View from Pit Lane – Edition 30

Trudies New Livery

Le Vigeant 23/24/25 March 2022

Finished Trudy’s prep with two days to spare, so not quite last minute. That gave me a half-day to play with ‘The Truck’.

The hold up with the bike was once again the race ignition system. Somehow I’d been sent the wrong rotor forcing us to revert to the standard system. The correct rotor is on its way from BDK and, with any luck, the race system will be tested on the 11th of April, our next day on track.

With ‘The Truck’ all cleaned and loaded, Rik and I arrived at Le Vigeant, late afternoon on Tuesday. The circuit was bathed in glorious sunshine with temperatures close to 20 degrees C, which prevailed for the remainder of the week. We couldn’t have planned it better.

Burger on the grill

We managed to set up just before dark and Rik went home for some decent sleep. ‘The Truck’ is not the most comfortable of accommodations and the temperature was rapidly dropping. I cooked up a burger and spent the rest of the evening tinkering around and turned in close to midnight. By then it really was cold, the heater was on full while I had fitful sleep. Always a little stressful these first tests of the season. I was mentally checking everything to see if something had been overlooked.

Dawn broke around 6 am, and boy was it cold! Both Rik and Matt reported a heavy frost on their respective windscreens with Matt saying it was -6º at his house, 20 minutes away. The heater is a little noisy so I’d turned it off during the night in an effort to aid sleep. That was a bit of a mistake, as it was bloody freezing in there. I turned it on full, grabbed my clothes and went back to bed for an hour, getting up around 7, coinciding with Rik’s arrival, closely followed by Matt.

Trudy was ready to go, so all we had to do was drink tea and coffee then sign on and pay when the office opened just after 8 am. We were due out on track for the first session at 9, by which time it had warmed up a little.

We were punctual and out on the circuit bang on time. Rik was under instructions to take it easy for a few laps just to bed everything in, and if he and Trudy felt ok, to proceed with a little more urgency. It was clear after a couple of laps, to Matt and I, that all was well and Rik had settled into a beautiful smooth rhythm on about 3/4 pace. A joy to witness.

Hard at work in the pits

He came in after 20 of the 30 minutes available as he was getting a little chilly and we needed to make a few adjustments with various levers that I hadn’t quite fitted in the desired positions. We also noticed a little oil on the right-hand fork leg. Yes, we had a slight leak from the fork oil seal. Not very serious but it would need constant monitoring. All was well and it stayed that way for the whole three days.

We took some advice from the tyre fitter, who deduced from the wear of the rear tyre that there was too much rebound and he suggested backing it off four or five clicks, which I did to great success. The only cause for concern was that fork oil seal which we had nursed all week. By the first session on Friday afternoon, it just about let go as when Rik came in. We could all smell burnt oil from the right-hand brake calliper, the heat of which burnt the oil on contact rather than letting it travel further to the brake disc on that side. Time to call it a day for obvious reasons.

We were all satisfied with the week and Rik finished just over a second slower than his best ever lap. I must commend the organisers as the week ran like clockwork with no fuss and minimal red tape, just like the old days.

You may have noticed the new livery on Trudy? This came about quite by chance and necessity. Necessity being that the new seat and fairing couldn’t be properly painted in time, and the chance being we had a spare black seat together with an unopened tin of black paint on the shelf, albeit for metal. It’s thinners based so my theory was it shouldn’t matter and would be ok.

I’d already started repairing last year’s faring and as Saturday afternoon of March 19th was hot enough to spray outside with hardly a breeze I set to work finished it all off and sprayed it black, thinking it’ll do for a spare if called upon.

The finish isn’t factory and won’t pass close scrutiny, but at a distance and in photographs, eminently satisfactory. Now, I didn’t like it at first, then in the evenings, at Le Vigeant, I started playing with some white sticky-backed plastic and blue insulation tape, et voila! We all think she looks pretty damn good. Just waiting for some more graphics and a bit more white to do the finishing touches.

Until the next time, à bientôt.

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