BSSO Scooter Racing – Dave Bristow at Snetterton | SPORT
Sunday 4th June 2017 saw the Snetterton race circuit open its doors to the popular Petrol and Pistons event. A key part of the day was the scooter racing as part of the 2017 season BSSO Championship.
You’ll recall during May we published a feature by Dave Bristow of Hornet Scooters and how he goes about getting himself and his small team of racers ready for race day. The feature here focusses on the thrills, spills, frustration and general cameraderie bespoke to racing on small wheels.
Many thanks to Dave for the on board footage and blog, also thanks to Lee Hollick for the action shots.
Hectic pre race week
So in the week leading up to Snetterton there was the general, if not unusual panic trying to get all the scooters ready. The Group 4 Lambretta just needed the front end changed and the new disc brake assembled, the Group 10 Zip needed finishing and dynoing and the combo (sidecar outfit) a change of rear wheel & brakes and dyno.
Time challenged no Zip
To cut a long story short we left on Saturday lunchtime with the combo finished enough to race and the Group 4 fully ready. Would have been nice to have got the Zip done but there are only so many hours available in any day.
The weather was good when we arrived at the circuit, a little later than we hoped, so first order was bikes off the van and through scrutineering after a quick visit to signing on to get our race cards. All done (no snags found, which is always nice) then set up camp, tuck the bikes away and go and visit the rest of the scooter paddock.
United we stand
Das Westgarth of team DSC had arrived with newly soot-blackened paintwork courtesy of a sparkplug being checked and setting light to the bike in the workshop! Swift action with a blanket averted disaster. He still had ignition problems though, which saw one of the phenomenons of scooter racing happen, competing teams helping their rivals. Paul (Chalky) White, boss of Replay Racing soon had it sorted with a replacement Seletra coil. Meanwhile across the paddock Andy from PSN was scratching his head over Steve Chapman’s combo wiring – something he would have to continue the following morning as Steve had arrived late and the light was now fading!
We always seem to leave prep late, but at least not to the last minute! Couple of cheeky beers at the DSC camp, which is officially ‘hospitality central’ now that SRP are teetotal! Then of course off to bed to be ready for race day.
Coffee, bacon and noisy scooters
Race 1 issues
Now the wait for race 1 and we are called, the Lambretta refuses point blank to start, nothing I can do in time so walk down to spectate, Bugger. The sidecar race is next and we line up okay, lights out and away, the Davenport’s have picked up some pace and we have had a good race until the belt goes again. FFS! Back in the paddock the non-starting Group 4 turns out to be a failed plug, annoying but an easy fix. The combo was, errrr, due to a few washers that had been missed out when hurriedly fitting the last belt allowing the rear pulley to shift sideways.
Race 2, slightly better
Lunchtime. Race 2 called and the Group 4 Lambretta starts! Straight onto the warm up lap, form up, lights out and away. Darren Connelly clears off and I have a quiet race in 2nd place start to finish. Straight back into the holding bay to collect the combo which snaps the engine casing on the warm-up lap. We’ve had better days with the bloody thing!
It’s for charity mate
So that would be it for a normal day, but there is a charity race, the last of the day. I’m very late in entering for it so end up utterly last on the grid, no chance of winning anything (none anyway as it’s an open race so I’m up against the faster Group 6 & 6a bikes) but there should be other people to race. Lights out and I have a flyer, from the back to about 6th by the 2nd corner. In front of me is Stuart Mackenzie in a three way fight with a couple of autos, slowing them all up. I managed to get in touch with them at the end of the first lap just as Stuart goes for some impromptu off roading. He’s soon back past me as the group 4 develops a misfire as we go up the start straight, Taylor Sturgess comes past on his Replay tuned grp6 like I’m going backwards and the four of them gradually pull away as my misfire gets worse. I end up 7th overall but first of the standard classes so really happy with that.
Bikes then loaded up, van awning down, then the sharing of cake (my wife bakes and it’s getting to be a tradition!), with my mates in the paddock, the usual good-byes and off home.
I lived more in those few short minutes than most people will in a lifetime. Of course it’s worth it!
Worth it? Hell yeah!
After several evenings work, a day off “real” work and I end up with, what? 20 minutes practice and two full races. Is it worth it? Let’s put it like this, you like to go fast on your tuned Lambretta/Vespa, but you can’t go as fast as you can with ever increasing speeding fines, f**ktards who don’t understand lane discipline let alone indicating, kerbs, street furniture and pot holes. For 30 glorious minutes I did nearly 100mph (speed trapped at 97.3) cornered within touching distance of mates I know and trust, slid my knee sliders, found the edge (and looked over it) and lived more in those few short minutes than most people will in a lifetime. Of course it’s worth it!
Give it a go and live a lot
Finally, thanks to those who have helped me and continue to do so. Paul White of Replay Racing, John Howe – Jahspeed, PPL, Paul Green for coffee exactly when I needed it, Jayne Morris, all at DSC for food and hospitality, my team mates at Hornet Racing, Stephen Graves, Danny Loder and Paul Kent, racing is more fun with you chaps! The BSSO team who make it happen, and Abi Bristow for supporting me in doing what I love.
Words/Video/paddock shot: Dave Bristow
Action shots: Lee Hollick
Fancy a go? To find out more about UK scooter Sport, visit the BSSO