La Vigeant – 09/10 October – Part 1
Here we are, in the paddock on a beautiful Friday evening for the season finale and it’s rammed, we only just managed to squeeze in. It was a Team decision to forego the Friday practice day as it was only 4 weeks previous that Rik put in a very good performance round here. A decision that came to bite us in the bum on the first timed lap of qualifying, Saturday morning.
Rik was under instructions to “get his finger out,” said in the nicest possible way, as a top-six grid position would be most acceptable and on results, his rightful position. I figured if he could start from there and get away with the other top guys he would be pretty damn close at the end. Anyhow, with this in mind, Rik was lining someone up for a pass, tipped in a little early, clipped the kerb with his front wheel and went down quite heavily on the right-hand side. Luckily not collecting the other rider as he went. He picked himself up and ran over to Trudie in an effort to continue. Unfortunately, she was not in a fit state for this to happen and they had to be recovered back to the paddock.
Bugger… He didn’t record a time and didn’t do the obligatory 3 laps practice resulting in a back of the grid start.
The damage was remarkably light considering the speed of bike and rider departure. Fairing and seat held together well, suffering only cosmetic scuffs and scratches. The throttle handlebar was bent almost vertical, the rear brake lever was pointing outward at 90 degrees and the new screen, recently fitted at Ales was in four or five pieces, which posed a potential problem as we can’t race without one.
Back at base we got the fairing and seat off to discover no other damage was evident. A trip to the rapidly depleting spares box revealed we had the necessary parts for a reasonably rapid repair job. Happy days. Only a screen to find.
I left the boys to it and with Sarah went in search of a screen. This proved fruitless in and around the paddock so I thought of using our old RVF Honda screen and cut it about a bit to persuade it to fit Trudie. Off we went back home to the workshop. Behold, the God of screens was once more smiling favourably upon us because nestling in with my old fairings was a Triumph Daytona screen that I forgot came with the bike when we bought her. It required a little surgery, as it’s off of a 2006 model, but the round profile was perfect so after grabbing Rik’s old leathers, just in case, we headed straight back to the circuit.
By the time we’d returned, Trudie was back together, clean and had been run-up. Jerome had made the 20-minute journey from his place and, voluntarily was cooking brunch. The usual ‘full English’ cooked by a Frenchman haha!!!
I just needed to cut the screen. It’s a reasonably delicate procedure as they do have a tendency to crack under too much pressure. My weapon of choice for this operation (performed a few times over the years) is a mini grinder with a tile cutting disc. After a test run to get the feel of it again and marking where to cut with a felt tip, I got to work. With remarkable precision it all went extremely well and after some new bolt holes were drilled the screen was a perfect fit.
Following our French/English cuisine, I popped the fairing back on, applied some cosmetic white duct tape over the worst parts of it and, voila! As good as new, sort of, but ready to race. 😊
First though, she had to be scrutineered again, obviously. Rik rode her over to the inspection bay and after a cursory glance, the chief scrutineer was satisfied with our collective efforts. Rik reported she felt alright, so up on stands with tyre warmers on, she went. We had a two-hour wait for the race.