The weekend started Friday morning early, traveling up from Grenoble to Paris (6 hours), this time with Chris (visiting), Carly and Libby in the car - loads of support! We arrived at Carole arount 12:45 after an easy trip, and then we spent 15 minutes looking for a place to park, as the Promosport crews had all been there since Wednesday, and all car parks were full! We ended up parking next to the model car track, with no loos, water or electricity nearby - the girls were pissed off!
Chris and I rigged up a plastic sheet over the trailer and car to give us some shade as the weather forecast was good for the Saturday.
The GOOD news, I managed the 2 open training sessions with ZERO break downs, Chris helped me do a plug chop after a couple of laps, and although the plugs were certainly not a uniform colour, they were not showing any signs of over heating, so I continued to complete the two sessions. I was running my race stator, plus new ignition boxes from Zeeltronic - everything OK.
The bike was using surprisingly little fuel - we calculated around 3.75 litres for 20 minutes, so we filled her up ready for the early 9:00 qualifying practise on Saturday morning. Again qulifying went without a hitch, the bike is not pulling as strongly as previously, however this could be because I am running richer, or because of low compression due to my "rapid" fix after last times seize. (I put in an old piston with old rings!).
I managed a respectable time of 1 minute 17, which put me at 18th on the grid of 32, and second RD 350. Christian Degardin, my strongest rival had got down to 1 minute 15 seconds! Some work for me to do!
The first race was Sunday morning at 9:00, and I got a reasonable start, and followed a TZ350 through a wide first bend scrabble which allowed me to get a few places forward. After a couple of laps I got into a battle with Philippe Freon (Proclassic president), with his Kawasaki 1000, I was quicker through the twisties especially at the parabolic, I even managed a couple of outside overtakes (not to be advised for the feint hearted), and I also got him on the brakes at the end of the back straight, but the speed and torque of his 1000cc's was making things difficult for me. A couple of laps from the end, the bike started to miss a beat..... another bend... oh dear it's not running.... hand up... stop... shit....
Back in the pits, the bike starts again, and then no more sparks!!!!! again.....
To cut a long story short, Chris and I manage to get it going again around 15:00 in the PM, a couple of hours before race 2.
I am thinking to myself that the bike will only last a couple of laps, as we have not really found any specific problem, I am running a different stator, new plugs and plug caps now, and my slight flat spot is back (linked with the stator). I am on the back row of the grid because I didn't finish race 1, but in the company of some strong contenders, Ramyond Faboulet and Dominique Denis-Lutard (normally at the front) are next to me! The green light comes on and I get an OK start - Raymond stutters and doesn't get away clean as does Pierre Eline, some lines ahead - well that's 2 of my category behind!
I make good progress, moving past the Arnold brothers (Hugues and Franck), and then getting past Philippe Freon and the last Arnold (Pierre). I ended up having a small scrap with a Ducati 906 (Daniel Duhamel), which I enventually won! I finished in 15th position scratch and 3rd position in my category.
I had brought my lap time down to 1 minutes 16 secs a personal best and on lap 13!
The next race is on October 4th & 5th once again at Carole (yawn...). I will try and post some photos or video clips!