Silverstone was definitely not our weekend!
So I missed the test day due to previous commitments which meant going out onto the track for qualifying and learning the track, getting used to the bike (which hadn’t been used since Spain) and set a decent lap.. Easy ..
The intention was to sit behind a slower rider for a few laps, work out the tracks lay out, its bumps and areas where you could steal a few seconds. However, I rolled out on the track and the rider I followed out was a lot slower than expected and I wasn’t learning anything. so a quick dive up the inside and I was away. Unfortunately, there was no one else in front to follow so I just wobbled for 3 laps. On the third lap feeling quietly confident that I had the layout down, I cracked open the throttle… 3 corners later I had gone into the village a bit hot… Not a problem plenty of run off, a quick look over my shoulder to check I can rejoin without getting in anyone’s way and as I turn my head back around the bike hits the floor..
I had failed to notice the patch of grass before rejoining and with the morning dew, it was like a sheet of ice. The bike has slide straight on the apex of the corner ( taking the company name a bit too literal ). I jumped up off the floor and picked up the bike as quick as possible and began to wheel it straight off to the side of the track. As I started the slow push to the Armco the 2 marshals come rushing over to help me out. I asked to rejoin but wasn’t allowed. so that was qualifying done..
I started from the back of the grid which wasn’t surprising but with a good started i managed to claw back a few places straight away, I tried to get my head down and find someone to get a tow off as I had still only completed 3 laps of the circuit and still didnt know it well enough. The first lap is always mayhem 30 something riders all fighting for the same space of tarmac.
The second lap, the first corner, its pretty fast you don’t need to brake just let off the throttle. Unfortunately, someone must have straight lined the corner because as I tipped in I felt a massive whack and the bike instantly sat up running me off the track. Someone had hit my tail unit pretty hard but I managed to stay on the bike, although that was purely down to the huge run offs at Silverstone. by the time I rejoined the track I was half a lap down to the person in second to last. Last place was not how I wanted to start my season but that’s racing
I decided to use the time to just learn the track and get a feel for the bike
After race one, I felt the bike was too slow to change directions and the chicanes were really sapping my energy. I dropped the bike 5mm through the forks and opened the handle bars right out to give myself more leverage.
The changes felt a lot better and I wasn’t getting as tired riding the bike but they took a little getting used to as the front felt a little more unstable but not in a bad way just different.
Lap times weren’t great although a second a lap quicker than race one. Just needed to build the confidence to push on.
Race 3 felt good I had gained a few places with in the start and had latched on to the rider in front and although not catching them they weren’t getting away either.. Then I lost a place but again I latched onto the new rider and he dragged me up to the previous rider and a good 3 way battle was lining up but just as all 3 of us caught up together the red flags were out. A nasty crash ahead had called a brief pause to the fun.
We slowly rode back to the grid and lined up in our original places… as we were waiting for the restart I noticed my bike was running alot hotter than usual… even after the race had restarted I couldn’t seem to get the temperature back down then 2 laps into the restart the bike dropped to 3 cylinders and I had to limp back to the pits and retire..
I decided to call it a day skip race 4 and head home where I could strip the bike down properly and find out the issue
Updates on the health of the bike to follow…