Thursday, 1 April 2010

A Good, Solid Start to the Season at Croft

With limited time on Friday for testing due to red flags and rain showers, Phil lined up for Race 1 on Saturday in 22nd spot (allocated when race entries were received in the post!). He got a good start and by the end of the first lap was in 12th place. Getting progressively faster he cut through the field and passing a rival over the line, posted his fastest lap and claimed 7th place. Race 2 was delayed due to the course car still being out on track, and Phil, along with a number of riders (the front row of the grid!) waited in their respective garages. By the time the course car was clear and they eventually rolled out the gate was being closed. Although they made the sighting lap they had to start from the back of the grid! Extremely frustrated, Phil made a fantastic start and carved through the grid only to be the unfortunate victim when a number of riders 'sat up' and ran wide into the first corner. Phil, who'd decided to go round the outside, found himself being hit on his right side and having his arm pulled from the throttle! He was pushed off the track through the gravel at high speed and miracuously kept his balance, bouncing back on track on the far side of the chicane. Mindful of his 'dirty' tyres for the next few corners he managed to recover and make some progress, battling up to 11th place.

Sunday's racing began at 12noon due to noise restrictions. Phil made excellent progress on the start and got away with the leaders dropping into 5th place and setting a much faster pace than the previous races. He just began to lose touch with 4th place and was embroiled in a dice with a fellow competitor for 5th/6th when the race was red flagged nearing the end of the 5th lap. The 7 lap race was eventually called a result and due to a rival suffering a jump start penalty Phil was elevated into 4th place, pleased to have set his personal best of 129.96.

As the bike was checked over prior to Race 2, the crew noticed the clutch cable was fraying (this would explain why it was so darned heavy!) and it was changed ready for the start. Rolling out to the holding area, Phil was looking forward to taking the advantage of a front row start but was puzzled when he was given 7th on the grid? As they lined up it soon became clear the wrong sheet had been used and were then told to go round on the sighting lap and reform in the correct positions! When the lights finally went out (yet another delay!) Phil was horrified that the newly replaced clutch cable gave a different 'feel' and as the bikes sped of the line the bike stalled! Amazingly he was missed by the full grid behind and managed to get the bike started and set off dead last. Making up place after place and getting faster as the race wore on, Phil managed to claw back up 14th place, although frustratingly 13th up to 7th were only just a couple of seconds in front.

Happy to have finished the weekend upright, with 29 points and 9th in the overall Championship, Phil and the Team made the steady journey homeward. We would like to thank Stu, Sue and Cameron Hall for coming along Saturday to support him and a massive thanks to Charlie for all his help over the weekend.

See you all at Cadwell.........

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