For Round 2 we had been promised a weekend of mixed weather by the Met. Office but unfortunately as it was a Bank Holiday we expected, and got, a variety of wet weather for most of the first day of ‘racing’ which allowed Tim to do his impersonation of ‘Uncle Ernie’ from the rock opera ‘Tommy’. Due to a lack of Gas entries Robbie had to move into the ET class for his first taste of watching the lights and estimating the time taken to boil an egg. The experts at this task on this occasion being Tim, Pete and Kieran. Carey was missing still recovering from his recent operation and amusing himself, apparently, by throwing himself down the stairs! Kieran had arrived at Shakey on the Friday and was concerned with his concentration and reaction times so was consuming vast quantities of Aldi’s equivalent of Red Bull but this only guaranteed that no-one else could relax.The rain refused to stop so it was decided to abandon racing about 2.00 as even if it ceased immediately the braking area would not dry in time to beat the curfew. So imagine our surprise when it stopped raining within minutes of this announcement! However it was the right call as it was cold with little breeze to help in the drying process.
With a very crowded pit, and more arriving for the rwyb, we finally had a dry track to play on. Twins, 8.50 and 9.50 ‘bikes all went down for their first run early in the morning. The pairing lanes reached almost to the Sunday Market fence at the top end of the pits (this is no exaggeration) and this queue was not helped by the inevitable delays caused by two oil downs, one being transmission fluid (again – thought this stuff was expensive?) being deposited almost the length of the strip. Shakey staff pulled out all the stops and we had our 3 qualifying sessions. Tim was a surprising number 1 qualifier followed by Pete, Robbie and Kieran. Dave and Nigel had been spannering on his new 8.50 ‘bike after an observed run had shown up that the air-shifter didn’t work. All the hard work paid off with Dave finishing the day with a 8.7s run on his 3rd ride on the Suzuki.
Race day began with some very light rain but this did not hold up the eliminations and despite only having 4 ‘bikes in eliminations ET semi-finals went out with the first round of 9.50 & 8.50 ‘bike. Tim faced Kieran but the CX computer took over on the start-line and required rebooting before the engine would run correctly by which time Kieran had all but finished his run to the final. We were joined by Chris and Yvonne and Chris elected to hold Robbie’s e.t. board but would have been more useful holding the twist grip open as Robbie stalled on the line allowing Pete an easy win (a good kicking rather than a reboot in this case). It was a long wait to the final but we were kept entertained by Dave the hat in his first attempt in 8.50 ‘bike running a string of 8.7s runs to win the final – well done. Not in competition Andy had taken the ‘Poppy’ ‘bike to the track after a rebuild following Dawn’s unfortunate accident and ran a 9.7 pass.
Meanwhile the final of Supertwins ET was between Pete and Kieran. Would the ‘Red Bull equivalent’ help Kieran win his second final in a row or would age and experience as well as an early night prove more reliable. Pete’s proven strategy won through with the slight help of a missed gear by Kieran. So one win each as we go into Round 3 at the ‘Midsummer Showdown’ meeting at SCR.
Scraping the frost off the van windscreen it was off to Shakey for Round I of the NAST championship. Three days of racing with no extra charge for electricity (bring your own if you need it) and sunshine included. After an uneventful journey and scrutineering completed for most the pairing lanes were filling up at 9.45 for the first round of qualifying to begin at 10.00. Unfortunately Kieran had failed scrutineering due to a broken pinch bolt in the front forks. Was this to be a sad end to his trip from the South coast, of course not because we had the man from the North, Mr. fixit himself Pete Harrison. With his usual prowess of on-site engineering Pete ensured Kieran was able to race but unfortunately this selfless act would lead to Pete’s downfall in eliminations. Terry had arrived by now towing a very nice box trailer supplied by his main sponsor and with the huge van of Yvonne and Chris unfortunately containing only his tow ‘bike we now had 7 SET racers and 3 Gas ‘bikes.
In SET Kieran stole the show on his first run as number 1 qualifier with a 0.03 reaction with the ever improving Carey on the Suzuki, ‘Turbo’ Tim riding a much slimmed- down CX, Pete on the all-conquering Ducati, Brett moving up from juniors on a very pretty Suzuki that he didn’t dwarf and the mother and daughter team of Fiona and Giselle. Gas was dominated by Terry’s Harley with a string of 9.2s quarters closely followed by Joe on the Buell in and Robbie on the Honda (Dave the Hat dropped his Gas entry and went to play in 9.50 ‘bike). Shakey staff worked hard to get in a 4th qualifying round before the curfew at 6.00 which saw Pete take no.1 spot in SET and Terry in Gas with a worried Joe having gear change problems after changing the ram. Qualifying came to a close a little earlier than expected due to a freak accident in the pairing lanes when the marshal there was run over and had to be air-lifted to hospital with some broken bones.
After a quiet, apart from a noisy generator which Shakey staff had switched off around midnight, and cold night Virgin called me at 7.20 to remind me to top up my phone! Another sunny day with no wind greeted us and after a short trip around the Sunday market the track reopened with more problems for Joe and a broken head steady for Terry. Nigel spent the day prepping one of his many Buells for its new owner and eventually delivered it to the beaming Giselle. Qualifying, unfortunately, was limited to 2 runs after Dave Thomas parted with his ‘bike on launch in the right lane (he is OK but very badly bruised) and transmission fluid from a car being deposited the whole length of the left lane.
At the Saturday night meeting Giselle announced that she would not be attending many race meetings due to an opportunity to see the world and attend Glastonbury (cannot see the appeal of a weekend camping in a field surrounded by loud sounds?). Bev made a request for volunteers to fill several vacant committee posts but as all present stepped back in unison no change there. Kieran announced that he is to become a father in the very near future so this may have an impact on his lightning reaction times after a few sleepless nights. As the temperature dropped several of us made good use of Terry’s new box trailer and fan heater in which to enjoy a cold beer or two.
Again we had a sunny day with hardly any wind for eliminations. SET saw 2 family matches with Carey against Kieran and Giselle racing Fiona. Giselle beat her mother who we believe phoned for a taxi to take Giselle to the airport to begin her trip early and Kieran side-lined Carey who was not himself despite having an early night due to a shoulder injury necessitating some pain-killers (we won’t mention the reaction when mixed with alcohol). Second round Pete red-lit in an effort to overcome Kieran’s reaction time and in the final Kieran defeated Giselle who broke out. In Gas Joe had an easy win against Robbie but Terry lost fire twice without breaking the beams on his bye run which handed Joe the win in a solo final. Terry’s cruel luck was a loose connector and to add insult to injury what should have been a close final, if it had happened, saw Joe have shifter problems again culminating in an 18sec run for the trophy.