24 Nov

Cadwell Park 2010

The day dawns and its damp.. its always damp in the morning at Cadwell this time of year.. The Woodlands section is quite enclosed and can stay damp all day. Noise testing and scrutineering is done and dusted. The bike sounds mean and I can’t wait to get on track. At this meeting we have 8 Vespa smallframes, the highest number since the 80’s and surely a sign of things to come.

From Germany is Marco Buttner, LTH owner riding his Primavera Falc as well as Stoffi and Michael from Stoffi’s Garage in Austria. Stoffi and Michael are ‘old hands’ at this track now as its their third visit.

Fuelling up the bike its all systems ready to go.  Its still very wet but at least the sun is out. Down to the holding bay and the smoke fills the air as 38 race scoots prepare to find out just how damp it is.

The gate opens and its straight out into the Woodlands.. yes its very wet.. take it easy here.. through the twistys and Barn corner … now open it up.. get some heat into that rear tyre.. waggling the bars to get some heat into the front tyre- it all feels good.

After one lap I feel the rear end dragging.. something isnt quite right. After 3 or 4 laps I return to the paddock to check whats wrong. It appears the rear tyre is rubbing on the motor case. I quickly space out the rear tyre with more washers and await the call for race 1.

The holding bay is busy. The two stroke smoke is thick and stings my eyes. I can’t wait to get out of here. Warm up and the bike is fine.. the tyre is clear. Positon 29 and ten rows back from the start. Its a long way to make up. The lights are on red and then clear .. we are off..

1,2,3,4 changing up towards the first left hander.. arriving way too fast I knock it back to third and try to wriggle my way through several bikes.. inside and outside I find my self a little clear track and nail the throttle again.. onto Park Staight and into top gear. The red shift light tells me 10.500 and way over 90 mph.. I just let the motor rev on and on. Braking hard for Park Corner.. passing Stuart Day and down into second..power on.. 3rd , 4th.. flat out.. the shift light is on again but i’ve not got a 5th gear 🙂

Something is wrong.. its dragging again.. as I down shift to 3rd for the scary Gooseneck the rear wheel locks and I go wide.. somehow I save it, down to second and get it round the ‘Neck’ towards Mansfield. The tyre is dragging again for sure and I head through Woodlands where the red flags are out. I sit up and ride the bike to the grid. Its clear whats happening. The rear tyre is expanding so much that despite 5mm of clearance its still locking up. Not had this problem before. Strange. I dont restart as I’ve melted one side of the tyre. I take it back to the paddock instead.

After a little head scratching I decide to fit some split ally rims. These rims have a 4mm offset and although you are effectively moving the wheel centers over at least the wheels will clear the swing arm.

Race two. And its deja vu. The rear wheel locks again. Two laps and i’m in 5th with a weird screeching noise from the rear. Its pull over and damage limitation time. Whats happend is the clutch cover has come away from the motor and one of its bolts is locking on the rim. I don’t believe it. On examination the threads have stripped. Not my day really. But 5th postion from postion 29 on the grid in only two laps at least gives me confidence for sunday.

Sunday… WET!

Its not just wet.. its hammering down. Practise tells me just how slippery it is but all is good until I touch the front brake. The bike starts pulsing up and down indicating a warped front disc..not what you need in the rain where smoothness is required.

Not much to be done here.. Charley backs off the adjuster on the remote master cylinder. I just have to go out and ride round it. Our race is called and 30 or so scoots pollute the holding bay again. Suddenly the call to cut engines is given. Oil and fuel has been dumped all round the track and our race is postponed. Three and a half hours of cleaning later we are finally on track and ready to go. This time I’m not hanging around. Keith Terry says he’ll wait for me and considering i’m still 24th and 8 rows back and he is at the front I thought it was a little cheeky 🙂

The lights clear and we are off.. the motor isnt right..mmm.. it wont drive below 7000 again. I’m wondering if my casings have cracked .. somehow I get the thing moving and up into the powersecond..third… fourth.. back to third and gently lay the bike into Coppice. Power on and its pouring with rain.. into top and back to third for Charlie’s… Park straight and now peak revs in top gear.. flashing by a few more machines I spot Keith on his 180 Gilera Runner.. Park corner approaches and I decide to see what he is up to … Should of gone past I think and as soon as he is through I make my move and up into 3rd then top and also second place only a few seconds behind Charley himself. This isnt bad I think.. 2nd place in half a lap.. much better 🙂 So on we go.. Gooseneck,Mansfield.. its all good.. no funny noises and only hardly any front brake to contend with. The bustop and now the mountain section. All smooth as I can be.. Woodlands and keeping my gap with Charley constant. Barn corner and OFF…. sliding towards the grass. Trying to turn off the motor before it injests Cadwell’s leaves and mud. There is oil all over the corner.. You can see it now. I’m fuming as the marshall says “I don’t think we should of run this race”. My headset is broken and my bike quite battered. Young Josh Brown crashes on the same corner and the same line as me one lap later.. I help him get his bike and he is looking the same as me..covered in mud and just as bemused.

So…. there we have it… In one way I was very pleased with my lap time and position but not pleased with the crash that should never have happened. Maybe some more track time would also help as my last outing on two wheels was April at Mallory. Next year I hope will be different!

Here is a quick clip from that opening lap.



I actually won best presented scooter over the weekend.. The ATB award.. many thanks for the votes..

I would like to thank my friends Izabela and Lee from Fab Sc for the photos and video.

Update… the wet race on sunday from onboard Josh Brown’s Zip Sp.. thanks to Adrenalin Pedstop, 50cc Tuning and Josh himself for the video.

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