View from Pit Lane – Edition 38

Fire near Navarra

Navarra, Spain – 17/18/19 June 2022 – Part 4

We all survived being burnt alive as we slept, thankfully, but the smell of the fires hung over the paddock as a stark reminder of the previous night. Matt was up at first light leaving me undisturbed in my slumber and only waking me up when he started packing away the spares boxes and associated stuff we take to race meetings. Feeling guilty I got up and helped.

Our 40-minute race was at midday and we planned to be on the road by three as it’s a good 8-hour drive. We only needed a few tools left out as Trudie was ready to go. We were just about done, in the cooler morning air, when the others got up and joined us. I was cooking our usual breakfast of champions by 9, which I must say was a good one. The day was developing rapidly into another scorcher, it was definitely the right decision to pack away early.

The clear pale blue morning sky was humming with two helicopters flying in rotation across the race circuit carrying huge buckets of water to douse the remains of the fires. The reservoir must’ve been just south of the circuit and they were flying very low over us, quite a sight!

 It was soon time for our race so I did the final checks and started Trudie while Rik got into his leathers and we went to the collecting area. I took the wet towel again to combat some of the heat but by this time there was more of a breeze and Rik didn’t want its benefits, so I had it all to myself. After only five minutes of waiting, we got the call. It was with crossed fingers I watched Rik onto the track before joining the others to watch.

Again Rik made a good start and as in the first race after 2 laps, he was up to 8th. The top 7 had made a break which proved impossible to bridge. Rik found himself at the front of a train of 4 other riders who were trying everything to pass, he fought them off but couldn’t break away.

It stayed that way for 30 mins. Then one rider managed to sneak up the inside on the brakes and we lost a place. Rik fought back at the next corner and they swapped places for a lap or two before Rik lost a second and couldn’t close up on the 8th place.

That’s how it finished with Rik in 9th, not bad after the weekend we’ve had and a great race to watch. Rik enjoyed it too saying it was great fun.

The weekend, inadvertently, gave us the chance to do back-to-back comparisons on the ignition systems. I think, and Rik agrees, that the race ignition gives a little more power with a free-revving engine making Trudie quicker out of the turns. That is not so important on The Isle of Man where reliability is king.

After a cool down and debrief we were cleared away, showered and on the road by 15.10. Perfect timing! The after-effects from the forest fires were clearly visible from the roads around the circuit and it emphasised how lucky we were that the fires didn’t come towards the paddock. 

I can report that during the weekend we received confirmation of our Manx Grand Prix entry. So it’s full steam ahead with preparations for that, with a weekend’s racing at Carole in July thrown in for good measure. Exciting times!

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