I awoke at 7.30am. 3 1/2hours of actual sleep would indeed have been preferable to the energy drink induced, reclined wakefulness that I’d experienced. I was so tired when I woke up that I doubted I’d brought enough coffee to right the situation. Still, I was here, the bike was here.. all I had to do was to barely function and it would work out.
The identity of track days has changed a lot from what they once were. They used to be called practice days and were invariably for people who wanted to do some kind of set up work as part of their racing endeavours. When I started racing in 1988, I remember going to my first practice day at Cadwell and being blown away by RC30 Hondas. I was on the 1939 Tiger 100 for the first time, in fact it was the first time I’d ever ridden a bike with gears (excepting my 197cc Francis Barnett around the garden). I didn’t even know that you didn’t have to use the clutch every time you braked. I must have been all over the place. Makes me shudder a little to think of it. What these guys must have had to do in the middle of corners to avoid me…
This track day was specifically for classic bikes though and was, I believe, organised with the circuit by Tony Page who was involved in the Beezumph events for many years. Coming the day before the BHR meeting means that it’s well subscribed by competitors and spectators alike. People can make a really good weekend of it.
The format is pretty much the same for all trackdays. You have to sign on and sign a disclaimer. You then attend a riders briefing where they talk about how the day is run and safety on and off the circuit. They fit you with a wristband to say what group you are in; in this case the groups are self graded on your own assessed ability/ circuit knowledge / ego.
You get another wristband to say that you have actually attended the briefing and apart from getting your bike noise tested (105db max), that’s it.
The Scott doesn’t even have a rev counter.. they don’t really know what to do with it when you take it for noise testing. It’s quiet though, people always say with a little sadness that they can’t hear it when you are riding it. A Scott’s ‘yowling’ noise is unique to the marque and it’s a shame to stifle it with silencers. God knows what the yowl would sound like out the un-silenced end of a stinger though..
Then you have 15 or 20 minute sessions all day on a rotational basis. They just call out the colour of your wristband and you go down to the ‘assembly area’ and wait to be sent out.
Roger had bought the starting rollers and it was with significant crossing of fingers that I dropped the clutch that morning.
I needn’t have worried as after only a few seconds she spluttered into life and sounded pretty good. A moments contemplation of what we’d achieved passed over me before I realized that I’d yet to mix fuel and do some final wiring work. No rest indeed.
I think I’d definitely set the oiling a bit generously as the smoke screen was almost comical. It was as if the mist hadn’t risen that morning. I did wind it back later, but I thought I’d rather be safe than sorry initially.
On the track I arranged to circulate with Roger and then see what the relative performance was. At the Beezumph, the Super Squirrel had seemed to be faster than his on the straight and I was interested, having changed the head and the entire fuel system, in seeing what was going to happen now. Of course I had hopes of having to caress the throttle with the rear tyre spinning up as I backed into charlies, Moto GP style. It wasn’t quite like that. The first session, It seemed that my dad and I both circulated at low speed whilst waiting for the other one to catch up. There’s nothing like communication etc.
We actually managed it the next time, but instead of being able to pull away from him as before, I found him to be definitely stronger coming out of barn corner and I couldn’t catch him before we got into the top of Charlies, simply because I keep it on up the hill more than he does nowadays.
Not quite the overwhelming power increase I’d hoped for then, but still with so many un-tested changes it was working and working well.
Over the day I changed the timing a couple of degrees but did very little else apart from have fun. The front brake was starting to squeal a bit and felt like it was staying on a little after the lever had been released so after the last session I stripped and cleaned everything, copper-slipping the pivots, pivot bushes and cams and giving a bit more chamfer to the leading edge of the linings. They are still the old AM4 ‘Green’ linings on this brake, having been still available back in when i had them done over 10 years ago. They are great linings but they are so aggressive that they need a really good chamfer. The triumph has them also and five years ago when I was going into hall bends the front brake locked up solid… the chamfer on the leading edge wasn’t quite enough and it delaminated slightly shedding a sliver of lining which completely jammed the brake solid. Fortunately I wasn’t in the middle of Charlies but it wasn’t nice.
It was dark when I finished and just time to put everything away in readiness for the following day.