Mallory Park – 15th – 17th April

I’ll be honest, things could have gone a little better at this weekend.  What made matters worse is that they were going so well.

First up was Friday testing. I’m not quite sure what the organisers were thinking when they were sorting out who went in what group on circuit.   Seemed to me the group I was in, which was meant to be 600′s was actually over 50% Ducati duo’s.  I have no problem with the Ducati Duo mob, but they ain’t the quickest bikes to navigate the 1.3 mile circuit (lap times up to 1.16′s in qually!!) and the closing speeds between me and them were a ‘smidge’ on the high speed side of dangerous.

Despite not getting a single clear lap, and rubbing shoulders a few too many times with fellow racers, I still managed to circulate consistently in the 58′s. Nick got his race face on in his group and set about putting his “Get Faster” learnings into practice which saw him scratching 1:01′s.  Both of us had more to give but figured the best tactic was to call it a day at lunchtime as the traffic on circuit was becoming a bit of an issue and we had a lot of racing to do this weekend.

Saturday qualifying in the Michelin Power Cup was a bit of ‘challenge’. 4 laps in I have  a big front end slide and then the rear tries to overtake me on three consecutive corners, the rumours I’d heard that when the Michelins PowerOnes  run out of grip its sudden, seem to be ringing true.  Oh bugger, I was hoping not to need to buy new tyres until tomorrow..

However, with no time to scrub in new tyres and seeings as the Endurance qualifying is a 40 minute superpole race, of which I only need to do 20 minutes, I figured it was a case of better the devil you know when it came to a le mans race start.

We line up on the grid in 22nd place, some really weird rule regarding grid position which meant that where you started was based on where you finished in the last race!   Engine off and Nicks opposite holding the bike ready to give me a shove in the back.  I’m so far back from the start line I can’t see where the lights are and just run when everyone else does. I launch myself on the bike, wind the throttle to the stop and play thread the needle down the start finish straight.

We go from 22nd to 12th in what seems like a heartbeat and the first time I look up at the pit board were 1st in class and I’ve built up a good lead on the junior 600 competition.   I didn’t keep the gap for very long as a safety car incident bunched everyone back together.  One perfectly executed pit stop later; well done Skip, James & Rich,  and Nick is sent out into the thick of it to try and hold position in traffic against quicker riders.  A sterling effort but unfortunately he lost a couple of positions in the final laps.  We finish 4th in class (woo hoo we get 1 championship point) and will start 16th on the grid, but in my mind that just means 7 less people to overtake on the start and with 1st to 3rd in class, positioned in 12th 13th and 14th, its going to be a right bun fight from turn one onwards.

Michelin Power Cup Superpole race and I’m still on the same worn out tyres that I was using all morning, for qualifying and the endurance superpole race.  Starting on the 3rd row, 10th place on the grid, there are over a d0zen of us all with very similar qualifying times and this is my first sprint race start of the year.

Lights go on (I can see them clearly this time!)

I bring the revs up

Lights go out

Drop clutch, the bike bogs down and I get good and proper mugged going into Gerrards and go backwards at least 8 places.

Elbows out and I force my way back into 13th by the end of the first lap.

A few block passes later (I can’t trail brake due to lack of front end grip) and eventually I find myself in 9th place, ever so slowly closing on Marc Dilks and Mark Afleck but I’m quickly running out of laps and grip.

I finish in 8th place (Mark Afleck got a 10sec penalty for jump starting, thanks Mark) Which puts me on the 2nd Row of the grid… how cool is that. I managed 57.035 sec lap and I know with fresh rubber the race tomorrow will be very interesting indeed.

Sunday is Race Day.  But its game over before we’ve started.

Powercup Timed practice is used to scrub in tyres, Endurance practice to get up to speed,  I then very impatiently wait to be called out to race.  When I eventually line up on the grid and can’t help but grin when I see a camera man and commentator standing to the side of the circuit, ‘Hey mum I’m gonna be on telly!’.  I circulate round on my warm up lap but as I come round the corner onto the start finish straight the engine note changes from screaming banshee to bag of nails.  Feck.

Blown engine, its game over before I’ve even started for the second race weekend in succession. I don’t believe it and don’t want to talk about it as its completely ruined any chances of racing in the powercup or the endurance.  By the end of the day I was smiling again, the weather was fantastic and at least I got to enjoy watching some top class racing.  (but its not the same)

Huge well done to Nick who finally broke his 1min  lap cherry with a 59.802.. and did some fantastic battling in the motogrande 600 races.  Can’t wait to read his report.

Big thanks, hello and sorry to everyone who came to watch us.  There will be a next time so please be patient with me… and if you know anyone who could sponsor me a spare reliable bike I’d love to hear from them.

Thanks team & Happy Birthday James

Official Hottrax Race Report By Al Lygo                                                                                   Michelin Power Cup 600

Race 1

It would be hard not to say that the 2011 Michelin Power Cup 600 could all be about the two men who dominated Brands – Grant Wagstaff and Danny Imberg. In Saturday qualifying the two were split by a shallow 7 – thousandths if a second, Peter Dilks, Anthony Park, dark horse Adrian Allsopp on the Hickling & Squires R6 and Mr Consistent Sean Moore (three thirds in varied weather conditions during the weekend in Kent). Imberg kept up the pressure on Wag in Race 1 to almost mirror the qualifying positions, only loosing Allsopp from the pack at two thirds distance with a low side. Endurance man Peter Dilks claimed the final podium place in front of Anthony Park, Moore and Richard Charlton making the top six ahead of the other Dilks brother, Marc. Apex Racing man Adam Woby was a handy eighth in front of Mark Affleck and the rapid George Harvey.

Race Two

Predictably it was Imberg who lead from pole to overshadow Wagstaff and Peter Dilks from the front row, more fortunate than Adam Woby who retired on the warm up laps. Early on in the race we had a couple of fallers including Mahmood which bought out the yellow flags. Imberg and Wag set about trading fastest laps as the race progressed and at half distance these two lead Perennial third spot man Sean Moore, Dilks, Parks, Charlton and Ady Allsopp. Moore slid off at Gerrards and Wagstaff was handed a 20s penalty for Passing under yellows which changed the leader board significantly, a win confirmed for Imberg, Dilks was runner up from Parks, Charlton, Allsopp and Marc Dilks with Grant W coming seventh.

Race 3

Whilst Grant Wagstaff made a terrific start to grab the lead, Imberg was back at the head of the field by the third lap and these two riders made it close and personal for the remainder of the race, at half distance less than a second separated the men who really want the 2011 Michelin Power Cup 600 championship, however a lot can happen before Snetterton at the end of October. At the conclusion of the 15 laps Danny had stretched the lead to just over seven seconds and Peter Dilks had another podium finish, Charlton was a healthy fourth in front of Park. Nottingham men Mark Dilks and Adrian Allsopp made up the last two places of the top seven after Ady worked hard on his front end suspension settings to try and stop his R6 from crashing. Imberg could not do more than score three perfect wins and Wagstaff must be wandering what he has to do to get closer and get past the talented Imberg.