Anglesey Coastal Circuit ~ 3hr Junior Endurance Race.  28th/29th August 2010

Words & Pictures by Adam Woby

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WHAT an eventful weekend!  So much happened it’s a job to remember where to start.

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Adam at the Corkscrew ~ Pic by Al Lygo


The testday for me was the most frustrating and annoying day of the weekend.
I had to pull in before the end of the first session, the bike had an engine note which at first sounded like simple loose exhaust but when I looked down at the dash the engine temp was 113 degree’s… not good and clearly something was hinky.
By the time we’d secured the exhaust, drained the radiator, checked the water pump hadn’t lunched itself, refilled and made sure there wasn’t an airlock in the system it was lunchtime.  Half the test day gone and I’d barely done a dozen laps.
I  went out straight after lunch but before I’d even completed one lap it was clear the noise wasn’t just from the exhaust… there was a very ominous knocking sound, and it was coming from the engine itself.  Definite game over for the R6 until Brian could turn up and lend his experienced had to stripping down the bike and fingers crossed it was something obvious and which we could repair easily.

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The R6 being cannibalised for parts by Ryan Peters

Time now to think strategy.  The plan had always been that if for any reason we went a bike down, between the three of us we had a spare.  Skip very generously let me loose on his T675 for the last two sessions of the day and with more than a little trepidation I went out on track.

I should explain now that there is a vast difference between Skips 3cyl Triumph and my 4cyl R6 and not just in the way the two bikes deliver their power. Skip runs a race shift (to go up the gears you press down on the gear lever, whereas road shift on the R6 is the reverse.) a quick action throttle (with loads of slack!!) stubby brake levers  (which means 2 finger braking and not the gorilla handed 4 finger braking on my levers) but the real kicker is his suspension is set-up for his svelte 12 stone (and not a 15 stone leviathan).  I like a challenge BUT!!!..

Weird wasn’t even the half of it and as much as I was thinking its great to have a spare bike, I was pissed off that my lap times were clearly going to be slower than I’d anticipated and in no way did I expect to beat last years PB of a 1:18.

That said after only 1 session on circuit I began to get my head around the gear shift and power delivery, and during the final session of the day had a proper ding-dong with Nick which saw us both putting in 1:19’s.  and he might mention (once or twice) that he went past me (very very briefly and he stayed there only for a couple of corners).

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Trying to figure out whats wrong

Race day

Timed practice session ~ and I went out without earplugs so I could tune myself into the engine note of the triple.  The R6 has a loud aggressive roar on the gas and pops & bangs like a fire cracker on the overrun so you ride it off the revs. Compare that to the positively civilised growl of the T675 which must be a good few decibels quieter and I wasn’t sure when I should be holding revs and when to change up.  Its all part of the learning curve and so didn‘t even bother to look at laptimes as I was just focusing on getting a smooth & consistent line (a very grown up thing for me to do… for a change).  You don‘t want to crash at the best of times but especially not a mates bike plus Skip has got to use the bike in the Motogrande races on Sunday.

Qualifying ~ and I surprised myself and the team with a 1:17.3, I genuinely couldn’t believe it. A 1:17’s fastest lap and were in 12th position on the grid.  Bloody hell, I’ve beaten my PB on Skips trumpet and gone 2 seconds faster than the test day.

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Its important to have a nutritional race diet

Race start

For the first time this year we decided Nick would do the race start, so he had the enjoyment of the pre-race nerves (and repeat visits to the gents!) and I was actually quite chilled out, nice change for me I just hoped Nick would come out of the first corner.  I’ll let Nick explain what happened next in more detail but Lap after lap he was getting quicker and quicker and he too got into the 1:17’s (which is bloody fantastic mate, well done) and then the words you don’t want to hear…. “He’s not come round”
We had no idea where he was, if he was okay, the bike okay, is he getting the transponder back.  I found Frazer and was able to establish he’d crashed at ‘the bank’, he was up and okay but before I could get anymore details a shout from down the pitlane and I could see tyre warmers were coming off and I needed to get out as we’d got the transponder back.  Run back to our pit space, jump on the bike and join in the fun on circuit.

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It was a very lonely session for me, I felt good and the bike felt good but I had half an hour without any pitboards and no one on pitwall except Nick’s Mum and Dad so I figured Nick must be okay and everyone was working on fixing his bike. Eventually I see Skip on the wall waving his finger at me to indicate one more lap and then come in.

I pull into a hive of activity, the whole 1491 team are in there working on the bike, Nick doesn’t look ready, Brian looks like he‘s duct taping the clip on together, Skip and Jane are buzzing around everywhere like a couple of worker bee‘s…. WTF is going on!!??   Take of my lid off and Skip tells me he thinks I was out for over 38 minutes.  Hmmm thought it was longer than usual J… now have to wait for the inevitable penalty.
1491 bailed us out big time in getting Nick trackside again (thanks guys) and yes one of the Marshalls came over and said I’m really sorry but I‘ve got some “you’ve got be fucking joking me” news. Clearly this is the usual response to receiving a penalty and something which the Marshall had heard all too many times today already being the bearer of bad news for a few other teams, although in this instance it was expected. But a 1 minute penalty for staying out 5 minutes over was a small price to pay.

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Apex and 1491

Time for another rider change, and once more a lonely session on circuit for me.  Not a single pit board, I can make out Nicks Mum and Dad again so clearly nothing wrong with their boy and I put two and two together and figure the repairs must have been a little too temporary and everyone’s working on Nicks bike again.  Ho Hum

Woohoo I get a proper pit signal, time to come in for a changeover.  Oh dear… Nicks putting kit on, Brian is fuelling his bike, its bedlam again…  But its only a very brief delay and at least we won’t get another penalty for me being out for too long.  There was a problem with Nicks Front master Cylinder leaking brake fluid onto his visor, so they cannibalised the functional one off my bike (It had already lost its rear master cylinder to help another team, GT Racing) and swapped them over.

I take a quick trip around the paddock on my break and bump into a few guys for a quick chat and cuppa tea.  Apparently APEX RACING have had more than our fair share of mentions on the circuit tannoy with yours truly putting in PB’s lap after lap… cool, just wish I had a pit board telling me what I was doing.  Bloody typical that I have a blinding race on an alien bike and no one in the team see’s it… bugger…. Oh well.  The important thing is the team finishes and registers a result even if we’re going to be at the very tail end of the field.

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Final Session for me, looking forward to seeing the chequered flag.. and maybe a couple of pitboards along the way.
10 minutes and a Safety car incident backs everyone up for a last gasp dash to the line.  I can almost feel the heat dissipating out of the tyres as we crawl around the circuit as the clock counts down, it would be scandalous to do something stupid in the final 8 minutes of the race so when we go back to race conditions I take a defensive line into every corner and take it easy.  Understandably not everyone had the same mentality, we are racing after all, and an unfortunate event at the fastest part of the circuit results in a full circuit red flag.  Race stop.  Game over.

So once more I still didn’t get to see the Chequered flag.

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Chequered flag for National Race

An amazing race weekend which showed just how much everyone in the paddock is looking out for each other.
Brian ~ I don’t know what we’d have done if you’d not been there
Skip ~ Dude I did 1:16.3 on your bike, totally mullered your rear tyre and didn’t crash.  Can I borrow it again?
Jane ~ You’re a star as always pulling everyone together
1491 ~ For running back with the transponder, helping to sort Nicks bike in under 40minutes… thanks guys
Nick ~   Stop doing the California Super bike School, it makes you crash… Sorry for putting you through a race start I won‘t do it again… We got a result and at least you beat my lap time…. From last year you loser.  Keep up the chase.

It sounds cheesy but also I really truly need to thank the sponsors. Logistics Network are keeping us on track and if Briggs hadn’t loaned us the Gazebo we’d have had a very wet, windy and miserable weekend.  Next Stop Pembrey in 4 weeks.

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