Problems! No cigar this time.

The first race on Saturday was in glorious sunshine and everything was looking good for the 1:30 pm start. With our 6th place qualifying we were far enough forward on the grid to be in contention.

Bruce rode first and got away well but  soon dropped back with the bike slowing up. He came in as soon as the pit opened and Dean soon found the same problem, but worse.

The gears were not changing properly with top gear not engaging at all because the left hand gear linkage started to break!

Dean did a great job of getting the bike home by eventually changing gear by hand and kicking the remote linkage with his foot.

It you don’t finish the race it makes the next day a waste of time, with the combined times.

The problems were a binding front brake, on both sides. The water from the practice sessions was enough to get into the brake pivots and stop the brake returning.

The gearbox problem was strange as we checked it out in the pits and it changed gears perfectly. We fitted the spare right hand (standard Manx) gear linkage and (wrongly) assumed the problem was the failing linkage. The gearbox oil was changed and looked OK.

We worked on the bike until late and Dean and Charlotte stipped the brake and lubed the pivots, while James Bloore and I swapped over the gear change and brake levers.

We were reasonably confident the problems were fixed and on Sunday we would be on the pace.

The weather held up until after our race before lunch. Dean got a really good start, and was up to 4th and happy. But once he got on the fast sections the gearbox would not change gear. Dean said the pedal would jam and it was too dangerous to continue, so he returned to the pits.

When we checked it on the stand it had all six gears so the problem is only occurring at high speed. I will try and strip the gearbox before I go back to NZ.

It is frustrating that it did not show up in NZ when Cameron Donald rode the bike at the Pukekohe Festival, and Bruce Anstey didn’t get a chance to show his true form.

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He made comment it took two attempts to get a result at the Isle of Man, so maybe we will see him again next year.

I felt really sorry for our team as we all tried really hard to get a result and after all the rain and the sea of mud in the car parks it was a bit of an ordeal.

It started to rain on the far side of the circuit early in the Sunday race, which caught out Glen English who slid off Fred Walmsley’s G50.

The 3 cylinder MV of Michael and William Dunlop expired  in a cloud of smoke during the first race , and both Fred Walmsley’s G50 Matchless’s had falls, so we were not alone in our disappointments.

The race was won by Jeremy McWilliams and Duncan Fitchett (our rider from last year) riding a 500 Manx prepared by Andy Savage, and our other rider from last year, Sam Clews did the fastest lap on the Manx he shared with his dad.

Gary Johnson and Mick Grant had a good ride, being elevated to 3rd after the Dunlop’s, riding a borrowed Manx Norton, copped a 10 second penalty for changing riders outside the “pit window”.

Back home soon.

 

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Some of the Goodwood “characters”

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Charlotte and Debbie adding some colour to the holding area.

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The Gary Johnson / Mick Grant 3 cylinder MV

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Our Isle of Man helper Ian Wardrope from Scotland, with owner Señor Fulch

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Dick Linton in a happy mood. He just has an upside-down smile.

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A very nice BMW Rennsport RS54 ridden by Maria Costello and 1939 TT winner Georg Miers grandson.

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Ouch! Mike Hose/ Mainwaring-Scott G50

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Former Suzuki Grand Prix boss Gary Taylor, Kiwi GP rider Stu Avant and Bruce Anstey.

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Jan and Peter McMillan, who do such a great job of organising  the Eastern Creek Barry Sheene meeting, and Goodwood regular Alan Cathcart

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Wet, wet, and wetter

We got through qualifying OK with 6th position. The weather was atrocious!

Bruce went out first and was fast from the start. The brake was really viscous when cold at low speed but came right when riding. I went back to the pit to get the front stand and tools which is about a kilometre walk! We took the wheel out in the holding area to try and get some of the grab out of it. Dean’s girlfriend Charlotte was a big help, and clearly knew what she was doing. We got out a lap late.

The rain was constant and toward the end of the session got heavier. When the bikes were stopping for the rider change the water trapped in the flanged rims must have been about half a litre and came out like a waterfall.

Dean took over and matched Bruce’s times so we were happy. Sixth place on the Le Mans start is OK.

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The car-park has turned to a sea of mud, and it really was not a lot of fun.

Race day today has taken a turn for the better with high cloud. Off we go!

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Debbie, Charlotte and Dean, when it wasn’t raining!

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Bruce, with his special leathers from the Isle of Man, 2013 and 2014

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Debbie and Charlotte in pit lane, hiding from the rain.

 

 

Ready for Goodwood

We spent yesterday afternoon in Wallingford, near Oxford packing the van and preparing for Goodwood.

The bike looks great and the motor is running strong.

My efforts to persuade Bruce Anstey to ride were worth the effort and combined with Dean Stimpson we have a strong team.

We are the best organised we have yet been with a good bike, good toolkit and now everything in plastic boxes, with lids. The plastic boxes proved essential, as when it rained in the Isle of Man all my cardboard boxes got wet bottoms after water ran through the tent in the night.

The work space at Goodwood is very cramped in the “period” corrugated iron  “lean-to”.

I listened to a vocal complaint from a fellow motorcycle mechanic about how bad it was, and I agreed with him, but pointed out the mechanic I met who looked after a five million pound Alfa Romeo Pre-war GP car was very envious that we had a back wall to our pits as he worked under an open carport with the rain running down his neck!

We arrive on Thursday to set up, and there should be Live Streaming of the qualifying on Friday and the “Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy” races on Saturday and Sunday.

Ken