Spellfame Racing

Email: info@surecloudracing.co.uk

Spellfame Racing - Andy & Richard

Related Files

Anglesey endurance TSL file 12th July 2014.pdf
Brands Hatch June 21st 2014.pdf
Cadwell April 26th 2014.pdf
Cadwell endurance TSL file 16th August 2014.pdf
Donington endurance TSL file 17th May 2014.pdf
Rockingham endurance TSL file 13th September 2014.pdf
Snetterton 29th March 2014.pdf

2014 Results

Championship Table (top 5 only)

1. Surecloud Racing 142 points
2. Host-It 120 points
3. Rist Racing 96 points
4. If in Doubt 86 points
5. A+R SE Racing 76 points


Silverstone 11th October

My bike arrived back after repairs from the Anglesey crash on Wednesday evening, so had not ridden it since then.. It looked ok despite the fact it had now a black second hand petrol tank, a new white unpainted tail piece. Repairs included, replacement swing arm, front and rear sub frames, rearsets, left clip on, oh and a loan front wheel as my wheel is now oval. Strangely in the crash the front fairing sides had suffered no damage, and the exhaust hadn?t really been touched, so not sure how the rearsets got bent! Anyway I loaded the car up on Thursday night and the bike on the trailer. Left nice and early for Silverstone for the last race of the season. The Friday was the ACU test day, and it was wet when we got there. Both Pauls had arrived there and we were in garage 6a. Silverstone not only had charged for the day but we had to pay £65 to rent the garage, and this was for only 5 sessions of 15 minutes?. bloody robdogs? and this was only the short National circuit, which has to be the most boring circuit in the country, 4 rights and a left.

Anyway we set up and changed tyres to wets as though it was sunny the track was soaking. Paul M and I were in the same group and Paul W was in a different one. Paul W was back on his R1 having found that if he turned the traction control off his mysterious engine cut outs disappeared, although he was still getting flashing warning lights. At least he wasn?t riding my old ZX10R which is a bit of a handful. Paul M and I were out first. This was my first outing since the crash 13 weeks previously so interesting thoughts going through my head. I started the engine, put it into gear and it promptly stopped. Re-started the engine, put in gear and it did the same thing, wtf I thought. It just wouldn?t start at all now. Just churned the starter and no firing up. I pushed it back in, swearing a bit (or a lot actually), Tried messing with things but to no avail. Quickly called Gav at MSG my bike builders but he couldn?t think of anything obvious. I took the seat off, played with a few connectors, wiggled a few wires and it started!!!! Whey Hey! Anyway put seat and helmet on and went out. Only got in about 5 laps but was immediately feeling comfortable and getting some good times in despite the wet surface. No real aches from my shoulder, so that was a bonus.

The two Paul?s went out on slick tyres as they had expected it to dry out but it was far too slippy for any times, so they came in pretty quickly. The second session of the morning came and went and although dry patches it was still wet tyres. Going good, and was thinking if it rained on race day then it would be ok. The forecast for Saturday was rain all afternoon through the race.

In the afternoon the track had dried out so we had three short good sessions getting used to the track. Paul W and I had last raced this track in 2010 for Pirate Racing. That had not been a great experience with two extra pit stops due to issue with Paul?s rear tyre, then he forgot to fill up with petrol and my bike skating around a wet track due to a problem with my rear suspension which gave it zero travel. A piece of 2 by 4 wood would have been more compliant that day.

Anyway, back to present day. We were all circulating in the 1:04s which was ok but not stellar. I thought there was at least 2 seconds to go if not a third, without really trying to much harder. The right hander at maggots is weird, you tend to brake far too early for it and lose a second or so there, and I was braking far too early (for me) into the left hander at I think Club. I didn?t stay to eat with Paul M and Lisa (thanks guys for the offer) as I was dog tired and aching not in my shoulder but the rest of my body as I was so unfit and had not been in a race saddle for 13 weeks. Although I had been on my road bikes. Indeed 4 weeks previously I had done a tour in Normandy where we did best part of 900 miles in 4 days, with my Ducati owners group mates and my brother. Something I wasn?t going to miss as I had organised everything many months ago. My physio had told me I was mad, but I was going to go regardless. Me going back to racing has not been the most popular move domestically! It?s funny all my mates have said ?yeah way to go?, all my family have said ?you must be mad?.

At the test day I met up with Ash Rothwell of Cyco racing who I had many a ding doing and is in lots of my you tube videos. Indeed he has crashed on camera for me three times, and twice this season. He wasn?t racing as he had had a massive high side at Cadwell and broken both wrists, a collar bone and other injuries.

Anyway I get back home and was in bed by 8:30. Usually I have a rule, be in bed by 10:00pm or go home (think about ? and I wish)? Any road up, Got up on the Saturday and it was wet outside. Got to Silverstone, and scrutineered and then went to the briefing and as usual they mentioned that only one race team and got a stop and go penalty in their history, but I never ever wind up Paul M about that ever? honestly. Qualifying was at 10:45 due to a short delay and we were all set up on wets. Paul W went out first, did 3 laps and frantically pointed at the track. He came in and Paul M went out. He said it was bone dry, the track had suddenly dried out. No time to change my tyres, but Paul changed his to slicks. Paul M came in after 4 laps just so he qualified with the minimum 3 and didn?t waste his wets. I went out for about 5 laps. I didn?t care about my rear as it was an old one and I had a spare wheel with a more recent wet on it. Got down to 1:05s which is not bad but the bike was wiggling all over the place due to the wet tyre losing grip with the power on a dry track. The tyre was mullered on the right side when I came in. Actually, I came in on a red flag as two bike collided in front of me at maggots and one fell off. I had to take avoiding action and ?I don?t believe it? went through my mind as I just narrowly missed hitting one of the bikes. There was a broad church of rider abilities out there and the guy who caused the crash was quite slow, the other rider went on the outside to go round him, the slow rider suddenly and to me inexplicably went to the left which was just the wrong line and collided into the guy on the outside, luckily there was some justice as it was only the offending rider that fell off, it was nasty little crash, so hope the guy didn?t hurt himself too much.

Paul W went out after they had cleared the track up and posted a 1:03, which was ok but not brilliant compared to other teams and we ended up 14th on the grid, 6th in class out of 42 teams. We had noticed some new teams which seemed to have some quite fast riders. One novice team had a a British Supersport 600 winner in doing 59s laps which is some going, not sure that is in the spirit of a novice team, which should have one novice and one other rider that isn?t in a national race class. Indeed at Anglesey, Taylor McKenzie (son of Niall) was racing in the novice class and he races in British Supersport this season and has been on the podium this October at Silverstone!!!

At this point loads of folk turned up to assist us and support us through the day, last race of the season and all that.

Anyway, we weren?t too dismayed by the grid position as 3 hours is a long race.. We decided that Paul W would start, me second and then Paul M. It would mean two extra pitstops compared to the competition as we had three riders which meant that we would lose two laps with a 1 minute pit stop time. But since we weren?t trying to win (although that would have been nice) it was more about the fun of the last race having already won the championship.

!4:45 and pit lane opened for the race. Paul W was to start and Paul M was to hold the bike for the Le Mans start. Lights went out, race started, unfortunately Paul had a little trouble starting the bike and lost a few seconds, anyway he was off safely and the race was on. Paul was generally circulating in the 1:04s, but we weren?t really making any impression on our position on 7th in class. Then it was my turn,? sitting with tyre warmers on and two guys looking after them to remove them. Unfortunately our pit signals went a little awry and Paul came in one lap before we had expected him. So a sudden panic as I was still on warmers and in the rush the front one got its strings tangled, so I had to jump off the bike and cut the strings. So a bit of stressy start. I got out there and just got in the groove. There was so much traffic on a short track with 42 teams on it. There was something like an average of 20 seconds between the fastest and slowest riders, that is a 30% difference. I have never seen so many different lines that people were taking through the corners. It was difficult to get a clean lap. Managed to get down to a low 1:02 lap then followed immediately by a 1:05 lap as I got stuck around Woodcote following 4 slower guys and just no space to get round them. But I was pleased with that and I knew there was more to come in my next session. My time was up and came in and handed over to Paul M. I could hardly get off the bike, I was so stiff, I staggered into the garage whilst the guys looked after the bike. We were still in the same place in the race.

Paul circulated well and there were no dramas, again the 1:04s and came in after his stint, so an hour had gone. Paul W still had issues with his bike, the latest was that it was drinking oil, with about half a litre needed for each session, which is not good. My old superbike engine used 1 litre per 75 miles and his was doing the same, although with mine that was to be expected as they build them loose and only have two piston rings. Whilst he was out it started spitting and after a lot of discussion we decided that I would go on wets and of it rained we may have a good chance of going up the rankings quite quickly as I could get straight out. But it would mean that if it didn?t rain then I wouldn?t do another session (but we thought it could be a good chance). So we let Paul W stay out for 45 minutes and then Paul M would go out for the final 45 minutes. This is what happened in the end and unfortunately it didn?t rain so I didn?t go out. I must admit that since I had felt so stiff I wouldn?t mind about this, I have woken up knowing that I would have wanted to, hey ho, I made the decision so that?s it. One drama had occurred, on Paul W?s first lap in his second session he had been going round Club and another bike came round his nose and hit him so hard that his side fairing had been pressed in and his ram air tube on his right hand side had popped out and he had the presence of mind to grab it. He immediately came in and I was surprised to see him waving this tube and giving it to me as he did one extra pitstop that lost us another 45 seconds.

Paul W came in and Paul M went out for the last session. We were running 6th in class and ARSE racing who had been well up the rankings but had dropped down for some reason were catching them. This is the team that had this really fast guy in it doing 59s. 3 laps to go and he was 1 seconds behind Paul and was 4 seconds faster. So it was touch and go, but we thought paul could make it, then suddenly Paul had a 1:09 and a 1:07 lap. We all thought he must have had a wobble. Unfortunately this mean that ARSE got in front and we dropped to 7th. Actually what happened was that he was running out of petrol and the bike had been coughing when it was going round corners so Paul had had to nurse it home and when he came in you couldn?t hear any petrol in his tank. But Paul had had a great last session getting into the 1:02s, so a great job So 7th finish which wasn?t a spectacular race result but we it was an end to a spectacular season. Yes, if we had done only three pitstops and not had the tube issue if we hadn?t fumbled the one pitstop then we would have saved best part of 3 laps and we could have been battling for a podium,(looking at the timing results), but that?s racing.

All that the Pauls, and I can say is a great big thanks to all those of you who have supported us, helped us, encouraged us and shared the experience with us. I hope that I have got all the names here but the roll call is Lisa (Paul M?s wife), for providing all the food and sustenance, Sharon, Richy (Paul Ms mate) Racky, Spook, Steve B, Steve P, Kev, Mart, Col, Scott, Nick, Jason, Steve H, Richy, Dylan, James 1 and James 2, and last but not least Carl. It?s been a great season and to get to where we did with the crashes, injuries, bike issues has been amazing. We certainly had to work hard for this.

Cheers to all for a fantastic year!!!

Rockingham 13th September

(Written by Paul Marren) Rockingham-I hate the place! I?ve got history there (it?s the only place I?ve been knocked off my bike and it?s happened there twice), because of this I hadn?t been there in years, so first thing was to get a track day in the week before. I found it had got really bumpy in several places since I?d last been, but slowly started to get to grips with it. Next was the test day where I went another 1.5 seconds faster, so progress, the good news was my team mate Paul (Andy?s still sick lame and lazy) was on the pace quickly and looking really good back on his own bike with the fueling/electrical issue that reared it?s head on the track day seemingly gone, right up to the last few laps of the day. So Paul goes home and comes back on race day with both his R1 and Andy?s 04 Zx10, I made the call to try running the R1 as he was much faster and more comfortable on the Yam, he did 3 laps to qualify the Kwak then I went out to qualify, but one thing and another I only managed a 1m37, no biggie, Paul was out next and had been doing regular 33?s with a handful of faster laps thrown in, unfortunately Yam played up straight away, so we decided that it was more important to get Paul time on the Kwak than for me to do a better qualifying time, so out he went and promptly crashed. No damage to bike or rider and within minutes he?s had it re-scrutineered but we?ve qualified in our worst position ever 18th.

Paul started the race and made a place up straight away and put it some steady consistent laps getting to grips with the big green beast. My turn and our nearest competitors are in 1st and we?re in seventh, I finally woke up and managed consistent 34?s got us up to 3rd, Paul was back out dropped back to 4th with pit stops (which our boys Racky and Richard did a fantastic job of-really slick). My last session and our competition are now in second and the guys in third have left the pit lane directly in front of me, so I was past him before the first corner and doing steady consistent 35?s with a 38 thrown in when rider in front of me ejected at turn 2 causing me to take some serious avoiding action, unknown to me the team in 4th have had an issue with their visor pitted briefly to sort out and halfway through my last stint I?ve lapped him, happy days! Finished 3rd and lost only 4 points to Host-it, which means we won the 2014 rookie thou championship!

It?s been an absolute pleasure working with Andy, Paul no matter what the racing threw at us we kept cool and stayed determined. Also a massive thanks to Rich, James and Racky for pit duties and also my wife Lisa for keeping us fed.

Roll on Silverstone for the last round where we hope to run both Paul?s and Andy?


Cadwell 16th August

First thing to report, this is Paul W picking up the writing as well as riding reigns in the unfortunate absence of Andy M. Secondly, let me re-iterate all our thoughts on hoping you?re on the mend soon Andy.

For round 6 of the No Limits 1000cc Novice Championship it was a trek up to the wilds of Lincolnshire, and the second visit of the year to Cadwell Park. With Andy incapacitated (I told you I knew some big words) by his Anglesey incident, I volunteered to step in and ride alongside Paul M, having also helped out at the 6 hour event at Donnington earlier this year. Paul M had his Aprilia looking immaculate again after it?s recent Anglesey excursion, and as I?ve still not sorted my R1 (good job I?ve not got any hair to tear out), Andy kindly volunteered the use of his Kawasaki. Following a 4.30am start I was set up in a surprisingly quiet paddock by 6.30am, with Paul M and Lisa arriving half an hour later; the weather looked OK, and we were all set for getting some time in on the bikes, I?d not ridden on track for 3 months (getting the excuses in early), and had only ridden the Kwak briefly a couple of years ago (there?s another..), Paul needed to shake down the Aprilia and make sure all the repairs hadn?t affected the bike. First session and I?ll I can say is that Andy must have either a) the proportions of a frog, or b) the suppleness of an Olympic gymnast; I felt like I was riding with my knees around my ears, no comments please! So, it was in for a few adjustments to the footpegs, Paul meanwhile felt the bike wouldn?t turn to his liking so it was a quick tweak or two on the yolks and all was well. My highlight of the test day was being overtaken by Danny Buchan (BSB Sstock 1000 leader) into the Gooseneck, he then pops a wheelie drops it past my braking point, and proceeds to slide the back into Mansfield then pops another wheelie on the way out, bastard! Anyway, both of us put in some good lappery and felt OK heading into Saturday.

Race day didn?t start too well for me, I woke up at 2am, and just had that sick feeling in my stomach, which rapidly turned to that feeling out of my stomach!!! Luckily I didn?t decorate the inside of the van, but needless to say, didn?t feel too good (excuse no. 3). Having passed scrutineering the night before, we used the time before qualifying to set up in the pits, always fun at Cadwell humping generators, wheels, fuel, etc, into the ?pit? area. So, onto qualifying, I was out first and manage to get down to 1?43?, which is OK, but some 3 seconds off my best, Paul goes out and is lapping in the 44s, again someway off his best pace; it?s a bit of an eye opener when the grid is sorted and the top teams are running in the 36s!!!! We end up 19th on the grid, out of 31 teams, and 6th in class. OK, time for tactics, it?s a long race and anything can happen, just keep plugging away and see where we end up, the aim for this meeting is to bring it home and hopefully not lose too many points to our championship rivals. I decided to start the race, as although the Kwak won?t start in gear it still loses less time than firing up the Aprilia! Well, it wasn?t a brilliant start, I lost a fair few places, so it was a case of head down and keep plugging away, overtaking as many people as possible, we were back up to 18th by the time it came to hand over to Paul, and I have to say after 45 minutes wrestling the Kwak I was definitely in need of a rest, fair play to Andy for hauling that bike around over the years  ----(Andy comment - the 06 GSXR1000 I now have is so easy compared to this beast - no wonder they always said the ZX10R was a man's bike) ---- Paul went out and made good progress, lapping consistently in 44s and posting our fastest lap with a 43, the session seemed to pass without drama and Paul managed to make up a few more places. With Racky and James doing the usual splendid job of calling the shots on the pitwall, it was time for Paul to come in, a smooth stop ensured minimum time was lost, and I headed back out. We had been informed at this stage that the race would be cut short, so it would be shorter 30 minute stints for us both, however about 3 laps into my 2nd session the safety car was out due to a rider down at Charlies 1, fortunately all seemed OK, a few laps behind the safety car and we?re off again, head down, trying to settle into the session, but just another 3 laps and a 2nd safety car due to debris on the track, this one?s only brief and we?re soon back racing again, but another 2 laps in and heading out of Mansfield there?s a bike lying in the middle of the track with the rider prone on the floor next to it (he was OK), seconds later the red flag is out, and that?s it, race over, unfortunately only minutes before I was due to hand over to Paul M for his second session.

A quick look through the results sheet, and we  were  4th in class, but the good news is that our main championship rivals, Host It racing, are only one place ahead, and have only gained 3 points out of our championship lead, which is down to 30 points with 2 rounds remaining.

And finally, a big thanks to Lisa and Paul M for the catering, to Racky and James for the support in the pits, and again to Andy for the loan of the bike.

See you at Rockingham!

(Andy's comments - thanks for doing this Paul W- nearly as good reporting as mine!!!! May give you the job full time!!)


Anglesey July 12th 

Well we finished 5th. Doesn?t sound good until you read what happened.

I arrived on Friday morning, lovely day and I had driven up from my parents so had taken some three hours, but I was fresh. Pau M had got there the previous evening with Lisa and set up camp. I unloaded my bike and quickly got it prepped for the first session of the day. Anglesey was a bit of a bogey circuit for me as it was my first ever race in Hottrax Endurance in 2008 and we got disqualified for having two yellow flag incidents which was a bit severe we thought as they also gave us two stop and gos as well? We finished 7th in class that day. The following year both my team mate and I fell off during qualifying and it destroyed my engine so we had a DNS. So I thought ?Hey third time lucky!?

We both started the first session. It may seem funny now but I didn?t know which version of the circuit we were running. I though coastal circuit. Anyway as I got to the far end of the circuit I headed down into the corkscrew and I was amazed to see the bike in front of me turn left rather than right. Phew, thank God I followed someone as it may have been an embarrassing start!!!

The bike was going so well, this GSXR1000 is fantastic. It may be 8 years old, but it has a strong engine, the back end is so predictable so I can spin it up and have less reliance on the traction control. The front end has taken a while to set up but now I have as much confidence as I had with the ZX10R. It slightly fish tails under very heavy braking, so perhaps a slight change in pre-load may be good. In any case I felt quite comfortable and in my second session I managed to get into the 1;36s which is reasonably respectable. Paul wasn?t quite gelling with the circuit and was in the low 40s, but through that day he improved a lot and was consistently in the high 30s by the end of the day.

I was staying in a B&B, Paul and Lisa in their motorhome, Richy and James had also come up, so as usual Lisa and Paul catered for us. Fantastic and I really appreciate it.

Raceday dawned and it was a bit mixed start but I was walking in the paddock, thinking ?this is the life?, fantastic, great to be in this race series and to do this racing!

Qualifying came along and I went out and did a 1;36 and just completed 9 laps. Paul set off and had only gone 3 laps in when he fell off at the end of the start and finish straight. He had done this by trying to see the lap board and then looking up and seeing the corner already there. He went on the grass and he hoped to keep it up but just couldn?t. He was ok, but the bike was damaged. We got it back and managed to tape it up, use one of my spare clip ons to replace his bent one, straighten his bent exhaust but worst it had split his rear carbon fibre rim. Not only had he caused £3k of damage but he now only had one rear wheel, so as the weather was being difficult to predict it was going to be tricky to figure out which tyre to put on it. In any case we qualified 3rd in class which was not bad. (9th overall)

One thing that did annoy us was that Taylor Mackenzie was in our novice class, which is meant to have at least one novice and no national championship riders in. Indeed, we had wanted to use a third member of our team who was a national ?TV class? rider and we were refused. So we don?t understand it at all. Both of their riders were doing 1;31s which is faster than any in the open class let alone the novice class.

It was decided that I started the race as my bike is much quicker to start than Paul?s Aprilia. The lights went out and I got an ok start and immediately jumped to 6th place overall. I was running really comfortably with times between 1;34 and 1;36. Got the 5 minute count down and was preparing to come in, when I entered the long loop and braked for the hairpin and just as I tipped in, a bike went passed me on the inside, and hit my front wheel and I crashed. Looking at the video from my bike in the crash  and having seen the damage on my bike it was obvious that I highsided and I was thrown high in the air and landed on my shoulder. Clearly this guy had braked too late and just missed the apex and hit my with his rear wheel. The marshall afterwards said that they had called it in as a dangerous overtake.

I have never felt such pain in my leg, I didn?t feel anything in my shoulder although I knew it was not right either dislocated or broken. I subsequently found I had fractured  my pelvis on my pelvic bone. I had presumed that I had hit the front of my petrol tank, but there was no dent there, although the top of the bike was dented. The other guy stayed upright, but I couldn?t move and the safety car had to come out and it took 15 minutes to get me stretchered of. What really pisses me off, is that this bloke didn?t even speak to my team mates or apologised. Indeed he was in our garage and I had been speaking with him. Words fail me. Racing or not, there is an etiquette. Not that I am bitter about the pain he has caused me over this past 5 weeks and the weeks to come!!!!!!

Anyway, putting that to one side. James had the presence of mind to get on the paddock scooter and get the transponder and Paul was able to get back on track. And as it was raining there was the minimum 9 minute stop rule, which allowed Paul to keep going only stopping for fuel. So for 2 hours Paul continued. Indeed after the race he got a round of applause for his marathon racing? and well deserved.

We finished 5th in class which was pretty good given the loss of laps and what was better for us but unfortunate for Host-It who were our nearest rivals who finished 8th in class. So what happened there? Well somehow and I can?t quite figure this out they had overtaken the safety car, so were given an 8 lap penalty. Probably this was better than what could have happened which is disqualification.

Anyway this meant that we increased our lead in the championship by 4 points to 33 points ? so the championship is still up for grabs.

Just a final thank you to all the marshalls and medical staff at Anglesey and also to all my mates, brother and son who  travelled literally hundreds of miles to take me home from hospital, picked up my bike from the circuit and have visited me since then.  Awesome support from these guys!!! 

Brands Hatch June 21st

We were facing into Brands Hatch as a bit of a challenge as Paul had never been there, even for a track day, well he is a northerner and gets nose bleeds if he goes south of Watford Gap services. Also, the last time I had been there for a dry session was in 2010 when I raced with Hottrax Endurance and got a DNF due to my chain breaking.

We had both booked in for the practice day on the Friday to get some laps in. I woke up with a raging headache and only turned up at about 11am, but I hadn?t missed much because of delays. Anyway, Paul had dialled in really quickly and was doing 54s consistently with the odd 53s, so pretty good for a first ever visit. I did a few sessions to get my bearings and was going round in the 53s and I was comfortable with that. We both changed tyres and as Racky, Rich and James had turned up we went up to Paul?s motorhome (sounds a bit posh) and Lisa cooked us a great barbecue (with a bit of Paul?s interference) and we stuffed ourselves with food. I then headed off home as I live within an hour of Brands. Oh didn?t mention my normal bad luck before a race and my car had decided to drop into limp home mode due to some still unknown issues and limited me to 60 mph in the car.

Race day dawned and it was going to be a warm day. I got there by 7am got the bike scrutineered, signed on and waited for Paul, he didn?t turn up, briefing was called and I went to that and still no Paul, he finally turned up in silk dressing gown and slippers from his motorhome whilst Racky and I pushed his bike up for scrutineering to ensure we were ready for qualifying.

As usual I went out first for qualifying and got in a 53.2 after a few laps and came in for Paul. Paul banged in some good laps, but we were down at 12th and Host-It who are our closest rivals were in at 8th and had posted a 51.9 or thereabouts time. So we decided we couldn?t let them have the psychological advantage of being in front of us on the grid. So I went out about 5 minutes from the end where there is more space and managed to get a time which was 100th of a second ahead of them. So we qualified 8th and they were 9th. Just to rub it in I went up to their garage and went ?ne ne na ne ne? at them. Well not really but I sort of rubbed it in, in a nice way of course! They were expecting it.

Race time arrived and I was to start as normal as my bike starts easier than Paul?s Aprilia. We lined up on the grid for the Le Mans start, lights went off, ran across the track and made up a couple of places but then the Host-It team (Andrew) went past into Paddock, cheeky blighters!  I followed around and I could see he was trying really hard and pushing it down Paddock Hill a bit close to the edge, so I thought he couldn?t keep it up for long, he will get tired or fall off! So I waited for about 5 or 6 laps and sure enough he dropped his pace and I passed him just before a red flag incident. This was caused by RG Moto team dropping oil all the way up from Paddock Hill to Druids, luckily not quite on the racing line. Actually I thought I may have caused it as on the lap just before the red flag I had made quite an aggressive overtake at Druids, I had seen 6 inches of tarmac and I said that was mine but I knew I had made the other guy have to sit up. I did wave ?sorry? as I passed.  Anyway,  thee race was stopped for 20 minutes and then we were called up and had a rolling start behind the safety car in the order that we had finished the previous lap, which was 6th for us. The safety car shot off and we followed for 2 laps and it pulled in and the race restarted. Then for the next 25 minutes I had a great ding dong with Ash Rothwell of Cyco Racing swapping places regularly, he is a fast guy. It ended when he fell off at Clearways, but was ok. So now I have two videos of him falling off, one in 2010 at Mallory and one at Brands this year, star of stage and screen!

I got called in after 45 minutes and we had done in total 1 hour 15 of the race, due to my first 10 minutes, the oil clearance time and my 45 minutes session. We were now second on track and 1st in class. Paul went out and put in a solid 45 minutes with no dramas and being more consistent in the 53s. Host-It were about 87 seconds behind and closing a bit. I went out and I was left out for 40 minutes of the last hour as I was putting in 51s and 52s so increased the gap, Paul went out for his last session and again put in a great performance to bring home the bacon and won our class!

This was great as we hadn?t really expected to much from Brands at all, keeping our lead in the championship was where we had hoped, but we actually added an extra 5 points and we now have a 29 point buffer.

Paul had to run off home as he was having to work on Sunday so I stayed behind and had the free curry provided and chatted with some other racing mates.

Great result, great weather, great race. 


Donington 6 hours May 17th


17th May 2014 ? The wife?s birthday? but say no more!

Well you know how we have bad luck right before each race and then win?  Well we had the bad luck but not the race win this time L.

So the full story?.

Given that this was a 6 hour race then we knew this would be tough and co-opted Paul Whiteman onto the team with his recently acquired R1.  Two weeks before the race its big ends went and Paul had to strip it down, there were some delays with the parts so as he was so committed to race with us he bought a second hand engine which he fitted and promptly leaked water everywhere. What a disaster.  Paul M and I chatted and decided that we would be able to do 3 hours each as the weather looked like it would be about 15 deg C, so not too hot. So we had a plan!

I went to a track day on the Tuesday before the race and after two short dry sessions in poured with rain and they close the track as it was so wet. They reopened it a couple of hours later and I was first out. I think only 4 of us actually went out.  It was running with water, but I loved it and had 3 sessions in the wet, my first wet practice for over a year. I was happy that I got sub 2 minute laps in on a soaking wet track. Paul M went to the No Limits test day and had some good but steady times to dial himself into the track, but as he said it was very crowded.

Friday before the race and the temperature had soared and the expected temperature for the race was about 23 deg C and sunny! Now that is quite hot and I knew that TBH I would struggle, so I called Paul W and asked him to share my bike over the three hours and leave Paul M (who is as fit as a butcher?s dog to three hours on his bike). Luckily Paul W agreed so we had three riders on 2 bikes.

We both turned up on Saturday morning and the idea was to be scrutineered in the garages so we didn?t have to queue up. The process didn?t really work that well and it was only just before were due  out that we got scrutineered.

At the briefing they went through the pit stop rules and instead of minimum times it was going to be in and out as fast as you could, a bit unfair, I thought,  on single bike teams who had to refuel.

Qualifying started and Paul W went out on my bike to get familiarised with it and just post a qualifying time. He did a few laps and got down to a 1;49, but he wasn?t trying too hard for his first ride on my bike. Then I went out and posted a 1:43 and came in and let Paul M out on his Aprilia. At the end of the qualifying we hadn?t done that well and had qualified 18th overall. But not worried as 6 hours is a long race.

We worked out a schedule and I would start the race. The red lights went out and as usual I managed to pick up about 5 places from the start and had a good 45 minute session, with many laps in the 1:42 and 1:43. I came in and Paul M went out. Was going ok, at the 1 hour point we were  ???????????.. but then a No Limits official comes over to us and told us that Paul has overtaken on a yellow flag so we have to pull him in for a 60 second stop and go penalty. Paul was cheesed off, he knew that he had done it and seen the yellow flag too late. So we lost a lap here and went back a number of places. He went out again and came back in at the end of his stint. Paul W went out on my bike and circulated around at what was a steady pace for him, some 3 seconds probably on average down on normal, but I know he didn?t want to drop my bike.  We swapped over as scheduled. One stop I fumbled a transponder changeover and lost us about 3 seconds, no issue I thought? how wrong I was. When I took my next turn I went out and nearly went off track as the brake lever went back to the bar, I adjusted the lever and it seemed ok, but we had this issue over and over again. I subsequently found the bike had warped a front disc by 3mm and the pads were being knocked back and worn out. Indeed these were a brand new set of dual carbon SBS pads and I had to change them three quarters the way through, also the brand new rear tyre had to be changed after 2 hours riding due to the wear, so pretty heavy stress on the bike.

Paul W had to go before the end of the race, and since Paul M was suffering from his damaged shoulder after his push bike fall we decided to do an extra pit change and we would split the last 50 minutes in half. It was getting exciting as we had caught back up with Rough and Ready which had passed us in Paul W?s stint and Paul M was swapping places. Both teams were going to come in for a final change and I thought this would be great for me to be able to have a real race in the last 25 minutes with Rough and Ready?s last rider who I knew was around the same lap times as myself.

Unfortunately it was never to be. At 5 hours 35 mins or so it was red flagged due to a collision by two bikes on Craners (Bluejets and another team), and the result was taken from the previous lap and we were third by only 0.457 second from Rough Ready.  Ugghh!!!

If I hadn?t fumbled that transponder????!   If there hadn?t been a stop and go (first in No Limits endurance history!!) and if Paul W had been on his own bike.

But that?s racing. Anyway we are now 24 points in the lead in the championship and next month Brands Hatch, which will be interesting as Paul M has never ever been there in his life!

Rock on!

Cadwell April 26th

Bike was back with me after MSG Racing (Gav and Sean) had been figuring out why my bike wasn't working on the front, They found that it had 35mm over standard length Ohlins springs!  So put in some K Techs and things were a whole lot better. Instead of pressing the brakes and hoping the tyre would stick, I could feel the tyre again which gave me more confidence on hard braking - cheers guys. Anyway on to the race.

Second race of the season and as with Snetterton it started out with a whole bunch of bad luck. It started with leaving my house on Thursday night to drive up to Louth to stay in a B&B and get ready for the test day on the Friday. Well 20 miles up the M25 in the middle of rush hour the offside wheel and suspension unit fell off my new box trailer. I heard the noise from the rear and looked in my mirror and saw the wheel bounce around the M25 but luckily it didn't hit any cars despite it being very heavy traffic. I called the AA (in the driving rain) and due to the position I was in prioritised and they got  to me inside of 45 minutes, hauled the trailer onto the wagon and took it back home. I couldn't drive up that night with my old trailer as it was far too late so left at 4:30 in the morning for the test day.

Well that was a complete waste of time. It was dense fog and rain. In short 5 laps all day!!!! In the end No Limits gave us a credit of £60, but still a waste of a day. At least Paul and I managed to get our bikes scrutineered on that day. However I met some good guys Barry, Pep and Dave who were racing for the first time for this race... so for them a baptism of fire.

Paul and Lisa turned up and cheered me up by Lisa cooking a great Lasagne. Thanks for this. But I was knackered so I left quite early and was in bed by 9pm. I actually have a rule. If I am not in bed by 10pm I go home!!!!

Race day dawned quite bright. No Limits had set up a marquee for the endurance riders which was pretty good. so dropped my bike and all my kit down in our 'garage'.  Paul and I got everything sorted and soon it was time for qualifying. I hadn't much recent experience of Cadwell and was somewhat nervous. It was raining heavily which wasn't too bad, better than just damp, at least no question over tyres. I was first out and after about 4 laps was down to 1;59 which wasnt too bad, but knew I had more, but a red flag caused by a rider falling at Mansfield. I came in and handed over to Paul, he circulated a few laps and again got to 1:59 and then another red flag. They let the riders go back out for a couple of laps but didn't improve so we qualified 9th. Not brilliant but no problem based on previous experiences.

Well what tyres should we use? Having been soaking wet, will it dry up enough for slicks. Put a slick on the back and waited and at the very last minute put a slick on the front. I was starting the race, so pulled out of the garage and instantly knew something was wrong, the brakes felt wrong. Paul's bike wasnt ready and i had only 5 minutes to get out on track, so went out anyway. I couldn't see anything loose and going round the track the front end felt wrong. Got round to the start line to line up for the Le Mans start and told Paul that he would need to get ready as I would be coming in after one lap to do an emergency changeover  to investigate what this vague problem was. I subsequently  found out that I had left the spacer out of the front wheel when I replaced it. I am used to the ZX10 where it does not have spacers........ how stupid! 

It was funny, as I wasn't really concentrating on the start so no nerves at all. Lighst went out and I sort of sauntered across but still got a good start and went from 9th to 7th or maybe 6th and kept that position all way round the circuit despite the weird feeling front end. I pulled in and Paul shot off dead last. What a pain.

Anyway Paul got out and started put in steady low 40s. We were getting on well and had got up to 5th place in class and it looked good to catch up quickly. Then the safety car came out near the end of the session right in front of Paul, so suddenly we lost pretty well a lap as we saw the front runners, zoom round the track and caught up with the safety car behind Paul so all the work had to be re-done. I then made a second mistake, I should have called Paul in as the safety car was doing 3:30 laps and we could have had Paul in for one of the mandatory 3 minute pit stops and just cost us a lap. By the time we had worked this out we brought him in but ot was the last lap of the safety car so instead of making a good saving we only partly got back some disadvantage.

I went out and after an hour from the start we were still 5th in class. Again circulating in the low 40s very consistently without too many dramas we kept things going. Then the safety car came out again and this time we benefited as i was some way back from it. It went in again and then came out again 10 minutes later, this time I was second bike behind it. So next time round I gesticulated to our pit crew that I was coming in. Which I did and Paul went out for his final session. We were 4th in class at that point. This limited the damage caused. Paul had a great session and did our best lap and when he came in we were third in class, about 30 seconds behind second placed Bluejets but a lap behind first placed Host-It. I thought I could catch the second place guy Froggy  so kept looking out for him, but never saw him... strange.... Anyway another session with consistent times. Looking at the timing later 80% were within 0.5s of each other. Everytime I went past the pit the crew were gesticulating go faster. TBH I just kept circulating at my pace, no risks, no dramas. I had had an experience when we had tried to chase first place and I had fallen off TWICE in the last 5 laps of the race (at Snetterton in 2009) and had picked the bike up both times to remount and had gone from 2nd to third.... but that was dead lucky! You cant remount anymore. Anyway, there was the count down to the chequered flag and as I went through the pit crew put out the number "1" on the board. I couldn't believe it. We had won.

The reason, I found out, was that the second place folk that we probably would have overtaken had had to come in due to a loose gear lever, so they had suffered a mechanical issue just liek we had. But Host It who had been a lap ahead were black flagged and called in for a penalty as they had not done there 3 times 3 minute pit stops.

So a great result. 2 races and 2 wins. 50 points followed by Host It on 32. So a bit of a gap. Roll on the Donny 6 hour race in May. Paul has now done 4 races since the start of his race career, 3 1st places and a 3rd. He is well spoilt!!!

Cheers for Racky, Richard, James, Rich, Spook, Steve, and Mart for coming down to support and help and also of course to Lisa for the flow of food .... fantastic.

Snetterton March 29th

This was the first race with the new (to me) 06 GSXR1000, so it was a bit of a test to see whether it would be easier to ride than my 07 ZX10R. I was getting so tired fighting that thing that it wore me out and I lost time in long sessions.

Well it all started with a crappy week. On Sunday night before my final trackday at Snetterton on the 24th March to set up the front suspension the bike started playing silly buggers. Spent 3 hours trying to get it to run and it did finally. (Oh and my car broke its crank shaft pulley  so it was a bad start - £450 to repair I since found out)

Got to Snett and went through the normal noise test, briefing etc. Called out on track, got 50 yards and bike cut out, tried again, 200 yards ditto., finally managed it around Agostinis and rode off. Bike seemed ok. Went back and asked for other sighting laps. Did two laps no issue, then went for a fast one and bike cut out, managed to pull into the pit lane, and I packed up and went home. 260 miles round trip, cost of diesel, trackday cost, what a waste.

Anyway took it over to MSG Racing and Gav and Sean and they found a dodgy cam sensor as well as more importantly a misplaced tilt sensor that when put back in its correct position made the bike work. Then I spent £450 with the car mechanics (about half the value of my Vectra. I kid you not) and then headed off to the track.

Got one test session in before the track closed and the bike worked fine! Put some new slicks on, then waited 2 hours for scrutineering and then got told come back in the morning?. Not so happy.

The morning dawned, I met up with Paul M who had driven down that morning and we got clothes and bike scrutineered. Off to the briefing and then waited for our qualifying.

I went out first and knocked in 4 laps before I came in because of two much traffic, although amazingly even with the traffic I had got in a 2:08. Paul went out and he did a 2:08 and came in for me to do a 'superpole'lap to get it further down. Unfortunately it was short session due to crashes so I didn't get a clean lap. Oh well 7th out of 22 teams, not too shabby.

Racky, Steve and David came down to assist us as well as Lisa (Paul?s missus), many thanks to them, as you just cant run endurance without laptimers, lap boards, stop watch folk (and providers of food and sustenance). So it was great that they were there

It had been decided that I would start the race, and the one thing about Suzukis is that you can start the bike in gear and just let out the clutch and go.

Le Mans start as normal, and the red light went off and managed to get a good start and got to 4th place by the first corner, then went up to third, then lost it again to 4th.  Knocking 2:08s and 2:09s off for first 3 laps and then a 2:17 as I braked too late at Hamiltons and grass tracked for 200 yards on thankfully dry grass before I got back on the circuit losing two places.  Kept it going and started banging out 2:05s and2:06s until end of my session. The track seemed a bit empty with nly 22 riders on the circuit at any one time.

I came in and the scrutineers were over me like a rash. Apparently I had been smoking. Paul went out and we took the belly pan off and there was a very slight weep that was dropping drops of oil onto the exhaust and causing it to smoke. The scrutineers took a good look, but could see that it was like a damp oil patch and they said carry on. Thank God for that.

Paul is not so familiar with Snett but was clocking around in 2:08s so keeping us up at the sharp end of the race and then the safety car came out. Now we made a quick decision to leave him out and although that was meaning that he lost a bit of time, it meant that my session could be shorter so if the smoking got worse then I could be called in and he could do one long last session without a quick in out pit stop for me for the final 10 minutes.

I think we lost about 90 seconds in the end but kept our position in class. I went out and again was circulating consistently. They kept me out for the full time as bike was behaving and Paul went out. I don?t think he knew but we were a lap and a half ahead of the second placed folk ?Rough and Ready? as he kept pushing it and managed to get a couple of 2:06 which was great. Even though we could have been doing 2:12s and still stayed in the same position.

Anyway we finished 1st in class which was excellent and only 90 seconds behind the overall leaders, so if we had called Paul in earlier with the safety car or we had on average gone just over a second faster per lap then we could have won. And if I won the lottery?. Yeah well.

Anyway it was great to win first time out and the bikes doing well and being relatively faultless (apart from the weep).

Now we are both looking forward to Cadwell with 25 points under our belt.