Yet again the weather seemed to be against us as the forecast consisted of ‘Humid with more frequent thunderstorms and locally intense downpours, perhaps with hail for a time’ but it would be warm! So after an early dry start on Saturday I was surprised as it became much darker as the morning progressed and on reaching the M42 at the Toll road junction the heavens opened and for ten minutes we were subjected to a thunderstorm and rain that even cats and dogs refused to go out in. However this band of weather had arrived at Long Marston some time previously and approaching Shakey the day looked far more promising for our dry weather pursuits.
For Round 3 Robbie was joined in Gas by Joe with Kieran, Pete and Brett in ET. Tim was absent as it was his turn to eat hospital food after a minor operation and again the Twins were down in both classes for a number of reasons. The track was eventually ready after much activity to move water from the braking area and we prepared for our first qualifier. Meanwhile the pits were filling up with quite a few NSA sprinters and the NAST marquee was surrounded by FWD cars, a group of whom had erected a rather large and new pop-up garage next to our pits and entertained us with reggae music and a strange smell (probably some magic brew used to produce some stunning times on track?).
Despite 2 separate big oil-downs, again more transmission fluid in the left lane for more than half the track and a major engine blow-up leaving a mess in the right Shakey crew worked hard and we got our 3 qualifiers and the large number of NSA sprinters had 5 runs each! No real problems for NAST members except Robbie’s air-shifter decided to retire resorting to old-fashioned foot shifting on the final run. This left Kieran and Joe as fastest qualifiers for Sunday’s eliminations. Dave the Hat was also fastest qualifier with some wild rides in 8.50 ‘bike to carry on his fairy tale introduction to this class. After some activity to completely re-plumb Robbie’s air-shifter, thanks to Nigel’s treasure trove of spares, the heavens opened once more with the rain blowing sideways through the marquee forcing everyone to shelter. Rumour has it that Noah’s Arc is buried under one of the hills near the track and following this shower it was time to bring it back in use.
A more promising summer’s day but with a sting in its tail had us all geared up for a good days racing. Due to the size of entry in all the ‘bike classes the finals would be much later in the day but despite only a handful of NAST competitors we elected to race in the first round – 2 ‘bikes in gas so this was the final with Joe the clear winner but semi-finals for ET where Kieran got a bye and Pete put Brett on the trailer. The rest of the day saw some hectic action on the strip but Dave’s luck in 8.50 bike ran out despite some hair-raising riding. By late afternoon we had reached the finals but the weather had turned nasty and a dark cloud had appeared reducing the light levels so dramatically that it was time to switch on the rear lights as a new requirement in the ACU rule book. Unfortunately as Kieran and Pete staged (the amber lights resembling spotlights it had become so dark) we were all treated to a bath with another torrential downpour and the wind blowing ferociously sideways. We all returned to the NAST marquee to find an orange popup garage trying to mate with it and its owners losing the battle to calm it down. With Chris attempting to hold down the marquee with his pole-dancing skills it eventually stopped raining, obviously racing was now done for the day, and time to pack away all the rain-soaked gear. On leaving the track the pits resembled Glastonbury the day after the end of the festival with a large number of abandoned tents/gazebos littering the airfield. Next round 4 ‘Ladies That Launch’ in July where we hope for a better turnout and less rain.