Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Le Vigeant

My weekend started on Wednesday evening when I took the bike out to do some run-in miles. I got 2 miles up the road, and it stopped! I pushed it back to race HQ, and started troubleshooting a spark problem.... After 30 minutes or so, the Power valve started acting up - it didn't initialise on startup... hmmm. Thursday evening should have been spent packing the car and trailer, although I still have to find the problem, which turned out to be the Zeeltronic Power valve controller, it seemed that the controller was pulling the ignition to ground and preventing the spark getting to the ignition coil. So racing this weekend would be without the power valve! Fortunately the ignition system works without. Finished the evening packing up, and watched Germany/Portugal on the TV!

We drove to the Vigeant and arrived around 15:00 at the circuit, the circuit was shared with the Endurance, Protwin and VMA series, so not that packed in the paddock.

Timed practice was on Saturday morning with the first race in the afternoon and then the second race on Sunday morning. I ran the bike in the paddock for sometime just to help run in a little more, and then went out on the timed practice. The circuit is quite complicated, but having been here last year really helped - it came back fairly quickly, they had changed the surface apparently although I didn't notice any difference, and the last bend was changed to avoid running out into a wall! The bike was going really well, although my practice came to an end when a loud bang going up the back straight brought me to a stop! I had lost a spark plug! Dummy - I must have left the right hand plug lose! A trip back to the pits in the track lorry.

The plug went back in and the bike started OK, so no damage!

The first race - I started off from the sixth line, and got a crap start, the bike without power valves is not that torquey, and so difficult to get off the line. I was last going into the first bend although I soon got past the slower part of the pack, and started making progress on the middle group. The bike was working really well, pulling past the red line, and very powerful above 8K rpm. I pulled in all the other RD's after getting past some of the big 4 strokes, a couple of slower GSXR's and Daniel on his 1000 Martin Kawasaki (he was having problems!). Towards the end I was making great headway on Raymond on his TZ350 and we were having a 3 way fight with a Ducati TT. Unfortunately my race ended 3 bends from the chequered flag! When the bike conked out - shit! This turned out to be a fuel problem (not enough of it!).

The temperature around the circuit was about 35 degrees centigrade, and it was a really hot Saturday afternoon, so I suppose we should have expected the storms during the night, unfortunately we didn't! At 3:45 in the morning we woke up with the marquee tent flying over our heads, taking a nice chunk of paintwork out of the car on the way past! Everyone was up running around in pants and pyjamas, trying to pickup things before they got blown away! Our marquee, and the Proclassic tent were completely wrecked (another few hundred Euros in the bin!)

Race 2 - again I got a crap start - I will post it on Youtube just for fun! The bike was running less well but still great, I should maybe have jetted up as the temperature was a lot cooler on Sunday morning, and the ground was wet. The racing line was dry as we started racing around 10:00 am and 2 other races had gone through.

Again I had all the hard work getting past the slower guys, and on the way had some good fights with David Boisnard (750 Honda), and Christian on the RD350 YPVS, and then I was back fighting for the 3rd place in my category with Raymond Faboulet on the TZ350. My strategy was going to be to get him on the last bend as I was quicker than him through there and the start/finish line was only 50 yards up the straight - too little time for him to get me back, unhappily for me, I was too far behind him to overtake on the last bend, and therefore I finished behind Raymond!

The lap time for the weekend came down from 2:16 in practise to 2:11 in the first race to 2:10:558 in the second race which was quicker than last year, so I am happy with my progression. For comparison the first GSXR did 1:54:562 best lap time!!

Overall a mixed bag of a weekend!
I will post some photos later and a couple of video clips.

Next race at Carole on July 12th.

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