DD rides again, My Mallory report
With the demise of Hottrax it was time to take the Desmo Due series to new pastures and the first pasture DD arrived at was Mallory Park with EMRA. Despite it being a meeting put together at short notice we managed to field a grid of 20 bikes as every one pulled together and made the effort to get to Mallory. I think at this point both Mark Hamilton and Brian Alexander deserve a special mention for traveling all the way down from their homes in Scotland, even if Brian had to borrow Steve Masonís bike.
By the time I arrived at Mallory along with Dallas at around 4:00 pm the gates to the paddock were already open and we found the DD riders that were already there encamped at the far end of the paddock alongside the lake, the furthest point from the Technical Inspection bay,
No sooner had we pulled up, said hello to everyone and started to unload the bikes we noticed Technical Inspection was already underway. So with the bike unloaded it was time to change the front wheel as the one used last week at Castle Combe was a Dunlop Qualifier which I need to change to the Dunlop SportSmart2 control tyre. With that done it was time to push the bike the length of the paddock and up the hill so that it could be checked over and signed off as OK to race.
While in the Queue I spotted my old SoT sparring partner Dean Nicholls who was getting his side car checked over, so he walked over for a chat as I stood in line with my bike. A short time later it was back to the van with the bike and put it on itís paddock stand and get changed into my riding gear so I could get that checked and signed off.
Next was signing on which was straight forward and we were given our race program and a practice pass, I also had my first face to face Chat with Iain Rankin the clubs membership secretary and later when returning to race admin to sign on for the Minitwins class I had my first face to face chat with Mark Jessup who I suppose is the race director for EMRA, both great guys and a pleasure to work with to get this Desmo Due round sorted.
With all the pre race preparation complete it was time to catch up with everyone and then go on mass for a track walk. Circuit was pretty much as I remembered it but Iím fairly certain Gerrards has been resurfaced since I was last there. It was gone 10 pm by the time I had something to eat and then before I knew it it was time to sort out my sleeping accommodation in the back of my van and making use of it.
Woke up race morning to a grey but warm morning, After some breakfast it was off to noise testing and getting my pass sticker stuck to the bike. Then it was time to get into my racing attire as the Minitwins that several of us had entered was the first practice session of the day. This session I used to scrub in my new front tyre taking it very steady for the first few laps, before sitting in behind Matt Lawson and Jim Brian for the remainder of the session.
A couple of sessions later and it was time for our Desmo Due timed practice and with my freshly scrubbed new tyre I was ready to go a bit faster than I did in the session before, this was fast enough to get me 6th on the grid and up onto the Second row. One person I wasnít expecting to out qualify was Brian Alexander who I had passed out on track, so when we came back in from the session I went to see if he had a problem and he did. He was finding the feel of the brakes was inconsistent with lots of lever travel which in part was down to the 16 X 18 Brembo brake master cylinder being designed for a single caliper setup and not the two calipers it was attached to. So I dug out my spare 18 X 19 Brembo and we fitted it to the bike, so that was Brian sorted ensuring he would beat me later in the day. I also hadnít been expecting Dallas to be on Pole but he was. My only problem was my lap timer not giving me any times and it was like this all day yet worked perfectly the previous weekend
Our first race was race 4 a grid just for our Desmo Due Class, with 20 bikes lined up to take the start. One warm up later and we were ready to go as soon as the lights went off. My start could have been better but I was wary of Paul Payne doing a unplanned wheelie off the start in front of me. Then when we arrived at the first chicane it was almost game over as a couple of bikes dived up the inside of me and nearly didnít make the chicane and mucked it up and I had to take avoiding action, slowing me down to much for the gear I was in, after that it settled down a bit as I battled with Class B front runner Scott Wilson and fellow Class A racer Jim Brian. I t didnít take long for Brian to go past us so I knew that changing the Brake Master cylinder had done the trick.
As I approached the hairpin on the 8th lap I was greeted by waved yellow flags and soon spotted Dallas and his bike on the floor after crashing out of the lead. By the time we took the chequered flag I had got the better of Jim but not Scott, putting me 8th overall and 7th in class, so I had dropped a few places on the grid for race 2 later in the day. The race was won by #13 Martin Cox, with last years Class A champion Matt Lawson in Second and last years Class B champion Andy Blomfield in third
My plan of changing gearing to try in the Mini Twins race after the lunch break where I was planning on having a hot meal all went out the window as I spent the time rebuilding Dallasís Brembo front brake master cylinder using part from the one we removed from Brianís bike earlier.
So with nothing really to try in the MT race I came in early deciding to save myself and my tyres for the second of our Desmo Due races, as I exited the track and lifted my visor I felt a few spots of rain as I rode through the paddock.
As it was about 90 minutes until my next race it was time to get something to eat, I was going to go to the cafe but Neal Catling dragged me over to Matt and Karen Lawsonís camper where Matt made me the same lunch as Karen had made me last week along with a cup of tea to go with it. While we were sitting their chatting we were joined by the Derby Phoenix race organiser Ben Ludford and his lady friend who I had given my spare tickets to. Hopefully he was impressed with the DD races as it was he who invited us to run the series at their Cadwell Park meeting in September.
Rcae 13 our second DD race of the day, this time I was starting from 8th, centre of the 3rd row and again I found myself battling with Jim and Scott, the latter of which made it easy for me to pass him as Scott again over did it going into Edwinas chicane and had to take to the escape road, Jim in turn also made it easy for me to pass him when he had gear selection problems that I took advantage off, then it started to rain, not to much at first but every lap the rain fall got heavier even though I was now doing my fastest lap while telling myself it was mental rain, in the end it was to wet for Dallas so he decided to pul over at the end of lap 5 and I passed him down the start finish straight, still going as fast as the lap before I tipped it into Gerrards in top and started driving around the 180 degree corner, when I got about half way round the back wheel slid out sideways which my traction control (aka my throttle hand) managed to catch and the wheels came back into line. Next lap I decided to change down a gear going in and hold a steady throttle going around the corner and then on the exit feed in more power at the same time as standing the bike upright and again the back wheel slid out and again I brought it back into line, after that I decided to take it a bit easier and get to the finish. This time I finished 5th overall and in Class with a 26 second gap to Scott behind in 6th and another 6.5 seconds adrift.
As we now have a 6 week break until we race at Anglesey with NGRRC i decided I would miss the second Minitwin race in these changeable conditions and not risk crashing and injuring myself or the bike.
It was great to have everyone back together again and enjoy a well run meeting on what was mainly a nice weekend.