Keith Flint Pumped My Tyres Up

Bladebert and myself thought we would try and have another crack at Cadwell, I wanted to get below 1:55 (though 1:50 would be better) a lap and Bladebert wanted to crack 2:00mins. We also wanted to put the suggestions of the instructor from the last track day into action. So we started looking for a suitable Cadwell trackday, at first I wanted to go with the same company as before as they seemed quite good but the timing of their events didn’t really fit in with us so Bladebert found another date with another company.

This company was offering a great deal that if you booked a track day with them you could have the track evening the night before for £9!!! I was quite keen to give that a go, but it soon was sold out so that idea was scrapped. We were thinking of just going on the morning in question but in the end we booked on line the day before as the weather seemed like it was going to be OK.

The night before the track day we were pottering around with the bikes and Bladebert asked if I would help him check his static and dynamic sag. We did all the measurements and we found that even with the front preload wound right in we were nowhere near the dynamic sag that we needed. Cue rapid stripping of Bladebert’s forks. After a little poking around in my “bits that will come in handy one day” supply I found some wheel bearings that were the same diameter as the existing spacer and about 12mm wide. I popped one into each fork leg below the normal spacer and put all the forks back together and “Hay Presto” we could dial in the dynamic sag that we wanted. I think Bladebert will be getting some springs to match his weight in the future as he isn’t a big chap so the existing forks springs must have wilted in the last 14 years!

On the morning of the track day the weather didn’t look too bad, with a drying road and an overcast sky. We just kept telling each other it will get better and set off into the cloudy morning. There were a few drops of drizzle every now and then but generally it was dry. We got to the circuit and Bladebert put up the tent while I took both bikes for the sound check, not at once obviously. Both bikes past with flying colours, which is good. I was slightly worried about the ZX as I had taken the baffle out. Now the reason I had taken the baffle out was not for the sound, though it did sound glorious, but because it seemed to be running really rich. My theory was that it had been set up for an open pipe and had had the baffle put in to sell it. I am seriously thinking about getting it Dyno’d to check as there is a place locally that will do a run up for £30 which shows the AFR (Air Fuel Ratio) and £130 to sort out the fuelling (parts are extra).

In the briefing I saw Conner Behan and Spike Edwards (both racers), I thought they were instructing but it turns out they were paying customers and were getting a sneaky practice in for the forthcoming BSB round! I also saw Keith Flint (The lead singer out of the Prodigy, you know the Twisted Fire Starter) he had a very impressive van and was practising for the forthcoming Hottrax Endurance race the following weekend.

Near where we had pitched the tent there was a chap on a matt black Ducati 1098 who seemed to have ridden to Cadwell on his bike (see it’s not just us) with his girlfriend on the back. The first session was slow, we followed the instructor for 3 laps then pulled into the pits. The track was damp but there seemed to be a fair amount of grip but your brain tells you it’s damp slow down!!!! They then let us out again for the rest of the session. When we got back to the pits properly we saw that the Ducati 1098 was being delivered back in a van. We went over to chat to him and he told us that he had binned it on one of the few lefthanders on the circuit (I can’t remember which one but it could have been the new chicane between Mansfield and the Mountain.)

The bike looked in very good condition considering it had slid across the tarmac however the footpeg of the gear change had snapped off. I had a spare gear change for the ZX but it wasn’t even close to fitting (Oh well you have to try). Matey boy then said he was going to see if the organisers could help him get going. He came back with a new foot peg that had been cobbled onto his broken gear change, at least he could carry on with the day.

The next session I was a little faster but still not back to my sub 2:00 minute laps. I was trying to hang off a little more but this alien concept and the still slightly damp track kept my lap times around 2:00 minutes, bugger.

When we returned to the pit, the girlfriend of the Ducati 1098 rider was looking a little pissed off and the 1098 was looking a little more second hand. It seemed he had dropped it again but this time had been taken to the medical centre. Looking over his bike I could see that the rear tyre was well used on the right hand side but looked like it had never been ridden on the left hand side, maybe this was why he crashed twice on left handers!!!!! He eventually turned up with his arm in a sling, with his damage and the latest bike damage he wasn’t going to be riding home.

The gear change arm was stuck in the down position and they couldn’t get it to change gear so it needed to be picked up in a van, which his Dad was arranging, as he had turned up in time to see him crash the second time. While we were looking at the bike his Dad kept going on that his son was a big fan of Pirelli’s but was trying Metzlers for the first time and that was why he crashed. We made agreeing sort of noises and left them to it.

So the day continued with a threat of rain and an occasional drop or two here and there. Both Bladebert and myself just couldn’t crack the 2:00 minute barrier all day, the standard of riding was about the same as before with us tending to be in the top 10% of the Novice group on speed. There was one chap on a VFR750 who seemed very reasonable off his bike but on track he was awful. Annoyingly he was quite fast but all over the road and he nearly punted me off on the Start/finish straight. Bladebert said that he nearly forced him off the track twice!!! Anyway it was mentioned to the organisers and we saw them have a word with him. After this, he seemed much better.

Both Bladebert and my last session was the best where it all gelled together, sort of, and the laps flowed well. I have a theory why we didn’t get below 2:00 mins a lap all day, I think it is because in the morning there was a worry about grip due to the colder weather and damp, then in the afternoon as we started to improve we were starting to get tired. Anyway, lap times notwithstanding I enjoyed my day and felt that the hanging off experiment was working well and something to be built on.

Right at the end of the day I wandered down to the bottom of the paddock to see where the tyre man was. This was so that I could get my tyres pumped back up, as I had dropped them down from 36 front 41 rear to 30 front and 32 rear. Last time I had ridden home with the lower pressures and it was horrible. I couldn’t see the tyre man, basically the only person about was Keith Flint. I thought he’d been down this end of the paddock all day so he might know what was going on so I asked “Where’s the tyre man?” He told me that he had left 45 mins ago. He must have seen my face fall a bit because he asked why I wanted him.

I told him that I needed to pump up my tyres, he asked if I had a puncture and I explained about the lower pressures. He then told me that he had a pump in the back of the van and if I brought my bike down he’d sort them out. He was very helpful and wouldn’t let me do it, he went and got his posh tyre pressure gauge and everything. I chatted to him for a while about bikes and the forthcoming race and then I bid him goodbye. I didn’t let on that I knew who he is, but I will tell you that he is much shorter than I imagine (If you ever imagine how tall various celebrities are!!) So that is the story about when Keith Flint pumped my tyres up, remember he is a Twisted Tyre Pumper!!!!


About The Author


Ambitious Amateur Mechanic, with a slight (OK not slight) Suzuki bias