With the summer slowly fading into long dark nights and cooler days the opportunity to spend a weekend at the coast presented itself in the form of the Brighton Speed Trials, and what a trial it was. Tim Boutle on the CX Turbo and Robbie Dobbie with the Honda SP1 had entered this classic event. Tim being a veteran of 2 previous trips to ride down Madiera Drive suggested that it is best to arrive at 6 in the morning on Saturday. So after travelling down on Friday in torrential rain it was with trepidation Robbie arrived while still dark, before the nightclub on the Drive had closed. With the Honda wearing slicks (no damp tracks please) and a silencer that hopefully would pass the noise limit of 110dB the ‘music’ issuing from the disco’ surely wouldn’t! As the sun began to rise and dry the tarmac a few revellers were in for a shock as illegally parked cars were being towed away to make room for the temporary pits. While the organisers were setting up the event a short walk down the ‘track’ was suggested so that there would not be any surprises when the first practice session arrived. Also joining the NAST racers were Cary Wadey and his daughter and in attendance, and seemingly as at all straight line events, was Dave Massam on his trusty bicycle.
After signing on and being scrutineered it was off to the noise test area. The CX would have no problems as the turbo would silence the exhaust gases. The SP1 narrowly scraped through at 108dB. The cars were already practising while all this was going on and we eventually got called for the practice session. After arranging the different classes in sequence as per the programme and then in numerical order we had the opportunity for a tyre-warming before being aligned with the timing beam. Start was a simple red and green light sequence with no reaction but the 64 ft. time, then e.t. and speed were recorded. Tim warmed his tyre and proceeded up Madiera Drive with Robbie the next in line. After smoking the tyre and no real grip on the start-line he elected to start in second gear. No problem there but at about 3/4 track the bumps and camber created some alarming handling problems due to the slick and rigid rear end. In the interests of self-preservation a cruise through the finishing line did not see the end to problems as the braking area was even bumpier! (one competitor even warned him that it would be difficult to ride quickly from his own experience – how to undermine your confidence!)
Note for next time, ride a bike with rear suspension and probably a street tyre. The 2 competition runs were no better after removing the wheelie bars and adjusting the steering damper. However our Supertwinners had a fantastic day and despite the problems Robbie came second in his class. Shortly after the final runs were completed the rain which had been hiding further up the coast arrived in Brighton to give us a good soaking – summer eh?