Right so lots to update, this could be a longish blog post..
First off Anglesey;
Again no practice day for us so we had 10 minutes to learn the track and set a blisteringly fast hot lap that would put us at the front of the grid… yeah… this didn’t happen :D. However, we weren’t stone dead last either 😀 albeit not far from;
The racing was hard going as conditions were pretty poor. The bike was going strong but it just wasn’t quick enough. In the second race, we had a very hard fought battle against No666 Daniel Blake on a 675. Several times showing him a wheel but the torque of the 675 just drove him out of corners quicker than the cbr could manage. Eventually we made a pass about 2 laps before the end of the race and then just focused on riding as defensively as possible to keep the place.
The 2 races on Sunday were extremely windy and again hard going, if the wind caught you it could easily send you across the other side of the track. We had some good battles with James Roberts, him winning the 1st, us winning the 2nd.
On the whole, we had a good weekend, the weather was against us but the track is awesome and we hope to get back there soon.
Shortly after Anglesey and the frustration of not having enough grunt we decided to part company with the CBR, putting it up for sale on FB. Although we were very sad to see it go we were equally excited to at what was to replace it
Our very own 675! Was a long trip to Hull and back to collect it then a week later off to Oulton park to give it a test.
For the Oulton round, we booked the test day. New bike, new track and only one day’s racing wasn’t going to work.
After the first session, I was excited but also a little concerned. The track was amazing! Great fun to ride whilst also being a huge challenge. However, I couldn’t get the bike to turn properly. It seemed to be resisting my inputs most of time and then it would suddenly plonk down on its side in a corner. It wasn’t a very enjoyable bike to ride, it was almost as if the bike was too stable.
I returned to the pits and widened the bars right out to give myself more leverage when turning. This helped a little but not enough, also the quick shifter was distracting me a fair bit and took some getting used to.
After the second session I took the bike to James @ no limits race support to ask for some help. He took one look around the bike and said I bet it won’t turn and it’s super stable on the brakes. At this point I thought he has over heard my complaints in the garage. Turns out the previous owner had wound the preload right up so as to get the right sag settings for a heavier rider. James made a few tweaks, wound the forks pre load off and a few clicks on the rebound on the shock and sent me on my way.
The difference it made was phenomenal, the bike changed direction effortlessly, floated into a corner and tracked like a dream never coming off line. I wish I knew more about setting up the suspension because it can completely transform a bike
Later in the afternoon we were waiting going out for a session but we were held in pit lane due to a clean up from a mishap in the previous group and my check engine light came on. I went out and done a single lap to see if it would clear itself but no luck. I came into the pits and switched it on and off again still no luck. I walked up and down the paddock asking if anyone had a way of getting the error codes of a 675 and some luck! One of the other new comers had a laptop and an odb2 cable but he couldn’t look at it till after practice as he understandably had his own bits to do.
We skipped the next session as we weren’t sure what to do with the bike. Instead of skipping the last session though we took the decision to just to risk it… the bike was behaving, as usual, wasn’t in limp mode and we had checked the oil and couldn’t see anything in it so what the hell.
It was a pretty good session and I just set about trying to learn the lines and tie that into the various youtube videos I had watched in anticipation of the round. My speed was slowly improving but I still had a long way to go but I was out of time all sessions were over for the day.
Eventually, I took my bike over to James Willams, who hooked my bike up to his laptop and tried to pull down the error codes. Unfortunately down to either an issue with his laptop or my bike the two wouldn’t communicate. So James lent me his cable so I could try installing the software on my laptop and try again, but by the time I got the bike back to the garage the light had gone out! hoorah! I decided if the bike was now happy then so was I and returned the cable without investigating any further.
We woke up to a very fine rain not enough to wet the track but enough to play on your mind. The decision was made to run slicks regardless of the rain, we were pretty sure we could get enough heat in the tyres and as the ground was dry there wouldn’t be any rain to dissipate, so wet tyres wouldn’t be needed. However 10 minutes before quali it decided to rain properly. This resulted in us not qualifying and having to sit the session out. The misty rain returned shortly after but having learned our lesson we switched to wets ready for my first race from the very back of the grid.
Starting 37th probably wasn’t the worst thing to happen, It allowed us to make progress through the pack and not have to worry too much about riding defensively. It was meant to be a wet race but was more mildly damp, if we were allowed to run intermediate tyres and we had a set they would have been ideal. The first few laps were carnage, I managed to gain a few positions off the line but it was yellow flags galore after that! Mike counted 4 bikes crashed at one corner. It ended up being red flagged as there were too many crashed bikes on the circuit. we managed to finish 24th but that was largely down to the 6 DNF’s.
The second race was nice and dry and we started 25th but finished 26th, we struggled with lack of experience with the track. Mike often second guessing himself around the blind corners (of which there are a fair few) and not getting on the throttle anywhere near hard enough. Also as our speed slowly increased our lines had to change to accommodate the extra speed. Constantly changing turn in markers, brake markers, and gear change markers.
During the third and final race, it started to click. we were finding areas to could steal a bit more speed, pushing a little wider for one corner but then setting up perfectly for the next. Oulton Park has a lot of late Apex’s and you need to sacrifice some corners to get the better drive out of the next and on to the straights. In the final race, we started 26th and finished 21st also taking our best lap time from 1:57.338 to 1:55.526. We still have loads of room to improve and know plenty of areas we can work on when we next visit.
Oulton has now got to be my favourite track though and I hope to get back there many more times…
Now to get ready for Cadwell next month!