View from Pit Lane – Edition 32

Testing at Pau Arnos

Pau Arnos – 13/14/15 May 2022

We arrived at Circuit Pau Arnos early Thursday evening after an uneventful journey, for a change. The Truck was performing wonderfully well for an ‘old gal’ and did the 404kms in five and a half hours with a long fuel stop, as she has big tanks.

The recent hike in fuel prices has not yet been transferred to the card only fuel pumps and they’re still set on a 130€ maximum per single usage. I got bored with the tedium after the second hit and decided a stop for a splash and dash on the return journey would be preferable to doing the whole process for a third time.

On arrival, the Circuit security guys ticked us off of their list and directed us onward with the instructions to find our own pitch for the weekend. We found a good little spot on the grass opposite where we were last year. Being on grass we could peg down the awning making it so much more secure in the wind if it turned stormy. Once again though the weather was favourable giving us perfect conditions in which to set up. Which was nice.

A bit like old times this weekend, with just Rik and I, as Sarah and Matt had other commitments, unfortunately. But it was great from my point of view, to have a little father-son bonding time. We formulated a plan for the weekend which was; to do the 3 sessions on the Friday Test Day using the old tyres, not to push at all, to concentrate on experimenting with the racing lines, setting up Trudy and enjoy riding competitively again after the long winter break.

The plan was going perfectly until we popped down to the Technical Bay for scrutineering between the two afternoon sessions.

Now… we had a problem with the rain light during a little test session we squeezed in to make sure the bike was ok after the accident on 11th April, whereby she kept blowing fuses and would just stop running. This happened twice on the circuit that day and we eventually traced it to the rain light connector block.

We finished that test on the 25th with the rain lights fuse removed and did the proper repair back home. Or thought we did until it was tested in The Technical bay. Ping! It blew a fuse, yet again. Well, 2 fuses actually.  Rik and I stared at each other in utter disbelief and our brief conversation cannot be repeated in this narrative, but we’d tested it many times with the last test being 15 minutes prior to Technical Inspection.

Rik walked back to camp and picked up the spare fuses then returned. By which time I’d opened the fuse box and pulled out the ignition and rain light fuses, both of which had blown. We put a fuse in the ignition circuit and tested it. Fine. Then popped a fuse into the rain light circuit and tested that. Not fine. Both fuses blew once more telling us that it’s the rain light again. We were now down to our last two 10 amp fuses one of which we used in the ignition so Rik could ride Trudy back to camp and I followed on foot.

Trudy in bits again

As luck would have it we found another switch in the spares box and decided to hotwire the offending rain light directly through the battery, thus avoiding any fuses. It took an hour, and triumphantly (excuse the pun) we returned to the Technical Bay for the conclusion of our inspection. This gave us 10 minutes to spare before our last session of the test day. Which went well with nothing much happening.

It was now time for the race preparation including, oil and filter change, new water, new tyres, maintenance on the chain, finding the source of a minor oil leak and a thoroughly good clean. So, Trudy, was in bits again which sort of negates the Technical Inspection but it’s just how it is. I must say that this does not happen in The Isle of Man. Any work on the bike after the Technical Inspection has to be supervised in Parc Fermée.

Anyhow the race prep took about 3 hours with a break for dinner which was spicey chicken on a bed of salad, before going for a drink or two with friends, Lance’s family to be exact. Lance raced with us in Navarra, Carole and Le Vigeant last season.

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