PRESEASON TESTING – CB500 - BRANDS HATCH, MALLORY PARK AND SNETTERTON
I'd chosen to enter a class on a bike I had never ridden before. So I decided to get out on it as quickly as possible before the first race weekend.
I arrived at Brands on the morning of February 24th, to be greeted with lovely warm summer-like sunshine all day long.
I started off at a steady pace until I began getting to grips with the new twin-cylinder 500cc machine.
I ended up having a cracking day. I met a few other fellow CB500 riders, who I would no doubt be coming across in the Thundersport500 paddock throughout the season to come.
The day went well and I ended up producing consistent lap times - a second or two off the one-minute mark.
The second time out on the bike was completely in the unknown. I'd never been to Mallory Park before or been out in the wet on the CB.
I started off on wet tyres and at an increasingly steady pace. But the more I pushed the bike on corner exit, the more I realised the clutch was not having it. So I was having to feather the throttle on and off to get it to grip and pull away as it should.
By lunchtime, the track had begun to dry out in places and there was no more standing water. The weather was a little warmer, though it was cloudy. I fitted the dry tyres and despite the slipping clutch, my confidence began to grow.
The last day of testing was at Snetterton on 17.03.19.
A new Gecko clutch kit had been fitted before arrival, so today was the day to put it to the test.
We arrived at Snetterton circuit early Sunday morning, ready for testing. Due to the cold and wet weather forecast, I swapped the wheels over for wet ones.
The day started off well and a dry line started appearing as the morning progressed. During lunch time I swapped the wheels back to the dry ones and headed out again.
I managed one and a half sessions, building up confidence on the dry tyres. Then the hail began and I did two laps before the front end washed out and low-sided at Murray's corner.
Fortunately, there wasn’t a huge amount of damage. A bent set of handlebars, which in turn caused a rather large dent in the tank - nothing that wasn't easily fixable.
I began fixing the bike in the pit garages, but the rain continued to get worse, so I decided to call it a day.
Many thanks to Wemoto. None of this would have been possible without their help and all the parts supplied – clutch, brake pads, brake discs, oil and filters. A huge thank you also to my brilliant partner Rose for her pit crew assistance, general motivation and tea-making skills!
The first race weekend is rapidly approaching: Brands Hatch on the weekend of March 30th. If you’re able to come down and drop by our stand, please do! We will be sporting the Wemoto gazebo, in the standard bright-yellow Wemoto colours, so we should be easy to find! If you’re watching from the stands, look out for bike #181.
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