After over 100 days of lockdown its been disheartening to see a thriving scooter scene announce cancellation after cancellation of events. Some waiting until the very last minute in vain hope that there is a remote possibility that things may change for the better sometime soon. However, with guidelines still in place and more importantly the safety of everyone at the forefront of everyone’s minds it appears that this year’s calendar of events may struggle to materialise.
In saying that, the old scooterists adage of keep calm and carry on has never been greater. There’s been some fantastic scooters built, modified and revamped over the last few months, with many emerging on social media sites and in magazines. Also, as restrictions are lifted it’s been great to see both solo riders and clusters of scooterists tentatively taking to the road once again, enjoying the relatively traffic-free roads of the UK and meeting up – albeit in a socially distanced kinda way.
One side of scootering which has also been badly affected is the BSSO scooter racing championship and other scooter sporting events. With circuits closed since late March, it’s meant that no race meetings have so far taken place this year. A cutting blow for those adrenaline chasing BSSO racers and teams from around the country who were all set to start their engines at Croft circuit for the start of the BSSO race championship way back in April.
Chomping at the bit
A shame, a real shame as this year’s championship was looking to be a very well supported affair with the formidable Paul Chalkie White’s Replay Racing making an eagerly awaited return with a full team of riders and scooters across the class range. Dave Bristow’s revamped Hornet Racing, with some very quick riders and machines and Warren Wilkinson’s Racing taking in last year’s very quick rookie Tom Shaw. With new teams emerging, along with some now more experienced relative newcomers, seasoned veterans and first timers the grids promised to be healthy, competitive and mind-blowingly exciting throughout the field.
But alas it was not to be as these uncertain times declared the world closed for business, well for the last few months at least.
Day of champions
However, scooterists are adapting and when an opportunity to get back into the saddle offers itself, it’s often taken. The recent announcement that race circuits will be once again opening, albeit under strict guidelines was for some the news they’d longed for. With track days being the first steps to getting anywhere near the black stuff to get their adrenaline-fuelled fix.
And so it was that last weekend at Oulton Park a party from our Team DSC Racing camp ventured out, to blow off the cobwebs, stretch those shrunken leathers (ye right) and fire up them 2 strokes. With two current, one former and hopefully (and dare I say it) an up and coming British scooter racing champion in the team it’s been a long, frustrating three months.
Justin, Drew, Pedro and Hammy AKA No 1, 4, 76 and 58 booked their respective race scooters in, along with some bigger cc motorbike type things to Oulton Park, Cheshire for a No Limits track day, minus the usual contingent of mechanics and WAGS to look after them. What could possibly go wrong?
Armed with hand soap, sanitiser, leathers, masks, gloves and helmets at the ready – off they trotted and arrived at a wet and windy Oulton Park.
With the threat of Covid hopefully reduced by the strict social distancing measures in force and their hygiene products to hand, the risk of one of them coming a cropper due to the lack of practice and wet conditions seemed more hazardous and I can’t believe I’m saying this, possibly the safer option compared to the risk of Covid.
It’s worth a mention that the presence of scooters in the paddock at a bike track day raised a few eyebrows, caused quite a stir and the usual comments could be heard, but hey ho, all taken in good fun.
The first session for the lads was on board, their motorbike thingys in the intermediate class, a big 1000cc Busa, a Yamaha R6 and an Aprilia RSV4, some handy tools that go fast, grip like fck and stop when they’re supposed to, which is quite advantageous on a wet slippery track. They had a good session to familiarise themselves with the track and conditions before going out on their scooters in the novice class.
The session was called up and once in the holding area, the four scooters were stopped from entering the track. Further discussion took place as to the suitability of scooters to be on a circuit with the bikes. After fighting their corner, eventually, they were allowed out on track, by which time the session was well underway and the bike novices were well warmed up.
The Moped 4, as they were dubbed, tagged on and began to do their thing. Which basically means finding their lines, the quickest shortest route around the track and determining braking points, something that, when you’re a seasoned racer doesn’t take too long. Once in the groove, the boys began to show what a well set up, quick race scooter with a pilot fresh out of a three-month lockdown can do.
Whilst the bigger quicker bikes have the obvious straight line advantage this was not always as evident as you might think. The Moped 4 bobbed and weaved their way around the circuit, round the outside, underneath and past the braking markers to gain advantage into and out of corners. Great fun and surprising to a few bikers and those watching trackside. I think it’s fair to say the boys represented the scooter race fraternity in a very positive way.
After this first scooter session, several bike riders sought out the boys to express their surprise at the speed and capability of both the scooters and riders, there was shall we say a little more respect shown throughout the day both on and off the track. Oh and the smart-arsed comments from earlier in the day reduced considerably. The day continued with more 20-minute sessions giving time to learn the track, improve lap times and put their engines through some rigorous testing. With all riders and scooters intact, the day ended as wet and as miserable as it had started, however with smiles all round it gave ‘The Moped 4’ a little respite from the uncertainty and worry of recent times.
Ride safely, stay safe!
Photos/videos: Just Price & co
Following an invitation by Time Attack, it has been announced that there will now be track time for BSSO scooter racing at their event at Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire over the weekend 15th/16th August.
Also, the British Scooter Endurance Club event is due to take place at Teeside on the 12th of September. You can find out more info about that one here.
Riders and Scooters – Oulton Park
Drew Duncan #4 & #11-Team DSC (Scotland ) Group 4e 2019 Champion.
Rides Group 4 (Evo class), Grp 6
Scooters: Grp 4e RB200
Spec: AF Rayspeed RB20 (DSC Tuned) AF Mammoth Head
AF close ratio gearbox (4 speed)
Variable ignition-SIP Vape
Dyno by Mick Abbey Tuning
Only one DNF in 2019 season due to pilot error!
2019 Grp 4e Championship/ BESC-6hr scooter endurance event winning scooter
Group 6: Casa SS245 (new for 2020)
Spec: Casa Performance SS 245cc – JB Tuned
Protti exhaust system
AF Close5 gearbox
Ducati variable ignition
Dyno by Mick Abbey Tuning
First outing at Oulton Park (lockdown build!)
Pete Molkenthin #76: Team DSC (Southern region) Group 4e- 3rd place 2019 Championship
Spec: AF Rayspeed RB20 (Mick Abbey tuned)
Mick Abbey exhaust system
GP200 gearbox (SIL)
Dyno by Mick Abbey Tuning
Stephen “Hammy” Hamilton #58 Team DSC (Geordie region)
Group 6a (tuned by Warren Wilkinson @ Wilkinson Racing, 36bhp)
Spec: PM Tuning 172 cylinder kit
Wilkinson reed cage
Dyno by Wilkinson Racing
Rider: Justin Price overall BSSO stock championship winner-#1-Chief test pilot
1000cc Hayabusa. No race scooter, however, thrashed everyone else’s at some time or other throughout the day
Team DSC – No Limits track day gallery
Feel the need for speed? SLUK can supply your RST race leathers and Arai/AGV helmets