|Last Updated 18 October 2003|
I started racing 6 years ago (98) on the KR. Probably like most people starting up, I thought I could easily run in the top ten. So it came as a bit of a shock to find I was struggling in the bottom half of the pack. Only towards the end of the season did things start improving as slowly I gained more experience and I fettled the bike. I ended the season at Anglesey on a high, a highside - my first tumble.
The second season (99) started well with a second and fourth place in lousy conditions at Mallory - for which I was given the novice of the meeting award. I then got knocked off at Anglesey, did reasonably well at Mallory. Then fell off again at Anglesey - highsided and landed on my head - lost my novice vest. The season took a bit of a dive at this point as confidence in my tyres had gone. So I switched to a 17" rear and started getting results again. I finally won my first real race (I had previously only had novice class wins).
For 2000 I campaigning the KR again (I am a sucker for a lost cause). Though this year Graham File has had a peek at the engine. To many tumbles and an engine problem caused by a fall at Gerrards which persisted all year put a damper on the season. Finished 2nd in the Derby Phoenix F400 and GP250 classes.
For 2001 KR again but this season a new paint job - the KR Cup and a set of fancy wheels. Finished 2nd in the Derby Phoenix F400 and GP250 classes but with plenty of wins in both the F400 and a few in the GP250. Problem was to slow in the first race of the day usually got a 3 or 4th and would win the second race.
2002 and 2003 won't talk about. 2002 turned into a disaster had somebody look at the forks and they completely messed up the handling. Took nearly all season to sort the bike - then when finally got it going bikes + car stolen. 2003 was spent just setting up the new bike.
Warning - Gerrards strikes again. I think I have just diagnosed the third case of Gerrards bend. Symptoms are a seized left cylinder and a perfect right cylinder. The left hand cylinder suffers detonation then nukes itself, if you are unlucky it takes your crank out. The latest victim is Richard Saunders on Wednesday 20 June. I am pretty certain it is what took my left cylinder out last season and Paul Kidds also last season. The reason it is the left is that is the one with the short fuel line and the tap is on the left so as you are leant to the right the fuel runs away from the tap . In Gerrards you are leant over for 15 to 20 seconds which is enough to nearly empty the left fuel bowl and pipe - the pipe being longer on the right is enough to keep that cylinder going. You come out of Gerrards on full throttle with a float bowl that is running low causing that cylinder to go weak and detonate. Solution is put more fuel in the tank and longer fuel lines to both cylinders. Also make sure that the breather in the tank is clear and you are on prime. The fuel tap is a bit on the small side and on the on or reserve position doesn't flow as much as the prime position. Not sure as I have never been there but reckon it could also happen at Snetterton. (25 June 2001)
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