Great weekend at Carole (North Paris) this last weekend. The weather was quite cold but bright all weekend, so I was happy (for once) to be travelling North (it was forecasted rain in Grenoble). Arrived at the refreshed circuit Carole at around 12:00, in order to be ready for free practise at 12:45, I didn't count on the lack of space at the circuit! On arrival, the paddock was absolutely chocablock, no where for the ProClassics, fortunately our president pulled some weight, and managed to get us some space, unfortunately without electricity or toilets, but never the less, we had some room to setup.
I got out for practise, to relearn the track, after being away for 2 years. The new owners of the track, have refreshed a couple of areas, but nothing significant, more in security, giving more run off in a couple of places, and also improving spectator safety with new fences and some other stuff.
The track is really quite narrow when over the last few weekends we have got used to Ledenon, Magny Cours and Le Mans, so interesting. The bike was running well, although getting quite hot, I saw 84 degrees Centigrade in practise! My gearing was OK, but I was having to run the bike up to 12K rpm in 2nd to take it through the 3rd corner pif paf, which was preventing me from really accelerating any further, so I thought I would go down a tooth on the rear to run 15/38 on the Saturday. After second practise, I was getting down to 1:13's which was in the same second as my PB, so relatively happy.
I checked the plugs over night, just to make sure nothing was getting too hot, as with the lower temperatures there was a good chance of running a bit lean, however the back cylinders were a nice caramel, and although the front were a little lighter, I considered it OK, especially as it was supposed to be warmer on hte Sunday.
Qualifying went OK, although I was getting some big slides from my rear tyre. Am using the Dunlop GP Race D211 on the rear, and although it is an endurance hardness it seems to be knackered already, I was sliding about all over the place especially knocking my confidence on the "parabolique" where I could feel the tyre moving alot, keeping me from giving it the goods completeley until the bike was fully picked up. Qualified with a 1:13.203 which I thought was OK, until I saw the other times --- gulp..... The fastest time was 1:06, and I was on the 8th line of the grid, qualifying in 22nd position out of 29 racers!
I did try a practise start on the run off lap from qualifying which was a great success. Build up the revs to 10K, then slip the clutch, the mistake I am making is allowing the revs to drop, so as soon as the bike starts to move, I need to keep opening the throttle to stop the revs falling.
I actually got a good start! Compared to the four strokes, I still lost a couple of places, but this was way better than what I am used to and I was in the thick of it, straight away. Had a good race, although really slipping about in the parabolique and also I nearly lost it a couple of times in the hairpin "golf" which is a right hand hairpin, probably about 160 degrees, and my entry speed is quite high, which means I deck everything 'til the apex, at which point both tyres are on the very limit, still with your knee on the ground it is easy to push somewhat to bring her into line. Towards the end I was catching a group of RC30, ZXR750, and GSXR, but I got lapped and in the process lost touch with the guys in front. Shame really coz, I definately had more speed than them at the end of the race.
Best lap was a a 1:13:203 - exactly the same as my qualifying time - have I hit a limit? Finished at 23rd place.
I reckon I got an even better start! Have I got it cracked (at the end of the season!)! Anyway same scenario really except I was a lot more on my own, which was a shame. I am definately changing the rear tyre, it was getting to be awful. Not really much else to report, finished in the same spot, 23rd and with a best time of 1:13.383, so a little slower.... bof!
Still I reached my seasons objectives of scoring some points, which I have to look back to nearly the beginning of the season, but hey - at least I scored them, next year there is a promise of running at Spa in Belgium, and maybe at Paul Ricard, so I need to find some horsepower during the winter break! Just a couple of photos, to prove it was sunny at Carole the whole weekend. Those are the 125's going past, great to see there are still some two stroke championships!