And so we all went to the hilly Lincolnshire circuit of Cadwell park, for the next two rounds of the North Gloucester championships. It was a weekend of mixed fortunes really, and the weather very much played it's part too.
Saturday was a lovely sunny day, a good day for flying round a track. Leon was out, as usual, on the R6 and also flying the flag in the Formula 400s. James Simpson was also there in the 400s on both days. I had decided to only race on the Sunday. First up was the qualifying for the 600s. Again it was an over subscribed class which meant that there was two heats to determine the grid for the championship race. Leon was in the first heat, and rode an excellent race to finish fourth place - although he was the third quickest rider out there. This was then combined with the other group and put Leon seventh on the grid for the main event. In the 400s, well, what can I say...the qualifying race saw Leon absolutely obliterate all the other 400s. At the end of the race he was half a minute ahead of his nearest rival! Quite amazing really, when you consider that there were some pretty handy local riders out there with him. James rode a solid race to finish eighth in class, which again was a good ride from James considering the quality of the field.
So, how did the points races go? Well it was a mixed bag really. First up was the 600 event. Leon got away well from seventh on the grid to put himself up in to fifth place for most of the race. He had a battle on his hands though and was just edged out to finish a fantastic sixth place. And put in a very respectable lap time of 1:37:92.
The 400 race was a different story...with Leon producing such an incredible ride to blitz the field in the qualifying race, it was natural to expect the same for the points race. Even the commentator kept saying how well he went and that he was very much the one to watch. The lights went out and Leon flew off the line brushing aside the leading Two Stroke machines as they entered the first corner. They all went out of sight as they disappeared up to turn two. It was then a waiting game until they came back round in to view through the mountain section. As they all came flying past, it was obvious that Leon wasn't with them...oh bugger! A friendly marshal let Leon phone Rod to say he was ok, thank you Mr marshal! Leon had gone down hard (while leading) at the very fast left-hander through the 'Gooseneck'. It appears that oil from the steering damper had leaked on to the left hand side of the front tyre...and oil isn't really known for giving you much grip...and down he went! It was some 'off' too, Leon must have been travelling at over a hundred miles an hour when he flicked the bike over to the left. He slid, hit the kerb with a lot of force, and rolled so much that he distroyed his leathers. And to top it all off, the monkey on the back of the bike fell off in all the chaos. But you'll be glad to know that, when visiting the scene later that evening, Rod actually found the little fella and he was happily reunited with the bike. And how did James get on? Well, he rode another solid race to finish eighth with a fastest lap time of 1:48:01...well done James.
At first we were worried that Leon had damaged his elbow again. And he had, but that turned out to be the least of his worries...he had smacked his right knee so hard that it ballooned up overnight. It appeared that, for Leon, racing on the Sunday just wasn't going to happen. But Leon being Leon, that wasn't the end of it. He decided to sit out of the 600 races, then see how fit he felt for the final 400 race of the day. That meant, though, that he didn't participate in the qualifying race and would have to start from the back of the grid in the 400 points race.
Myself and James took part in the qualifying race though, but it wasn't without it's stress. The weather just wouldn't decide what it wanted to do. It felt wet in the air but the track looked dry, so it was decided to go for a wet front and dry rear. It was very quickly evident that we should have gone with full dry tyres though - which is what Rod had actually suggested (note to self, listen to Rod more!). This was to be my first time at Cadwell Park, and I'd only done a handful of laps in the warm-up, so I was just going to feel my way round and try to learn it a little. Which is exactly what I did. I remember overtaking someone round the first corner as I watched the rest of the pack disappear off ahead. I ended up riding quite a lonely race, but was quite pleased to actually go full race distance without getting lapped (just!). I really like it as a track but need to work on my technical skills if I want to get down to some decent lap times...maybe a track day or two will help. James went very well though, and rode a great race to finish seventh in class, with his fastest lap being a time of 1:47:95.
Now, let's look at the points race. We lined up on the grid, I looked left, and on the back row with me was Leon. Now that's a first! And there were a lot of riders lined up ahead of us. But as the lights went out I couldn't help but notice Leon getting stuck right in, and was already carving his way through the field as we headed off round the first corner and up to 'Charlies'. At the end of the opening lap Leon had already made his way up to well within the top ten, and it wasn't long before he had caught Ben Cole (his main championship rival) and had begun pushing for a way past. Unfortunately the race was only six laps long, and Leon had to settle for a fifth place finish. Had it been longer Leon would definitely have made his way passed Ben (He was over half a second a lap quicker after all). But it was a quality ride from Leon, considering he was riding in a lot of pain from his knee (and elbow I might add), so a big congrats has to go out to Leon. And he picked up some valuable points for his championship quest, a great example of damage limitation. James managed to finish inside the top ten again and maintain his seventh place in the championship. I had another lonely race but managed to knock seven seconds off my lap times, so that was good progress for me.
So, not a bad weekend when all things are considered. Now let's look forward to Pembrey and the next two rounds of the championship...
(In the heart of the Lincolnshire countryside.)
(It's good to see the pink and black back again.)
(Leon in action on the R6.)
(Leon gets off to a flyer on the 400.)
(The rebuild began.)
(Rod popped the exhaust back in to shape.)
(And successfully reunited the monkey with his bike.)
(As good as new!)
(A good weekend was had by all.)
(Still very much in it!)
(Thank you everyone!)
1 year ago