Last Trackday of the year

The weather was improving so I thought that I may get a last chance Trackday at Cadwell. The only one I could make due to work commitments was on Tuesday 18th Sept. I rang on Monday asking if I could turn up on the day and pay as I wanted to keep my options open if the weather was bad. I let Busabert and AJ know that it was probably on. In the morning the weather was good, clear but cool with a brisk breeze so I decided to give it a go. I sent out a text to Busabert and AJ to let them know I was going for it. Busabert replied that he had to work so wouldn’t be coming but AJ said he would be there later with Hannah my official photographer. I had a nice trip there all wrapped up so that I didn’t get too cold as I knew I would have difficulty getting warm again at Cadwell. I got there in reasonable time and wasn’t running late, almost unheard of for me! I went straight to get the bike sound tested, which it passed as usual with room to spare. One of the marshals doing the sound test was a quite short women who I have generally seen around Cadwell when I have been there. She said to me “Gosh you’re tall, how tall are you?”

“Six foot six” I reply

“ I’m jealous” she said, “You can ride any bike you want!”

“Not a mini moto!” I answered

Funnily enough I have had a go on a mini moto and it was really uncomfortable and I did look a complete tit on it!

I sat through the obligatory briefing and noted that there were not a lot of people there.  AJ still hadn’t turned up so I asked some chaps next to me if I could dump my stuff under their van so it didn’t look so stealable. They said of course I could and offered to put it in their van if I wanted. Not wanting to impose I settled with stashing it under the van. The first session incorporated 3 sighting laps then we pulled into the holding area before being released to finish our session. The track was mainly dry but there were damp areas under the trees between the hairpin and Barn. Still even with this dampness I managed a1:59lap which I was happy with as my first session. Back in the pits I got talking to the chaps with the van. They were a father and son combo on very well prepared SV650’s. The son had raced in the Hottrax races at Brands Hatch and won but due to various reasons hadn’t bothered racing with them again, mainly cost so was doing trackdays instead. They had been at Cadwell on the Monday so this was their second day and they were starting to feel the strain.

While waiting to go out for the second session I looked around and saw that there was only about 12 riders in our group. I asked one of the officials in the holding area how many people were at the Trackday, he told me there was only 33!! In this session things were going well but I didn’t manage to crack the2:00minute barrier with a best lap of 2;00 minutes and the rest within 3 or 4 seconds. Session 3 was marred by some rain, it wasn’t heavy enough to wet the track but it did coat my visor. Weirdly when I ducked down the rain on my visor cleared from the bottom upwards! The rain made me hold back a little and the lap times were2:03 to 2:12depending how much rain there was. When I came back from that session I got talking to the lads in the van next to me and I forgot to turn off the timer. When the next session was called I didn’t have chance to reset the timer and I didn’t get the timer going. Unfortunately I felt that this was a very successful session and I am sure that it would have been at least one lap under2:00mins at least for some of the laps.  Towards the end of this session I saw AJ, Hannah and Busabert  stood outside of the clubhouse, it seems that Busabert managed to wangle a long lunch hour so he could come and visit.

The first session after lunch went OK with the laps all over2:00minutes between2:01and2:05which is fine. In session 6 I ended up behind the chaps in the van next to me. I started to reel them in and soon passed the father. The next few laps I was catching up the son until we came upon a gaggle of slower riders. He got past them much easier than I did and I lost quite a a bit of ground on him. I started to reel him in again. After a few more laps I was just coming up the mountain as he was half way to Hall Bends but with the speed I had been gaining on him I was confident that I would have him before we got to Coppice again. However as I popped over the Mountain I saw that the chequered flag was out, bugger. With someone worthwhile to chase my laptimes fell and I managed a best of1:58, obviously this is not near my best of1:55but overall I was happy with the day. It had been a full day and I was getting tired so I decided to not bother with the last session as I didn’t want to push it too much and have it all end in tears.

I was reading in Performance Bike magazine that they were testing all the new 600’s and as part of this they took them round Cadwell. These were road legal, non modified bikes but they were being ridden by their tiny tame racer, Bruce Dunn. The lap times varied between 1:41 to 1:43 minutes which isn’t too far from my theoretical lap of 1:48 so I don’t feel to bad about that as I am probably twice Bruce’s size and weight and my bike is over 10 years old!! One of the other statistics they printed was the top speed through Chris’s Curve, their speeds were between 102 and 108mph. Looking at all my lap data the fastest I have been through Chris’s Curve is 82 mph so I have someway to go!!!!

About The Author


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