Last day of April and an early start is met with ice on the van windscreen at 6 am. Despite it being a Bank holiday the motorways were very quiet (sensible people stayed in their warm beds probably). A leisurely drive to the friendly strip, arriving about 7.30 to a quiet but sunny Shakespeare County Raceway, for the second round of the NAST championship. Imagine my surprise when I parked next to Cary’s van to be greeted by the man himself in all his sartorial elegance – dressing gown and slippers – with the offer of a warm drink and the news that he would be racing in Gas!
After the serious stuff of scrutineering, signing-on and breakfast it was almost time to change into cold leathers and make our way to the pairing lanes for the first qualifying session. Good to see Mike & Sylvia Nelthorpe with the Aprilia and news of the Polaris project with Terry Green and Diana Broe having arrived to give us moral support and more information on the progress of his new Harley which is nearing completion.
Following ETB, which now had 12 competitors in this the first round of ETB at SCR (too many acronyms), the Gas class waited next to the track for the first of 3 scheduled sessions. Unfortunately in Comp bike a huge wheelie by Tanya Hardy, which she almost controlled riding like a jockey standing on the ‘pegs, came down so violently that she was thrown onto the Armco with the ‘bike rolling for some distance. This was not a pleasant site and resulted in a badly broken wrist and bruising, we wish her a speedy recovery. The result of this accident was quite a lot of oil on the track which, to make matters worse, was synthetic and was going to take some time to clear-up. We waited patiently but a few spots of rain persuaded us to return to the pits and wait for a call. After a long push back by Pete Harrison with the usually reliable Ducati, now wearing a very nice exhaust system to improve ground clearance, we had something to occupy us in the down time. His initial diagnosis was the regulator had cooked itself but with all the experts in the camp offering their services we pulled all the wiring apart and discovered that – the regulator had cooked itself.
By now the track was ready for action but before we could don our helmets it began to sleet which turned to snow and then appropriately driving rain. This was the end of qualifying for the day but as always it was followed by warm sunshine (and more showers).
After another very cold night we awoke to find the previous night’s rain had frozen in little balls on the ‘bike cover – brrrr. However it was sunny and the prospect of 3 qualifying runs with an early start prompted a quick breakfast and the donning of very cold leathers. Yvonne and Chris Mott had arrived to spectate with the promise of the new ‘bike at the June meeting. Ex Supertwinner Joe Elliott was showing ETB/NAST how to do it by qualifying number 1, + 0.007 off his dial-in. Robbie in Gas had the first spot as well with a 10.1 at 137mph with Cary in 2nd place and Alfie beginning to show the potential of his new Harley ride.
Some light rain and an oil-down in the left lane, forcing single runs, slowed things down after midday. This allowed only 2 qualifying sessions so we had to be content with Mike Nelthorpe second to Joe in ETB/NAST and Alfie almost upsetting things in Gas but with the Harley refusing to change gear he remained in 3rd place.
A warmer night and another sunny start promised a full and exciting day of racing. After breakfasting on birthday cake, thanks to Sylvia, in celebration of Mike’s 67th birthday it was time to get serious. In the first elimination round of ETB/NAST Siobhan and Fiona Moor were winners but unfortunately Mike Nelthorpe broke-out but he was not disappointed as he was back in the 12s. Second round of ETB/NAST saw Fiona victorious with Alfie having more gearbox trouble, but a 1.5 sec 60ft on his 3rd ride, allowed Cary through to face Robbie in the final. However by about 1 o’clock it began to rain and with an ever emptying pit the event was cancelled at 3.00. The weather being the only winner yet again.