Countless hours in the garage fettling the bikes to solve multiple gremlins, coupled to severe memory loss (Longy leaving his bike battery in the hotel room!!), amazingly resulted in a double race win for Team SandM at Darley Moor! A pleasing result... at least for Longy....unfortunately Moldy, despite the help of numerous "stocker" comrades - possibly the friendliest bikers on the planet - spent all weekend spannering his green beast in the pits to no avail.
Conditions were ...well ...grim. Arctic-like weather coupled to the POW standard toilet facilities at Darley provided little comfort to the Earlystock brigade. It wasn't until Moldy's glamorous partner Sam (AKA "Pam") arrived with her lycra outfit, clipboard & stopwatch did the sun begin to shine.
The Torvill & Dean-like weather drove half the stockers grid back to bed (sensible move!), leaving just a hard core of desperate racers left to battle it out for the points. Timed practice was amusing....on a thawing damp track running a semi-slick rear Moldy managed a few laps running on just 3 cylinders whilst Longy remained in the pits fitting his newly acquired battery and didn't get a single lap in - back of the grid then..!
The depleted grid size meant 3rd row was the back-row ....nice...and as the lights went off Longy had made it up to 2nd slot into the fast esses of turn 1. Moldy meantime popped and banged on 3 cylinders wishing he'd gone back to bed with the rest of the Earlystock grid.
Around bend 1 and Longy tucked in behind "Mad", the ex Manx TT and 600 racer. As they hit the back straight Longy's #223 seemed FAST - real FAST - meaning no dare devil braking was required... just a case of winding her up in a Casey Stoner-like fashion to whip past "Mad" on the straight....what a luxury. This was also a relief because half the fork oil had leaked out of a broken seal, and with the super-soft fork settings the bike was pogo'ing into every bend severely limiting heavy braking. As Longy's green meanie #223 started to pull out a lead, Moldy's sad "puffing billy" wobbled around on 3 cylinders; nevertheless, Moldy plodded on to the end just for the hell of it as Longy passed the chequered flag having edged a 6 second gap over Team Mucka's #275.
On arrival at the waiting area it was evident Team SandM now had TWO sick sounding machines....Moldy's bike was still popping and banging on 3 cylinders and Longy's had started making some very worrying top end rattling sounds. Unperturbed, and in the spirit of Earlystock racing both riders decided to "just go for it" and hope they lasted the distance. Longy's did - the race following a similar format to Race 1, albeit slightly slower times in the colder temperatures, but Moldy had reached the "couldn't be ar**d" stage raising the white flag of retirement after 5 laps of the 8 lap race.
Longy had mixed feelings as he picked up his shiny cup for first spot...chuffed about getting the two wins first time out on the big Kwacker, but upset that Moldy hadn't had a crack at the whip all weekend. Now the boys must retire back to the MotoGP HQ of SandM Motorcycles in Banbury to consult with team boss Martin Strong-Man Snr. Some serious brain-storming is required to get these two babies back out on the grid in at Darley again in 3 weeks for the next round.
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