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THRUXTON - 29 September 2007

North Gloucester Road Race Club


The end of the season. One meeting to go and finally on the fastest short circuit in the country. Well that makes out that I have never been there before. I have, back in 2004 on the 400. Since that meeting I have wanted to ride there on the 6. Finally I was getting a chance to do that. Yorkie and his son made it over to Thruxton to help out, as well as John Lightbowne, the Wife Ali and her friend Steph. The real reason they all came was the piss up we had planned after in the club house. More on that later. We got up in the morning not only to see grey skies, but to see that the heavens were well and truly dumping there load.

Although I really don’t mind racing in the rain, especially as I had some awesome new wets to use, I would have preferred to race in the dry at Thruxton, just so I could really ride with the throttle pinned as Guy Martin would say. For the first time ever, every racer from the Royal Navy Motorcycle Club (RNMCC) were there in force flying the Navy Flag. I'd like to say the Royal Marines Flag too, but as I’m the only member of the team that had RM on my bike, it was only me flying the flag. Still we were all there, Jamie Adam, Tom Carver, Even Jamie’s mum and dad made it there from Scotland. Jamie started to give me the usual banter that he was going to kick my arse, which I replied “last time I played up to the banter, I was taken out. So if you beat me you beat me, I’ll do my talking on the track”

Because it was so wet, I took it easy for the first couple of laps because I wanted to remember the circuit and find out how much grip I had. In the first F600 qualifying race Jamie and I were on the same row of the grid, although he was a few places ahead of me. We set off and I don’t remember seeing him all race. That was because I didn’t. I was gone. I had a cracking season, and finished 11th, which I was well happy with. But once they put both the qualifying races together I dropped down to start 20 something on the grid for the A Final. Jamie and Tom qualified for the B Final. Next we were out in the Open Qualifying session. Because it was still very, very wet, we, as in the 600’s, found it easier to use our power, than the thou's could using theirs. Which meant that I had an awesome qualifying session and finished 5th in my session which again put me in the A Final 12th on the grid for the Open Race.

In the afternoon, the weather drastically changed, and not only stopped raining, but also dried right up, with a few damp patches around the circuit. This put a whole twist on event. Suddenly everyone was more confident and the speed increased. Looking back I wished it had stayed Wet. Still the F600 race went well although I did finish 19th. While in the Open race I was well and truly spanked. As Thruxton is the fastest circuit in the country, and now that it was dry, the 1000’s could really open up. That meant that despite overtaken lots in the complex, every time we were on the back straight 1 or 2, if not 3 would pass you. Winner! Still I loved that meeting, despite starting 12th and finishing 22nd. A very good end to the 2007 Season.

That evening North Gloucester, have there end of season bash in the Thruxton club house. They had a rock band on, which really knew what to play. The atmosphere was brilliant, and everyone had a wicked time. Half way through the night a mosh pit started. If you can’t beat it join it. Me and John in true death metal style grip each others shoulders and dived straight in. After lots of pushing and shoving and moshing, the hand of god dragged us out. Then it was time to do it all again.

Thanks for reading the whole report on the KaKa Racing season for 2007.

Autograph

CADWELL PARK - 15 / 16 September 2007

New Era MCC


A couple of weeks after the Manx I was on my way back to Cadwell with New Era, for a weekend meeting. My father in law Tony McArdle was met me there with the caravan. Tim King and Pam, the usual Suspects were there as usual to support and help me. Jules Croft was also their racing. Although dry, the temperature had begun to drop as we drew closer to winter. Like every meeting after the Manx, I struggled with racing back on a short circuit. What people won’t understand or appreciate, is when you race the Manx GP you are on the bike for a long period of time. This gives you time as the rider to get into a rhythm and flow. But because a short circuit race and lap is so short, you don’t have time to get into a rhythm. Just as you are starting to get into one, the race is over. I found this took me a little while to get use to this. Plus at a short circuit you have to again ride with a lot more aggression, which is slightly hard to do after three weeks of racing on roads.

Cadwell Park

The meeting went well; again I went slightly quicker than I did before but not much quicker. Remember the last time I raced here I had a big off. I was disappointed in myself because as I came into the Gooseneck I actually took it steady. Why because I never crashed because I was out of control, but because I was taken out. So why did that slow me down? In one of the races there was a pile up in Park Corner, Ian Roebuck was involved and while trying to avoid what was happening he actually swerved into me and we touched. Once happy there was nothing wrong with the bike, I cracked on, I pulled into the pits after the race and had a closer look at the bike, to find that my tail unit was not only scuffed but a little damaged. Some duct tape later we were ready to race some more. The weekend proved difficult and although I enjoyed the meeting, I enjoyed it more, earlier in the season. Still it is always good to be on a bike and riding, even better when you’re racing. I ended the meeting having gone slightly quicker than before, but not much quicker like I had hoped.

Autograph

MANX GP 2007

Senior Race - 31 August 2007


Because the footage on my bike in the Junior Race was unusable, Gaz put the on board back on my bike for the senior, so yet another early start at the Grandstand. Because like the junior the Senior is held in the afternoon, it was another long day of waiting around for my race. Tony wasn’t racing today, so he was going to help in the pits. Unfortunately due to the weather the lightweight race in the morning was delayed a couple of times. Then while the race was being run, it was cut short. Our race looked like it may go ahead, but after a couple of delays finally at 5 o’clock the decision was made to cancel the Senior race. Bummer. A long day for nothing. Plus I never got the chance to get some real good footage of my own.

Autograph

MANX GP 2007

JUNIOR RACE - 29 August 2007


With Tony’s bike sorted and both of us ready to go, we were both looking forward to the Junior. Again the day started early because we both had Greenlight Television Camera’s on board. The morning was chilled, while we wait for the junior to start. Eventually it was our turn. Like always I was a little tense. Tony was moved up to number 40, which meant he was starting on the row behind me. If you watch his footage you actual watch me start my Junior race, while he waited 10 sec’s to start his race.

MGP

I set off, and hammered down Bray Hill, knowing that Tony would probably see go around Quarter Bridge. My race went well. I was trying hard, and could feel myself on the verge of pumping up, but kept reminding myself to relax, which helped. As Tony was moved up, this created a problem for us; we now needed 2 pit crews. We were going to use just one crew for us both, as there was a big enough gap between us both. So thanks to my wife Al, Yorkie Carr, Martin Groen our step brother and Steve Hodgson, for stepping in and helping Stevie Christian and Jim Aston with the pit stops. My Pit stop went like a dream, out of all the stops I have done that was by far the smoothest and relaxed I have done. It even felt slow and not rushed. Apparently Tony was good too. However it was a little rushed as Tony had never done one before. He he he. The second half of the race was ok. However on the last lap, I started to make a few mistakes. Only little one’s, like I would run slightly wide on corners, slightly wrong line, so I had to work a little harder. But by the time I got to Glen Helen I though “Will you sort it out” I tried to relax and clear my head, only for the mistakes to continue. I got to the mountain and knew that I had screwed the lap up. But because I stopped trying I blasted across the mountain quicker than I have ever gone before. I made back some time but no where as much as I had lost.

The dramas of the Manx were still going on for Tony. On the last lap he was riding across the mountain heading towards the Bungalow, when he his leather came undone, he thought it was a little cool. He pulled over and a very Helpful marshal came running over and did him p and told him to get going again. Tony was amazed, when does your leather's ever come undone while riding. Only at the Manx can that happen. He went on to finish the race. Completely elated that his life long goal was final achieve, he raced in the Manx GP. We both finished and were awarded a Replica. Our bonus was that I lapped at 112.050mph, while Tony’s fastest lap was a sniff under 113mph at 112.991mph, Tony said that you might as well call it 113, I said no. If you got a 113 point something we can, but you didn’t. My race average was 110.163mph, while Tony’s was 109.475mph.

Autograph

MANX GP 2007

NEWCOMERS RACE - 27 August 2007


Monday morning and the Newcomers Race. Rick had worked a miracle and Tony as confident that he would be able to race, and race strong. I on the other hand was a little nervous, not that Tony was racing, but for my first time, I was in the pits, and like everyone that has done it for me, I didn’t want to be the one who flapped and messed things up. I ran through his pit stop a thousand times in my head. Gaz from Greenlight Television had put an onboard camera on Tony’s bike. We were all set for a good days riding. We were in the holding area waiting to go out onto Glencrutchery Road when Tony was interviewed for the Manx GP DVD. Funny thing was Tony, I thought, got a little tongue tied. Funny he never does in the pub, but put a camera in his face, he was a stuttering fool like the rest of us. Finished off with a nice blue steel. Unfortunately they never used the footage.

MGP

All of a sudden we went from calm in the holding area to mass hysteria, come on we are waiting for you lot get out on the grid, quickly. I stayed with Tony for as long as I could. Until I was ushered out of the way. He set off with Tony Oates. Tony didn’t make the best of starts but we were to find out why later. With what felt like an eternity we all waited in the pits for Tony to complete lap one. We listened on the radio and could hear him through the grandstand P.A. system as the commentators told us all how the race was unfolding. By the end of lap one Tony was flirting with 6th place. I was chuffed to bits. He blasted through the grandstand and looked good. Although he was only gone 20 mins, it felt like he was gone an hour. We sat and watched the leader board, and waited for him to complete his 2nd lap. The minutes ticked by as we were prepared our selves for his pit stop.

MGP

The first guys started to come in for their pit stop. Just came in. Tony would be one of the next few. We waited, more came in. Tony still didn’t arrive. Tony Oates came in; this was a bit worrying as last we heard Tony, my brother, was ahead of Tony Oates on the road. The next few came by and still Tony failed to appear. To say that I wasn’t worrying would be a lie, but at the same time I didn’t panic. I truly believe that he broke down. Then news filtered in that there had been a crash on the Mountain at Keppel Gate. The rider was alive, but had broken his leg. Still no sign of Tony or news that it was Tony that had crashed. Eventually we were told by a friend of a marshal that Tony had broken down and was at Hillberry. We packed up the van and made our way round to Hillberry. When we got there all we could see was Tony’s bike laid up against the wall. I walked towards it when Tony called out. He looked devastated. A life long goal and he couldn’t even finish the race. While driving home we talked about what happened. It turned out that his clutch was slipping; when he set off from the line straight away he knew that it was gone. Hence his poor start. He went around Quarter Bridge where he over took Tony Oates, only to have no drive on the exit, He knew then his race was over. Because the clutch was slipping so bad, his ended up using more fuel than normal and actually ran out of fuel on the run down from the mountain. He actually got it going again and tried to limp it home to the paddock, but it was really running on vapours. Although devastated, at least it wasn’t terminal; after all it was only a clutch. Then again if Tony hadn’t hurt his back, he could of rode on sat and find out that his clutch had gone, and therefore changed it ready for the race. Like I said before it will only happen at the Manx.

Autograph

MANX GP 2007

18 August 2007


After a night stop over with my Uncle in Navan, outside Dublin, we were back on the ferry to the Isle of Mong. It was Friday and had a few changes to make to the bikes, ready for Tony’s first night of practice, on the Saturday evening. Like every Manx GP that there has been, little things would evolve the longer we were there. While Tony was out on his Lap of the Course on the coach, me and Stevie was changing the gearing of both our bikes as well as getting Tony’s rather holy leathers, ready for signing on. The first night of practice was, as always slow to get going, I mean its new to the isle of man the Manx, so you have to forgive everyone while they understand what happens, the novices did however get to do there lap, behind the marshal. Like I had warned Tony this would be the worse lap he would do. I was right the marshal scared him, while a mate of ours, Justin Croft, came in having hit a wall going up to the Water Works. Come Monday when it was my turn for a blast, things didn’t quiet go to plan. The rose joint on my gear shift fell apart; I tried to cuff it, which worked until I went riding. The further up the box I went the more the washer dug into the heal plate, therefore stopping me from changing back down the box. I went around Quarter Bridge in 6th gear and thought I would burn my clutch out trying into get going again. Then got to Bradden Bridge and pulled in. I knew straight away what the problem was. This nice bloke ran off and got me some Allen keys, So that I could fix the problem. Which I did. I decided to go and complete the lap. I knew that I had lost too much time to make up. So even if I was riding at the pace to break the lap record I never would was I lost too much time. So I thought to myself just enjoy the lap and link it all together. This just went wrong. I should have been out with a novice bib on, seeing as I rode like one. I made mistake after mistake. And nearly ended up in a wall a couple of times. The more things went wrong the worse the lap became. To be honest all I wanted was for the lap to end. When it did, I finished second to last and lapped at around 76 mph.

MGP

As the week went on both Tony and I improved massively with Tony quickly lapping around 110mph. I reached 111mph again but could seem to get passed that. During the week we found that Tony’s bike had popped a fork seal. We were going to just use a piece of tissue to hide it, but let’s face it, it is the Isle of Man, and that is no place to cut corners. So with little time left before scrutineering closed we whipped out the fork leg and replaced the seal. Don’t you just love the Manx GP.

Friday night of practice, I had problems with my visor, which I have never had before. Only could happen at the Manx. I was suffering with my visor steaming up, so I bought a Fog City, I hate the Foggy masks, they suffocate you, in you have a large head like mine. I lined up before blasting down Glencrutchery Road, pulled my visor down to see that my visor had fogged up. But isn’t the fog city supposed to stop that. Well leave a little gap; doing 140 through Bray Hill will clear it

Did it shite, the problem soon became apparent; it had actually fogged up between the visor and the fog city. Therefore no air got to it. This was made worse by me huffing and puffing like a goodun. I should have pulled in at the end of lap one, purely as I could not see clearly. But like a fool I continued on. By the end of the lap I was drained. I was concentrating so hard looking through the only clear space, the size of a 50p, I was threaders. Could and would only happen at the Manx. That night while packing the bikes away Tony lifted his bike to spin it round and pulled his back. It was bad as he collapsed on the floor immediately.

Bugger, very down hearted; we both were with what had happened over the last two nights of practice.

Tony got his back looked at by Rick Holden a Physio on the Isle of Man, and worked miracles in hindsight. Although Tony was not able to ride on Saturday practice, which later would prove detrimental. Tony continued to get his back sorted. We both decided to take a trip to the hyperbaric chamber in Douglas. This was pretty cool till the crazy old fool that ran it almost let us run out of oxygen. We were all sat there struggling to breath and actually getting quiet anxious. Then with a gush of pure O2 everyone went calm again.

Autograph

ULSTER GP - 15 / 16 August 2007

Dundrod & District MCC


In August the majority of the season was over. There were only 4 race meetings left to race in. The reality of it was 2 of the meetings themselves were like a race season. We were off to Northern Ireland for 1 week, to the Ulster Grand Prix, followed by 2 weeks in the Isle of Man racing in the Manx Grand Prix. Three weeks of back to back racing. Now I felt professional.

Having already picked my brother up from Gatwick two days earlier, our three week epic started on Monday 13th August at around 4 am. With the van already loaded the day before we set off for what was going to be the holiday/race experience of a life time. As traffic in the UK has become very unpredictable, we thought setting off early was best to avoid disappointment, if we missed the ferry, the truth was the roads were clear and we could have had an extra couple of hours in bed. The crossing to Dublin was cool. Better than any trip to the Isle of Man, the ship was huge with loads of space for everyone to lie down in they wished. Once off the ferry we blasted up the M1/A1 to Belfast then down the country road to Dundrod. Once at Dundrod, I soon realised that we were on the actual circuit. So we decided to go for a lap. This was probably not the best plan. See the club we were riding with, were very helpful indeed and sent all new comers an onboard lap on DVD. This was brilliant, we learnt the circuit went right then left then right etc, but it didn’t tell you that it went up and down. We drove up towards the Deer’s Leap, we both recognised it, then what can only be described as the edge of the world, and we dropped down the Deer’s Leap. Oh my God. We continued around the circuit till we got to the paddock. Tony was left thinking, what have I let myself in for. This was after all his first Road Race.

We met up with Stevie Christian who managed to get us a Camper Van for the week at the Ulster. Cushy little set up despite the Crap paddock we were in. Wood chippings in a boggy field. Winner. Still that wasn’t going to set us back. We weren’t actually riding until wed. So Tuesday was spent prepping the bikes, asking as many people as possible, what gearing we should run etc etc. As well as getting as many laps in as possible during the day to really see what the course was like. Well we both had never been there before.

Wednesday was miserable. Over cast, it rained, then it dried, and then it would rain again. But come the time we were suppose to start riding it really started to dry up. What tyres should I use? The usual dilemma wets or dries. We both decided to use the good old dries, it was more dry than wet, for our new comers lap we followed Davy Morgan. Off we went down the Flying Kilo, far bumpier than in the van and a darn site quicker too. We did a few laps following Davy, both Tony and I were right up his chuff the whole time, hoping he would pull us around a little quicker than if we were just out on our own. Eventually he waved us by and we were on our own. Little did I realise that he was following us very closely indeed. The circuit was awesome. Very, very fast. The most horrible thing was following Tony and watching him scratch around in the gutter and hedges. Not nice watching anyone crash never mind your little bro. We came back from our newcomers lap, with the biggest smiles on our faces. When talking about the track, we were both like kids, this bit's good, this bit's good. In the end all of it was good.

Ulster GP

We went out again for our own practice. As we had already seen the track, we knew where we could get on it and where it was wet. Turned out me and tee had a right laugh. Id over take him he would over take me. The more our session went on the wetter it became. I like a fanny, started to slow a little. After all I didn’t want to die. Tony blasted pass me and off into the distance. I wasn’t having any of that and got me head down a chased. I learnt a lot from Tony that day. The biggest lesson was I didn’t need intermediate tyres anymore. The track was soaking and I was using dries in the wet, and was being pulled around by my brother who was in his first road meeting. At the end of the session it was our time to watch the pros in action. We sat on pit wall like a couple of kids and watched as Guy Martin, John McGuiness, Cameron Donald and the rest blast around the same track we’d just been on. After their session I had a little chat with John McGuiness. Check me out. I also saw Johnny Ray; I asked him if he would ever race the road, after all he is an Ulsterman.

“Sod that, it’s an old mans game”

Cheeky git.

Thursday it was race day. The day started real sunny. Which was a nice surprise. Only downer on the day was the fact that Tony has the sheets real bad and needed a doc to come to the camper. They gave him a drip and some pills, which was him ready to race. We both had qualified high up the grid. Higher than we both imagined. Thanks to the rain the day before. We found ourselves ahead of people like AKA, Craig Atkinson, Manx GP winner 2006. Plus he was on a thou, come on. The Flying Kilo was terrifying. Unlike the Manx the Ulster has a mass start. People were hitting each other out of the way, to get ahead. The bloke in front of me nearly went into me and then the hedge. That was little worrying. Going into the first real corner, Lethemstown I was behind AKA, Tony was behind me, despite qualifying ahead of me on the grid. While braking into Lethemstown, I was trying to out break AKA on his right and I could see in the corner of my eye, Tony was out braking the pair of us on our left. Ballsy, Tony did and was ahead on me and AKA, meanwhile AKA just swept across the front of me like I weren’t even there and nearly took me out. By the time we got to the Deer’s Leap, AKA was gone and I was ahead of Tony. Thanks Slick for the Ponies. The race turned out to be a good battle. I was taken by a guy on a Kawasaki, who I then in turn took back, after a few laps I realised that I was lead bike in a little group battle between 4 of us; Tony was bringing up the rear. Then with 2 or 3 laps to go, it started to rain. I was coming down the Deer’s Leap, into Cochranstown Corner when I could see water on my visor. Now I knew that I had good grip, after what happened the day before in the rain, but still this was racing and I was pushing hard. I slowed a little just incase as I didn’t know how much it had rained. Then a couple of corners later Tony not only over took the 2 ahead of him he over took me too. He was quickly followed by the 2 that were behind me. You tit. I followed and quickly got up to speed, remembering just how quick I could go with dries in the wet. I finished behind the 3 I was leading. So I was a little bummed at myself. I felt I had let myself down by being too cautious.

Ulster GP

Me leading………

Ulster GP

Tony Leading……………

The next race, the sun was shining; secretly I had been battering myself for being a fanny, and was determined to right my wrong. I knew I could be quick; I just had to stop thinking. Again Tony stated ahead of me on the grid. The lights went out and a pinned it down the Kilo. I too moved people out of my way to fight to get to the lead. The class was very hard fought. I didn’t have much of a race with anyone, only myself. I finished a few places ahead of Tony and lapped at around 113mph, which for my first time there I was more than pleased with. Tony too came away happy with how he had gone, although was now realising that his bike was a bit of an old dog. Still we had both raced in the Ulster, we both lapped around 112 to 113 mph, we loved every bit of the track and both want to do it again. Next part of the journey was over to the Isle of Man, the real reason we were on the road. The Manx GP.

Autograph

JURBY ROAD – 14 July 2007

Andreas racing


We finished racing the southern 100 on the Thursdays, day off Friday and then it was up to Jurby for the Jurby Road event. The general rumour of in the paddock was if you love road racing then you’ll love the Jurby meeting. There was no pressure at this event at all. I had no goals to achieve; I was riding because I love riding. The course is set on the North West coast of the Isle of Man. 1.5mile start straight with a slight kink at the end. Bare in mind at 160 mph, there is no such thing as a slight kink, but more like a balls out who dares win corner. Christ it was awesome. I loved it, and then it’s down a “b road” country road. Over a couple of little jumps, then down the coast road. This again was a ballsy section. The problem I had was there were two corners that looked very alike. Only one was sharper than the other. Also made that bit more interesting by the fact that there is a hump in the corner, right at the apex. The first time I hit it at speed not only was I air borne, cranked over at around 130mph I was also heading straight for a hedge. Dear God. I just manage to run down the edge of the hedge in some acrobatic manoeuvre to stop myself from hitting it. Slight shake of the head and on I went. I never did that again.

Come the race, I got a start; I wouldn’t call it good nor bad, just a start. Down the start straight, oh my god. 3, 4 bikes abreast, down a country lane at 160mph, not for the faint hearted. I eventually slipped in behind my mate again, Carolynn Sells. I followed her for a lap and then managed to pass her round the outside of the last corner, which is a very tight hairpin. I turn got on the gas and naively thought see you later. Only to be passed by her, not half a mile down the road. I chased hard and followed her for what felt like forever. Then on the last lap I nipped past her at Killane, it was then or never. As I was doing all the following that race, I learned a lot from her that race. I could see her strong points and my weaknesses. I weight too much she don’t. I had bigger balls in some places; she has balls but not real ones. We had a good laugh, which was all that mattered.

Jurby Road

Then in the next race something very similar happened. I started along side another friend of mine, already mentioned from the S100, Maz. Like Carolynn she got a much better start than me. I followed her all the way down the start straight to the first corner, where I did manage to over take her. But due to the line I forced her to take she got on the gas way before me and I soon found myself following her again. I followed Maz for the whole race. Like Carolynn, I had my strong points and she had hers. I tried to make a pass several times but failed to pass. It was another good race. I left the meeting with a big smile on my face. I had a cracking days riding, with no pressure to perform. I also lapped at 105mph for my first time there. Well Happy!!!!!!

Jurby Road

During the S100 and Jurby road meetings I was told by the ACU that I didn’t complete enough race meetings for me to be eligible to race the Manx GP. This sent me into a spin to say the least. One of my strong points in life is my admin or organisation, to find out that I had made a mistake that looked like not allowing me to race in the only event I really want to race in, sickened me. After many phone calls I misread the crate and I sent in another race that I completed, the only worry now was that I sent it a day too late. Fingers and legs crossed I had to wait what felt like a year to find out.

I finally found out a couple of weeks before I was due to sail over to Ireland that everything was ok

Autograph

SOUTHERN 100 - 9-12 July 2007

Southern 100


The next meeting on the calendar was the Southern 100, yet another trip to the Isle of Man and first road event of the year. I couldn’t wait. The weather on the island was poor to say the least. It was wet, very wet indeed. Because I had shagged a set of wet hoops at Cadwell I went off to Dennis Trollope to buy some new ones. Like the diamond he is he had a set there for me ready and waiting. Michelins too, as he keeps telling me I am the only one he sells Michelins too. I put them on and out for practice. Boy was it miserable. Plus I kept asking myself should you be racing on a Road when it was this wet. But the others were out there. I followed Maria Costello out of the dummy grid and down the road to ballakaigen. To be honest, I was hoping with here experience that she would pull me along in the wet. After 2 laps I had to pass, I got by and started to open her up. The bike, that is and not Maria. I got back in and asked what was up and she didn’t look too happy to be racing the roads in those conditions. I don’t blame her really. I didn’t want to be there too. Considering the accident she had at the Manx, to be riding at all never mind in a soaking wet Billown Circuit is amazing. Practice went ok. Although it became annoying with everyone doing their own thing and going out in every practice, not just their own. I found that it was becoming a lot of effort just for a couple of laps a night. I didn’t even ride one night. Justin Croft again was very quick, but due to his work commitments only made a couple of nights of practice and missed the racing altogether. Jules on the other hand, considering it was his first time at the southern 100, really impressed, by not only qualifying for all the big races, where as I could only qualify for the support races. He also lapped at just under 100 on both bikes, his 750 and his 600. Still think he is a 600 rider really. It came to my two races. I don’t know why but I really struggle with arm pump at the southern. I try everything to stop it, I tell myself constantly while riding to let go and breath, but it never helps. In race one I got a good start. Again I was having a good dice with Carolynn Sells. Like last year, but some how last year she got back past me and fooked off, this year however I did instead. I caught up with Gareth Costello and ended up following him for a few laps. This was really frustrating, From Ballabeg to Cross Fourways I was faster than him, but could I pass, could I shite. I had to roll off a little as he held me up. But then get him on the straights and he seemed to pull away from me. I followed him like I said for a few laps. I did eventually get past him, but he got back past me again. With about 3 laps to go I found that I couldn’t hold on. Bit of a bugger when you are flat out and then trying to stop for a 30mph corner. So obviously I slowed, unlike what most people think I don’t have a death wish. Only I didn’t realise that I slowed as much as I did. With about 2 laps to go going into cross four ways, Both Carolynn Sells and Maz (Marie) Hodgson, who had been dicing all race, both blast pass me. Yes I said blast, because once past they disappeared. I did try to keep with them, but it was too bloody dangerous. Talking to them both later, they said they didn’t see me all race, and then all of a sudden I was there. I showed them my arms and they were solid. Thing is once I get arm pump, give it time to calm down, then I can race through it. I need to have a hard practice in the morning first where I can pump up and calm for the race. But at these events there isn’t time to practice first. During lunch the heavens opened. With one race to go, a few people pulled out of the race saying that conditions were a bit to wet. After a little pep talk from none other than Guy Martin, I found myself raring to go. I asked him.

"Honestly, you are a pro rider, do you get up in the morning and see the weather as bad as this and think are shite! And not enjoy riding in it or would prefer it to be dry so you can hammer it?"

"No, just gas it, it don’t matter if it’s wet or dry just gas it!"

Pep talk over, let’s go riding.

It was hammering it down by the time I lined up on the grid. Second row couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t wait. The main straight looked more like the Thames than a road. The Lights went Red, and then went out and we were off. If you check out the footage below you can see just how wet it was. I was doing ok I was in 4th down the straight before Ballakaigen , then the two in front of me were a bit too cautious going into turn one. I broke later then them both and found myself in second. Giggling as I went round the corner "I'm only in bloody Second" A third of the way down the straight I was taken by Steve Hodgson, Maz's hubby. He came thundering by on his thousand from somewhere way down the grid on the start. Bye, bye Steve I thought. Then by Iron Gate I was taken back by both the guys I just took at Ballakaigen. Meanwhile all this was going on at Iron Gate, Steve snapped a front fork spring and I swear to god I thought he was off. I closed my eye, probably why the others over took me, so not to see it. Opened them again he bloody mad it. I followed him for a lap or two, and finally over took him into Ballabeg Hairpin. As I nipped up the inside I started to giggle, Steve swore he could see my shoulders shaking as I rode off. Now in forth I set about trying to catch 3rd. The gap had opened up, but I was catching them. The more the race went on the wetter the track became, but the more my confidence grew using my new wet tyres. Second to last lap, I could see I was catching Stu Bainborough, and then I had a big, big moment at Joeys (Billy’s) Gate. I got on the gas to hard and the back let go. I was nearly high sided off the bike into a wall, one second I’m raiding then the next I’m facing the wall on the left then I’m riding again. Ekkk!!! It took me the rest of the lap to settle down again. But on the last lap I really got the hammer down. I didn’t catch third but while he was showboating to the crowd at Castletown Corner he turn round to see me in his sights charging for third place. He quickly spun round and too got on the gas. He crossed the line only a few seconds ahead of me and my first podium.

Autograph

CADWELL PARK - 27 / 28 May 2007

North Gloucester Road Race Club


Next we were off to my old favourite Cadwell Park. For the first time I managed to get too the test day, the day before. Like a good boy I changed my gearing after every outing on the track. I checked and checked again to make sure I was gearing the bike right. Content that I had, my mate Jules Croft, one of the reasons I started racing, came and walked the track with me. After the hour it took to do that, we found that my lines were right and what I was doing was right, but the bike was geared far too tall. So after changing the gearing for something completely mad. Meaning something I never would have thought to use, I went to bed not having any more sessions to try it before I raced it. So playing with the cards I was dealt id try it racing. Unlike the last Oulton and Mallory, the weather was shite. It has been the same every time I have gone to Cadwell. Saturday it rained. Boy did it rain. Again my times fell from what I have previously posted at Cadwell in the wet. My qualifying wasn't the greatest and started near the back of the grid. Like that mattered when the front guys could lap quicker in the rain than what I could do in the dry. Still, I loved it. The gearing worked exactly like Jules had said. Christ, four years racing and still making novice mistakes. Still the bike is running really well which is always a bonus. On Sunday the day was damp. Dryer than the Saturday, but damp. Like most racers I hate these conditions. Is it wet is it dry? Only one way to find out and that's to ride. I choose to stay with wets; they were working well, despite a dry line appearing. I could feel the bike was moving about but it was still ride able. There was a big break before my last 2 races on the Sunday. As the day started to drag on I started to fall into a lazy mood and couldn't be bothered to change to a dry set of tyres. Jules came up to Cadwell to see me, we were watching a mate of his in the Powerbike Race, and from where we were it was a hard call to make. When his mate finished racing we went and asked what he thought. He told me it was drying but still a lot of water out there. Decision made. Stick with the wets. As my last 2 races were so close only one in between, I knew there wouldn't be time to change in between races. I went down to the grid, went out on my warm up lap, only to find that the track was bone dry. Bugger!!!!!! Obviously at this point I had to ride no matter what. Off I went no probs at first. Until about lap 3 when the tyres started to get too hot and the bike started to move around a little. It was ok, it was all manageable. Then a little turned into a lot, and the bike was really moving around. It was still working but I was wondering for how much longer. The race finished and I came in only to find that I had killed a set of wets in only a few short laps. Thanks to Jules mate for the tip, but I have a better one, don't eat yellow snow!!!!!!! There was no way that the tyres would last another race so I rushed back to my pit and changed the wheels in no time at all, to a set of intermediates. Annoyed that I couldn't be bothered to change them before the race, as I was just being lazy. I went out in the next race and had a reet laugh. The bike and tyres were working well, and despite it being a cold wet and miserable weekend meeting I left feeling like a king and on a high.

Cadwell Park

As I was still on leave I went from Cadwell to the Isle of Man for practice week at the TT. First time I have been to the Isle of Man for the TT in years. Although I did get to the Senior race last year. TT was good, and I watched from Kirk Michael for the first time. Fooks me, John McGuiness was quick through there. Anyway after a few short days it was back to the UK and back to Cadwell for yet another meeting there. This time I was racing with North Gloucester and a couple of guys from the RNMCC (Navy Bike Club) were also there. In true fashion, Jamie Adam had a couple of mates there and started given me GBH of the ear holes. I kept quiet and thought id leave my talking to the track. The next day was a glorious sunny day. I should have seen the warning signs then. My confidence was sawing. Although I am not a nervous racer, I have never felt that invincible before. Unlike New Era, it is names out of the hat here and practice is just practice. Only thing was despite having 2 grids worth of 600s we only had 1 practice session. There were loads of us out there. And believe me some slow boys there too. For the first time ever I was over taking people at the bottom of the mountain. That was pretty gnarly. But as I learned do-able. I came in after practice to learn that I was 5th fastest. Well happy with that. That was a confidence boost. For the first time with NG I was also 7th on the grid. I usually start near the back. So I had it all the play for. My confidence high, the sun was shining, I rode there the week before. The lights went out. I had a shite start and only made up 1 place on the grid. I was coming 6th. Then I had my nose cut off by Ian Roebuck, but that was fair. I followed him for a lap and bit past him at the bottom of the mountain, and then it was onto the next guy. I passed him in between Charlie’s 1 and Charlie’s 2. That rocked. I was in 4th and could see the 3 in front. I was annoyed at myself as I gave them a head start, while I had to pass the other two first. Still I could see them. I gassed it down park straight on the second lap and closed them in on the brakes, another couple of laps and I thought I would be there with them. I was going around Chris's Curve and could hear a bike behind me. I was thinking Christ he is quick.

Then as I leant from right to left there he was. Billy Mellor, it startled me to say the least. But what made the matter worse was the fact that it was going into the goose neck so hard that there was no way he was going to make the left that he locked up the front end and was all over the place trying to make the corner. With no where to go we hit each other and went off onto the grass. After a face plant at around 100mph and some heavy breathing later I came too to see quiet a commotion going on. I was taken to the med centre in the ambulance arguing with the marshal there was no way I was knocked out. Until I saw the vid later. See I had an on board on and just by coincidence the camera fell looking at me. And who ever you are Mr Marshal, I’m sorry I was out cold. Feeling a little sorry for myself and the bike. The day was over. We packed up and went home. Tim King was annoyed at what happened. He said that I was looking very quick and that I was looking like I wanted to win. Annoyed that Billy Mellor who caused the crash just got up and walked away, with a little work need doing to the bike, he didn't even come over to see if I was alright. Tim offered and did pay for all the repairs to the bike. I had to heal in my own time. To be honest considering the speed at which I came off, knock me self out was the best thing that happened as I just bounced. I came away with just bruises. I think I am only destined to race Cadwell in the wet.

Cadwell Park

After Cadwell I was suppose to race at Brands Hatch and the Isle of Man for the steam packet races. But I couldn't get the bike ready in time, plus I was still battered and bruised. So for the third year on the trot I failed to race at Brands. This really pisses me off. Before moving to the Isle of Man I use to live near brands hatch, my mum and dad use to take me and my brother there as kids. So I have always wanted to ride there, more just to say I have, but something is keeping me from going there to race. God only knows why!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Autograph

MALLORY PARK - 13 May 2007

New Era MCC


Next we were off to Mallory Park. Still with New Era, but another new circuit. My old mucker Jon Lightbowne was given a weekend pass and made it to the meeting to help and support. Mallory was another good meeting; I really enjoyed the circuit despite being so short. A blink of an eye and it's over. We actually raced the old circuit, without the new chicane. I see why so many like it. Long, long right hander always gathering speed the further round you go. By the end of the bend you are fired onto the back straight it is really hard to stop for the flip flop chicane. This wasn't a full meeting like the Oulton, but there was a few of us there that made it. Again I improved throughout the day getting quicker and quicker as the day went on. I had a few good battles with guys. The best was with a guy, I followed him for a couple of laps, I tried every time to over take him in the first bend, but I bottle it a rolled off and let him by. Not happy with myself, the next lap I said fook it and stayed there. This time he had to roll, and I led him for the rest of the race. I enjoyed that battle; it made the meeting for me. My lap times dropped again and I finished the day lapping at 59.83sec.

Autograph

OULTON PARK - 28 April 2007

New Era MCC


Oulton Park

My season started with New Era racing at Oulton Park. I had never raced there and was one of the tracks that made my "I wanna raced that Track" list. What a circuit! My only regret now is that I never raced it earlier. After seeing the results sheets after practice I soon realised that New Era was a very, very quick club indeed and there was no way I could be a front runner. So as long as I improved throughout the whole day, I wasn't really interested in where I finished. By the end of practice, I was lapping just over 2 minutes a lap. Not sure weather that was good or not I started asking around the paddock. To my surprise, I had impressed a few guys I was racing with. One guy in particular told me that he had raced Oulton a lot over the past few years and was only lapping a few seconds quicker than me. So for me to be lapping nearly as quick as him after only a few laps put a big smile on my fast. I set too trying to drop below 2 minutes. As the day went on, I was dragged round by a few fast guys and my time did eventually drop to 1min 55.42. The day was made that bit more special, when my mum dropped in to say hi and check out the action. She had run away to Gretna Green that morning and married her boyfriend Arend Groen, So I thought this was really nice that they found time on there wedding day to drop by and check out the bikes. They both arrived with the biggest smiles. The sun was signing and Oulton was providing some bloody good racing.

Oulton Park

Autograph

2007, The season

After what can only be described as a long winter, and those that know me, know why it was, I was really looking forward to the new season of 2007. As always high hopes, big expectations and always the will to go faster. For this year I thought a change would be as good as a rest and decided to join a new club and check out the action else where. I joined New Era as well as staying at North Gloucester. I have become a bit of a snob in my old age, because yet again due to work commitments I can only race a few rounds here and there, never completing one clubs whole championship. So why not only race the tracks I want to race and ride with what ever club is riding them.

Autograph

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