In part one yesterday we set the scene for what was to be a tough first race of the 2021 BSEC Scooter Endurance racing at Whilton Mill. With plenty of thrills and spills and more traffic than a Friday afternoon on the M1 things were heating up nicely.
Here’s part 2, plus the video of the full six hours is posted at the top of the page if you have some time to spare.
The battle for third
By mid-afternoon our class rivals from Team Vespa #15 were doing a sterling performance, clawing their way back up the standings from 17th after a problem earlier in the day. They were now sat in fourth place behind us. We also had John Balcomb’s Dukes of Essex (bike number #155), who were in position two, with Hornet Racing off in the distance at the front.
With just one hour of the race left, Sam handed the scooter over to me. We stuck a few litres of fuel in and I was out on track. At this point, the Dukes of Essex were a lap in front of us and they’d got their top rider, Mr Bonett on for the last session. He rides past me like I’m stood still so I wasn’t expecting to catch him.
What a letdown
My thoughts were to do as well as I could and try and hang on to an overall third place, second in class. Things were going well until 40 minutes before the end, I felt the back let go but hoped I’d imagined it. At the next corner I felt it twitch again and knew I had a rear-wheel puncture. I got to safety on the grass and signalled to a marshal to see if I was ok to get across to pit lane, he waved me across and Sam was there to run the scooter up to the pits.
A frantic few minutes and the Franz exhaust was off the Vespa (Al suffered some nasty blistering with the heat because it wouldn’t budge), wheel off, new wheel on, exhaust on and I was back out. A brilliant quick job from Al and Dan. Our pit crew and team all worked very well to make sure everything ran as smoothly as possible for the whole meeting.
We’d lost just over four minutes and the same in laps. Something still wasn’t right though. We’d changed to a different tyre, one we’d used in practice so that felt strange but then I noticed the handlebars were twisted. They were pointing around 20º to the right when they should have been straight. Not nice. They are deliberately set slightly loose so they twist on the fork rather than break in a crash, but they must have been twisted out of line during the repair.
Once you get spooked whilst riding it’s hard to get your head back in the game. I was expecting the front to wash out at every turn and trying not to imagine just how loose the forks may be. I could come back in and see if they just needed twisting back into position, or stay out and risk it. I decided to stay out and try to forget about it. Slowly I got a bit of confidence back but by the end of the race the throttle grip was hitting my knee mid-turn and holding the throttle on. I did as much as I could but still didn’t have a clue how far Team Vespa and the Dukes were ahead of us.
Smiles all round
No matter where you look at an endurance meeting you’ll see smiles. The grin on the face of this Coastal Trippers rider in Club Class says it all. They finished second in class and I’d say he loved every second of the day.
The finish line
I was quite happy to see the last lap board come out, followed by the chequered flag as Keith Terry put an end to a fabulous six hours of close, competitive, good-natured and, above all fun racing. Out of 33 teams, 27 made it to the finish line, that’s not bad going. That’s six hours of non-stop racing, an hour and a half of practice/qualifying, plus two hours of Friday practice. Great stuff.
The first three over the line were Hornet Racing, the Dukes of Essex and Team Vespa. SLUK Racing managed to hang on to third in class, fourth overall.
- London Lambretta Club – Lambretta Li Special 240cc
- Dove Valley SRC – SIL GP 230cc
- AAORT – Lambretta GP 200cc
- Foster 56 – Lambretta GP 200
- Coastal Trippers – Lambretta Li 205cc
- The Odd Mod Squad – Lambretta Li 125 Special 200cc
- Dukes of Essex – Lambretta GP 265cc
- Team Vespa – Vespa 90SS 135cc
- SLUK Racing – Vespa 90SS – 133cc
Pro Race Class
- Hornet Racing – Vespa PK 200cc
- Team D.S.C OB Racing – Lambretta GP RB 200cc
- SRP Real Taffspeed – Lambretta GP 200cc
Special thanks must go to Keith Terry, Mikey Bonett, Bev, Kirsty and Cara for even bothering to put these events on, especially during these tricky times. They’re a credit to you. Also to the marshals, especially Darren and Wendy Glenn who manned the entrance to the track with a rod of iron. All the crew from Alpha Timing who did a magnificent job on the live feed. Also to fellow scooterist, Ellis who was drafted in for the rider interviews and pit lane shenanigans and took to it like a natural (you can find him on his MixCloud radio show).
BSEC couldn’t run as it does without the help of the various event sponsors, the Lambretta Club Great Britain, Thanet Area Scooter Services, AF Rayspeed and Express Signs. Plus of course the help of AME Auto, ScooterNova Magazine and ScooterLab who all put quite a bit of money in to get the live feed up and running.
Also, a big shout out to all the teams and riders who took part and kept the racing clean and as safe as can be.
I’d also like to thank Sticky for allowing us to throw his Vespa 90ss around the track (and sometimes down it) and for getting the bike prepped and running. Al Terry for his one-pot catering and also burning his hands to keep rider and machine in tip-top order. Finally to Dan for making the fantastic seat tank and helping with refuelling.
If you get a chance to get to the next event at Teesside in September we’ll hopefully be allowed spectators again there. Keep your eye on the BSEC Facebook page for the latest info.
Also thanks to photographer, Lee Hollick who sent us some photos from the event. Lee also fell over whilst kicking a stray bolt off the track and broke one of his expensive cameras. He has thousands of quality images, pop over to his website and buy your favourites.
Photos: Iggy, Sticky, Ellis, Col, Shaun and Lee Hollick.
Video: On-board John Chitoglou
Event video: Alpha Live
Read more about it?
ScooterNova are part of Road Class winning team, London Lambretta Club. They will have a feature on Whilton Mill in the next issue of ScooterNova Magazine.
They’ll also be interviewing Keith Terry.
For loads more racing images click on to pages 2 & 3