A couple of weeks ago saw the BMC Racing/iDAQ.com team in action at Brands Hatch. The two day event was a valuable testing opportunity ahead of the first round of the BSB championships. The weather was warm and sunny, and everybody were in optimistic moods. Leon was racing in both the 600 and Pheonix Open events, Si was also in the 600 event and I was out to have fun in the F400s. I should mention that my kit bag was left back at BMC HQ...but within a matter of minutes I found myself with a full kit to wear. Amazing! A massive thanks goes out to Spike for the use of his spare leathers and gloves, Leon for his boots, back protector and extra set of gloves, and to Si for the use of his spare helmet (luckily his head is the same size as mine)...you're all stars!
Anyway, let's start with Saturday's action. In the Phoenix Open qualifying Leon was up against a lot of other BSB riders, which included 1000cc and Supersport machines! But he put in some blistering pace to put himself comfortably on the third row of the grid for the race, with a fastest lap time of 50.22 - which was quicker than a lot of the faster machines out on track. In the race Leon got away well and settled in to the top half dozen. He managed to hold is own, and his fastest lap time of 49.40 helped him on his way to finishing a fantastic sixth place. A terrific ride!
In the 600s there were very mixed fortunes. Si went out in the first session, and looked comfortable out on track...that was until we saw him bouncing along the road at high speed on the entrance to 'Paddock Hill Bend'! Both the bike and Si cartwheeled their way across the gravel towards the barriers, eventually coming to a standstill. It was a huge relief to see Si stand up and walk round the back of the barriers, I can tell you! The bike, however, was a little bit more worse for wear. So that was the end of the weekends action for Si.
Leon's 600 fortunes were a little different. In his qualifying heat he again rode a blinder, and his lap time of 50.46 was again enough to put himself on row three for the final. When the final came, the sun was still out to play, and it certainly shone on Leon as he again got away well and made his way up to third place until dropping back slightly to finish sixth place, with a fastest lap time of 49.60. It was another fantastic ride by Leon that ended the days racing on a high.
In the F400s I went out to have a bit of fun. In the qualifying race I spent most of the time reacquainting myself with the track (and the bike for that matter), but had immense fun in the process. In the points race I knuckled down a bit more and managed to beat my lap time from last year with a fastest time of 58.76. I was very pleased with this, and had managed to pass a few riders in the process.
On the Sunday the weather was again warm, but with a little more cloud about. But we were all looking forward to the days racing action. In the Phoenix Open qualifying session Leon carried on where he had left off from the Saturday. His lap times were just getting quicker and quicker! And a time of 49.08 was enough to put himself on the second row of the grid in seventh place. In the points race Leon was again quick out of the blocks, and settled himself down in to fifth place. He drop a couple of places to finish seventh (and hold his grid position), but more importantly he again improved his pace to record a fantastic lap time of 48.81. A terrific showing in such a competitive event.
In the 600 heat, Leon flew out of the blocks and settled in to second place for the entire race. His lap times were also very impressive, with every lap being under the 50 second mark...with his best time being 49.25. This was enough to put himself on the front row for the final...another very impressive showing from Leon. The final was again a terrific ride...Leon rocketed off the line, and even the commentator was heard saying that Leon 'flew off the line like a scolded cat'! He led the race at the end of lap one, but dropped back slightly to finish in an excellent fourth position. And to prove his consistency, Leon equalled his heat lap time too with a time of 49.25...terrific stuff!
In the F400s I had a fun day. In the qualifying race I improved my lap time with a time of 58.46. The conditions were perfect really, and I should have gone faster but I was still happy with how everything felt. In the points race I again improved my pace slightly to record a lap time of 58.28, so that was progress. And I now find myself equal ninth in the championship (out of fourteen riders), so I was happy with that.
And there you have it, a fun weekend, and some valuable testing for round one of the BSB calendar. It just a shame that Si didn't manage to take part more in the weekends action. But I guess that's racing!
(It's a track I'm growing to love.)
(The new awning looked the bizz!)
(Our fantastic new sponsor.)
(The new-look bike looked the bizz too!)
(Leon in action.)
(Let's take another look at the bike shall we!)
(Big thanks to our other sponsors too.)
(Leon leaves the paddock for some race action.)
(The team look on.)
(Leon in action.)
(Me in unfamilier clothing.)
(Someone thought it was funny to change my name!)
(Si looks over at his poorly bike.)
(Leon was on the cover of the programme.)
(And here he is on the cover of the awning.)
1 year ago