Team SLUK’s production class rider Barrie Braithwaite reflects on an arduous but successful meeting…
The BSSO road show rolled into Mallory Park in Leicester to a weather forecast predicting thunder and lightning. My accommodation for the weekend was a tent from Toys R Us. Smashing.
Two meetings into the season and our merry band of racers and mechanics were equipped with a selection of tools, a couple of pop up gazebos and enough booze to sink the Queen Mary. What we didn’t have was a sensible place to sleep, and, as it turned out my less than suitable choice of boudoir for early spring in England was slightly more luxurious than that of my peers. Three men in a short wheel base van, shoulder to shoulder, settling down for the night when one lets-go a long, low drawn-out fart nipped at the point of follow-through is hilarious when you have a little tent to slip into.
Not so funny when the zip breaks and the wind and rain come howling through the half open flap all night.
The only consolation came in the morning when it emerged that Scotty had slept under a scooter in the pop-up gazebo and Carl had wedged himself under the front seats of the van, leaving Hammy to snore and fart to his heart’s content in the now-empty back of the van. After the St Johns Ambulance Brigade had been round in the morning to administer oxygen to counteract the massive doses of methane Hammy had inflicted upon himself, Carl inspected the patches of burnt paint on his van and Scotty had picked the lumps of gravel out of the back of his head, I reflected that I had got off lightly with being cold and damp.
And so we went racing, joined by two newcomers to the class Andy Walker and Tim Simpson. The results have already been published so let’s not dwell too long on who passed who and move onto the dos and don’ts of winning a race.
Do shout “fookin come on ya bastad ” with a Geordie lilt when you win your first race after an absence of 20 years.
Don’t try and do a burnout on gravel or you will break your gear selector and be forced to sheepishly do the washing-up. Speaking of winning races, from the 8 races so far we have had 4 different winners and every race has been down to the wire; which is exactly what was intended from Production Class.
The only reservation some of the riders had was around having to use the SIL GP200 gearbox because of the big ratio jump between 2nd and 3rd gears. This was raised at the AGM and again before the season got underway, but with everyone having to contend with the same issue it has kept the racing tight. A meeting was hastily arranged on Saturday evening to discuss changing the gearbox rule, but in the end it was agreed that it wasn’t fair on those who had already built a race scooter and being halfway through the second meeting of the season it was too late to bring in a major change in the rules.
After the racing it was time to drink a bit more beer in the gazebos until it got a bit cold so we went a wandering around the paddock and tried to break into the SRP camp, only to be foiled by a plethora of cable ties holding their flaps shut. The tightness of said flaps leading to near asphyxiation from the fumes of the diesel space heater they were using to ward off Jack Frost. We called into the caravan of Steve Wright (not in the afternoon or the serial killer taxi driver) and were just waiting for Guinness to come and ratify the new record for the most unsuitable people to cram into a Elddis diddyvan when I realised were on a slope and could run away into the lake in the middle of the circuit at any moment.
Bailing-out we searched out new mischief to get into and found ourselves in the circuit bar, Team SRP were there all looking like they had been inflated via the nostrils from the diesel fumes and after a couple of real ales me and Hammy, the farty arsed Geordie dime bar, sloped off to bed (not together) leaving Carl and Scotty in the bar. We had lost Craig earlier in the evening shortly after he pointed out the various constellations, hiccuped and possibly followed-though. I have no idea where anybody slept that night, although I did make the exciting discovery of an ancillary zip on my front flap which meant I only had the rain coming through the hole in the top to contend with.
We did a bit more racing on Sunday and the sun even put in an appearance. I have never been a fan of Mallory Park, I can’t give a reason but I have just never clicked with the place and struggled with Gerrards, a long fast right hander at the end of the start finish straight. I just couldn’t find the line and James Lancaster passed me around the outside like I was standing still; which meant I had to rely on late braking into the hairpin to even things up on Saturday. Then on the last lap of the first race on Sunday I found the line, gave my head a shake and kept it nailed in the second race and set the fastest lap of the class for the weekend. Which was nice.
A quick beer and a little back slapping after the race and then we all went our separate ways. Quite why we went our separate ways when we were all heading home to the same place is yet to be determined but next time we are all going in the same van and we might even buy a map.
Words: Barrie Braithwaite
Images: Lee Hollick and Sticky
Video: Chris Geyton SRP