View from Pit Lane – Edition 24

Trudie's battle damage

Ales – 24/25/26 September – Part 4

Race result 12th

The corner Rik lost it on was a downhill, slowish, right-hand turn with the camber running away, so quite tricky in the wet. I was rather relieved to see the bike being pushed onto the trailer at the end of the race with fairing still intact, although the seat had become detached and again was in one piece. We had to wait until back at base before a full assessment could be made.

The weather had turned into heavy showers by the time we’d got Trudie back and as time was moving on we decided to miss the end of season fancy dress party and crack on with the repairs, which weren’t too bad, but still required four hours work. We finished around midnight, by the time we’d all eaten. We turned in and managed a couple of hours sleep before the storm struck again.

What we had earlier was a mere taster for this baby, the Mother of all storms hit the paddock and lasted through the remainder of the night till dawn. Nobody got any sleep as it was continuous. At one point I peeked out to see and was amazed to witness the water gushing down in the storm drains not too far from overflowing and they’re at least 4 feet deep. Luckily there was again no wind to accompany the thunder and lightning, otherwise, there would definitely have been carnage.

At times it was a little frightening, but what an experience and certainly something to tell the grandkids. Made me feel quite insignificant in the great scheme of things, feeling that if Mother Nature decided to rid the planet of humanity it would not pose too much of a problem for her. Here endeth the philosophy lesson and back to the racing.

There had been a good deal of mud and debris washed onto the circuit during the nights’ flood, causing a delay to the following morning’s proceedings to allow for the track sweepers to do their thing. The hour races were also reduced to 40 minutes and by the time we were in the collecting area at 11 am, the rain had given way to some sunshine. Although the circuit was still wet, and wet tyres were the favoured choice of everybody. It would surely be just about dry though, by the end. We decided to bring Rik in for his fuel stop 20 minutes into the race as half-distance seemed to work ok at Le Vigeant.

They took to their grid positions and set off for the warm-up lap then formed up on the grid for the start proper. Rik decided not to chance a launch and lost 8 places on that first lap, taking 3 or 4 laps to find his rhythm. He had moved up to 15th by the time the Safety car was deployed while an accident was cleared away. The field closed up a little and followed the car for 5 or 6 laps before racing could carry on.

Our boy continued his steady progress and by his pit stop, was up to 12th. At this stage of the race, it all gets a little confusing as all the places get mixed up. I think we’d done a quick stop but by the time it had all evened out, we’d dropped to 14th. We couldn’t work out how, but maybe we need to rethink the potato strategy for next season. Still, Rik got back to it and finished the race 12th. A little disappointed I must say, but sometimes it just doesn’t go your way and you have to take it on the chin. It wasn’t through lack of effort that’s for sure.

So that’s it for the WERC this season. It’s been tough, but extremely enjoyable and we have a great foundation to take into next season. The last races for this year will be at our local circuit of Le Vigeant in October.

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