well I entered the penultimate round of the TBEC championship at a new track on Sunday at Weedon in Northants.
having done the calculations on how to overcome my 7 point deficit in the championship I decided that it couldn't be done at the last round. IT HAD TO BE DONE HERE!
so i decided to try and get a 'hot one' in and borrowed a friends KTM300EXC 6-day 2013. I needed to gain a complete lap on my rival and over-50 championship leader Jon Foxley.
I picked up the bike on the Wednesday and jet washed it, next were new chain and sprockets and I went out from 13 x 48 to 13 x 51 while I was there. Alex, my mate who lent me the bike has mousses and so fitting the 140/70 x 18 was a pig of a job!
then it started raining on Friday and Saturday and heavy showers they were, and even stronger 'driving rain' was forecast for Sunday!
I lined up on row 2 with 10 others and Jon was behind me on his 450EXC on row 3. the race was reduced from 2 + 2 to a straight three hours. so I started up and started what i thought was quite quickly but everyone shot by me on both my left and the right! I tried to bring in the KTM power high up and it just spun up, I tried in the slow places to use the low revs but I stalled it! I stalled it 20 times in the whole race although I did get better! the trouble was I was trying to use second gear over mounds and was stalling. I'm not a 'nasty' clutch user and I should have been a bit 'meaner' with it.
Jon made up the minute very quickly and overtook me, I stalled it some more and then fell when i touched the 'no feel' front Brembo brake which is useless.
anyway, by now I'm feeling right down in the dumps because I not only have to beat Jon but get far enough ahead to take on fuel and then get a lap ahead....
anyway, I started to lean on the tyres and saved loads of big slides...the bike doesn't have enough trail I'm afraid. but slowly but surely I got used to everything. the bike is NOT tiring at all, it is so light and quick though that traction is the problem: there's no grip!
eventually I caught Jon for the first of three times and each time I fell braking on wet grass - the brake just has no feel! on the third time as I fell I looked out for him and he wasn't anywhere near me. joy!
so i got on and bombed around getting quicker and quicker. I then switched to reserve just after I'd asked a friend to have a can of fuel ready! in 3 minutes I was out and I didn't know where Jon was? the track for a little while got 'claggy' but then it rained some more and went back to being just 'wet'!
so I came around towards the end of my 3-hours and found I couldn't remember the time on the clock from the previous lap....every lap i swore to work out my lap times and every time I couldn't remember them!
anyway, one thing I did recall was my start time: 10.31 so 3 hours meant I had to be in by 1.31. as I came around I asked Babs what i was doing laps in to which she replied "10 minutes like everybody else". I looked up at the clock and I had 6 minutes left. this meant I'd be 4 over and the penalty would be the same as what i was earning so i went to pull in, stalled and had to kickstart it again for the 20th a and last time just so'as I could check in 2 yards ahead of me!
I now waited for Jon and he had 7 minutes or 6 as I was now waiting. 4 mins.....5 mins....and then he came in, pushing the bike, he signed in breathless and he told me that he'd run out of fuel just 100m from the end.
Lord why couldn't you have made it 400m?
well anyway, i knew that Jon and I had done the same laps and I was quicker so i should be up for a win in the over 50s. alas when I see the results last night I see that a new bloke beat me by 0.9 f a second......
well anyway, off to Banovallum this weekend for their last round. I did the first three rounds and was lying second easily. now I'm 3rd and only by a point but I shall go back for round 7 and try and hold onto 3rd overall. I'll either take the old 2002 model 400 or the 570 which hasn't turned a wheel since we got it running again and could have faults....
my overall conclusion on the KTM in the wet was
needs heavier springs
clutch springs too strong
brake; no feel
not enough trail
remove mousse and fit tube on the front
clean up the carburation/pull
the bike is a winner though and so easy to ride. http://www.tbec.co.uk/results/weedon-131013/