Test half day at Ty Croes didn’t go to plan. I got to Anglesey nice and early, as my Nain (Welsh for grandmother) lives a couple of villages over from the circuit and so B & far too much B has never been a problem for me at the track. I had decided to just do the half day of the test as to save a bit of cash and so I could do some chores for my Nain as I don’t get to see her that often. I roll up to the paddock to find Team Cheese principle (Doog) and team manager (Helen) had as always had set up the awning and I merely have to unload and get ready. A quick change of the tyres and I am ready to go. The track is dry despite some early morning rain and things are looking good.

Soon enough the first session is called for me. I’m in the Blue group, the fast one, eek. The fast lads have had 3 sessions this morning to learn the track and get into the swing of it. I am riding the shorter Coastal circuit for the first time, all my previous visits have been to the International GP layout, which doesn’t include the full Cork Screw. I go out, and set about my task. I take it steady and feel very slow. It’s just not gelling at the moment. I am too slow in too slow out, braking to early, basically all over the shop with lines (trying to find something that feels right) and generally probably horribly in the way. Still this is a test session and so no points or grid places for going fastest are on offer. As the chequered flag comes out I am sort of relieved, I’m a bit tired and I need to sit down and have a good talk to myself about doing better.

I have a bit of a chat with Doog and try to sort out in my mind what I am doing wrong, but I think it’s just rustiness on my part and with the session being full of up to speed Powerbikes and Open 1000s the speed differences are quiet marked.

Second session. I head out as called and we are held for a bit, almost like on a track day. We head out on track and instantly I feel better. I decide to do my own thing as normal. I make sure my tyres are warm before trying to push a bit. First flying lap and it’s knee scrapping all the way around (the noise still scares me) and I am feeling much better. It’s all coming together. I just need to get some braking points, as the ones from track days here are way too early now. Steady progression is what it’s all about. Second lap and I’m building confidence, a few come around me on the back “straight” and I am happy to follow their lines. Up to the left right tight chicane and I can hear someone to the inside of me. I leave room for them to get through… then bang. What the *?, I am lying on a R6 side panel sliding toward the grass in a most comical pose. Number 311 had lost it under braking and dropped it and took my front wheel with the most delicate of taps. It’s my first off and the most surreal experience. Everything is slow calm and generally not as I expected. I don’t touch the ground even. I just sit on the R6’s side a glide off the track. We are both up and OK, though common sense has left both of our minds as he says sorry and shakes my hand before realising we are on a race track. Quickly we get the bikes off the track with the marshals and sit to watch the rest of the session. I am more annoyed about the loss of track time than anything else as I know this session was going to make the rest of the weekend better. Still that’s racing.

I can ride back, unlike the Yamaha which has holed it’s tank (probably to some fat bugger surfing it) and the concesuss from Doog is:

  • Bar end bolt has bent
  • Rear set can be bent back, but I should get some heat on it first. Fortunatley number 69 Mike in the street  stocks, who had bought Doog’s old CBR had his spare parts and is very generous t to lend me a rear set for the weekend (much appreciated and beers shall be exchanged)
  • The rest is cosmetic. Gaffer tape to the rescue.

So all in all it is described by him as “Not a real crash”.

So nothing really too add, it hasn’t scared me. I know what happened and can put it down to Shit happens. I am out in the very next session. I did learn not to leave my phone unlocked near Doog unlocked though as a fraping takes place :o)

The next session is spitting with rain and the red and yellow flag are out. Not wishing to have another repairing session I take it steady, yet still knee touches tarmac, in a good way. I am hindered by visor steaming up and can’t see too well, a quick trip down the pits, open the visor and check the vents on my helmet and it’s back out. It’s like having the track to myself. No one is out on track leaving me to my own lines relearning and checking the bike is still straight.

An extra session is added so I can get even more time on track. Again the wind has brought with it some spits of rain and not many go out. I am playing a bit of catch up after my surfing trip and I am getting quicker and quicker. This bodes well for the weekend of racing, as I have got my crash out of the way.

Bring it on.

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