BEMSEE F400S: ROUND 1, BRANDS INDY, MARCH 9-10TH
SKINT RACING RACE REPORT
We arrived late Thursday night, made our way to Garage 19, unloaded the bike and set up the van in preparation for Friday afternoon's Instruction with Stuart on his beautiful Honda RS250 GP machine.
Friday afternoon was a bit of a disappointment as, apart from being freezing cold, Stuart suffered from brake fade, thus knocking all confidence on some of the faster corners. But we made some improvements elsewhere on the track.
Saturday morning - Qualifying
I was out on the RVF400 with freshly scrubbed-in Supercorsa tyres, kindly provided by Wemoto and ridden at speed for the first time. Blimey, it was a bit of an eyeopener, proving that V4s do have a bit of engine braking. Enough to slide her into Druids like a squirrelly thing. It was also quite a bit of weight that I hadn't been used to. I ran around getting accustomed to the bike and trying to get a feel for her, so I just tried to hit my line and push my braking markers.
I finished 5th in class and 14th overall, with a miserably slow lap time of 1.03 on a cold drying track. 2 seconds down on the class leader.
Race 3, Saturday
We swapped fuel cans to what we thought was Shell V Power, filled up and were called to the collecting area. The bike was started, warmers were off and we made our way out of the garage. The bike sounded and felt awful, and as we pulled onto the circuit, a fellow rider pointed to my exhaust which was now billowing blue smoke. As I pulled up to my grid slot, it cut out and I was pushed to the side.
After the race was complete, I pushed the bike back to the garage at the other side of the track and we started the investigation. I opened the tank filler cap and the fuel stank of Diesel. The jerrycan, the same. We checked the receipt and Sadie rang the garage to complain.
My first time stripping down the V4 in the garage was aided by fellow V4 racer, Joolz. We had the tank, airbox and everything off in record time. A can of carb cleaner sprayed straight down the bellmouths and we had some sort of life from the engine as we pulled the new fresh unleaded fuel into the carbs. The last laugh was on us, hey. Leaving the Blue Haze clan to race a diesel and we literally were trying it. Glow plug jokes and all were heard in the garage until late that night. The bike's new nickname is 'Fergie', as in Ferguson Diesel Tractors.
Race 14, Saturday
I started at the back of the grid due to my non-start in the previous race. I had a good start into Paddock Hill and a fairly good couple of laps, until I made a silly mistake and lost the pack I was chasing.
I finished 6th in class, 18th overall, but with a better lap time of 59 seconds. Still, it was 5 seconds a lap off my 2 stroke 250 times, which is shocking but I still haven't managed to get my knee down yet so hardly pushing.
Race 3, Sunday
Racing was delayed due to 60mph gusts and hail!!!
We finally started our race an hour or so late and boy, was it windy! I made a good start going around the outside of the Paddock following Steve (#90), but it became clearly apparent that I don't have the confidence in the bike yet to throw it around like he was as he pulled away, leaving me with a great battle with Ben (#71). I had a few moments being blown off the track at Graham Hill Bend and lost the front at Surtees. But I was up for the fight and it was a last lap do-or-die attempt from Ben as he came in tight up the inside of me on the last turn. Fast in, slow out. So it was a complete drag race to the line which I thought I'd lost, but when official time sheets were released, I was announced 5th and Ben 6th. I'd beat him by 0.023 secs !!!
Race 14, Sunday
After many many red flags due to incidents caused by the weather, it was getting late and even colder, but I managed to stay dry for the race. Starting from the 7th row, I managed to get the bike hooked up fairly well. I had a fairly uneventful race until I got my handlebar clipped a bit in Paddock Hill. I dropped back straight away as I was a bit rattled, my head wasn't right and I was missing apexes and rolling off the throttle. I finished 6th in class again, still rotating in the 59 seconds - grrr!
A huge thanks to Andy my boss for letting me have the Thursday off work. To Joolz for the carb knowledge, and Steve and Ben for the Garage 19 antics. To Sadie, Crew Chief and ace Mrs, for doing everything that I forget to do. And most importantly to Wemoto, for their continued support whilst I get to grips with this diesel racing. Cheers, Keith, you're a star. We appreciate it!
Oulton Park is on the 29th and 30th March, with Qualifying on Friday, just the 2 races on Saturday and back home Sunday morning.
Ride safe and thanks for the support
Nick and Sadie #55
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