Monday evening last week, I started looking at the bike after Magny-Cours, the throttle wasn't returning properly, and after investigation it turned out that the cable had frayed, so I needed to get a new one, fortunately tuesday morning and the local dealer was optimistic about a new one arriving on Thursday morning - it would be tight but doable as we were planning on leaving for Pau on Thursday evening, and stopping half way (it's about 9 hours for me).
Thursday lunch time cable in hand, I head for home, and low and behold my new Lancegamma filter pods have arrived, so a good time to fit everything before leaving for Pau at 19:00.
The cable went on no problems, the LanceGamma pods come with ball valves which replace the standard needle valve and seats (which invariabley leak on the Gamma), and we didn't really know how to fit them, and got it wrong, after some exchange of email with the manufacturer, however it was too late so we packed up the trailer and off we went at 18:50.
After a night in a small hotel, we arrived at the circuit at around midday on Friday. Practise sessions were planned all afternoon, but as we had to remove the carbs again and refit the floats, I didn't buy any sessions until 15:00, by which time I had the chance to go out and learn the track. Pau-Arnos is a super track, quite narrow in places but combines some really technical hairpins and chicanes with some very fast downhill bends, a very exciting track, and one which produced some good racing, you will see from the video when it gets posted.
Anyway back to the bike! It's not running well, far to rich, after the first practise we back of the mains by 10 points to 250's, and then again to 240's, but still it's not happy, as we have no smaller jets, time for some drastic thinking! The guys in the paddock (and my brother) are convinced it can't breath properly, the filters are getting crushed by the fairing, so we decide in the second race to run it without any filters at all - big risk, as this could have been a very unhappy ending to the weekend, except it did the trick, and the bike ran great, gasping in huge quantities of air to go with the big jets! I think I can still go down again if the weather remains hot!
Anyway, the first race was with an over rich bike, that wouldn't pull the skin of a rice pudding, plus I got a typical start i.e. I was almost last going into the first bend! I managed to get back up with the RD350's after a bit of dicing with a couple of 750/4 Hondas who were going well, and difficult to pass, the 350's went but they seemed to get motivated seeing me pass, so we then proceeded to have a great battle between us, Christian Degardin did not want me to beat him, but I finally pipped him at the chequered flag, although he did a much better job of racing than I did!
The second race was Sunday morning, and as we had decided to leave the filters off, I spent a restless night contemplating seized engines at every turn. However that was not to be! I got a reasonable start (I wasn't quite last), and the bike was running great, with real punch at 8K through to about 11K - GREAT, I blasted past the 350's and starting coming back on the straggling GSXR 750, they normally run in packs for safety, but I managed to pick off a couple of stragglers, and come in at a respectable position, and had a thoroughly enjoyable race! Of course learning these new tracks is great, but frustrating, as you know at the end of the weekend how much faster you COULD HAVE gone!
Lap times came down all weekend which is good, starting of with a 1:44.775 in practise, Race 1 I clocked a 1:38.868, and Race 2 I got down to 1:36.782. The cumlative results should get me a couple of points this time around!
Overall a great weekend with great weather neither too hot but just right! Next time is in 5 weeks time at Le Vigeant a track I am familiar with, so should be good. Photos and videos soon.