Bad Boy comes good
After an uneventful drive Friday afternoon the Pod pits were quite busy. Andy Ball had just arrived so we arranged the caravans in a circle as Pete Richardson was on his way with the Indian. A warm evening was just the start of a very fine weekend of weather despite it being late October. Unloading ‘bikes ready for Saturday it was time for tea and then beer o’clock around Pete’s camp fire (a truce was made with the Indian) until his ration of wood ran out.
Saturday did not come with the fog as forecast so it was on with breakfast/signing on and organising the 14 riders who had arrived to take part in the final event for 2018. Peter Harrison was still having problems with the Ducati but supported the event anyway to give a helping hand.
First qualifying round shortly after 10.00 saw Joe Elliot in pole with current leader Andy Ball with ‘bike problems in 9th and Ian Crichlow unusually in last place. Paul Adams was the highlight, however, with best ET, Reaction and top speed! 2nd qualifier at 12.30 saw Andy back in form with number 1 qualifier pushing Joe into 2nd spot with Ian in 9th place still looking for his mojo (or Busa). With several delays due to various fluid clean ups it was straight into eliminations after the lunch break.
This was looking to be Andy’s day as he took out Dave Grundy in the first round (strange noises from the Triumph gearbox) and had a bye in round 2. Pete Richardson moved to round 2 when Louis Davies lost also due to gearbox problems. Robbie Dobbie gained a place in round 2 when Ian Turboville, on only his 3rd ride since being reunited with his old Harley, had handling issues. Joe Elliott thwarted Ian Chrichlow’s plan to go home with a trophy and Chris Mott was still in after riding around John Hackney. Of course Gary Hester just had to remove Duncan Barron and Paul Adams chased down Neill Curtis after a long wait, but lost.
Robbie moved to the semi after beating Pete with Joe sending Chris home and the more experienced Gary showing Neill some tricks.
The Challenge contenders were now Andy and Robbie who could only take the winners trophy and cash off Andy by winning the next two rounds. Unfortunately he met Andy in the semi, and lost with Joe beating Gary to meet Andy in the Final. Having already taken first place in the Challenge could he beat Joe to take another winners trophy and the gamblers cash?
The final was held in the dark, shortly before 8.00pm and the curfew. After a close race Joe ended his season on a high but Andy had another trophy and a share in the gamblers pot.
Peter presented the trophies to our worthy winners at well past sunset so apologies for the quality of photos taken on the box brownie.
Joe was given an additional award – The Bad Boy Pot Noodle – given for the smallest scooter riding pot noodle muncher. His winnings will easily pay for all his meals in 2018.
Another fine day with the pits full of NSA and Straightliners so we were not expecting as many oil-downs as Saturday with only motorcycles using the track. Signed on with Straightliners and we were given a new number to race under. Unfortunately, talking to Dave (Pod’s timing guru) he could only cope with SuperTwin numbers as per Saturday so only four of us signed up for the re-run of the rained-off September gamblers.
First qualifier at a little past 11.00 saw Paul Adams in fine form as number 1 running best ET, reaction and speed yet again, the sign of things to come. Andy Ball in 2nd with Robbie Dobbie 3rd. A very worried Pete Richardson had shut off half track after getting well out of shape and decided that he would not compete any further. Unfortunately this was not the end of his problems as the very smart Kawasaki Pro-stocker he had brought broke a footrest, preventing a ride, and later while kickstarting it he slipped and gashed his leg very badly (a day to forget).
Second qualifier, just after midday, saw Andy take top spot and relieve Paul of best reaction. It was decided to go into eliminations at about 1.00 but no-one thought to tell us that there would be a 30 minute lunch break after we had queued during an oil-down. Andy still had luck on his side so went straight into the finals with a bye. Robbie got the short straw with a race against Paul but was not giving up that easily. With a reaction time of 0.15 to Paul’s 0.12 it was going to be a close thing. With the Honda within inches of the line Paul just edged past, but what a finish – dialling in 9.13 he recorded … 9.130 on the black Suzuki!
The final would be interesting against Andy but we would wait until well after 4.00 due to another big clean-up when the Storm ‘bike popped at half-track. Andy was in for his 3rd trophy of the weekend but it would be as runner-up as in beating Paul to the finish he broke out.
It was also nice to see Chris Schreier on the start-line (complete with mop) and the rest of the family spectating.
Well the rain came a day early so after a group cuddle at 2pm it was decided to call it, 5 seconds before the Pod announcement! (we have a mole?). One qualifying session done and in the queue for number 2 when the heavens opened. Any way Dave Grundy got a PB, Gary Hester was top of the pile and Duncan didn’t red light! Provisional results, Andy has wiped the smile off Ian’s face, all to play for in October.
5th May, 22nd September, 20th October
‘SuperTwins Challenge Cup’ will be held this year at Santa Pod during Saturday RWYB events. The format will be the same as 2017 with £10 in the pot from each entry with NAST adding £100 and trophies for Winner and Runner-up on the day. This is open to any motorcycle regardless of number of cylinders. However, points at each event for Twin cylinder entries will be carried to the final where, in addition to trophies and additional cash for that day, there will be an overall Winner, Runner-up trophy and an additional prize fund for TWIN CYLINDER ‘BIKES ONLY of £500 Winner and £250 for the Runner-up (and current NAST member – £10 fee, unless you were a member in 2017 then your membership carries over into 2018). As it is the 25th year for N.A.S.T. the event will now be known for 2018 as the ‘SuperTwins 25th Anniversary Challenge Cup’. NOTE: this is open to ANY motorcycle irrespective of number of cylinders etc. and run as ET Bike (but NO ACU licence required as these are RWYB events). The only thing different from 2017 is that we require a name and ‘bike number, (some details for possible commentary) 10 days before the event – details to Robbie Dobbie email@example.com (does not commit you to appear on the day but it is a condition we have to comply with). As it is a RWYB you are free to use the track at any time but must complete at least one qualifier with NAST before you can run in the eliminations. Dates, 5 May, 22 September, 20 October. Overnight camping available if you pre-book (advisable as limited number available at RWYB) and arrive before 5.00 pm Friday (Note: no facilities available so bring sandwiches!
If arriving on Friday – you will need to pre-book entrance tickets for each individual in your party. This can be done by post or printed download but not on your phone and they MUST be shown at Reception by the main gate.
All dates are ‘Saturday Night Specials’ (Gates open 8.00, track open 9.30 – 8.00) camping may be available Saturday but you must have a weekend ticket if staying over.
NOTE: We plan to have eliminations completed by the afternoon, as on a normal race day, so you can make it a one day event.
Scrutineering: There is no Scrutineering at Santa Pod RWYB events but start-line crew will take a close look at all machines, see – https://www.rwyb.co.uk/rules.php.
Signing On: All riders must sign on. This will involve showing your full DVLA Driving (or ACU) Licence, payment of the track fee, (£30.00 all day for unlimited runs – see https://www.rwyb.co.uk/saturday.php, and signing the declaration form.
£10.00 Gamblers Race fee will be collected by a N.A.S.T. official (look for the NAST signing on sign).
Version 2 – Entries
Oh my ears and whiskers, imagine my surprise when who should park next to me was our old friend and ex NAST chairman, Cary Wadey. After a very early start for a run down the M5 to Somerset on May 12th I had only just rolled the ‘bike out for scrutineering when the familiar stone mason’s van appeared. He had been ordered to have some fun in the sunshine after many sleepless nights with new baby Willow. Andy Ball was also attending his first sprint, but almost didn’t, as he had pulled into what he thought were the pits on Friday night but had stumbled on a gypsy camp!
Despite being overcast the weather was dry and warm (at least during the day) and this had brought out many NSA racers for the few meetings available to them now that Shakespeare County Raceway had been forced to close its gates permanently. However, not only were there many familiar faces riding ‘bikes but several of Shakey’s staff were there to show anyone willing to volunteer!!! how to use the more complicated but informative timing equipment.
A leisurely morning, several coffees and equipment inspection with no fewer than 3 scrutineers available to speed things along and it was almost ready for the first runs at midday. Cary and myself were in the red group so had to wait a little longer to sample the rarely used runway. (For those not aware of the NSA queueing system, 3 coloured flags are used. When signing on you are given a scrutineering sticker the colour of one of the flags. The flags are displayed on the timing van and when your colour is shown you can take your place in the queue.)
First run of the day and Cary had not lost any of his banzai riding style and over the weekend he managed to gain some PBs the first of which was a 60ft time in the high 1.5s. This was remarkable considering the lack of grip. My first runs were an experiment in that I elected to leave in 2nd gear as I was used to spinning off the line in 1st. This was a mistake, as the lock-up clutch (which wasn’t fitted on the last outing at Westonzoyland) did a good impression of a twist and go scooter on a shopping trip. Plan B for run number 3 then.
Not wanting to miss a run while he changed wheels for a Shinko shod rim he decided to go out but with a limited burnout? I was having fun on the startline with a snaking, wheel spinning launch but handling issues forcing me to shut off 3/4 track.
During lunch Cary whipped off the wheelie bars and changed the wheel of the Suzuki in a time that would have impressed a Formula 1 team. In the Honda camp there was less physical activity but mental gymnastics on why the usually stable SP1 was misbehaving at speed? (On a previous occasion poor handling had been blamed on a rather large number board that I had attached to the wheelie bars which was acting as a wing and lifting the back of the ‘bike – very quickly removed, problem solved).
After lunch Cary was back doing what he does best – mono wheeling off the start line, frightening the onlookers and sometimes himself. While waiting to run I was still thinking about the handling issue when I realised that the front forks were strapped down which is the norm for a smooth dragstrip. More suspension travel may be of benefit on this surface so off came the strap. Still no grip on launch but the checker boards were now appearing more quickly in a straight line so there was only the problem of stopping before running out of airfield and riding on a public road!
Jo and Dave Smart had dropped by to spectate before a quiet break in the Isle of Man at the end of May and early June. Jerry Cookson had also decided to get a closer look as he vacated the timing van and took over startline duties.
After our allotted 6 runs Cary and myself made use of the track a few more times before the curfew and with encouragement from him I was riding through the full 1/4 but not attaining times the ‘bike is capable of as a result of gear change problems.
A bite to eat and a natter over a couple of beers and both Cary and myself were shattered. His excuse, being a new dad – mine was getting up at silly o’clock and old-age! An early night, but despite the very warm day, a cold one. Luckily I had packed a duvet and slept like a log but Cary was not as warm and had as disturbed a night as if he had been at home.
Sunday arrived without a cloud in the sky with temperatures to match the May Bank holiday highs the previous week. The pits had thinned out at the end of Saturday and only a few had arrived as replacements. With plenty of time to think through some of the issues with the Honda an extra 10ms was added to the air-shifter delay which solved the gear-change problem. Midday start and Cary was leaping all over the place but I was concentrating on getting grip for forward motion which we succeeded in doing with a series of 10s with the best saved to the last run of the day -10.2.
Unfortunately I will have to miss the next 2 events in Somerset but Cary should be keeping everyone entertained before a trip to Pendine to satisfy his passion for land speed events.
After a slow drive on a very busy M6 due to 50 mph average speed checks the A14 looked quite inviting for a change. Already a dry and warm Friday we had a taste of how the weather was going to be for the May Bank holiday. Arriving at a quiet Santa Pod shortly after 4pm I finally put a face to the man who I had been emailing to make all this happen.
When I contacted Ian Marshall to see if it was possible to stage the NAST “Challenge Cup” he put me in touch with James Forster who some may remember invited the SuperTwins to the very first Dragstalgia event. With his guidance and bouncing a few dates around we eventually settled on May, September and October “Saturday Specials RWYB”. He also put me in touch with timekeepers David & Kieran who sorted out the elimination ladders on the day – A big thank you to all concerned including the pairing-lane marshals.
Back to Friday night and rolling up to pit near to the jet funny car “Fireforce” I was met by Peter Harrison and Ian Chrichlow who were already settled in but had given the ticket staff a headache. Ian had bemused the staff by providing his tickets on his phone but the necessary scanners were only available on Saturday! Peter went one better and dodged the gate staff but he was eventually found out and handed over the necessary cash. (Just so we get it right for next time, if arriving on Friday – before 5 or the gates are locked – you will need to pre-book entrance tickets for each individual in your party. This can be done by post or printed download but not on your phone and they are to be shown at Reception by the main gate).
Not a lot of people about, which was probably unsurprising being the night before a RWYB, but track preparation was in progress with squealing passes from the contra-rotator scrubbing in rubber until early evening.
To also break the silence was an impromptu display of a naked Fireforce just yards from where we were enjoying a cold beer.MVI_6696
While unloading the van so I had somewhere to sleep Peter spotted my leathers hanging up and suddenly realised that his were also hanging up, unfortunately well over a hundred miles away at his house! While he went to find a cat to kick I had a word with Ian who arranged his spare set of leathers to be brought to the track in the morning and Andy Ball had phoned so he too would bring his. Not the only one to forget his leathers Leo Lester had the same problem on Saturday but remembered on route and returned home to collect them adding a considerable extra mileage to his journey.
Saturday arrived very bright and early with the pits filling quickly with a large number of cars and ‘bikes. Plan was to get in the pairing lanes for 9.30 but even before signing-on there was a long line of impatient cars queueing for their first run.
Most of our 16 riders had arrived so we made our way for the first qualifying session with the hope of a further 3 – time permitting.
By 9.50 14 ‘bikes had qualified with Joe Elliott recording the best reaction time of 0.41 (oddly we all commented on our poor reactions?), Paul Adams recording best ET of 9.34 and Mick Winyard fastest at 147.26 MPH (for him a slow speed). Gary Hester was top of the qualifiers with 0.20 off his posted ET with Chris Mott in second – but first on a Twin – with 0.21.
For the second qualifier we had our full 16 when Leo Lester finally arrived and Chris Neary joined us. The queue was now well past the Pod shop and unfortunately did not move for some time as oil had been dropped for the full quarter which took a while to clean up. By 12.30 we had our 2nd run which, with a lunch break at 1.00, meant it was our last qualifier before eliminations. Chris Mott swapped places with Gary Hester as number 1 with a 0.033 off his dial-in to Gary’s 0.093 with Dave Grundy in 3rd with a 0.095. The first 9 places being within 0.6s of their dial-ins, there was a promise of some close racing.
Eliminations round 1 was completed just before 2.00 with Chris Mott- Harley, sideways off the line being taken out by fellow Twin racer Robbie Dobbie – Honda SP1 who would lose to Twin racer Peter Harrison – Ducati ST2 in the next round. Ian Chrichlow – Honda CB250 K4, Andy Ball – Yamaha TZR250, Gary Hester – Suzuki Katana 1170cc, Dave Grundy – Triumph Tiger Explorer, Paul Adams – Suzuki GSXR1000 and Joe Elliott – Italjet Dragster 180 made it to Round 2 by eliminating Duncan Barron – Kawasaki ZX9R, Mick Winyard – Suzuki, Fiona Moor – Yamaha TRX850, Leo Lester – Turbo Hayabusa, Chris Neary – Turbo Hayabusa, Steve Moor – Buell 1100 and Mike Nelthorpe – Polaris RMK900 who didn’t compete not wanting to damage his machine.
Round 3, which was run at about 4 o’clock, saw Andy Ball, Joe Elliott and Gary Hester removed from the competition and the semi-finals then saw Peter Harrison narrowly lose to Dave Grundy. Ian Crichlow on the 250 Honda beat Paul Adams on his very tidy Suzuki GSXR1000 after Paul sat for what seemed like an eternity before the amber lights on the tree finally came on in his lane.
Into the final at gone 7.00pm, and despite both riders breaking out, Dave Grundy on the Triumph was given the win over Ian Chrichlow on his Honda CB250.
With trophies presented together with a share of the £260 prize fund we look forward to Round 2 with a surprised Ian Crichlow leading the SuperTwins Challenge. Regular racer Peter Harrison a very close second, and no doubt glad he didn’t return home after forgetting his leathers, and Andy Ball in 3rd with only 30 points separating the top 3 runners the next round is going to be very interesting.
Also seen at the event but only to start the engine without annoying their neighbours was Terry & Diana with the new Harley minus bodywork.
Next round, 22nd September – although we cannot promise record temperatures there will be close racing and lots of fun!