Anglesey Thundersport GB Report
August Bank Holiday weekend saw the Thundersport GB series come to my “local” circuit, Anglesey. I’d had some successes at the circuit over the years after it was redeveloped in 2007 so was hoping for some good results.
Funding again held me back from the test day, knowing the circuit well I decided that using up tyres/fuel/additional entry wasn’t worth the benefit that the test would bring. We set up the awning and prepared the bike for the qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. I kept the used tyres from Rockingham and was happy with the setting of the bike. Minor fork chatter through the tight sections was my only problem but I didn’t consider this to be a huge issue and expected it to settle with new tyres. I set my best lap time of 1m 09.5 after around 6 laps to take pole position for the first race on Sunday.
Sunday’s weather was great and almost perfect. I got off to a great start, hole shotting the start and pulling out a lead in the early stages. The chatter from the forks was still there and when pushing harder in a race situation was noticeably worse (it was also ruining the front tyre in a 10 lap race) and holding back the pace. Other than this the bike was superb, the Kawasaki has been amazing this season. Once the set up was somewhere near it is a great bike to ride. Loads of power and the feeling from the front end is the best of any bike I have ever raced. I pushed on, holding the lead until a red flag cut the race short whilst I was half way around my final lap. A great start to the weekend, but I knew that I’d need to sort this chatter fault out to get any quicker.
A quick, over the phone, advice session from Richard at Maxton suspension saw me making some changes for Race 2. In the absence of a harder from fork spring (that Richard had suggested fitting) I removed some fork oil and lessened the damping at the front – the theory being that I’d been trying to hold the forks up with the damping to compensate for the front springs being too soft. Race 2 got underway and I slotted into second place at the first corner. Sam Hornsey had the lead on his RLR Suzuki 600. I knew that I needed to get in front asap, Sam had set a new lap record in the supersport race earlier in the day. The Anglesey circuit is not a major power circuit and a well ridden 600 is capable of some seriously quick times. I just needed to be in front to stop Sam’s mid corner speed! He would get the jump out of the corner and I’d use the 1000cc power to just about make the time lost up by the end of the straight to lose that time again at the next corner. Setting my best time 1m 09.1 (my personal best here is 1m 08.7) I was pressing hard but just see-sawing back and to from Sam’s rear wheel. The only real place I was making time was on the brakes into the top corner after the back straight (Rocket). I was slightly baulked by a back marker around lap 5 and dropped behind David Jones on his Triumph. The three of us were almost welded together but I managed to get back past David and held second place to the flag 0.2s behind Sam and 0.1s in front of David. It was a great race with three machines of varying types. With Peter Baker crashing out in the first race and not riding in the second the two results pushed me up to just 11 points off the championship lead. I hoped for some more, good, racing on the following day although the forecast wasn’t looking good.
The wind slowly got stronger and stronger as the evening wore on and by about 2am Jo, Ann and I were outside (I was commando by the way!) strapping the awning down. Again at 4am we were back out as the straps had come loose again. We ended up dropping the awning virtually to the floor and tying it down to a trailer (in which someone was sleeping!) to stop it from blowing away. The caravan kept rocking and none of us slept for the next 3 hours (all for the wrong reasons!). It was fairly obvious by morning that not much racing was going to happen with the weather the way it was. The wind was virtually taking me off my feet as I stood in pitlane. The meeting was eventually abandoned at around 9.30am, it was completely the correct call as running any sort of race would have been unsafe. I was disappointed, more for the circuit than anything else. They had organized additional races “The Demon Tweeks Super Prix”, loads of promotion had gone into it and with some good racing on the Sunday the scene had been set for a great event. I’ve been a big fan of Anglesey for several years and it was a shame to see all that effort go to waste.
We packed the van up and most of us got soaked. I needed to be inside the van, obviously, for the most part of the packing process as I know where the stuff goes. It was a huge coincidence that this was also the driest place to be at the time! The journey home was fairly slow going with the wind dragging vehicles all over the place and the mass exodus from the paddock and probably most of the North Wales holiday makers heading home also.
My next race outing is Cadwell Park, Sept 21st to 23rd. I’ve not raced at Cadwell for 5 years so have entered the test day on the Friday to find my way around the place again. I was debating racing in the final Mallory Park round of ThundersportGB as it clashes with the Anglesey Grand meeting (I’ve won the grand 3 times and no one has ever won it 4) it’d be nice to go for that fourth win. With me now a serious title contender it’d be stupid to throw the whole season away for one race meeting. I guess I’ll see how Cadwell goes and make a plan after that.
It’s no big secret that I’ve been doing a fair amount of cycling since the early part of this season. This comes to a head this weekend when I take part in the Manchester 100k bike ride (it’s not a race, I keep telling myself). It’s all for charity and I’m looking forward to it. I just hope there’s a tail wind!