Pouty's Bemsee Minitwins Racing Adventure Blog Part 4 - Oulton and Brands
So far he's collected a fair few pots for finishing and a fair few bills for not finishing, money is disappearing faster than ever and he now has competition from his mate PJ who has also joined the fray. If nothing else he can be happy for providing some inspiration for PJ, and perhaps a target to lap for Gabs - our veteran (in experience only) Minitwins racer who these guys only rarely see as she thunders past.
So following on from our May blog we now bring you the Oulton round's journal and the more recent return to Brands. The delay is entirely the Editor's fault for getting married and moving house in the last two months, tsk tsk. But enough of delays, Paul; take it away:
HEADING TO OULTON PARK 4th 5th JUNE 2012
As luck had it most of the damage from the Brands Hatch crash was cosmetic so the repair bill was low, whereas how much it actually costs to go racing was becoming very real. I spent a couple of weeks ignoring the elephant in the room but eventually faced up to the fact I didn’t have enough money to continue. I tried to focus on the positive, I had realised a lifelong dream and it was everything I had hoped for but it didn’t help; I was hooked and wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
After lots words of support from friends I decided I should try a fund raising effort before giving up and I was amazed that the good people of Facebook and LB donated half the money I needed for the next round. Guys and girls I can't thank you enough. Even if one more round is all I get, it'll be more than I could have ever hoped for.
In return for donations everyone got their name on the side of the bike, something which kept Simon at SLSignworx busy for a while!
With this much support i had to make it happen so entry fees went on the plastic fantastic, £100 diesel was swallowed by the van (GULP!) and we were all go for Oulton Park.
For me this is the best circuit in the country; nestled in the trees, lots of undulations, sweeping corners and fast blind entries; it's awesome, I love it. Sadly the arrival wasn't quite so encouraging: it was sheeting rain (Editor's note - it does that a lot) but once again we managed to dodge the showers all weekend and raced in the dry.
First lap of practice, on my dream track and my visor falls off; great start!
I was a little tentative during the opening sessions as I didn’t want to crash on the newly stickered fairings with everyones name on! That would be very poor form. So instead of looking for ultimate speed I spent the morning remembering where the circuit went and setting gearing for the bike. Once the mental stuff was settled, and the bike sorted for the circuit I was out in the afternoon and qualified 5th for the race.
First race, first lap, flat out 5th gear corner and the leaders in front of me are elbowing into the banked bowl of Shell Oils hairpin - now this is racing! I couldn't match their pace however and got 4th place. 25 minutes later I was on the grid for the main Minitwin race. My first taste of the experienced racers in the main Minitwin championship (LB's Gabs for one), I put a lot of pressure on myself to get a good result.
I qualified in the middle of the 40 strong grid, held my breath through turn one, there were explosions of gravel dust 10ft in the air on the horizon as riders fought for track position. I improved my lap time by 2 seconds, got fastest rookie and 13th place overall!
I sorted a change of gearing for second rookie race which improved the bike and I brought it home in 3rd with another 'cheap plastic trophy' the wife likes having in the lounge so much! I later found out I got ‘Rookie of the day’ for my performance winning a pair of free tyres! All we need is the entry fees for the next round and we’ll be racing again! Hello is that Natwest? about this credit card limit…
So that was my dream circuit raced on at last and it didn't disappoint. I could only do it with the amazing support from my friends; I couldn't do it without you all and it was great to see PJ pop his racing cherry at long last.
BRANDS HATCH 28TH 29TH JULY
Adjusting to the hum drum of everyday life after an adrenaline filled weekend wasnt getting any easier, i loved the highs so had to deal with the lows (By being grumpier than usual, according to my wife). I wonder how Casey deals with it?
Oulton Park was awesome, I was really begining to understand my bike and riding faster than I ever thought possible. I left the credit card statement unopened for as long as I dared but finally grasped the nettle and took a peek. I was doing exactly what I promised I wouldnt and I seriously needed to work out how to pay this off!!
The next round for me was at Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit; one of the best circuits in the country, and as much as I knew I needed to stop, I was hooked and I wasn't going to miss it for anything. That meant, yes you guessed it, entry fees and fuel went on the credit card and I'd save money by using my old tyres from Oulton Park plus the ones I'd won.
Due to noise restrictions no-one can run on the full GP circuit on a week day, so just as is with the BSB the practice session was run on the short Indy circuit. I signed on to get track time nonetheless because i hadnt ridden for 6 weeks and the bike had changed since we last graced Brands Hatch. It was perfect track conditions, I was happy and relaxed which meant I set a PB time of 52.9 on a busy test day!
Saturday Qualifying And Racing
I qualified 2nd on the GP circuit having never seen the place, which was pleasing although the pole sitter had a second a lap on me which was,erm, inspirational I guess you'd say. In the ensuing race I had a close battle for the remaining podium spots I picked up 2nd in first race and 3rd in the second both by hundredths of a second.
The heavens opened to let me experience my first wet race and like the cherry I still am I pushed to hard to early in horrendous conditions and crashed hard. A visit to the Med centre with whiplash and concussion was the end of my weekend.
Saturday races at Brands from now on in I reckon!!
EDITOR'S NOTE : Thanks to Jenny Triker Wells for the awesome pics of Paul and Haggis parting company at Brands, Glyn Richardson for the Oulton images and Gav Powers for the rest of Brands. I've just ripped them off Facebook as time is pressing so hope you guys don't mind.