Aintree and Three Sisters 20/21 September

This weekend I’m racing at Aintree on Saturday 20th and at Three Sisters on Sunday 21st September.
These are the final rounds for both the Aintree Club and the Preston & District Club for 2008.

Aintree Sat 20th - Aintree Club
I’ve had an abysmal season at Aintree - a broken exhaust, a puncture, a crash resulting in a broken tendon (and a broken bike!) then I missed a meeting due to injury and a meeting because it clashed with the CRMC at Cadwell (but that Aintree meeting got cancelled due to flooding anyway).
Although I know that I’m nowhere in the overall championships for 2008, I’m hoping for good results there this weekend. My aim is to get another signature towards my national license (maybe one step closer to riding in the Manx GP).
I’ve entered the Classic 250 Single Cylinder class and the Classic 350 Single Cylinder class (on the same 250 Ducati) so I’ll get one practice and 4 races (if all goes to plan).

Three Sisters Sun 21st - Preston and District Club
I’ve secured 2nd place in the 2008 championship for the Classic 250 class. First place is out of reach so I’ll be riding for pride (and for the fun of it) in this one.
I’m currently in 3rd place in the (modern) 250 class (not bad going on a 1970’s bike) and I’m only 2 points adrift of the next place, so If I can beat Nigel then I’m in with a chance of finishing the season in 2nd. It’s a bit of a long shot though - my best chances are if it rains, but I’d rather have it dry and sunny.
With doing the 2 classes I’ll get a practice and 4 races again.

Hope to see some of you at either (or both) of these meetings.

After these races I’ve still got a few more rounds to go with the Wirral 100 Club, first at Anglesey (October 4 & 5) and finally at Oulton Park (October 18 - Stafford Bike Show weekend).



[size=150]Aintree 20/9/08[/size]
A dry sunny hot day - we’ve not had many of those this year!
Round 5 of the Aintree season, the final round for this club.
I entered 2 classes, Classic 250 Single Cylinder and Classic 350 Single Cylinder.
In each class the singles run with the twins. In the 250 class, 125’s are classed with the 250 S/C’s too.

I’ve had an abysmal year at Aintree, I’ve got nowhere in the championships. In round 1 I had a broken exhaust and was down on power, I also got a puncture just before the 250 final and so never made the race. In round 2 I crashed in my first race of the day, smashing up the bike and breaking a tendon in my right thumb. Round 3 I missed as I was still nursing the thumb and I didn’t want to risk anything as I was racing at Three Sisters the next weekend. Round 4 I missed as I was racing with the CRMC at Cadwell (as it happened the meeting was a washout - cancelled due to rain and flooding).
My aim for this final round was to try for a top 50% finish in one of the finals (probably the 250 as it’s harder to beat the 350’s on a 250!) to get another signature, and another track, towards my national race license.

I usually come in from practice feeling that I’m not yet up to speed, but I came in buzzing after having a really good session.

Race 5. My first race was the 250 qualifier. The single cylinder class was mostly Ducatis (the programme showed 10 Ducatis, a Villiers, an NSU and a Maico). The twins (20 in the programme) were a mix of Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Ariel 2-strokes with a few Honda 4-strokes.
I started from P26 on the grid (positions selected by pulling a peg out of a bag) which was quite far back but I got a good start, passing a few singles and twins (and narrowly avoiding a collision with a stalled bike!). I had a really god battle with another Ducati, we were often side by side and our braking was getting later all the time. Although I lost the duel by 1/4 second it was great fun and I finished 4th of 7 finishers in the singles, 14th of 20 finishers overall.
Prior to today by best lap time had been 1:18.251, 70.619mph average for the lap (in the second round on the lap before I crashed). In this race I achieved a 1:17.086, 71.686mph lap, nearly 1.2 seconds off my previous best time.

Race 11. 350 qualifier. The 28 twins in the programme consist mainly of Honda 350 K4’s with a smattering of 250 2-strokes and a Seeley listed too. The 11 single cylinder bikes listed were mostly Ducati 350’s along with an Aermacchi, a Manx Norton, a couple of Greeves and two of us on 250 Ducatis.
Unfortunately when I came to start the bike it wouldn’t rev without choke. I eventually found that the needle in the carb had broken in two where the clip sits so most of the needle had dropped into the jet with the top bit and the clip still sat on top of the slide. Most unusual (I’m sure I’m jinxed at Aintree). By the time I’d replaced the needle I was too late for the race. Consequently I’d start at the back of the grid in the 350 final.

Race 16. 250 final. What an excellent race. I got in a group of 4 Ducatis and a Honda (twin) battling it out together. Lots of passing under braking and in mid-corner, It was great, really exciting stuff.
I came 5th of 9 finishers in the single cylinder class, one place short of a signature on my license. My best lap time had improved slightly again to 1:16.958, 71.805mph.

Race 22. 350 final. I started from P33 right at the back but got a good start passing a few of the more powerful 350 singles and twins. By the end of the first lap I was chasing a friend of mine on a Honda 30 K4 (twin). I soon caught him and although he could outclass me on the straights (and they’re long ones at Aintree) I could make up a lot of time on the brakes on with better corner speed. We swapped places a few times before the race was red flagged. The final results, taken from the lap before the red flag showed that I’d crossed the line seven hundredths of a second ahead of him. Although we were in different classes so it made no difference to our respective points it was great fun. I should also point out that my transponder’s on one of the front forks of my bike, his is near the back of his bike, but I’m expecting to see him move it to the front in future.
My best lap was now down to 1:16.690, 72.055mph, another quarter of a second improvement.

[size=150]Three Sisters 21/9/08[/size]
After the ultra-fast Aintree track it was over to the ultra-twisty Three Sisters circuit for the final round of the Preston and District club championship.

I’ve been running 2 classes - 250 Classics (run with the over 250 Classics) and the open (modern) 250cc class (run with the 125’s which are the fastest bikes around this course. Casey Stoner used to hold the lap record here on a 125).
In the 250 Classics I’d already secured 2nd place in the championship, 1st having been taken by Steve Bedford on a Suzuki. In the modern class I’d secured 3rd place but was only 2 points behind Nigel Beck on his 250 Honda RS. I’d almost been hoping for damp conditions to give me a chance against the modern Honda but it remained dry and fairly sunny.

Three Sisters needs really low gearing (a total opposite to Aintree). For this round I decided to use one less tooth on the rear sprocket to my normal set-up here as there are a couple of places where I’ve been running out of revs (valves bouncing against the piston) just before my braking points. In practice I was getting used to the new gearing and pushing it quite hard - it felt good although I’d still not quite got used to it by the end of the practice session.

Race 3. Classics qualifier.
I picked ‘8’ from the bag, row 3 (only 3 to a row on this narrow track) which was a good starting position. I managed to pass a few bikes on the start and in the first couple of laps, then was on my own for a while before the 250 championship leader caught me and slipped passed. I finished 6th overall, 2nd of the 250’s.
My previous best lap time here had been 1:10.107 with a best lap average speed of 47.858mph. In this race I improved it to 1:09.855, 48.031mph.

Race 7. 125cc & 250cc qualifier.
With a start position of 19 I was next to last on the grid. I managed to get head of a couple of bikes but had a fairly quiet race to come in 15th overall (last of the four 250’s). My best lap time came down to 1:09.145, 48.524mph.

Race 14. Classics final.
Starting from P6 on the grid (my qualifying position) next to the 250 leader in P5 I got a good start and got ahead of him. Before long he got past me, but I was going well and I made sure that I cleared away from those behind me to come in 2nd 250, 5th overall.
Once again my best lap time improved, this time by nearly half a second to 1:08.721, 48.824mph.

Race 18. 125cc & 250cc final.
Starting from P15 I got onto the back wheel of the next 250 (Nigel) with a couple of 125’s just ahead of us. I harrowed him for a while until he managed to slip past one, then the other 125. The 125 in front of me was holding me up through the corners but had more acceleration out of the bends. I eventually slipped through under brakes at the bottom of the hill on lap 5 and pulled away. I had no chance of catching Nigel (I remember seeing him ahead of me on the other side of ‘Lunar’ bend) but I was enjoying myself and going well so I kept pushing on. I managed another personal best on lap 5, 1:08.108 49.263mph. Part way through lap 6 I crashed. Apparently I was braking towards the hairpin and must have locked my front wheel. When I hit the ground I rolled and lay still for a while, about 15 second I was told. I have no memory of it - I was surprised to suddenly find myself face down and unable to move. I thought that I must have come off at Lunar as that was where I last remembered being. Although I couldn’t see anything of what went on, everyone was great, very professional. The red flags were out almost as soon as I hit the deck apparently. The marshals kept me still and talked to me till the medics took over. They then checked me out, especially my neck and upper back (as much as you can get to with leathers on) before easing my helmet off with no tugging on my neck at all. I was then gently rolled onto the back board and carried onto the stretcher then into the ambulance. All very smooth and impressive. The medics were doing checks all the while and decided to run me straight to hospital rather than examining me further at the track medical centre. My pulse rate was pretty high, not surprisingly. My left collarbone has obviously broken and breathing was hard as my ribs were hurting too. One finger was a bit messy too where it had come through the glove. I’ve not been in an ambulance before, although the run was done with blues and two’s it was very smooth. In A&E they transferred me to a trolley with my head secured at all times. I then went for X-rays on my neck to check it out. That came back clear so they were able to remove the head support (and my earplugs - I hadn’t realised how little I could hear) and I went back to X-ray to have my shoulder, ribs and finger done. Only my collarbone was broken so that was a bonus.
Getting my leathers off was probably the worst bit of all, but they were then able to clean me up and dress my finger. The staff were all great and a few of my friends were with me through most of it.

This is much harder on friends than it is for me. I don’t remember the crash or being unconscious, and even while I was unable to move I never felt in any danger of anything serious, I knew I’d hurt my shoulder and ribs but I was mostly concerned with being too hot!
For those watching to see me crash and just lie there, to watch the ambulances, the marshals and the medics and not to know anything for a while until I could say ‘hi’ from the ambulance before it left the circuit, that’s far worse than what I experienced.
And the of course they had to pack all the race gear up, move cars home, collect the bike once it had been released (only after the hospital had reported back), play the sympathetic visitors, then finally bring me home and, in Caroline’s case, look after me for a while.
Caroline, Judy, Andrew, Dave - I can’t thank them enough.

Caroline’s running me to Ipswich on Thursday to see a specialist physio who treats many top riders and sportsmen. I’ll be getting a couple of laser treatments to promote the healing process. Then it’s fracture clinic on Friday and, all being well, back to work on Monday.

I’ll not be riding at Anglesey for the 2 rounds on October 4th and 5th which is a shame as I’m currently sitting 3rd with the Wirral 100 Club with 4th, 5th and 6th all within 4 points of me. We’ll have to see about Oulton on October 18th!

Other than the obvious it’s been a really successful weekend - personal best times in every single race and I’ve finished the Preston & District Club season championships in second place in the Classic 250 and third in the Open 250cc classes. A good result for me and for Classic Ducati who have funded my entry fees for the club.

I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.



Just to let you know the collar bone’s taking a while to heal - the ends weren’t very close together!

As a result I missed the Wirral 100m Club mwwting at Anglesey last weekend and I’ll not be racing at Oulton next weekend either.

I’ll be at Stafford (probably mainly on Sunday) so I’ll catch up with some of you there.



Just a quick update,

I’ve not needed an operation on the collarbone - at least for the time being, they might shave the top of the bone later on if the lump proves to be too much of a problem. Ribs are much better now too - still hurt when I sneeze though.

Andrew’s been welding and geneally fettling the bike (including raising the exhaust after I saw photo’s showing silencer and fairing dragging on the ground in left hand bends).
A few more jobs to do and I’ll be ready for next season.



Collarbone and ribs didn’t stop you camping and knocking beer back at Stafford show though. Good on yer.

C ya soon

Hi Roger,
sorry to hear about your collarbone and ribs; would suggest that once repaired, you contact Charlie Cash for physio treatment - he used to look after many of the BSB riders (Neil Hodgson, James Toseland, Chris Walker, Hizzy, Kawasaki BSB team, etc etc) and he will get you feeling great again. (I can vouch personally for his work - I had the Cash treatment after I fractured my collarbone, painful at the time, but felt so much better after visit!)
If you need more details, contact me direct, Charlie is based near Derby.