It’s April in Lincolnshire, what is the weather going to throw at us? At Cadwell Park it’s impossible to tell with its own micro-climate! As it was, on Saturday our practice session was wet after cold, torrential rain to start the day. We were 3rd on the timing sheets, with the wet suspension set-up courtesy of Mark of Nitron, making a great difference. We were also joined all day by Mark of Mark Rose Accountancy, who came to scrutinise the Airfix Mark II fairing, after the disaster with the paint job which had been it completed then sripped back to primer again after Brands Hatch. However, the Met Office didn’t disappoint and after practice the weather then dried
so we changed to slick tyres and dry set-up.
We were gridded 3rd for qualifying, but despite the first half lap going well, there was a fuel leak, the bike felt down on power and the suspension felt too hard. I was sufficiently concerned about the fuel leak (in case it was going on the circuit) to tap – much to Simon’s dismay. He’s not used to that, and didn’t really believe I meant it… As soon as we came in I explained the problem and we swapped back to the wet suspension set up and nipped up the loose connector we thought was causing the fuel leak. If the fuel pressure was being affected that could cause the power, so we made no further changes at that stage.
As a result of coming in early and not finishing the qualifying race, for our main race we were at the back of the grid; back on the wet suspension set up however the bike felt far better. The fuel still wasn’t quite sorted, and the standard engine definitely felt down on power compared to the tuned one, but some audacious overtakes – and a new grass track line at the bottom of the Mountain – saw us cross the line 10th. For Simon’s first visit to Cadwell Park on an F2, a very creditable result.
To round the day out nicely, Caleb took a class win on his 125 – one very happy young man.
The weather was much better overnight, so we were all set up with dry tyres ready for the day. It was a busy start as Caleb’s Newcomers race was carried over from Saturday, a short gap, then his first race, one race gap, then us. We skipped practice as Simon was sorting out our sidecar and Caleb, and I was helping to find a passenger for Chris Wells as Jeff’s x-ray the previous evening had confirmed a broken scaphoid (Louth A&E: good place to sit with a Kindle on a Saturday evening). Chris and Jeff are Canadian competitors who will be taking part in the TT this year, so their bike was shipped over a few weeks ago to give them a chance to come and race here and get the set-up just right. Unfortunately Jeff was bitten by the Gooseneck on Saturday – classic Cadwell accident.
Unfortunately our qualifying race did not go well: our first half lap went well, but the engine didn’t feel like it was pulling properly. Our times did not improve and Simon was struggling to find the flow of the circuit.
Our main race of the day was very similar: dry conditions and mid-field following our earlier finish. We got into a great battle with Mark Saunders/Dave Dean and Brian Alflatt/Aaron Galligan, and brave late-braking undertake on Brian at the chicane got us past him, but David & Jayne Blackwood were nipping at our heels and it was only when the Quayes came past us (having recovered from a rare spin at the Hairpin early on in the race) that we were able to take advantage by popping past Mark and getting some clear air. Simon was able to relax and feel the circuit more, which showed in our lap times.
Although the engine still didn’t feel crisp, we managed a 10th place finish and Simon was 2secs / lap faster than his best time on Saturday.
The bike is now off to Mike Richards for a strip-down and a number of pieces of work ready for the TT. The fairing is going back for yet another attempt at the paint job – although the battleship grey is definitely growing on us! After a long discussion with Simon and with Dave Gristwood, his TT passenger, we have made the decision that Dave will passenger Simon at Oulton on 9th May. The two of them need some track time together before the TT, and Oulton provides the perfect venue with its long, sweeping straights.
Until the TT…