Sunday, August 23, 2009

The 2009 Superbike Adventure.

    We left for Scarborough on 9th August, with lapping the Olivers Mount circuit as a prime goal. It rained most of the way there as usual. 
    After finding the Rosedene hotel we set off to find Olivers Mount and as I had seen the sign on the way in, found it quite easily. We rode all the way around the circuit before noticing the signs and deciding what to do about the 30mph speed limit.
    So the Limit Lap Challenge was born.
    Simply do a timed lap around the course at as close to 30mph as you can. The time was 5 minutes and 6 seconds, then each of us would do a lap and try to get as close to the time as possible. Sounds easy enough, but when you consider Olivers Mount is a steep hill and the race track starts at the bottom then goes over the top and back down, through 3 hairpins and 2 long straights, each of which poses its own challenge at 30mph. Up hills require a carefull throttle hand, downhills the brake and the straights are begging for a load of power to be thrown at them. Jon went first and quickly got to 30mph and what seamed to be ages later arrived back at the line. Then Col went on his lap, gently pulling away upto 30mph and I am sure it went from day to night then back to day again before he completed his lap. Unfortunately for me the weather turned from a glorius grey cloud coverd day to a miserable soaking wet one and it was my turn. My tactic was get to 30mph quick and brake late. I rode half the course problem free but my visor started to steam up and I was being pressured by a Nissan Micra, I started my decent through the trees and couldnt see how fast i was going, the Micra was trying to get past, oh the shame! I wiped the visor and checked my speed, Noooo! 37mph I didnt know how long I had been over 30 and as I was now just starting to go around the last hairpin I though I better take it slow. 20mph is painful to ride at on an R1 down a nice straight road, after 10 seconds I thought thats got to be long enough now so got back up to speed, all 30mph of it and crossed the line.
    The results were quite entertaining especially the excuses for why we ended up at that time.
    Just before the start of the EDSBK TT
    Eds Cup From Olivers Mount :- Control time 5:06.0
    1st Jon      Suzuki GSXR        5:07.1 difference of 1.1 second
    2nd Phill    Yamaha R1          5:01.4 difference of 4.6 seconds
    3rd Col      Honda Fireblade    5:16.1 Difference of 10.1 seconds
    My excuse, the rain causing the visor to steam up I thought was an excuse worth its weight in gold as it had cost me -4.6 seconds, Col came up with his analogue speedo cant be reading right as he took an extra 10 seconds, and Jon said he would have been perfect if his bike hadn't of misfired on one corner costing him 1.1 seconds. Later over a drink or 2 in the Albert drinking establishment we discussed other theories on how we could better the times for next time.
    Unfortunately after the challenge we decided to go for a coffee in the cafe by the Monument, and we all suffered a problem relating to the immobilisers. My R1 had flashing brake lights and the indicators stuck on, Jons wouldnt start, and Cols was doing all kinds of things and wouldnt start, but once away from the radio masts by the monument Jons and mine were fine but Cols was still playng up and by messing with it, it blew alot of fuses and the RAC was called to sort it out, which they did!
    The following day we left in the sunshine heading North up to Scotland, using mostly the A1 up past the Angel of the North and along the east coast. It rained again. We found the Livingston Travelodge, where we had based our stay.
    There was a few things I wanted to do while in Scotland, eat some Haggis was one of them so we found a nice restaurant just down the road and sampled Haggis, bashed neeps and tatties.
    Loch Taye

    The next day we went to Ingliston hall, which is where the Touring Cars used to race back in the 80s and 90s, I decided I was going in, but Jon and Col sat outside the gate. I made it onto the hairpin which was now a caravan site, I was stopped by a man from one of the caravans who asked what I was looking for, I told him the track, and he told me all about his racing career as a support race car driver back in the 90s actually on Ingliston track, he told me to go and see the security guard around the other side of the estate as he used to be a Marshall for the races, so I did and it was a pleasure to talk to him and hear about what he did.
    From there we rode over the Forth Bridge up to Knockhill and had a look around at the circuit, before heading off to Loch Taye.
    When we left Knockhill we asked the sat nav to take us to a petrol station, it took us to 2 that were now closed down so eventually came across one by asking a postman, 60 miles later and in the village of Alderfery I suggested getting more fuel as it was getting quite remote out there and saw 2 motorbikers outside a police station in the town so asked if they knew where a petrol station was? Yes about a mile down there a girl on the one bike said, the sat nav said it was about 500 metres the otherway so Jon said follow me, its down here and we all followed him, we went over a famous little bridge and started leaving the village when Jon stopped and said its here. Nothing like a petrol station was anywhere to be seen. The girl said to me wheres he taking us, I said probably back to Edinburgh. We turned back to the town and I decided to look on the main road to find the petrol station and there it was. It rained very hard for about 40 minutes so we had something to eat and chatted to the other riders under the garage forecourt for a while.
    We said goodbye to our new mates as they had already seen the Loch.
    Loch Taye is about 12 miles long and a very nice place to see, unfortunately Jon was going very quickly past all of it and when we caught him up he told us his bike was running on 3 cylinders so he wanted to get back to the hotel to fix it. So we left all the nice scenery and rode some great biking roads with long sweeping bends up and down mountains before joining the motorway back to Livingston. It reminded me of the roads through and around the Blackforest area of Germany.
    The following day was a bike free day to be spent in Edinburgh, to see the British Touring Cars do a demonstration, go around the castle and see the city. We had a great day in the city and the Sun was out and I even appeared on TV talking to James Thompson one of the racing car drivers.
    We were all pleased to give the bikes a miss for 24 hours, before the 330 mile journey back to the midlands. It rained!

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