Pembrey 19 and 20 March
Despite a minor breakdown on the M4, we arrived in freezing conditions and Saturday gave us a satisfying day when we attained P5 on the grid for the heat. A good race over 10 laps in the final saw a second place finish.
Sunday was somewhat disappointing. Another 5th in the heat but the final was another story. Having lost some places at the start, and a severe shunt from behind at Spitfires which caused me some pain, we clawed back to second but on lap 6 the engine let go with a bad rattle and that was our race over. When stripped down, the cause of the rattle was found to be a shattered shell on crank journal no. 2. Attempts to get a new crank in time for Donnington were unsuccessful so the top end was rebuilt on another set of cases so we would be ready.
Donnington 22 April
With warmer weather in prospect we went to Donnington in high spirits. What a wonderful track it is, really testing and technical. High spirits were dashed when we were black flagged in practice for smoke! Some oil was drained out of the engine as it was a little overfilled and once checked by the scrutineer we were allowed out in the heat. I wish we hadn't bothered. On lap 3, overtaking a very slow back marker, Chris was hit in the back and crushed against the wheel arch. Chris takes over the story:
' I have no idea what happened. I was out over the sidecar wheel coming into McLeans and just felt the impact from behind. I thought I was just winded but within seconds I knew it was serious. For the first time ever, I had to stop Dennis and he pulled over into the run off area. I was completely unable to move and struggling to breathe. I remember the (fantastic) marshall supporting me and helping get my helmet off and then the doctor and ambulance arrived. A few whiffs of antinox and I was on the scoop and carefully taken to the medical centre. A shot of analgesic helped while x-rays were taken and my badly cut arm was dressed. The x-rays were inconclusive but the doctor said he thought I was a bit bruised and decided against hospitalisation. Dennis helped me back to the van and somehow the pain held off until I reached home some 9 hours later. Worse was to come. On Sunday I couldn't walk or even get out of bed without help, same on Monday. I went to A&E at Plymouth who confirmed at least two broken ribs, contusions on the lung and severe muscular bruising.'
Whether Chris will be fit for Pembrey is still to be decided. It doesn't look hopeful!
Darley Moor 12 and 13 August
Well! That was optimistic wasn't it. Chris did not return to fitness until August and Darley Moor was the first outing. A steady ride gave a creditable eighth place but it was obvious that Chris was not to regain full fitness for a while. It was decided to race on Sunday but at the race was red flagged early and returning to the pits the engine was not sounding healthy so a decision was made to retire. A loose clutch plate baffle later proved to be the culprit so the decision to retire was the right one.
Pembrey 2 and 3 September
Nothing much to report here. Saturday was uneventful with a scraping of 5 points for an 11th place finish. However, the engine was smoking badly and a decision was made to change it overnight. Much midnight oil later, the towel was thrown in when the clutch refused to operate on the replacement engine. Andy Martin and his team were brilliant, offering tea, sympathy, cigarettes and Chinese food as well as their awning but it just wasn't enough... and Sunday never happened.
Thruxton 7 October
It's party time.... the tale will be told of handshakes with the 2006 BSB champion, a gathering of old friends, a bottle of rum and testing times on a bigfoot. Watch this space!