Arriving at Cadwell Park on Thursday night for Round 6 of the BEMSEE Thunderbikes championship - a 3.5 hour drive from our Northwich base - we decided to go for a walk of the track (and Lucy showed me the correct racing lines!) before retiring to the caravan and watching Paddington on DVD!
The Friday test day was mainly dry with occasional showers throughout the morning. We managed to re-learn the track, then swap over the fuel tank to test the spare tank/pump on track, before finally fitting some new dry tyres and spending a session scrubbing them in. With all that done, and with us knocking 3 seconds off our previous personal best lap time (to a 1'50.0), we decided to call it a day - which was a good decision as just then the rain really started falling! So, we got scruitineering and signing on out of the way and had a brew in the restaurant whilst watching some poor souls enjoying the remaining track time. The weather forecast for the rest of the weekend looked dry, so we didn't see the need to test in the wet conditions.
After 90 minutes of stoppages to clean up a couple of oil spillages on Saturday morning, the sun came out for our qualifying session. We managed to take another 2.6 seconds off our personal best (to a 1'47.4 - and we were another 0.7 faster on the following lap but were held up by traffic) and qualified 7th on the grid for the afternoon's only (9 lap) race. With a lot of time to spare, we enjoyed some of the facilities that Cadwell Park has to offer! :-)
When the lights went out for our Saturday race, we got a cracking start and were running in 4th place when the red flag came out to look after a fallen rider. On the race restart (which was now reduced to 7 laps), we got another decent start and were running in 6th place before making a couple of mistakes and dropping a couple of places. We managed to take a further 2.2 seconds off our personal best lap time (now a 1'45.2) and finished the race in 7th position - a fantastic result for us! Our ideal lap comparison showed that there was a possibility of a high 1'44 lap in us, so we aimed to do our best to break into the 1'44s in Sunday's race.
When attending the BEMSEE meetings, we always attend the awards presentation in the bar on the Saturday night. This time, as a nice surprise to us, we were awarded with a trophy for "Solo Best Turned Out" by Bill Barrowcliff. We thought that this was a fantastic reward for all the hours we put into preparing the bike, so gladly received the award with a big smile! :-)
Then on the Sunday morning, Bill Barrowcliff visited us to take some "more official" photos of the bike, rider and trophy!
Fabulous sunshine shone down on the circuit on Sunday, but further oil spills meant that our race was delayed until after the lunch break. When we finally got underway we got a good start and immediately put the hammer down to momentarily move into 4th place, before being relegated back to 5th place a few corners later. From there, we tagged onto the battle for 3rd place and knocked another second off our personal lap time - to set a 1'44.2 on the final lap, crossing the line in a fantastic 5th position (4 seconds off the 3rd place finisher).
When inspecting the bike after the race, we discovered that the fairing had been touching down during the race - the first ground clearance problem we have ever experienced in four seasons of running our Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin.
After our first Sunday race there were then even more oil spills and delays, so we decided to call it a day and head home for an early bath! To illustrate how much oil was already down at the point we went out for the first Sunday race, we decided to highlight the spillages on the circuit map below.
With our next race meeting only a week away, at Darley Moor Round 6 on Sunday 7th August, we don't have long to wait until our next ride out.
David Carson Jnr,