2010 Final Round ~ Hottrax Motorsport 3hr Endurance

Cadwell Park Lincolnshire ~ October 30th/31st

words by Adam Woby

Cadwell Park, in autumn, we’ve just had a week of frost covered mornings and now were going into the final race weekend of the year… Championship deciders in every class….  We must be mad. 

Pits 1 600x412 Cadwell Park October 2010 ~ Championship Finale

 It’s a packed grid as the National and Junior races have been merged together and to top it off we have a British Superbike EVO team, Splitlath Motorsport (http://www.splitlathmotorsport.com/) headed up by Hudson Kennaugh, South African Superbike champion (http://www.hudsonkennaugh.com/) and riding for Sorrymate.com is Jenny Tinmouth (http://www.jennytinmouth.com/ ) from British Supersport/IOM TT fame.   This Should be interesting. Especially after such a testing test day (see “The ‘Testing’ Day” report)

 The Challenge

 I want a podium so bad it hurts and against the usual suspects in our class I think we are well in with a chance, however, this final round has brought out a few specialist wildcard entrants (who if were all honest should be playing with the Nationals and not the Juniors) and a top 5 finish is going to be a challenge let alone a podium. 

Nick ‘closing the gap’ Matthews is optimistic, but if… big if… IF we finish in 4th we could end the championship in 5th place.  Anything less and we keep 6th but we need to finish in front of both Louth Bikes and Snug racing or we risk being pushed back to 7th

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 The mix of abilities is clearly evident in morning qualifying which saw riders out on anything from Slicks to full wets and presented laps times from 1:34’s to 1:58’s (there was even a couple over 2mins but I’d put that down to poor tyre choice and mechanical issues). 

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It seemed like we had our worst qualifying position of the year, 27th overall & 6th in class, but although at the back of the grid we are surrounded by other Junior 600 teams. 

 From 24th to 33rd place there are 4 National 600cc teams and 5 Junior 600cc teams, the cold and damp morning qualifying conditions clearly favouring the 1000cc bikes. The start should be a right bun fight.

 The Start and 1st Session out

 What a diabolical start to the race..  the lights went out (Geordie from GT Racing, much to everyone else’s amusement started his run across circuit when the lights went on!!  Too much beer last night.)

I sprint across the circuit and in all the excitement hit the starter button housing so hard it spins around the clip on losing us precious seconds.

  I frantically fumble around eventually finding the starter button and the R6 takes a great gasp of life, I wind back the throttle and focus on getting back all the places I’ve lost. 

  Most people would call it red mist, but the extra injection of adrenaline (due to the fked up start) bring everything into absolute clarity and time feels like it slows down.  I barrel into the first corner, on the inside line and muscle back past a handful of riders, full throttle up the hill in 4th gear, 5th would be better but I couldn’t carry enough speed through the traffic but I’ll need the revs going onto the Park Straight if I’m not going to lose the ground I’ve gained. 

 Firing my little 600 down Park straight, I’m late on the brakes and take a defensive line, then around the outside of someone through the very fast decreasing radius Chris curve before throwing it left to drop down the gooseneck. 

More defensive & aggressive riding going into the chicane and then offensive riding on the exit, almost collecting Geordie mid corner. (I must have done quite a bit of a recovery as Geordie was 23rd on the Grid and I think I crossed the start line in about 30th!)

I settle the bike, gather my thoughts, plan my overtake and take a tight line over the mountain. I go past Geordie whilst on the back wheel before dropping it right into Halls bends.  Flicking the bike around Barn, I’m back onto the start finish straight looking for my next target. Out the corner of my eye, I can see Jane, on pit wall giving me massive thumbs up. Thanks Jane, it might have been a diabolical start to the race but I’d recovered a fair chunk of it in less than a lap. 

We started in 27th place, I think I left the line in about 30th and we finished the lap in 24th.

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Two laps later, we’re in 23rd place and I start doing PB’s.  Pushed along by Sean Moss on the National 600 Roundall Racing bike, and chasing down the Seton Tuned R1 of Ridgeback Racing.

By lap 9 I get a 1:41.125..  My best ever and I’m consistently putting in 1:42’s when not in traffic.

 Skip keeps me out for the full 35 minutes and I pull into the pits absolutely shattered.  The pegs have touched down, I’ve scrapped fairing panels and one of my knee sliders is hanging off.  I had one little excursion onto the grass (not good, very scary!) and I beat my PB, set last year, by almost 5 seconds!!! 

 I get my breath back and announce to Brian and Rich, that I’ll keep pushing hard but there is no way I can keep up that pace for two more 30min stints. Not without risking a DNF as I was on the ragged edge a ‘smidge’ too much and the dreaded arm pump is trying to come back.

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 Session 2

 Nick is out there banging in 1:46’s and 1:47’s but without a timing screen anywhere near it’s difficult to figure out exactly where we are.

 Transponder change over for my second session is faultless, but I almost run over Deej of D’n’A Racing who forgets to look before he steps out into pit lane, dude, you were two feet away from having an Apex Racing suppository… 

 Thinking I was going to take it easy went straight out the window as soon as I was on track (we need that 4th place after all), but the intention was to be smoother and in doing so my lap times came back down into the 1:42’s with ease (as long as there wasn’t traffic).  ¾’s of the way through and the safety car is called out as ‘Gorgeous’ George of BLDS Couriers has a big off around Chris Curve.  Although only 5 bikes behind the pace car we neither gain nor lose any significant time on the competition but when I eventually pull into the pits I stall the engine and have to push it to our garage. Not as bad as it sounds as were the very first garage and the safety car is still going around with everyone slowly following. Phew.

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 Mid session, whilst I’m topping up on Redbull as I’m waiting my turn for my next stint on circuit we all have a bit of a giggle at Hudson Kennaugh’s expense. He has committed endurance rookie mistake #1 and gone to leave the pits without his armband (which designates which rider is on the bike at anytime).  He impressively sprints the full length of the pits in all his gear whilst being cheered and clapped by all the other teams.  Well done mate, I don’t think you’ll be doing that again in a hurry but if it’s any consolation you weren’t the only one.

 Session 3

 You know the routine by now, we have a good change over and whilst on my out lap Adam Parsons (the other half of DnA Racing) flicks past.  I knew that going into this weekend DnA had to finish in front of BLDS Couriers to win the J600 Championship, and now that BLDS are out of it Adam and Deej just need to bring it home in the points. 

Adam looks over his shoulder and I’m right there on his tail, couple of corners later another look.  Yep still here.  Another lap.. Yep still here… Another.. I ain’t going anywhere mate.  Yet another lap and another long look.. Sorry but you haven’t shaken me off yet..  And then he lets me past, Bloody hell!

I figure the pressure got to him and he just didn’t trust that I wouldn’t just elbow my way past (my reputation precedes me….mwahahahaha), I’m not complaining thou as that’s either another place gained or lap back on one of the leaders. With BLDS out of it the championship is there for him to lose and he doesn’t need to risk it racing us. Good Call.

 Pull in at the end of the session, don’t stall it this time, collapsing off the bike and let Nick finish things off.  Going into the final half hour we are in 4th place, 3 laps in front of 5th but over a minute behind 3rd.  Job done, a 4th place was what we needed and was better than we expected considering the strength of the field but once more we are almost on the podium.  Bugger.

 The End

Fantastic result for the team, we’ve ended the year on a high with fast laps and a 5th place in the championship.  We’ve broken bikes, destroyed engines and gearboxs, had a great time at every round and both us and the bikes are in need of a little break..

 Well done Skip on your 2x 4ths and a 3rd in the Motogrande races and thanks for being the pit manager and supplier of spare bike at Pembrey & Anglesey.  You’re a Ninja

 Brian, Jane, Rich.  We might take the piss because you seem to be there on the day after we need you the most (Testdays will forever be renamed Testing Days), but we need you there most days regardless.  Your support throughout the season has been epic and we love you all for it.

 Massive thanks to Ian Holford and Logistics Network, without your support we wouldn’t have been able to complete or compete to the level that we have. 

 Thanks to Leigh Edgeley and Briggs Equipment who have helped keep us running by letting us use and abuse your mechanics, and for the Gazebo which has kept us dry whilst fixing the bikes.

 As always thanks to Nik, Katie and Dom of Molokini marketing who have given us this fantastic medium to tell everyone about our journey into the Hottrax Junior Endurance championship 2010.

 And Finally….. Nick




 Sorry to keep raising the bar.  You’ve chased and chased me all season pushing me all the way at every track, more so than I think you realise or give yourself credit for. 

Your lap times and race craft have moved way forward in the past 12 months and partnering up with you this season has been awesome. Bring on 2011, Endurance and Michelin Cup..

 Perhaps next year you’ll beat one of my lap times…. Then again.   

If you want to fully analyse the final round performance, lap by glorious lap, you can check it out by visiting TSL Timing on the link below.