For the fast ones
Alex makes a blinding start to the season!
With only one test day aboard the RVF400, only the second time Alex had raced at Knockhill Alex stunned everyone! Not being known in Scotland, no one took much notice of the youngster lining up on the 400 Grid. That was until Alex took pole by almost half a second from last year's production champion Lewis Farrow.
Just before the first race, we realised Alex had never done a race start on this bike, not even in practice, predictably it went wrong. Back to 10th after the start, however he made his way through the pack and by lap 7 of the 12 lapper, he was in third place. The last 5 laps were amazing, you couldn't have slid a fag paper between the 3 bikes at the last corner. On the last lap Alex slipped underneath on the brakes, got the inside line for the hairpin and won the sprint for the line by 0.08 of a second, not only had Alex won but had also broken the circuit record for the class, putting in a time of 56.091. I had to ask myself, considering the difficulties we had last year, through this winter and in the run up to his first outing. "How'd he do that?"
Race 2 and a repeat of the fluffed start but this time he came to the fore by lap 5 and it was Graig McClelland who put him under extreme pressure in the remaining laps. Again it went down to the wire with Alex winning by only 0.12 of a second. Stunning Racing!
Then on to Snetterton for rounds 1 & 2 of The CB500 Cup, the largest grid for years. Some well prepared bikes by professional teams proved this is a very competitive series to be contending.
Alex had an awesome start in his campaign on the MAG SPORT-backed Honda with 24 bikes lined up on the start. In race 1 which was held in dry conditions he obliterated the competition, winning by over 11 seconds from second placed Ulsterman Jamie Hamilton, by the time race 2 came round it had rained and this was a new experience for Alex as he has never had the opportunity to test in wet conditions. A slow start from pole saw him enter the first corner in 9th place but swiftly made his way to the front to win the second race by 1.5 seconds, in front of last year's runner up Sam Parry. His achievements over the first day earned Alex the Uniform solution's 'Man Of The Meeting' Award.
Round 2 the following day at the same Norfolk Circuit saw Alex lift two more hard fought victories against the Ulsterman Hamilton in very wet conditions, maintaining his 100% record of wins from 6 starts as he now leads both Scottish Superbike 400 and the 'CB500 Cup' Championships. The next two rounds are to be held at Oulton Park in Cheshire and Pembrey in Wales, here's hoping for similar results.
It's been a fantastic start to this new chapter in his racing career. The Scottish 400 series is under revue as we still have not attracted any support and we have learned from lessons last year. Alex can not be competitive without a budget to work from. If any one would like more information on what is involved and the benefits that could be paid please contact us through Alex's web site at: www.minimotracer.com
The ROAD welcomes Laura to the MAGSport team
Oulton Park Round 1 ACU Star Championship My intention of arriving at a nearby B&B the night before, arising to a leisurely full English breakfast and setting up in the paddock at 7am was cruelly dashed the day before when final checks on the bike revealed one or two fairly serious technical problems.
Still with some sterling work from Max, my mechanic, and a rather late night, we arrived on site at 7.30am and passed scrutineering with flying colours.
In my first race and off the practice start line I shot into the first bend only to be unceremoniously dumped off the track by a seasoned veteran undertaking during my perfect line through the bend. This ended my practice session and tore my brand new leathers and gloves, leaving me frustrated and confused.
I was taken in hand by Clive Horton, who had raced at Oulton Park many times. He walked me round the circuit giving me some great advice on all corners. He also suggested that I wear a yellow jacket to show everyone that I was a novice. There was plenty of support from my family and friends, all of whom had made the long trip up from Farnham.
Eleven twenty am and the dash for grid position begins. I stayed to the rear and used the 15 minute session to check the settings on my bike and learn the track. This meant that I would start last but would give myself a good chance of achieving my ambition of finishing in the points. Shame that I ran out of fuel with 5 valuable minutes left for practicing.
By now I felt very nervous about how the rest of the day would pan out. My lack of knowledge of the track and my uncertainty of how the bike would handle were both playing on my mind. I have to admit that at this point I wasn't even sure that I could go out and compete. I felt sick in my stomach and thought that rather than let everyone down it would be better not to race.
The bike did not feel right and the time between the end of the grid position selection and the race was spent trying to get the settings to a point where I felt comfortable pushing the bike hard. Without being able to do any testing I began the race with rather a lot of uncertainty and a deep fear of failure.
Nine laps later and having managed to stay on, and avoid running out of fuel I made the chequered flag. Out of 23 starters I had come in 16th and missed my ambition of making the points by one position.
Having talked to lots of people during the day, the vast majority of whom failed to even finish their first ever race, I guess I should feel very good about the way things went. I don't! I still need to get more in tune with my bike so that I can push harder. Overall, and with marks out for ten, I guess I should give myself an 8. This for perseverance, determination, overcoming my fears and the final result at what I have been told is the most technically demanding circuit I will face. No one told me that the hardest circuit came first. Probably a good thing!
I have learned a lot about myself and my bike and realise that with only one race under my belt I haven't even scratched the surface of the knowledge needed to be the winner that I want to be.