Pretty safe to say 2018 has not been a good year for me and my bikes.
Booked in a few track days in February to blow out the cobwebs and give the bike a bit of a shakedown. During the winter I had switched to a race shift pattern quick shifter and fitted a new shifter from ses so was keen to give that a good try. One of the advantages of race shift/gp shift is being able to snatch a gear whilst really driving out a corner whilst also hanging off the bike. If you’ve ever ridden brands hatch and come up against clearway you’ll know what I mean.
Anyway first track day was at brands an as expected I was pretty rusty. Was really struggling to get comfortable with the bike. Which handnt changed since I last raced when it felt spot on, so it was all just me being difficult. Midway through the day how ever the exhaust headers gave out and cracked which put me over the track day noise limit….
Attempt two started out even worse… Whilst getting the headers repaired I managed to puncture the radiator but this didn’t present itself until I was warming the bike up for the warm-up laps. Luckily the parts guys had some rad weld so after finally getting that sorted I got out on track. Even got some instruction from Dean Ellison to help me improve a little. After a session with Dean, the feedback was pretty much turn in later, carry more corner speed and trust the front. Apparently, I run very defensive lines which are ok(not great) for racing but would ruin any qualifying time.
After of the first two track days, I thought all my issues would be over and I could just focus on going faster. Ha! Fool…. First session struggling to downshift… So I was sailing into corners in like 4th or 5th gear… I got to admit this was massively helping my corner speed issue I was carrying loads more speed because I knew I’d have no drive out the other side. Back to the pits adjust the shift so it stops catching on frame… Session two felt good as the speed increased it became apparent the front pads were done… I knew this one was coming through so again back to the pits new pads next session… Send it!
Everything felt good, confidence in the front end was good so more corner speed, trailing the brakes into the corner, smiles all round! 3 laps later… Tucked in down the pit straight hit about 120mph and noticed the engines stopped pulling… Weird.. I shut off the throttle a tiny bit and the rear wheel seizes… Brown trousers and swearing follows along with trying the wrestle this bike snaking down the straight. I will admit it took me longer than it should to just pull in the clutch so the wheel could spin again. Back to the pits again for the third and final time. After the bike had cooled down it started again and ran but it was obvious something was right… I forgot to mention this was a 2day event and I was out 3 sessions in. To rub salt in the wound I had to hang around whilst my buddy who came along in my van had a great time on his bike.
Shortly after Snetterton, I took my bike to t3 racing to asses the damage. By the time I had got home they had already stripped the sump and found remnants of the shells. So that was either a 3k engine rebuild or a new engine unfortunately for me I was moving house at the time so the 675 just got parked up for a while.
Flash forward to the present day and I have now moved and settled in at my new home in Essex(with a garage!). I now have a new engine provided by the awesome guys at motorbykebitz and both the bike and the new engine are at Glen’s bike Servicing being introduced!
So what do I have planned for the rest of the year? Well in a few weeks I’m off to Aragon Spain for 3 days of Spanish sun and Spanish gp spec tracks! And that will probably be all I manage to fit into 2018 but hopefully, it will be enough to set me up for a great 2019!