New track for me, so arriving on friday evening, i considered walking the track. But at 2 miles long, i decided to go out on the town instead. the locals in Chippenham are hardened drinkers, and never before have i seen a 6 stone girl be able to drink her weight in cider, and remain upright.
I was entered into both the ducati desmodue races and Sound of Thunder.
New tyres were on the bike and needed scrubbing in, so saturday’s first practice was spent a: scrubbing tyres, b: discovering that teres actually 3 chicanes, not 2 as per my mcn guide. imagine my surprise! put in 1’35’s, rest of field 1’28’s - 1’38’s. Work to do.
Second session for me was Sound of Thunder qualifying. First chance to start opening it up as tyres now more or less scrubbed. Qualified 35th of 42 with 1’32 laptime. Still more work to do.
Third session was Desmodue qualifying, laptimes now 1’30 and qualified 24th of 40. Times definitely going in the right direction.
4th session was desmodue race 1. Lined up on the right side of the track, there was a clear path for me as everyone ahead had lined up further to the left. Fantastic start!
so good, that i was quicker than the person that controls the lights! Damn. stop? already got 10 second penalty, just keep it nailed! anyway, finished the race in 12th (1/10th sec off 11th) with 1’27 laptime, but ten second penalty shunted me back to 21st (mixed grid, 14th in class). moved up to 6th position in championship.
5th session was the Sound of Thunder race. not a proper race for me, just an extra to get some more experience of the track. Ended up finishing 21st again so not too bad.
sunday… after heavy rain overnight, i was hoping for a wet race (wet specialist) but sadly not, it became dry and sunny.
1st session out was a practice, so i bimbled around doing 1’33’s. thats fine, its just a practice.
after a long wait (practice was 11am, race was at 3pm) we went out to race. back on my grid 24th. i was aware that all eyes were on me to check for jump starts, so i played very safe and waited until i could see everyone had moved). eventually finished in 19th (13th in class). now 7th in championship.
On the cool down lap, i suddenly had no drive although the engine was running, and my chain had snapped - phew! how lucky was that? switched engine off and coasted to a halt. i tried to get a tow back from one of the other bikes (motogp style) but these things weigh a lot more than motogp bikes!
The marshalls very kindly offered me a bump start, and even after i told them it wouldnt work, they were adamant that they could bump start a ducati. Until i pointed out that my chain was over at the exit of chicane 1… so a nice ride in the back of a recovery truck back to the paddock for me prbably saved me 12pence in fuel. result!