NG Brands Hatch March 19th - 20th

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This year I’m entering the North Glos road racing club in the Pre-Injection (2001) class as to the previous year which was mainly with the Wirral 100 club under the Forgotten Era.
The pre-injection class is for bikes pre-2001 so it should offer me some stiff completion for me and my Yamaha FJ1100 racer to go against. Also I’m looking to be allowed to complete within the Streetstock class. This class is for any bike but close to street spec so making the racing cheap, but what you actually end up with is 2009 Yamaha R1 and GSXR1000k9 with power commanders, Ohlins rear shocks, upgraded forks, quick shifter etc… but with a 98 db silencer (well that will reduce the power and make for cheap racing… not!).

Brands Hatch Indy circuit.

Friday 19th; track day/testing
Weather was damp which turned into rain later in the day so first was to test Thrush’s old FJ racer (which is up for sale £2500, any takers?) and make sure this was still serviceable. No problems was found, just a few simple mods to make the handle bars and levers in a better position.

Next session was my FJ Racers; first thing I noticed was the strange handling which seemed very loose. Once back in the paddock found out the handle bar clamps was slightly loose and the lower yoke clamp bolts were loose opps! a result of replacing the leg over the winter due to damage.
Second problem was the hose from the brake master cylinder, this had split causing the oil to spill over me and the bike. Soon fixed with a new piece of hoses.
On the final session I found that the new under seat fuel tank mounting had failed so to get through the race inspection I reverted back to the normal fuel tank.

Saturday 20th; Race round 1.
The weather went from wet to very wet, so all day ‘wet’ tyres was fitted.

Race for grid position started well as I was given a good starting point of position 7th. (After last year of putting the Pre-Injection (PI) class to the back of the grid it was a welcome change).
After the warm up lap I was pointed out on the grid due to petrol leaking onto the track from my bike. Shit! They could pull me off the race for this. Luckily it wasn’t oil and they let me race which was a good call by them.
The race was soon stopped due to a red flag after a few laps, it was like a battle field with at least four bikes off at paddock Hill. It it was soon cleared with a restart and a reduced race to 4 laps.
I’m not the best guy in the wet, I’m smooth but not fast so it wasn’t long before the Streetstock guys had the better of me and pushed me back to finish 9th in race over the 4 lap race.
Adam Jeffery on a 2001 Yamaha R1 was my main completion in the PI class and both he and the R1 was quicker and finished 8th.

Race round 1;
First I at to sort out the leak from the carbs. It was traced to dirt in the floats which once drained soon cleared itself. It seems no matter how hard you prep your bike, little problems can rear it’s head and make you fail to either enter or finish a race.

It was again wet but my goal was to try and beat Adam and get 1st in the PI class. Starting from position 9th meant I was on the outside of the track so on the first corner ‘Paddock Hill Bend’ I found myself being pushed to the out side of the track. Many found it difficult to hold a tight line down the very steep hill, this resulted in a few getting pass me by the time I was up to ‘Druids’. I set a slightly fastest lap of 59.77 than the last race but Adam was a full 9 seconds ahead when we crossed the finish line some 8 laps later. The result was 11th in field and 2nd in class.

Sunday 21st; Race round 2.
Qualifier Race for grid position;
Weather was much better and the damp track was drying out fast so it was great to get back onto Race tyres, even though it was the first time I had been racing on the Streetstock controlled tyres of Metzeler Racetec tyres.
Starting from 7th I was determined to get a better start otherwise you get eaten up by the pack of the 21 racers on the grid. Got off to a reasonable start (considering my bike is over 200kg and well down on horsepower compared to the Streetstock bikes) with no major overtakes into Paddock hill bend and Druids.
On the fourth laps when going down Paddock Hill I was confronted by a bike in the middle of the track with a poor guy literary crawling to the edge of the track on his hands and knees, didn’t really want to back off as there was no Yellow flag but I was obviously cautious. By the time I got into Druids, Adam out braked me, which I thought was a bit cheeky considering the poor sod we had just ripped pass. So I decided to follow him and check out his pace as there was still another 4 laps to go.
As I across the finish line on his tail I noticed the red flags out. The race was declared a finish and due to going back a full lap was awarded 8th which push Adam back to 9th which meant he now had the crap position on the grid.
The lap times were dropped to 54.28 due to the dry conditions but Adam had clock a slightly better lap of 53.89.

Race round 2.
Corky had given me a few tips and the answer was to get a ‘Stoner’ start and break Adam in the first few laps. I knew Adam was quick on his 2001 R1 but was determined to get a 1st on my 27 year old FJ.
With a good position on the grid of 8th I got a great start with me overtaking a few into the first corner and holding them off for the best part of three laps. Finally a 2008 Yamaha R1 came past, which I followed for another lap. My main problem was the back straight, the quicker bikes would get 10 bike lengths on me, I would then catch them up going down the steep down hill ’Graham Hill’ bend and into ’Surtees’ only to be out dragged off the last bend of ’Clark Curve’ and the fast Brabham straight. The last few laps a Triumph 675 got past me and soon had the better of the R1. After 10 laps I finished 8th in field and 1st in class. Adam on the 2001 R1 was some 13 seconds behind in 9th.
My lap time had dropped to 53.70. This meant that I now hold the fastst lap of Brands in the PI class, last year it was set by Mark Dunphy on a 2001 R1 of 56.61, which works out some 3 seconds quicker. Not bad on a FJ, at a track I’ve never race at before plus tyres I’ve never ridden on before.

Next race is with Wirral 100 club at Oulton Park on April 10th.
Next NG race is Cadwell Park April 24-25th.

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Pictures taken by Kerry Rawson

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