With lots of blue sky and a light tail wind we were all looking forward to a good days qualifying with 5 entries in Gas and 5 in ET. Unfortunately that dropped to 4 in Gas as Joe is out for the rest of the season with a broken gearbox and other engine damage. With the Buell now for sale he can concentrate on getting his BMW (4 cylinders not two) ready for next year. We were all eager to see the new Harley of Chris Mott and he drove into the pits with an increasing number of NAST racers gathered around the van rear doors for the unveiling. We were not disappointed as the air-cooled machine appeared after the usual last minute completion prior to the race meeting. Terry and Di arrived but realised quickly that gas for the stove and poles for the tent had been left at home but they had remembered to bring the race ’bike. Dave was riding Nigel’s Buell after having frame mods. including slick and bars Robbie was the odd man out riding the street tyred Honda.
In ET we had championship leader and newly married Kieran together with Pete on the Ducati sporting a new rear damper to improve its launch (but not in the direction Pete had expected). Fiona, Giselle and Brett completed the line-up with Tim and the CX missing again due to a trip to the Isle of Man for the Classic TT.
First qualifying round saw Terry number 1 in Gas (Motty electing to work on the new Harley and get accustomed to its vibrations) and Kieran taking top spot in ET with what should have been an unbeatable time and reaction. Dave on the Buell had an interesting ride when the seat broke and became detached from the frame (it was suggested too many cream buns but due to time forcing old parts to be pressed into service the frame mods. had not been completed. Nigel set to and repaired the damage in time for the next session.) The new Harley appeared for the 2nd qualifier where on its maiden run did a 10.4 sec. quarter but on the way melting Motty’s right boot and burning his ankle. Again Robbie was having shifter problems with the run ending with a coast to the first return when the Honda stuck in neutral. Dave managed to stay on the throttle for the full quarter and reeled off a 9 second run. This was to be our last qualifier of the day as a heavy shower of rain at 3.30 forced us all to shelter and qualifying to be abandoned. As always this year it was soon followed by better weather for the evening’s barbeques etc.
Due to track problems we only completed 2 more qualifying rounds where Pete pulled an almighty wheelie off the line, Fiona with a perfect reaction moved Kieran out of top spot and although all the Gas ‘bikes improved their times, Dave running 9.7, Chris 10.3 and Robbie 10.1 Terry was still number one qualifier but unfortunately on his last run of the day the front cylinder ran lean and burnt a piston on the Harley. The weather forecast for Monday in Scotland looked very favourable (but this is not a holiday for them in August!). The Bank Holiday was not looking good and surprisingly some racers decided to call it a weekend packed up and left.
We awoke to a depleted pit and drizzle. Unfortunately the inaccurate weather forecasts had got it spot on for elimination day and there seemed no probable let-up in the damp conditions. It was decided to take the NAST marquee down so any remaining ‘bikes were loaded in their respective vans to keep them dry in the hope that maybe the sun would reappear (ever the optimists). The organisers sensibly called it a rain-off at 11.00 and were rewarded with their decision by heavy rain, as we were dismantling the marquee, which remained with us for most of the day. We now look forward to the final Round 6 at the end of September where Joe has an unbeatable lead in Gas (but may be riding anyway – Harley not Buell). Kieran has probably sewn up the ET class but Pete may be able to upset him if sufficient racers compete to increase the points available.
Unfortunately not only has the weather played havoc with our race season but some of our British racers, such as Phil Steele who has planned and worked for some time to run at Bonneville Salt Flats, had their hopes dashed when ‘Speed Week’ was cancelled completely due to rain.