April 22, 2008

Mallory Park - DNF, DNF, DNF...DNF!!

Once again the gremlins bit home for Round 4 of the Earlystocks Championship - effectively ruling out a challenge for the title in 08. In miserable conditions, rain, wind and cold temperatures there was little to smile about at Mallory with two DNF's....making it FOUR DNF's on the trot now!!

Moldy was still confined to the bunker having effectively given up on his GPz for this season. The bike has turned out to be a real "pup", with Moldy now in almost full retirement from the racing scene. It looks like a new motor is required because of the smoke bellowing out of cylinder 4 and some serious work is required on the wiring to get the thing firing....Time will tell if we ever get it going in 08.

Longy meantime followed his usual format. With a saturated track to play on, running a shiny new "road legal" Avon Pro-Extreme rain tyre with the standard Avon intermediate front, the bike was sliding around everywhere during timed practice - a scary experience. Totally surprised however, the bike qualified in pole on the grid - as everyone just steady-Eddied around. Starting from the front in wet conditions however can be a mixed blessing when the limits are being searched for following riders.

Come the race, Longy lead into the first corner and having only raced on full wets previously, running road compounds and intermediates in soaking wet conditions was an altogether new experience. The bike was sliding and aqua planing everywhere.....including one very terrifying moment 2/3rds of the way around Gerrards at 100mph+ when the front end tucked on a puddle - thankfully gripping again before dumping the bike into the gravel trap. ....this was not fun.

Having held out a lead for 5 laps or so, the rumble of a giant stocker behind started.....thinking it was either Nige Griffiths on the 1170 or Mad on his Gpz, suddenly the thing zapped by on the start and finish and started to disappear into the distance. A man called Andy Jackson (#214) who failed to make qualifying on his 1100 Suzuki, wearing stars wars type leathers and a very quick rider. Anyway, it wasn't long before breakdown #4 happened, a new fork seal this time, pouring oil all over the track, rider and bike and Longy was black flagged yet again from a clear 2nd spot. Jackson won by a good margin and the bike was retired back to the workshop again.

I think a good time was had by all other riders however - including Dick (pictured left) who ran semi-slick, dry tyres in the full wet conditions...Nice!

With the championship now a long shot, the season may be ramped down to save on some $$$.