April 14, 2009

Rnd 2 - Mallory Park...A Good Day Out for Team SandM

Moldy was pretty pleased with himself after collecting his first cup for the cabinet finishing third in the 750 class - Nice one Jonathon! Credit also goes to Team Boss Martin Strong for spending numerous hours toiling over Moldy's Kwacker to get it into shape for race day. What with a couple of wins for Longy it was a good day out for Team SandM.

Practice
The clouds loomed over Mallory Park for Rnd 2 of the EMRA and Rnd 1 of the Earlystocks Championships. The expected sunshine was instead replaced with a feeling of gloom as the heavens threatened to open. After copious amounts of Red Bull to get the engine's started, and with the track remaining dry, Longy managed a 1.01.885 lap, enough for pole, and Moldy a 1.07.723 for a 9th grid position.

Race 1
The weather started to turn just before the race and an intimidating sprinkle of water started to fall continuously as the bikes entered the holding area - the sort of weather that plays havoc with the brain as you just can't predict how much grip there is likely to be. Thankfully, a pre race discussion with 125 rider/ mate of John Wardle who advised to "keep it nailed" to keep the heat in the tyres was the best tip of the day. As the lights went out the nailing started and not really knowing whether the bike would grip or fall on it's arse, Team SandM just hoped for the best.

Moldy got off to a good start in 5th spot and Longy entered a great 3 way dice at the front - Tom Benford #277 was loving the conditions on his 135bhp 1170cc Katana monster and nipped to the front and Mad #275 on another Kawa GPz750 was nipping at the heels after a cracking start - he loves the wet/ damp weather. It stayed like this for a few laps, with Tom pulling out a good yardage on the start/finish but then the 750's reeling him in around Gerrards...and with the rain spraying on the visor it was nerve tingling to say the least. Longy decided to have a go for the lead in spite of not enjoying the conditions and managed to outbrake Tom into the hairpin. Mad by this time had just started to drop off the pace so it was a two horse race to the line.

Moldy meantime lost a couple of slots to 1100cc of Alec #216 and Adrian Skaife #313 on his LC250 (those things fly at Mallory!) but was fighting back on his finely fettled machine sporting an original Kerker pipe.

Back at Gerrards on lap 7, all hell let loose as both Longy and Tom lined up to slip past Jason Potts on his X7 at the end of the start/ finish but unfortunately this lapping situation coincided with Tom Benford's move to get back into the lead. As the three bikes jossled into Gerrards at around 90mph, Tom couldn't quite hold his race line as he snuck into the lead and the unfortunate Jason X7's front wheel was wiped out and he hit the deck hard. At this point Longy was expecting a pretty major "off" as both bike and rider lay directly in front of him, and with thoughts of "this is going to hurt" as he expected his bike to T-bone the tumbling mass. Miraculously however, momentum carried Jason's and his bike just (and I mean just) fractionally from Longy's front wheel and together with some braking and swerving all parties involved missed each other. Sad for Jason as that was the end of his day, helmet and a fair chunk of bent bits to repair. Amazingly Tom was oblivious to the incident, and with the advantage gained, coupled to Longy's jangling nerves, he was out of reach for a final challenge - shame because the race was building up to a great finale.

The final result however was Longy overall 2nd place and 1st 750cc and Moldy 8th overall and 3rd 750cc. So a good result nevertheless.

Race 2
Longy's plan for race 2 was to go "hell for leather" during the early laps and try to gap Tom Benford's monster 1,170cc machine. With a 50bhp disadvantage the race had to be won early on cold tyres. Thankfully the plan worked a treat and the race was fairly uneventful resulting in a 13 second gap on the rest of the field past the chequered flag. This left a great battle for 2nd spot between Tom, Alec Gilfillan and Aidy Brennan all on 1,000cc+ machines and Mad on his 750 and Tom just nicked it after a few exchanges with a pretty worn out looking rear tyre to manage to the line.

Moldy meantime was struggling with his fitness and in spite of a few pints of Red Bull pre-race, he slipped back a few spots from his race 1 position to finish 11th overall and 4th 75o past the flag - not surprising considering his complete lack of track time over the last 18 months.

The Championship
There is a huge way to go in both the EMRA and Earlystocks championships and a lot depends on whether the bikes will keep going for the duration. Moldy is on track for a 3rd spot finish in both champs and Longy gained max points in both rounds is a good start. With the next round a Darley Moor, a real power circuit that suits the big 1,000's, the SandM boys will have their work cut out to bring home the bacon!