Last weekend (Oct 24th) saw us up at Oulton Park for the day with the Wirral 100 club. And the weather played a major part of the days action. One minute it was absolutely throwing it down and blowing a gale, the next it seemed to brighten up and appear quite mild! All very confusing really. But the day stayed wet all day, and it proved to be a very eventful day indeed...
Leon was out on the 400 for a change, along with Mike and myself. It was a full grid, so it was going to be pretty hectic out on track. The day started with a fifteen minute warm up to settle in to the day. That went relatively uneventful, apart from Leon's back wheel moving around on an old wet tyre. Simon Edmondson kindly stepped in though to help Leon out with a new one.
Race one was a qualifying race and so the grid positions, after the first two rows of championship leaders, were seemingly picked at random. As it happens, Leon, Mike and I were all placed on to row four. And with another six rows behind us, the first corner had the potential to be a little crowded. As we all got away I noticed that Andy Whitehead was struggling to get off the line, I then saw Mike narrowly miss running in to the back of him! He quickly managed to change direction at the last moment, but by doing so put himself in to the path of a rider on his outside. They collided hard, which Mike somehow managed to recover well from, and kept himself upright! As we all rounded the first corner things were, as expected, very busy. There was a rather large puddle that had appeared on the inside from all the rain, and as we hit it I saw Mike lose the front for a moment which meant he was briefly leaning on the rider on his inside. Again he managed to (somehow) get it under control and settle in to the race. However, as we came round towards 'Island Bend' the red flags were out. Someone had actually run in to the back of Andy Whitehead on the start line which had ended in a bit of a mess. We then cruised round and were stopped as we came down to 'Lodge Corner' while they tidied the track up ahead. Stopping for Mike, however, was rather tricky. It was only by the time that he got down to 'Lodge' that he realised he had no clutch - the collision at the start of the race had snapped it off. He manage to get back to the pits though and quickly put a new one on while the marshals cleaned up the start line. And, thankfully, I believe both riders are ok.
So we had a restart of race one, only it was to be a shortened four lapper. This time we all got away well and settled in to the race. I remember seeing Mike and Leon push from the off and were soon up with the leading group towards the sharp end of the action. I managed to hold my position and settled in mid-pack. The wet weather still played its part and claimed a handful of victims throughout the race. But we all finished well, Leon rode a blinder to finish fourth and put himself on the front row for the points race, Mike also went well to finish seventh and I managed to jump two places from my grid slot to finish in fourteenth. Not bad positions at all, considering it was a full grid!
There was then a bit of a gap until the second race, and the weather teased us with some sunshine. But then in a blink of an eye it would turn to a short-lived torrential downpour. I lived in hope of a dry race two, but really I knew it was always going to be wet. When we were finally called down the rain had stopped, but the wind was gathering a bit of pace. On the warm-up lap it seemed that there was a dry line appearing round most of the track, but was still quite wet in the usual places. And there was a rather alarmingly high amount of leaves blowing across the track at 'Druids' too. Anyway, we all got away well from the start, and again I could see Leon and Mike up ahead getting well and truly stuck in. I again held my position and looked forward to a good race. Lap one was going well, but as we came out of 'Hislops' and headed up the hill towards 'Druids' I saw the yellow flags come out and get furiously waved about. There was obviously an incident up ahead, so I approached with caution and to do a bit of rubber-necking. I soon noticed that Mike had gone down and was lying next to his bike in the gravel on the outside of 'Druids' corner. He was right in the line of fire should anyone else go down too! I also saw a couple of other bikes down too...something big had just happened! Mike seemed to be sitting up (albeit slowly) so that was good to see. I then looked to see if they were going to red flag it, my head always goes after seeing an incident like that, particularly as it was a team member that was down. No red flags were shown, so I assumed all was well and tried to settle back in to my rhythm. I raced reasonably hard but didn't really push as hard as I knew I could have done, but managed to make a couple of passes and have some fun. I managed to finish tenth! Which I guess was mainly due to fact that some of the leaders had gone down on the first lap. Leon was on fire though, and again put in a performance that we expect these days to finish second. Brilliant! But he was lucky to avoid an accident when Christien Peck went down in front of him (yes you guessed it, at 'Druids'), and very nearly took Leon with him. Very well avoided Leon! And very well ridden too.
After the race, we came back but there was no sign of Mike. So we all headed down to the medical centre to see how he was. He was in the observation room, covered in mud, being looked at by the medics. He was in pain, but the adrenalin still pumping mixed with the gas and air was probably holding back the worst. It was a suspected broken collar bone! And so he would need to head off to hospital for an x-ray. The team quiclky jumped in to action and before you knew it the van was packed up and we were all ready to head off. The x-ray confirmed the break, and now Mike is left with no right arm for up to six weeks...nightmare! Oh well, could have been much worse considering the speed at which he was travelling at the time. It's just a shame that we never got to see the Mike Dorey wet weather magic. That's racing for you though!
(Mike with his knee, elbow and shoulder down!)
(Everyone was at it!)
(Mike walking away from a very rare accident.)
(Leon narrowly missed joining the 'Druids' club.)
(Leon shows off next years new helmet design.)
(The family were out in force to support us.)
1 year ago