Cadwell… What an insane little track that is! The harder you attack it the slower you seem to go… well at least that’s how it worked out for me!
The test day was good fun! lovely weather and we pitched up with our good friends at Renown Racing. Luckily for us they happily let us squeeze into their awning and run off their generator too! ( What friendly chaps 😀 ). Took quite a while to gel with the track it’s so narrow compared to most other tracks and took quite a while to gel with the track, it’s so narrow compared to most other tracks and turn one is one of those corners where your heads screaming to shut off the throttle but you have to just keep it pinned and throw it in. The camber and climb up the hill scrubs off all the speed you need to lose, A lot easier said than done!
Race one was pretty uneventful although we did come very close to coming together with Tom Benstead at the chicane, Trying to get up the inside into the chicane ended up into a bit of a block pass and caused tom to run on and skip it all together, unfortunately for tom that wasn’t to be our only incident together.
Race two we caused a bit of controversy with Carl from renown racing, after them following us for a lap or so and getting very close and almost taking us out Carl found a gap going into the first corner. However, there was a yellow flag out and Mike had let off the throttle so as Carl come passed he completely missed the yellow flag as it was hidden behind Mike and ended up getting a penalty putting him back behind Mike in the end result.
Race 3 was a struggle, mike was feeling tired and struggling to find a decent flow. After getting frustrated and going slower he admittedly “gave up pushing” and settled into just bringing the bike home. Surprisingly though this was where he set his best time! From lapping most of the weekend at around 1m43s most of the weekend he pulled a 1m41s from nowhere. Cadwell is definitely a track that rewards a nice flowing ride!
Race 4 was a good battle with Tom again he managed to get past us a few laps in and Mike locked onto his back wheel refusing to let him pull away. After following tom for a few laps there was only one place that Mike was noticeably quicker, unfortunately it wasn’t an easy place to overtake. Mike did, however, manage to ride around the outside of tom on Chris’s curve and into the gooseneck. According to Tom, he did come into contact although the adrenaline was following for Mike and he didn’t even notice. Luckily it wasn’t enough contact to cause either riders to come off but Mike did pull a comfortable lead within the next lap.
We also got our first taste of endurance racing when we were asked to step in and support bob + 1 with timing and rider changes
At Snetterton, we got our second taste of endurance racing as we were asked to be the third rider for GRS Racing. Endurance racing is a different experience altogether, you get a ten minute qualifying session in the morning then wait around till 3 pm for you race to start. It’s a lot more relaxed this way and there’s virtually no rushing around first thing in the morning like you do with sprints.
Mike managed to set the fastest lap out of the three of them during qualifying but it wasn’t a great time. Think it was about 2m12 where the aim was for a little closer to 2m10 but thats what you get for not doing the test day :). We were also disqualified from quali as Karl was running illegal tyres so this didnt really matter. The team didn’t mind as this was just a race for fun rather than chasing positions. Both Karl and Glen were coming back from crashes and were looking to just get a feel for it again.
The endurance start is mental, they run le man style starts where the riders have to run across from one side of the track to the other jump on their bikes and race off. its completely chaotic and mad but so much fun! The guys let mike do the start as it was his first go at endurance… and guess what he fluffed it haha :D. The excuse was “My bike has a button to override the clutch switch and in my excitement to get going I completely forgot about it!” It only slowed us down by a few seconds but it was enough.
The first stint was a hard slog, mike was lapping around 2m12 still and couldn’t make much progress. he also struggled to get onto anyone’s back wheel to drag him along, Most of the field is made up of 1000cc machines so although he could follow them through a couple of corners but as soon as it came to one of snetts straights they were gone and there wasn’t much he could do.
After what felt like 30 minutes into my stint he was really starting to fade and each time he came around you could see he was scanning the pit wall for the ‘in’ sign but no luck. He did get a small rest bite in the form of a red flag. There was a nasty crash going into bomb hole between to riders and a lot of oil spilt so the track was closed while they cleaned up the track. The Team informed Mike had only been out for 20 minutes. Determined to complete the agreed 30 minute stint he stayed with the bike in pit lane and waited patiently to go back out. After the restart, Mike managed about another 3 or 4 laps before the fuel light came on and I had to be pulled in.
Pictures above by https://www.facebook.com/bryan.lancaster
The second stint was much the same although in mikes own words “I did almost come off the bike. Pushing the front too hard through nelsons it gave way, I fell to the side and all my weight fell to my knee. Luckily after the bike had shook my weight free it caught grip again and picked itself up dragging me along with it. Then it was just a case of shuffling back onto the seat thanking my guardian angel and try to find my confidence again.” If anyone can verify that we would love to hear… till then we’re not so sure thats how it went down.
The third stint was relatively tame just exhausting, Mike had reached his limit and was out of energy and making silly mistakes which were costing him time and you could see he was getting more frustrated the longer he stayed out. Luckily the bike called quits though when the fuel light came on and finally relieved mike from his final stint. Karl Smith bought the race to an end for the team.
But again we were disqualified as Karl was still running illegal tyres. Cant slip anything past those scruteneers!
We enjoyed dipping my toe in endurance but Mike definitely prefer sprints. “During the endurance its hard to tell who you racing against. Sometimes you let someone go as they are on a thousand and arent in your class but I don’t like that I want to fight for every position. I also wasn’t so good a reserving energy and just treated each stint like a sprint race” Massive thanks to GRS for having us as part of their team for the weekend. Great bunch and really friendly!
Unfortunately, that concludes our racing for 2017 and as of yet we don’t have any firm plans for 2018 although we hope to get at least a few race weekends but maybe not a full season