|Firstly, the team would like to thank everyone who turned up to watch in pretty miserable conditions, especially those who stayed til the cold and near-dark end - hope I've remembered everybody (but in no particular order): AlexF (our loaned-out spannawanker), Verdigris, Bee'n'Loz, Cit, Bear, Boots and Kate Blakeley, ozmick, dwb, Ben Blaney, Badger, Steve Auvache, Ben Sales, SVJon, Jon Kendall, Simian, Paul Carmichel, Nidge, Adie (tell Veggie he's a lazy sod!), Mike Barnard, Timo Geusch, MarkF, Stan Stannard, Ash and Louisa, Pip'n'Elly, The Green God JP, and the Family Gower.|
|The riders would also like to thank their spannamen - Black Mike for his usual calm management, Gyp (on the Harley), Burnt, BigJ - and the indefatigable Suze and her lovely assistant/ace brownie baker Wik for their tireless pitwall performance.|
|We eventually qualified 47th and last. Ho hum. Champ and AndyB go out,
Andy to hold the bike, Champ to do the sprint start. Champ got an
absolute *flyer* of a start, and made at least 12 places. He'd
probably have gained more if he hadn't had to break sharply to avoid a
nasty pile up on the start line, when 3 bikes went down and Juliet
from Team Genesis had to be stretchered away after a long time on the
ground (later reported to have suffered bruised kidneys, but no
An age behind the pace car (gave us time to count the bikes behind Champ). It was mizzling. Then it stopped. Then it started. Then it rained. Then it stopped. This is pretty much the weather for the race, so I won't repeat it.
Bikes were limping back covered in grass. But not ours! Champ clocks
up times in the 1.24/1.23 region by the time he comes in and Andy goes
out, under the pace car (this seemed to happen to him a lot). Champ's
assessment - lots of fast people but lots of people going off.
Andy had a steady first session, although he was swiftly punted out of the pits by Black Mike when he came in looking to have wets put on as the times were dropping into the 1:40's. The spannamen weren't ready, and frankly thought "nah, sod it. Wuss."
UKRM is climbing up into the mid-thirties in the listings.
Out goes Molly Gower - still on the intermediates. A dry line was
appearing (and disappearing). She clocks up some times in the mid
1.20s, and gets the "Come in Number 74, your time is up" flag from the
Molly outbrakes a rider into the Esses.....
....... and threads her way on to a dry line through Russell.
Moments later, the tannoy announces she's down at the Bombhole. A huge
groan goes up from the pit. Loz leaps on his towering XR400R for a
sitrep. Molly's up fine but the bike won't start. Burnt is despatched
to take Bonwick over for a look, and shortly returns to collect Champ.
After all - only the riders can push the bike *cough*.
Meanwhile, a pale and worried family Gower has reached the pit, where they are reassured by Bear and a Snowy hug (ok, that may not have helped her, but I felt better).
Our team return, with what looks like a small landscape garden in the shape of a bike. A few whaps and the soils off. Spannamen descend on the bike, mallets akimbo, and much banging and cursing ensues. Carbs are stripped, bent bits whacked, Champ is legged up and they're going again in 45 minutes from the crash. He gives the thumbs up on his next circuit and everyone breathes a sigh of relief.
|Poor Molly - on her in lap she was nerfed by the rider inside her with the gentlest of rear wheel nudges but it was enough to tip her on to the wet line. At that speed and angle of lean you don't stand a chance. But hey, it was her turn! She's hacked off, understandably, but apart from a minor rent over one buttock, seemingly unhurt.|
|The bike isn't looking quite so pretty now (the picture underneath is the "before" shot) but Molly goes out again. She builds up to some good and steady times but feels the rear is going. As are bits of the screen, following the crash. Eventually she rips off the loose bit and bungs it towards a marshall as she passes. The long sweeping right hander known as Coram Curve, a favourite of Molly produced some scary moments when getting on the gas. The bike started to slide out so gentle throttle control was the order for the rest of the session.|
|The inter is whipped off Moll's "spare" bike and put on for Champ's next stint. Team UKRM are in 29th place, and running 4th in their class, but the bikes behind them aren't many laps off. It looks as if he's going easily enough, again in the 1.23s, but when he comes in, he reports a big slide at Riches. Only Spincter Power kept him upright.|
4th in Class
With the bike looking a little worse for the wear and tear.
Andy goes out again, the track is drying and Andy gets into the
1.25s, keeping us around 28th position. With around 45 minutes to go,
he's back in and Molly goes out to do the last stint. The fastest man
on the track (Dave Wood, he rides in the British Superbike Championship) was
out on slicks (and insane) posting around 1.10s, but
it was decided the time gained by going to slicks wouldn't far
outweigh time lost in the changeover, so she's on the worn inters still!
This was the longest session... clockwatching, hopping up and down - the team were looking at finishing 30th, maybe 29th, but bikes were still falling by the wayside. All everyone wanted was to see 74 take the checkered flag. Molly gets into a good groove.
5 minutes drags down. Two. People are starting to gather on the pit wall, bobbing about anxiously. Molly passes us, and a glance at the main clock says this should be her last lap. Indeed, the flag is out and being vigorously waved! As Molly passes the wall again, we're all jumping up and down, clapping and cheering.
Molly didn't see any of it :-( , it was getting a bit dark and her visor was covered in petrol and she only saw the checkered flag at the last second.