What a day! I don't do many trackdays. For all sorts of reasons, last years TA at Cadwell was my last one.
A big thanks to Monty and Lizzie for arranging these. They are days, that for me as well as many others, will stay in my memories for years to come.
This years TA began shortly after the last one. I'd had a plan to have a new motor ready for the bike last year, but never got it finished. All that happened over the last 14 months was that the two boxes of disassembled 748 engine grew to 3 or 4 and small amounts of work got infrequently carried out on them.
About two weeks ago I decided to go for it, and build the new engine.
All went well with the bottom end and after a quiet Sunday it was together. Nothing too fancy, just assembled very carefully with an alloy flywheel perched on the end of a balanced crank assembly.
Last weekend, it was the top end's turn. Disaster struck. The new valves that had gone in them weren't cut in deep enough. It was impossible to get any clearance on the closing shims, even with the thinnest of closing shims in them.
They were dispatched to Alan at AJ Racing who recut them and had them back to the workshop by Friday morning. Big thanks to him
By Wednesday, i was in a dilemma. I was as far as I could go with the engine on the stand. What if I dropped the old motor in preparation for the new on and somethng went wrong at the last minute?? No bike for TA, unless I pushed it around!!
Stuff it. Wednesday afternoon I started to strip the bike. It was gone midnight when I put the spanners down, but in the frame sat a shiney new motor. Here's hoping nothing goes wrong now
Thursday and back to working on other peoples bikes, but made time to pull the wheels and get the set of Diablo Corsa's fitted
Friday arrived. The heads turned up about 11. Alan had bought me some time by shimming the closers for me so all I had to do was fit and shim the openers, fit all the covers and get them on the bike.
The motor soon started to come together. The squish was set, cams timed up, as close as I had offset keys for anyhow, clearances checked and then all the pipes, wires and bolt ons went on.
I'd decided that i wasn't finished until it ran. It ran at midnight!! I went to bed
Saturday was an early start. There was no bodywork on it yet and I had a nice trackday set of "Barry", in the obligatory Yellow, to fit.
The body work was fitted by lunch, which meant it was time to run the motor in. The industrial park gets quiet on a Saturday afternoon so it makes a perfect place to "gently" run a bike around.
2 sessions of careful running in saw the tickover steady up and loosened the motor up enough to check everything was fine. Job done me thinks!! A bottle of Stella serves as a celebration and I lock up.
Sunday morning sees the yellow peril packed into the back of the van along with Rob's SPS. Followed by the paddock bike
tool box, jerry cans and god knows what else. Rushjob arrives with the trailer with his ST on the middle rail, with space either side for KB's SS and Lee's 748R. That should be enough.
Rushjob shoots off to hitch the caravan up, Lee and Rob jump in the van and KB follows in the car. We meet up with RJ and off we go for Cadwell.
After a very wet drive up to the circuit, we're waved down by this dodgy lookin Londoner.............. Dibble directs us to the big marquee where there is already a hive of activity of tent erecting and cooking going off.
We unload the trailers, the van and get the beer out.
The Dibble Corse factory bike gets an oil change, I get a burger, another beer and then WebbyC's S4R gets some of Shell's finest to. A few more beers and i'm flaggin. Sleep is good!! Even if you're bunked up with three of the loudest snoring human beings known to man
Monday morning arrives and it's wet!! Very wet. I'd got a few bikes to look at for peeps, so moved the van to the paddock, went to the briefing and went off to hot wire a couple of bikes and fit some brake pads
I guess i missed two sessions. The wet track wasn't that appealing. New tyres, new engine..................no chance!!
I went for a coffee and watched from the clubhouse. There was a definate line clearing and the rooster tails on the start/finish were getting smaller. Time to get the leathers on i think.
My first session was "tentative". I felt very uneasy. I'd gone out near the front and knew I was holding people up. I didn't want the pressure of getting in the way and neither did I want people on the wet line to pass me. I slowed up and stuck left on the start finish and waited til it was clear behind me. I didn't need to worry about anyone passing me so concentrated on getting round in one piece. The confidence grew in the tyres and I stuck to about 8000 rpm with the motor.
The motor felt good. The tyres started to feel good near the end of the session, but I was relieved to see the chequered flag. Back to the paddock.
A quick check showed the tyres were scrubbing in nicely and there were no leaks or bits missing from the engine.
My next outing was much better. The track was almost dry, I wasn't bothered about the tyres and the motor felt good. I started to enjoy myself. I kept the motor to about 8 or 9 thou' and started to get my head around the circuit.
Much better. I was ready now for the afternoon!!
Lunch saw another alarm fix, a bit of footpeg straightening and some food.
The afternoon sessions soon came around and the fun began. I felt much better and started to have a good time. I enjoyed every one of the sessions. Got faster and started showing the motor the change light
Then it was done. Another TA completed and still in one piece.
Before we packed away, we said our farewells to Mort down at Hall Bends. No words. Lot's of emotion and memories. Nuff said. Thanks to Morts family for being there and allowing me the privelidge of being there for that very personal moment.
Thanks also to the Cadwell management for allowing it. Respect.
We were soon packed up and off we went. I was so tired it was unreal. Thank god for redbull..............
the journey home was brightened up by a phone call from Rob, up front in RJ's Range Rover. " The clutch has gone!!" That'll be interesting then..................he's towing the caravan!!
KB shot off in front to warn the blokes at the Dunham toll bridge that there'd be a RR on it's way that wasn't going to stop. She paid the man and they held the barriers up for us!!
Didn't pay my toll though..................
The day ended about 10pm. I rolled the trailer into the workshop, shut the door and went home. It'll wait. My bed was calling!!
things I'll remember about this one...........................
I'm glad I fitted the motor......at last
Diablo Corsa's are great tyres.
I don't like rain........
Dibble is the king of blaggers
TA's are great
WJB needs a higher chair
Lynn did do as well as we told her she would.
Rockhoppers ST looked cool with tyre warmers fitted
99*'s go like stink on the straights.
Brembo 4 pads, SBK discs and radial master cylinder STOP!!
It's great to be a part of the DSC
There's a fine selection of human beings here.
I really miss Mort
and finally, it's great to have friends like Rob, Andy, Lisa, Lee. Thanks.
Thanks to everyone for the laffs, the banter and a hell of a time.