Cadwell Park ~ October Test Day

 

A test day to test the team, October the 29th was a cold damp day with a cutting wind gusting at 35mph, track opened at 09.00hrs, before 09.30hrs we had had our first crash, a fast off at Park bike and rider tumbling to a twisted halt, second bike suffered a mechanical failure rendering a £ 1,400 repair useless, add to this wildlife, cooked tyre warmers, our first failed scrutineering and an all night scavenge hunt to effect repairs and you’ll understand why our test day was deemed so testing that it deserves a report of its own.

Words from Nick, Skip & Woby

Test(ing) Day

“Nick” The tannoy announces final call for the red group, which was the open 600 class. Having tested here only 3 weeks ago I was keen to get out and get on the pace. It was cold and damp and the wind cutting, I wasn’t aware of a problem however neither Adam nor Skip seemed keen to go out. On circuit the track was offering some grip, I was aware that through Hall Bends into Barn the track was slippy, and there was a narrow dry line through the fallen leaves. I put my head own and pressed on considering 75% on the circuit was ok. The lap before I had run through Park thinking I could gather more speed, down the back straight I wind the throttle to the stop and click up the gears 5th, 6th, hold it open for a little longer then off and hard on the brakes, I immediately know its faster than before, too fast, no options, turn in hard and get it around the.. CRAP.

“Nick” I low side and as I slide off circuit lift my head and watch the bike going away from me when it picks up and begins to tumble, I barely have the time to think that’s going to be nasty when I see sky, grass, sky, grass as I tumble after the 6.  Back on two wheels the bike is running but both levers are bent, the fairings hanging off (or should I say on) and it looks like Alan Titchmarsh has sneaked over and laid a new lawn in the nooks and crannies of the bike. A slow focused ride back to the paddock and Skip does a double take but not a second has passed and without a word he kicks into repair mode, cheers buddy.

“Woby” What feels like an eternity ago, I blew the engine on the little 6 at the testday before the Anglesey Round.  The intention was to quickly hand it over to the skilled hands of Rob at RJS Superbikes @ Mallory Park to do a quick engine strip and rebuild so that 3 weeks later it would be ready for Pembrey.  Well I guess that Rob must have had more important, better paying customers, because the bike was only properly sorted a week before Cadwell.  I’m not happy I spent a big wedge to get the rebuild done quickly.. but at least I’ve got the bike back in time for the final round even if it was two months after the big end went at Anglesey.

“Woby” Morning sessions are spent slowly bedding everything in, keep the revs lowish before then letting it scream its head off in the afternoon.

“Skip” With the track quite slippery I was not in a rush to get out on track and with Adam needing the brake fluid changed (the trusty bleeding kit gets used again!) followed by Nick’s “off” and the digging out of grass and mud from everywhere I missed the first 2 sessions on track.  When I did trundle out onto track the bike was moving about quite a bit, not knowing if it was due to a low track temp or the settings not “dialled in”,

“Nick” Session before Lunch we are ready to roll, I suggest Adam and Skip roll out first and I’ll roll out 30 secs later, my theory is, if I can’t see the guys I won’t try to race them and I want to check the bike out as in under 2 hours we have fitted new bars and clutch leaver, duct taped the fairing and seat unit and bodged the sharks fin and fairing stay. I take the bike off the stands and go to pull away the engine revs lift but I don’t move. Back on the stands I adjust the clutch and it’s take 2, this time conscious that the tyres are probably cold. I roll down to the circuit entrance and the marshal waves me out, a big fist full and shite I’m not moving again. Hand up and I coast through a dangerous Hall bends at bugger all mph. Into the Hairpin I pull in left at the marshal’s post, exchange pleasantries re adjust the clutch and off again, within 1 lap I know something isn’t right and I’m back in. Time to see Pete the suspension guy to find out if the forks are straight and them both working on skips bike!

“Skip” I stopped off to see Pete Clifford (Actiforce suspension) and had him work his magic on re-setting the bike (and found out the forks are suffering from a lack of compression damping which will need sorting over winter).

“Nick” after some fettling Pete takes me to the front of the bike and explains my bars are now straight, as we look at the bike he shows me that the front wheel is very much unaligned. Like a skilled chiropractor Pete gently loosens the front, with a skilled sleight of hand and a loud crack he has the bike pointing in one direction again.

“Skip” Next session was good and I started to get dialled in, but after a few laps had to take avoiding action as I came over the rise into halls bend to find bang in the middle of the track a squirrel foraging for nuts! So in a blink of WTF I pulled left to avoid the grey furry fella.

“Woby” After Lunch I follow Nick out onto circuit to do the whole team work, push/pull along routine thats been working well this season.  A few laps in and were side by side barrelling down Park Straight, I hit the brakes, go down through the gearbox…and nothing happens..

Nick” Adam said he would follow me an tries to pass into Park, a little aggressive and given I’d only just crashed there.

“Woby” eventually I find a gear but something is very very very wrong.

“Nick” Adam lets me through and 1 lap later he does the same thing this time passing me, I consider he’s wanting me to follow him now, ok. Round the Hairpin an into Barn I power out and pass Adam like a bullet, strange I thought he wanted to go up front, never mind I get my head down and crack on.

“Woby” Diagnosis is the Pin on the end of the gear selector rod has broken.

“Nick” what an eventful day, now just need to get the bike scrutineered and for the first time in 2 years I fail, the sharks fin is missing? I whip down to see big Nige only to find out he hasn’t got one, scavenge hunt around the paddock and at Tim LA Stone produces a battered an scrapped Sharks Fin, a file, some more duct tape, re-drilling and tapping the swing arm and a generous helping of araldite and I’m through, shame I can’t say the same for Adam.

“Woby” As luck would have it there is 1 spare gear selector rod in the paddock.  Ady Allsop had a spare after destroying his gearbox last week and Mark Clifford who fixed his bike for him is here racing in the Michelin Cup.  We strip the clutch (never done that before) and with Mark and Ady’s help swap out the gear selector rod.  This all sounds pretty straight forward but it was in fact major surgery (as far as I’m concerned at least) being undertaken in a Gazebo which Skip had to help hold down during gale force winds in almost pitch black conditions.   I am so very very grateful for Ady and Marks help, you guys were stars.  Thank you.  

(See the race report on how the bikes ran after the repairs)

 

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Also available with gravel rash, cement scars and in a variety of pastel tarmac shades

 

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One careful lady owner

 

 

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Nutkin had heard all the rumours about Skips Fast Nuts and decided to investigate!

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Co-incidence that theres a problem in the engine after having it rebuilt? You decide.

 

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Yep that is definetely a clutch and gearbox.. but take a closer look just incase

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Never did find the bit that broke off.. at 16,000 rpm I'm hoping its dust. If not its going to be a short race tomorrow.

 

Must remember to invest in a decent torch for next season

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