Saturday at Anglesey started with a blustery old wind blowing across the island, rain had lashed the track at about 5 am. I had spent the night at my Nain’s house about 3 miles from the circuit and Doog and Helen had not had anywhere near as good a night sleep as I had.
As I had done the half test day yesterday getting ready was not such a mad dash as has become the norm. It was merely a case of popping the tyre warms on and getting in leathers ready for the practice session. Well there is the problem of moving the awning back about 3 feet that it had moved during the stormy night, but it does seem to have survived, helped no doubt by Doog moving his van to act like a wind break.I have been put in practice group 5 so there is a little wait while they go through the groups. Doog is out in group 3 and comes back with a report that the track is dry and there aren’t any bad patches anywhere on the track. Soon enough I am out on track. I am riding horrible stiff and lacking confidence, which is about normal for the first time out of the day. Apart from my short time out out yesterday I have not ridden this configuration of the Anglesey circuit and I am not really clicking with it.
Soon enough qualifying for the Open comes around and I am out and horribly outclassed.I get out really early just to get more saddle time. I am riding better than in the free practice but I am just too slow. My brain wont let me go as fast as I believe I should go around Church and School corners and I am feeling like a total chicane out on the track. I try to find someone to latch onto to drag me around but it is hopeless. I try some of what I believed to be my old lines through some of the corners to see if that improves anything but I am just too slow, plain and simple. Out of the 16 riders I am 2 seconds slower than the next person and a whopping 16second off anything like competitive lap. Not good, not good at all. This is the furthest I have been off the pace since Cadwell, and even then I was at least closer to another rider. That said I have got my time down from the free practice earlier and I always have thought of the Open as more track time for the 600s.
For the 600 race I am a long way back in the middle. The results say 21st, which would make me on the inside. I don’t remember that being right, as I think that is the grid for the final. Anyhow, to the race. I concentrate on getting a good start, and as the lights go out I get a fair start. I am held up through the the first corner, the left, and there is a lot of traffic going into the hairpin. I am not very forceful and get hung out to dry through the first 2 corners. As it all sorts out I am stuck a couple of bikes behind Doog. It takes a while to shuffle up to behind him and it takes longer than I thought to get past him. I eventually dive inside him at Church, again cheating in his eyes by using my horsepower advantage. I then set off after the bike ahead, another SV of Nigel #211. My pace is quicker but I just can’t get past him. I sit behind him for 2 laps, unable to make a move stick. I eventually get my act together on the way down to the Corkscrew, as Nigel has defended my other attack at the place where I should breeze past on power, on the way into Rockets. Now the SV’s are dealt with I set my sites on the CBR of Mike Line #69, the man that generously lent me a rear set after my hop off on the Friday. I gain on him all and I am soon on his back wheel as the last lap flag comes out. I set him up for a move into the entry to rockets, but I am a bit too early on the brakes, maybe because of the off yesterday. I slide in behind again, and try as I might I just can’t get anywhere through. And that’s how it finishes.
Back in the pits and my mum turns up, bring my Nain for a birthday treat (neither of them are big fans of bike racing). We watch the Street Stocks from the safety of the car in the carpark overlooking the hairpin and I try to explain a bit about bike racing to an 80+ year old and that it “isn’t that dangerous”… right on cue 2 bikes tangle and one, a Fireblade, goes flying on and drops it. With that I am off to have my humiliating defeat inflicted on me in the Open, now with the added knowledge that my mum and grand mother would witness it.
I line up dead last on grid, a position I am not expecting to change, but I have the vague hope that someone will retire giving my first points of the year. Yes, yes, yes I know it doesn’t really count but hey, I’ll take what points I can get. I am of the vain hope that I can hang on to the tail someone and get a dragged along. As the lights go out I get a reasonable start and I am with the group as it heads into the second corner, the Hairpin. From there they start to stretch out, and by the end of the lap I have already lost contact with everyone. By end of lap 2 I can’t even see anyone. Oh well, I work on my lines and try and keep some sort of speed up. With a little luck I won’t get lapped….. no. No luck there. I do get lapped. In all honesty this feels like my worst race I have had. There isn’t much to add to this really. It was all a bit soul destroying and not only that my lap times have slipped back 2 seconds.
My next time on track is the 600 final. The next to last race of the day. This time I am on the inside, in 21st position. I hope to get a better start this time, and not get held up with the Mini Twins. I need to “get the elbows out” on the first corner and not be so nice and must remember it’s not a track day but a race. The lights go out and I get a reasonable start, not great and I am in a bit of a battle around the first corner. I try and go for a later brake marker for the hairpin as I have been too slow and losing places on the first lap. I make a bit of an arse of it and go too deep into the corner. I run a bit wide and I know before I hear the booming sound of and Doog’s SV coming through. Damn it. I decide to have a go straight away and hope to get away and tack on to the other 600s. I go to the inside of Church and make the move, and with the extra power of the 600 I can get away down the “straight”. The rest of the race was fairly unremarkable. I hang on for a while but slowly the person in front slowly pulls away. I am still riding rubbish. I don’t know what is up with me, it’s like I have taken a step backwards in my riding, nothing seems to be flowing. I maybe trying too hard. I get the feeling the bike is over geared, but mainly it’s down to me being useless. I finish the race and feel odd. I enjoyed the race, but I feel horrible about the way I am riding. I fight the urge to blame the bike as I know there is nothing wrong with it, it’s all me.
Anyhow tomorrow is another day and another chance to redeem myself.