Bikes for 2002
Well, 2002 is here.
We have been talking to several people with regard to options for the coming season. The most promising contact was a genleman called Gary Fryer. Gary used our Marcos at Silverstone when Justin had that annoying hub failure while leading. Gary has spoken to us about the Radical Enduro series which I think is a fantastic series, so if Gary can source the sponsorship it is hoped he and Justin will share a car.
However, just for the hell of it we are definitely doing something different this year, whatever happens !!!!!
Yes, we are going to have a crack at bikes. Justin has always fancied it and he's been nagging me for a while, and having changed his GSXR600 for a GSXR750 his antics on the Queen's Highway were somewhat worrying. However first I wanted him at a track day to see what he was like
Well, we went to Brands with the 100% bikes late last year and to cut a long story short he started in the novice section. By the end of the day, having moved him up through the groups, the organisers awarded him the prize of rider of the month. To be honest, considering it was his first time out, it was pretty satisfying.
This prize gives the winning rider a free track day, its good really... after all we've raced cars for years and never got anything for free. Makes quite a refreshing change.
So the decision was made - his Suzuki has been sold and we are awating the arrival of a new Aprilia RSV Mille R which will allow us to contest the Aprilia Mille challenge. We decided on this series because everyone uses the same equipment with no changes allowed. It makes for a level playing field and when we've finally learned to set the thing up, the series will hopefully give a true indication of his riding ability.
To say we are excited is an understatement... it has been a long time since we raced as a Team so it will be great doing something again. Justin tells me there'll be no pressure we're just out to learn and have fun, yeah right............
Pictures are from our last track day at Rockingham before our first race at Snetterton. The very observant of you will no doubt notice the damage. Thats what comes of forgetting that you have requested a reverse gear selection. Justin thinks the work required to get the bike painted yet again before the race will help him remember in future :)))
However the race weekend was good, we had no time to practise so it was straight out to qualify, we finished 14th on the grid out of 28. The race went well we dropped to 15th after the start, got back to 12th and could have taken 11th place but the gear linkage came loose on the last lap. That was dads fault!! But considering it was Justins first ever bike race I think the result was pretty good. Justin felt if we had had a full days testing at the circuit a top 10 place was on the cards. Next race is Lydden on the 24/25 May.
25th May, Lydden Hill
Our weekend at Lydden Hill started cold damp and windy. Justin qualified midfield again,and was a second closer to the front so things were looking promising. That was until the start - as the flag dropped and the pack left the line heading towards the first corner two bikes touched and went down in front of Justin. He went for the brakes, the front wheel locked on the damp track and he was down with them. He left the racetrack on his backside with his pride and joy sliding alongside beside him, that was until it reached the grass, then it slid along for a while, turned over, and disappeared down a bank at the side of the circuit. Justin was fine but his Aprilia was now in a very sorry state. If you look at the picture you may appreciate what we mean. Needless to say it was a very quiet drive home. Not to worry, we live to ride another day.
8th / 9th June, Brands Hatch
It had been a busy time for us since Lydden Hill. As well as carrying out crash repairs we had noticed a noise from the gearbox on the bike. We decided to strip it and check it out. Unfortunately we got so far, needed special tools which were unavailable from Aprilia so we were stuck.
We frantically searched for a crashed bike and purchased the engine, collected it from Peterborough and fitted it into the frame. It was now Saturday morning, the paintwork was finished and we were ready to go, or so we thought. We fired it up and found we had no gears, we were sure we knew what it was and after removing the clutch side cover and clutch assembly we found the selector arm was bent. By the time we had finished it was a quick thrash around the industrial site, into the van and off to Brands.
Well, disaster struck again, we did one lap of practice and the bike died, electrical gremlins reared their head. Try as we might we couldn't find the problem so it was back in the van and another quiet drive home.
Back in the workshop two days later found the fault - we removed the rear bodywork and found a link wire had become detatched behind the rear relays. We connected it up and away she went. It's a pain when such a simple fault can cause such frustrastion, but that's racing. We're now looking forward to Thruxton and we hope we have a good weekend, but I guess only time will tell.
7th July, Thruxton
At last a good weekend, no problems. Justin did two races just to get some track time, the power bike series race and his own Aprillia race. Both passed off without incident, thats a first :)).
However the powerbike race was a hell of an experience. You are looking at almost unlimited 1000 cc race bikes, Ducati, Suzuki and Yamaha, they were awsome with regard to performance, how these guys do it is beyond me. Obviously the standard Aprillia was a little out-gunned on the performance front but it was good to get the extra laps.
The Aprillia race went well and Justin qualified 12th out of 22. It was quite strange for him as he works as an instructor at Thruxton and has raced cars many times there, in fact the the last time there he was racing his Renault and won his class by 20 seconds. It just indicates the different learning curve between cars and bikes. The biggest challenge Justin has found is trying to get to the limit, in a car you might spin or get a little oversteer or understeer. On a bike you're down, which can both be expensive and painful so we'll climb the curve slowly :))))).
However, he had a good race and was lying 10th until the last corner, when he outbraked himself and lost a place and so finished 11th. Still, considering the level at which he competing and his lack of experience on bikes, I think its pretty good and Justin is certainly enjoying the challenge.
Can't say it does much for dad's heart rate though :)))).
The rest of the year...
You have probably noticed a lack of biking action; the reason has been purely one of time. Since Thruxton, we have been so busy at work and doing the Uniroyal Challenge, that the bike has had to take a back seat.
We have had no time to go testing or do track days and, when you are as competitive as Justin, thats a problem. Unfortunately he will not race for fun, it's a serious occupation, and without time on the bike it was pretty evident he was going to take a tumble trying to learn and find the limits, which wouldn't have been good for the business.
So dad stepped in with a bit of advice........... you can imagine the reply, but common sense prevailed and we'll see what happens next year. But at present the big twin is back in road trim and being driven sedately, as you can imagine, when the sun shines.
Well, that's it for now I'll keep you all updated as next year pans out.
Cars for 2002
New car just delivered
We did mention there was a possibility of Gary Fryer getting some money to do the Uniroyal endurance challenge. Well, he got it so it looks like its going to be a busy year. The new car arrived on the 10 May and Gary and Justin gave it a shakedown test at Silverstone on the Stowe circuit. From there we took it back to base for good check over.
The first race was also at Snetterton this weekend - practice was the 9th and 10th was the race. Justin was unable to do the race on the Saturday due to prior commitments, but did help set the car up on the Friday. The driver taking his place was Ray Visser, a friend we have known since Justin's karting days. The race then was down to Gary and Ray and they finished a very respectable 5th overall after four hours of racing. Justin will be in the seat for the rest of the rounds and we shall be probably running Ray as well so we have a three driver Team.
So from doing nothing much over the last two years racing wise Cadini Motorsport is suddenly going to be very busy in 2002 - it's amazing how things happen. Still, its great to be back out doing something, and I have to say this is my first experience of endurance racing and what a pleasant change it is from the normal 12 lap sprints. So much better value for competitors and sponsors alike. Four hours allows for all sorts of strategy,all of which we have to learn. If things go well there is every chance we may try to run a second car, but we'll wait and see how things pan out. Next race is Rockingham 1/2 June.
June 8th / 9th Rockingham
Hoping for a better weekend, the Team went to Rockingham with the Uniroyal Endurance Challenge. It was Justin's first time out in the car with Gary in race trim.
Things were looking good, Justin topped the time sheets in practise and qualifying. While this makes little difference to grid position as these are picked from a hat, it does indicate the car was handling well.
Five hours later No 7 crossed the line, Gary Fryer the owner of the car and Justin were on the rostrum having finished in third place.
It went some way to eliminating the frustration of the week before and we are now looking forward to Spa in July.
18th / 19th / 20th July
Spa, Belgium. Uniroyal Team Challenge.
The team left on Wednesday evening and caught the 10.30 Ferry from Dover. We stayed in Dunkirk Wednesday night and drove to Spa the following day. We unloaded the car at the circuit late Thursday afternoon. We arrived too late to take advantage of a practice session that you had to pay for and so headed for the Hotel and a few beers in the square at Stavelot. We were all amazed at the scenery around the whole area.
Friday we arrived back at the circuit and found we had no practice but had to go straight out and qualify. So you can imagine, first time at Spa and it was going to be interesting... Eau rouge is awsome, until you see it first hand you have no idea how steep it is. We had 3 other drivers in the car as well as Justin, Gary, Simon Mason and Rob Croydon. Rob had done Daytona and was also racing a Porsche in the GT series and Simon is the senior instructor at Rockingham Raceway. We qualified 56th out of 112 cars and all the guys wanted some major changes to the car.
Having made some pretty major adjustments the guys went out went out in the second free practice in the afternoon, Justin was fastest again and took the car to 4th overall, it was flying and all the drivers were happy with the handling.
We had no idea if all the other Teams had their fastest drivers out in the session but it didn't matter. If we had had a chance to set the car up before qualifying Justin's time would have put us in the top 10 which was brilliant.
We now waited for the race start on Saturday afternoon. Well I'll keep it short but after 19 hours we were the leading British car and all was looking well, we were 19th overall.
Then the fun began. Rob had the brake pedal go to the floor but he managed to keep it on the tarmac and make it back to the pits. We found a flexible pipe had come adrift and rubbed through on the rim of the wheel. By the time it was fixed we had dropped down to around 32 but the guys all drove brilliantly and we fought back to finish 26th and the second British car home. There were 108 finishers so I think we did pretty good.
I have to say all the drivers were fantastic and we had a brilliant weekend. The race had started in brilliant sunshine but by the middle of the night we were having a horrendous rain storm, the lightening was lighting up the whole place, but the car never missed a beat and by early Sunday it had started to dry. By the end of the race we were all pretty shattered, Drivers included. However I think the pit crew need a special mention - Andy, who works with us, and myself (Justins Dad) were on that pit wall for the whole 25 hrs and though I say it myself I think that's pretty good. Would I do it again? ..... yes but we need a few changes, we'll sort them for next year.
I have to say I can see why so many people are moving to Europe. They seem to have a different mentality over there, they all enjoy themselves and there were no traffic queues or road works either. Plus the beer's good in Belgium! I'm still wondereing what I can do to earn a linving in France........ all ideas will be welcomed and reviewed :))))))
The only thing we have to do is to check the car over and possibly change 3rd gear synchro, but apart from that the car is fine and we're hoping to be out at Brands Hatch later this month.
17th August, Brands Hatch .
Sorry were a bit late with our report this time but we have been very busy at work.
Brands was a good weekend for us, Gary and Justin were in the car on their own doing 45 minute stints. The weather was great and, despite a hiccup at the start the race which put us down to last but one position, the race finally went very well.
We were lying in third position and, despite Justin having to nurse the car home in the last session with a misfire on corners, which we guessed was fuel, we eventually came through and finished in 2nd place, due to JPR motorsports car having problems they coudn't cure. Bad luck for them but good for us.
We missed this race due to Gary being in Japan on business. Its a shame really, as many European Teams came over and it was a great weekend, so were told.
Rockingham Motorspeedway 18 / 20 October.
Rockingham was a 5 hour race and we had another driver in the Team for the weekend, Ray Visser. Ray did the first race with us but has not been behind the wheel since, and as we all know, a lack of testing or driving doesn't help and he was dropped right in at the deep end. However, he coped well and, despite getting a bum deal on a safety car session and missing his fueling stop pitboard for which I gave him a bol*****ng for :)))) he did us proud. The worst thing about the weekend was the weather.
Since Brands, the car had not been run, so all we had done to cure the misfire was clean the fuel system, check the electrics and pray. Somebody must have been listening because the engine ran like a dream. Justin qualified the car and was only 200th of a second off pole behind Team JPR, not bad with no testing. The race started well, the the heavens opened, and most of the race was run in the wet, not a problem because Justin has always loved the wet (sorts the men from the boys!).
At times Justin was lapping a clear 2 seconds a lap faster than the rest of the field and Gary was also going like a train despite the wipers failing. In the last session, and with only 8 minutes to go for some reason, Justin's time dropped dramatically; as yet we have no idea why but we suspect it's the fuel system again. Considering the rain being forced at the carb from the roof air intake I'm not surprised.
Ray was struggling a little, due entirely to a lack of time in the car, but he kept in on the blackstuff and drove using his head and not his heart, which is whats needed in endurance racing. If he hadn't suffered that safely car problem when he lost about 50 seconds through no fault of his own, we would have probably been on the podium again. However, as it was, we fiinished 5th.
Well that's the last race of the year and, considering our lack of testing due to Gary being let down by a sponsor (par for the course in this game), I think the year has been great. We have all had a great deal of fun and I think, despite Gary probably being broke, I think he's enjoyed it. Well, he must be happy, because he's talking about next year already, and were about to paint the car to make it pretty. We are also considering running a second car for next year; in terms of cost per mile, in all our experience, there is no other racing to match it. If you divide the cost between a team of 4 it really does make it affordable. So watch this space.