North Glos Racing Club Cadwell April 24-25

Pictures taken by Kerry

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April 24th - 25th

Trackday; Friday 23rd 2010
Having never raced at Cadwell I thought it would be wise to get to know the circuit so I booked a track day.
I stayed overnight with Boss (Mark Arliss) and Kerry in Doncaster so it was a short 60mile drive in the morning, compared to the 240 mile trip from Bristol.
The weather was bright sunshine, so all day I spent going around and working out the lines and the gears to be in for each corner and straight.
Having only 5 gears and once moving the first two are redundant, this only leaves three but with the torquey FJ engine it’s not too much of a problem.
Later that afternoon I noticed that I had not fitted the belly pan (oil collection tray) which you need to race, so a hasty phone call to Ernie meant that he at to pick this up from the Garage and get up to Cadwell for 9am, which is a 4 hour trip from Bristol, so a big thanks to him.

Race 5. Round 3; Qualifier; 5 laps (Sat 24th)
The grid is mainly made up of Streetstocks bikes (modern road bikes, raced prepped with controlled Metzeler tyres) and Pri-Injection pre 2001 class which I’m officially in. There were 22 on the grid and I was kindly given 9th. My main competitor (Adam Jeffery on 2001 R1) was one position behind me. I had a great start and was around 7th in the first bend.
The following two laps I lost a couple of places to the super fast Streetstock bikes but that changed when my bike started to misfire. First it started at 7,000 revs, it was as if running out of fuel but with 8 litres there should have been more than enough to race 10 laps let alone 5. Each lap by lap I was being overtaken, by the finally lap it wouldn’t rev above 5,000 revs. Their was nothing to do but nurse the poor sick Fudge around.
To add insult to injury I noticed a guy up my chuff around the last few bend through the Mountain section, but I was easy pickings as he simply out accelerated me to the flag.
Not a good result, 15th and Adam was 8th.

Back at the pit’s the carbs was removed and taking no chances so we cleaned the carbs, fitted new plugs (Ernie said it’s what Pope would do!). We needed a serviceable fuel pump as it looked like mine had failed, then Dave aka ‘Mick Grant’ came to the rescue by allowing me to rob one from his FJ that he had rode to the track to watch me racing (let that be a warning to you all!).

Race 14. Round 3; 5 laps.
I was two rows back from Adam so it was going to be a tall order to make up the 7 places, the answer would be a good start. So with a bit of luck and commitment I was 7th into the first bend, to the shock of a few Stock guys, but the problem was that down the straight it was inevitable that the Stock guys passed me back.
Had a good tussle with a guy on a Triumph 675 which I got the better of in the end. Across the line I had finished a creditable 8th overall but importantly was the 1st in class (Pre-Injection). Adam was 4 places behind in 11th and kindly congratulated me.

The fuel pump was handed back to Dave so he could get home where he then lent me a spare one from his collection of 3 FJ’s in his garage.
On the way back I nipped into the off licence so we could celebrate that evening and thank Ernie for his early morning jaunt.
Mura and Caz turned up that evening as he was booked in for the Sunday Race. It must be pointed out that Mura had never done a trackday at Cadwell let alone raced there. This is a brave move, as its scary enough racing let alone having never seen the circuit.

Race 5. Round 4 Qualifier. 5 laps (Sun 25th)
Practice; Woke up to a damp track, so we fitted a wet front and a race rear to our FJ’s. The plan was to show Mura around the circuit but 15 minutes isn’t a lot of time for him to get a accustomed to the very difficult and technical track but Mura soon showed some pace and we even passed a few of the more experienced guys.

By the time the qualifier race was due it had lightly rained and we were confused as to what tyres to fit. I opted for full wets to play safe but on the warm up lap it was soon obvious that it was a mistake as the circuit was completely dry. Mura had the foresight to have two FJ’s prepped so he quickly jumped on the FJ Racer with dries.
On the grid I noticed Adam had full race tyres so I had really given myself a hard task of beating him on my wets in a dry race.
I had my normal good ‘Stoner’ start but spent the whole race with the bike feeling like I was riding on marbles. Another problem was the misting up of the visor, it’s a bit scary going, flat out down a steep hill into Mansfield Corner whist trying to open your visor only to find that its not clearing quickly, you could say ‘its sharpens the mind some what!’
 I was lapping around 3 seconds slower than the day before but so was everyone else. I was shocked, that Adam didn’t come pass and relieved when I took the flag in 9th place and realised that Adam was well down to 13th.

Race 14. Round 4 Race. 6 laps
I was 9th, Adam 13th the track was dry, it looked like I had it in a bag but fate often don’t see it that way. Had another good start but because of my wide line into the first corner ‘Coppice’ (due to the fact I didn’t slow down much) a few of the Stock guys was coming up the inside of me. This came to a head when on the second lap one of the Stock guys came up the inside but he couldn’t hold a tight line so drifted out, taking me with him to the point that I was punted off onto the grass. Rule No1 is don’t brake, the grass was still damp from the earlier rain so I use the steep hill to slow me down and finally popped back onto the circuit. In the mean time everyone and their dog had passed me including Adam. Now I was on a mission and after a few laps I had passed a few Stocks and was behind Adam on his 2001 R1.
I managed to out brake Adam into Park corner only for him to let off his brakes and pass me back. I must have shocked him as he didn’t expect me to catch him back up after seeing me on the grass. For the next two laps I was on his ass but I could see he was being held up by a guy on a 09 R6. The R6 had the speed on the straights but we had the corner speed, finally Adam out braked him into Park corner and I went to follow but it would have been a close call so I backed off. Then as I was looking to get pass the R6 Adam started to pull away. I finally got passed him through Coppice as I went around the outside him, then a quickly caught up Adam.
He knew I was there but was holding me up badly through the tight and twisty Mountain section but there was no way to pass and along the straights there wasn’t anything between the two bikes.
On the final lap I knew I at to pass him before the ‘mountain’ so out of the new chicane I pinned the throttle while it was leant right over, this was so I could out accelerate him into the last bend before the ‘Mountain’ but the tyre wasn’t having any of it and the result was a big high side, this kicked me right out of the seat and gave the FJ a massive tank slapper, once under control I got behind Adam and followed him through the Mountain section, the last chance was on the final exit but even though I was only a few feet away there was nothing in it as we crossed the line.
A was very disappointed at coming 2nd but I was thankful that I had managed to stay on.

Mura’s goal was not to be last or be lapped, this he did easily and my hat goes off to him for sticking his neck out and race. He told me is main goal was to enjoy the experience and this he did, so my full respect goes out to him.

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