very chilly Sunday morning.

Waiting around for the first practice gave us the time to do a more thorough check of the machines and address any issues. This included mixing and adding fuel to the tanks, the AV-GAS was fresh as I had had the wonderfully complicated experience of purchase on the previous day.

Upon the practice session being announced, with only two of us, starting the bikes was a bit of a chore but mine was started successfully. I waited around to watch Dad start his. Unfortunately, it didn’t even fire. I still waited in the hope that I could help him somehow. Eventually though, he instructed me to leave and I guiltily left.

The practice session was, well, interesting. The last time I had been to Mallory, I had been a complete novice, not even any road experience under my belt. Even the number of machines felt massively different. I had never experienced close to a full grid of riders and it was a little intimidating. As advised, I took the session easy and felt comfortable with the bike again very quickly. After what felt like a couple of minutes the session was over and I returned to the pits. I didn’t have the practice on my mind though.

When I returned to my Dad, he was looking at the plug he was using and promptly changed it for another. This time though, I was capable of pushing him. The bike fired and started but you could tell that something was wrong. On turning off the choke the bike stalled and backfired. On the second try, the same symptoms were persistent. Game over. Our likely diagnosis was ignition but due to “splayed” crank.

So, the mantle had been handed over to me for the day. We cave the bike another check over before the first race and then waited. And waited! Frustratingly at the time, we didn’t even manage to get out before lunch. This meant that by the time we got to the first race, the weather had somewhat changed. Not torrential rain like I had been warned about but it certainly was spitting, windy and cold.

Lining up on the grid also became a challenge. I had never before started competitively. I knew what to do but had had no practice. To add to the distractions, James Lancaster of DKS had issues on the line almost directly in front of me. Any racer can tell you that you completely lose track of time and laps when racing. It didn't seem long before the race finished. I was lucky to have a race long battle with Rob Sumner (who had gearbox issues). By the last lap, I was infront of Rob and was catching up with John Woods. I posted my fastest lap time on my final lap (lap 5) 1min20secs.

For a first session, I think it went okay coming 8th in Group Four. After this fun, the bike was further checked over and quite a few issues were solved - all cable related. Other than this though, everything was kept identical. The second race took ages to come around but luckily the weather improved over this time. Again though I don't seem to remember much. However, I was more confident after race one and had a better start (still leaves a lot to be desired though). My main battle this race was with John Woods, who had engine issues, this time though who I followed and overtook on the last lap. This race, I got the full six laps and had my fastest lap again on the last lap: 1min16secs.

Another 8th in Group Four certainly made me consistent but it put a massive smile on my face too. One that I am secretly wearing as I write this post. In terms of the next race, I have a few things to do but I won't drastically be changing the engine for a while. After all I'm still learning and from what I've heard Cadwell Park is not the most forgiving circuit.

Thanks to my Mum and Dad for being there and helping. Steve of Ambivent for being my photographer and bringing Mum. Daz for giving me a great opportunity and Chalkie for all-round good advice and generosity. Looking forward to Cadwell - there will certainly be some posts before then though.

Race Scooter: All events occurred 15th April 2012

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Race Scooter: Ready for my first race?

So the first thing that some of you readers will have noticed is that I wasn't at Round One: Croft; the bike was ready though. For those of you not in the know, it turns out that I was in Spain. I could say it was for business but I'd be lying. It was a "Sports Tour" put together by people from my University so I guess it doesn't take a great mind to figure out what I was there for; drink (and sport apparently).

On the Saturday when I was travelling down though, I was really gutted to not be at Croft. I've heard that it was really good racing to watch so understandably, I was sad that I wasn't part of it. Mallory is round the corner now though and I hope that will give me my fix until Cadwell, on my 21st Birthday.

One thing that is different compared to the usual Race Scooter Blog posts is that I don't have any pictures for you. As I had mended the stator last time, and checked that it worked, I now only had to get to Mallory. However, I thought it would be a good idea to start the bike the weekend before Mallory to hear and look for any problems.

Unfortunatley, there were a few minor ones. The rev counter, which I had really got used to on the practice session, was reading incorrectly and at high revs, something seemed a little odd. Remaining calm, I stepped back and looked at the situation again.

In the manic minutes at Mallory Park when my stator was not working properly, we replaced the spark plug to eradicate that from the list of potential issues. It seemed we had left one in that wasn't best suited to racing. Oh and it was a half-height plug too - oops. Replacing this for the one I got from Replay Scooters fixed everything. Rev counter is now working and the sound is back to how it should be.

Race Scooter: All events occured 8th April 2012