Thursday 24 July 2014

Ryedale Rally day two

Sunday dawned hot and humid, overcast with a threat of rain in the air. As usual things were a lot more relaxed as there was no registration or scrutineering on the second day. Although there was a bit of confusion over the way the time schedule had been written out but we managed to work it out in the end.

Sunday was to consist of the ride out and back, the same as yesterday plus four shorter laps. I refuelled with my 5 litres which only half filled the tank, luckily Rob who was camped next to me had plenty of spare, so I was able to fill the tank.

The ride out went without incident and we were starting from the same place although heading off in the opposite direction to Saturday. Whilst waiting for my start time someone noticed fuel leaking from the cap of my rear fuel tank. This of course was supposed to be turned off and empty! So I was rather surprised to remove the cap and find that the tank was full. This most probably explained my odd fuelling yesterday, as the fuel tap on the rear tank was clearly faulty and didn't shut off! The solution was fairly simple, I turned off the tap on the main tank so the bike was only drawing fuel from the rear. A quick check of the rear tank at the end of each lap to see what the fuel level was and if necessary I just opened up the front tank for a few minutes to allow it to refill, then shut it off again. In the event I only had to do this twice and finished still with a fairly full rear tank. It was the first time I had ridden with the rear tank full and was pleased to note it didn't affect the handling at all, but after all 5 litres of unleaded only weighs about 3.5 kilos.

The race itself was OK, the first (sighting) lap going without too much incident, although I did managed to slip off in the special stage and bent one of my hanguards. The substantial alloy bars are not as substantial as they look! Although it made the space around the brake lever a bit crowded, it wasn't a problem just a bit annoying as it was constantly touching the back of my fingers when covering the brake.

The special was essentially the same as Saturday in reverse but with the addition of some extra technical going in the woods. The rest of the lap was without incident although very snotty and slippery in places. As I came to the end, the heavens opened and the rain came down with a vengence. Starting lap two I couldn't see much at all the rain was so hard.

Arriving at the special, one of the timekeepers stepped forward, with one (muddy) rag he cleaned off my race number and with a another cleaner rag dried my goggles for me. I was counted down and off I went, my goggles remained clear for at least three seconds! I tried to ride smooth and steady on the basis that slower but staying on the bike was bound to be quicker than fast and falling off! No such luck and again I went down at slow speed in the woods. I had to resort to riding without goggles for the last part of the special as at least I could see where I was going. The rest of the lap was OK although there was a long slippery section through the woods near the end of the lap that was becoming increasingly difficult to ride, a combination of my fatigue from lack of training and increasing worn tyres, which to be honest were past their best before I started!

Back at the start of the lap it was clear the conditions were taking their toll, with loads of people deciding to call it a day and head back to Goathland. Unfortunately for me not many of them seemed to be in the Rally Class! Laps three and four were just repeats of the first two, although the rain did eventually stop. I was getting more and more fatigued and managed to fall off yet again on special stage three. They did take out a section of single track just after the special which gave us a bit more time on fire road, which to be honest was a bonus!

By the last lap I was getting very tired but perversely still enjoying myself. I determined to ride the last special even steadier this time and managed to get through 99% of the special without falling off, only to lose the back end on the small chicane set up at the very end to slow you down for the timekeepers. I dragged the bike upright and ran over the line with it, I was that close! A very weary finish to the lap followed and I was pleased to have completed it.

The shiny Rally Bike I had started with on Sunday was now looking distinctly second hand:

I also had a long "to do" list....

Straighten hand guard
Replace rear fuel tap
Replace number plate (that had completely delaminated)
Sort out front suspension (think I need some slightly softer springs)
Get some vinyl graphics for the fairing (if for nothing else than to protect it from stone chips)
New tyres front and rear
New front and rear brake pads
New chain (although I have a nearly new one from the CCM that will go on as it's the same size and length)

Oh yes... there's also the small matter of the MOT to get sorted.

A long drive home to Bedfordshire followed, not to mention a weeks worth of cleaning!

The results came out a couple of days later and on one hand I was pleased that I had managed to move up to sixth in class, my best ever result! However I wasn't so pleased to see that riders who had been behind me on Saturday had moved in front of me, no doubt a result of my numerous "lying down incidents". The only reason I got up to 6th place was due to riders who had been ahead of me on Saturday had DNF'ed on Sunday. But then again the whole point of getting results is being able to finish in the first place, so not too bad a result I suppose.

So lots of work to do before the Beacons Rally on August 9th and 10th

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