The 2020 Tside6 scooter endurance race – Part 2 | FEATURE
We left you in part one with a cliffhanger bigger than an Eastenders murder plot. Thankfully our young protege, Sam wasn’t involved in the red flag incident. Even better news, his dad made a miraculous recovery from near-fatal parmo/wine/beer poisoning. The doof, doof, dum, du, du, du, du, du, dum we left you on did turn out to be a very nasty accident though and gave us all a reminder that things can go wrong in the blink of an eye.
Here’s part two of the Tside6 Scooter Endurance Race. As well as our own team efforts, we’ve interspersed a few box outs from other teams and riders, plus a bollocking for me from the team boss and a video of some of our onboard action from the last hour. It’s a big old feature.
As mentioned earlier, halfway through Sam’s session, the red flag came out, never a good sign. Usually, it means there’s been an accident and the rider hasn’t picked him (or her) self up, or the track needs clearing/cleaning after a crash. In this case it turned out to be a nasty one. Thankfully Sam came back around to line up on the grid for a restart so he wasn’t involved.
The racing was stopped for one and a half hours whilst the rider, Dave Taylor who was riding for #69 – Challenger Equipe was being tended to and waited for an ambulance to take him to hospital. Dave had only stepped in at the last minute to ride for Bob Monkhouse’s team and ended up quite badly injured. Racing can be a dangerous sport, even at this level.
Meanwhile, the race clock was still counting down…
Dave’s injuries included a compound fracture to his arm (rod inserted), wires inserted into his broken hand, a fractured pelvis and broken ribs. The latest information is that he’s also got an infection and is in isolation in Middlesborough Hospital. We wish Dave all the best for a speedy recovery and would also like to thank Bob Monkhouse for going above and beyond to help the teammate he’d only met for the very first time at practice on Friday.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Dave and his family as he recovers.
Team Diese Blutige Mobile Chikane #77
Riders: Graham Fisher, Darren English, Simon Purdy, David Bentley
Cake and refreshments by Jane Marie Purdy and Debbie Fisher
Simon tells us a little bit about his team’s efforts this year on the only non-Vespa/Lambretta on track…
The Teesside 6 hour Endurance race was coming up and was all the more anticipated this year by our team, #77 “The Diese Blutige Mobile Chikane.” Just about every other scootering event had been cancelled and who’d know if the endurance would go the same way?
Graham Fisher’s 1958 250cc single cylinder 2 stroke Maicoletta was at Darren English’s workshop and the first issue was to sort out the clutch. Last year the clutch had been slipping to the extent that we had to remove the engine to make adjustments. When that didn’t do the trick we removed the engine again, along with an engine from Graham’s road bike, to swap into the race bike enabling us to finish the race. Fast forward to 2020 and Graham had made short work of the clutch, whilst Darren had tucked the exhaust further in for ground clearance purposes. They’d also dialled in the carburation. Along with that, Darren then cleverly changed the ride height to offer even more clearance (an issue last year) and installed a pair of dampers on the front forks to improve handling.
Friday night’s practice session came and we were ready to try her out. I was amazed with the difference in performance, more akin to a TS1 than last year’s totally standard engine. Also, Darren’s work on the handling had really paid off, with improved clearance and damping it was a real joy running it around the circuit. We were, therefore, all really confident about race day!
The Le Mans start went well, with Darren riding the first stint and we were running in 14th place. But after an hour and with Graham now in the saddle, he noticed a slight carburation issue, which turned out to be a problem with the reed valve housing – unrepairable at the track. We were gutted to say the least but that’s racing, so frustrating. A while later, however and after a slice of Jane’s excellent cake things didn’t look so bad.
Plans are already taking place for the next event, hopefully, Whilton Mill? I’d like to thank fellow team members Graham Fisher, Darren English, David Bentley and my wife Jane Purdy (especially as the race weekend was on our 5th wedding anniversary!) for a great weekend and I’m looking forward to the next one.
Simon Purdy – Reading Rabble SC
Because the track ambulance and medical team were busy looking after Dave we had to wait for him to be taken to hospital before racing could start again. A lengthy but unavoidable wait for all the riders stuck on the grid, sweating in leathers on a hot day. Sticky finally surfaced during the red flag and was looking a little better than earlier (not much though). He was up for having a ride but wasn’t sure if he’d manage a full hour.
Meanwhile, the race got back underway and Sam put in a few laps whilst myself and Shaun did live video feeds on the SLUK Facebook page (our live feeds gained around 40,000 views on Facebook). It seemed like people were enjoying feeling like part of it whilst watching at home and following the live timing. Even my own mother got into it!
After a while, Sam vanished from the track so I assumed he’d been told to come in to fuel up and let Sticky out. It transpired that none of us could remember how long Sam had been riding before the race was stopped. At 45 minutes we’re meant to show the pit board to remind the rider to turn the auxiliary fuel tap on, the second tank then gravity fills the scooter’s original tank and lets us stay out until it’s time to change riders. In this case, Sam didn’t get the sign and found himself running out of fuel and paddling the scooter back to the fuelling area. This mistake cost us four minutes in total and would eventually lead to us losing a place. Note to self, we must keep a note of the time if there’s a stoppage.
Rider: Shaun Hodgkin #71 Team SLUK
TSide6 2020 – The COVID edition! After the mad panic last year blasting up to Teesside on the Saturday only to miss practice (after attending a messy Friday night at the Mersea Island rally), it was a bit more of an organised bimble this year. Arriving in time for the practice on Friday evening. The weather this year looked favourable after a proper mixed bag (with heavy rain – mainly on me!) last year. I was hoping to get a decent run of laps in the dry to see if I could get on the pace. A good practice session was brought to a stop by a red flag (get well soon Russell Browne) thankfully for me this had come after the back end stepped out on the hairpin and then felt a bit loose on the fast right-hander… a quick check in the pits revealed the rear tyre had started delaminating – a near miss for me, so thanks, Russell.
Swatting the Hornet
On to qualifying on Saturday morning and as the #71 team boss was “having a power nap” we hastily rethought our planned strategy, 6 hours, 3 riders instead of 4, two hours riding each, strategy sorted! Iggy would launch, I’d go second and then our star Sam would be third. That way the long one would have a chance to get out in the 4th session if he stopped looking so green. Iggy did very well taking us up to second overall, our fuel stop and rider change was good, but we still dropped to 5th overall whilst in the pits as I took over. I then set about getting up to pace, picking my way through the many scooters out on track, eventually having a great battle with Ian Scutt, who was taking his stint on the eventual race-winning Team Hornet rocket ship. It took me three laps to squeeze past him before the ultimate honour for me, as Norrie Kerr joined the track. I last shared the track with Norrie back in the early 90s. I was a novice wobbling around back then, so this was a special moment to be back on track with a legend and now I’m an old git wobbling round!
My hour stint was soon over and I pulled in to the pits with us now in 3rd overall, our 5th team member, Uncle Alan had signalled me in for fuel and the hand over to son of Stickman. Superstar Sam went well. Whilst I was back in the paddock I ended up taking a turn doing a live Facebook feed, plenty of viewers (up to 99 at one stage) and lots of positive feedback, so if you want to know or see more check out the live feed videos on SLUK and the BSEC Facebook pages.
Massive thanks to Sticky for allowing us to ride his awesome Underdog, to the rest of Team SLUK and of course to Keith Terry and family for putting the event on against all the odds. Oh, how I needed this scooter adrenaline fix after this very surreal year! When can we do it all again Keith?
Back from the dead
Sicky, sorry, Sticky was out on track at around 3 pm. He wasn’t looking quite his usual fast and aggressive self on the scooter but if you’d have seen him in the morning you’d have sworn there was no way he’d even get his leathers on. You could tell he wasn’t quite into it and the effects of being powered by parmo were slowing him down a bit but he was still on the pace. Even though he wasn’t well he kept going for the full hour, leaving me to take over at 4 pm for the final stint. As he passed the scooter over he warned me to “be a bit careful with the handling, the forks have come loose” so I eased off for the first lap but it felt ok – well sort of. The vibration you can hear on the video above is due to the forks being looser than the contents of Sticky’s delicate stomach.
Don’t be a dick
My mission was a simple one, I had to stay on the scooter, try and claw back some time lost during the fuelling incident and overtake anybody who may be a threat. We had lead our class throughout the day and the only thing extra to be gained would be an overall podium place. I needed a nice steady ride and to just bring the Vespa home in one piece. I was feeling good on the scooter, it was running perfectly and I was picking riders off one by one. I started giving myself advice ‘just stay calm and finish the race, you don’t need to beat him…’ I was proud of myself, for a while.
You know what it’s like though, somebody is in front of you, or another rider passes you…
Talking of faster riders, here’s a little bit about the Greek sensation currently riding the Vespa PK for Hornet Racing in BSSO and Endurance.
John Chitoglou has set tongues wagging around the paddock and track. He’s very quick and great to watch. During this year’s endurance race he set the fastest lap time of the day with a blistering 1:08.593 lap. To give you an idea of how that stacks up we’ve posted the times and results further down.
Rider: John Chitoglou #6 Hornet Racing
So, I am from Greece and I have been here since January 2019 in order to finish my Masters (I am a Mechanical Engineer). I am currently living in Derby and my first ever race was back in 2012 in the Greek Championship and after four years my first European Scooter Challenge race was a fact. I have raced four times in ESC and this was the reason that David Bristow gave me a chance to race in his team.
When I arrived here I contacted David because I wanted to know the procedure of racing here, and after some discussion, we realised that we both raced in Pomposa in Italy and we were in the same picture also. The first race here was in last year’s endurance, in which we managed to get the pole position. In this race, David made me an offer to race with him in BSSO which I obviously accepted it immediately.
All was going well and the trackside clock on the finish line was reading 25 minutes to the finish. That’s when Team Vespa rider, Dave Delaney came by me on Norrie’s beautiful KR1. I decided there was no harm in fighting back, so spent a few laps chasing him and having a tussle. I closed the gap as we flew down the start/finish straight and passed him up the inside of the beautifully prepared Valley Scooter Club PK. Dave got the inside line though and got by as we headed to the next right, left, right section before the fast dash down the back straight. I passed a couple of riders through the turns, trying to close the gap on Dave again. As I put the power on out of the final right-hander the rear end slid from under me. When things go wrong, they go wrong quickly. The scooter did a couple of metal scraping 360s and took photos of me as I slid down the track behind it.
Thanks to #56 and #207 for not running me over, much appreciated.
My first thoughts as I slid behind the scooter on my arse (aside from impending death and mutilation) was ‘I am a dickhead!’ Once the traffic had passed I quickly got to my feet and prayed to Enrico Piaggio that the scooter would be rideable. I also thought to myself ‘My leathers seem a bit tight’ then I remembered I’d got an airbag in my new RST suit. It deflates after a few seconds so I wasn’t left looking like Rambo for long. I picked the scooter up easily, thanks to my new found muscles, quickly straightened the handlebars a bit between my knees and kicked it into life with a single prod of the kickstart. My prayers were answered. I took it steady for half a lap and pulled into the pits (you’re meant to after an off) and tried to straighten the bars a bit more before rejoining the race.
I really gave myself a talking to this time. The forks were even looser than they had been and the steering was wonkier than the Tower of Pisa. We only had 15 minutes left of the race, Al showed the pit board to remind me to switch the second fuel tap to ‘on.’ The laps and minutes were counting down.
With endurance racing you’re never 100% sure how the competition are doing, I knew we’d lead the Road Class throughout the day but still wanted to try for an overall podium finish. Chiselspeed were in front of us.
Eventually, the last lap lights came on and before I knew it Keith Terry was waving the chequered flag. We’d made it to the end of this gruelling event and parked up in parc fermé (well the refuelling area of a kart track at least). If spectators had been allowed they’d have been going wild.
Sticky’s Vespa 90SS has spent most of its life being thrown around and down a race track. The 90SS chassis has always been the favoured frame for Vespa racers. The geometry of the scooter and the added rigidity from the centre tank, coupled with its power to weight ratio, ground clearance and nimble handling make it a perfect tool for this kind of event.
Out on track you can literally choose any line you fancy, you can swap lines mid-corner, late brake with the best of them and run rings up the inside or outside of other riders on most corners. Add in that Quattrini top end and rideable nature and you’ve got a potent missile. Norrie Kerr and those late, great Frankland brothers weren’t daft when they made the SS90 their race bike of choice back in the day.
Team SLUK race boss, Sir Sickalot has his say…
We had three targets this year:
- Win our class (for road-legal machines and riders without regular race licences)
- Be first Vespa home (we managed last year behind the 3 DSC Lambrettas)
- Have zero unavoidable crashes (last year the team had three between four of us, only one of which was totally avoidable)
In the end, we met the first target by a decent margin over JB Tuning-supported Dukes of Essex (DOE) and were the only team to defend a title.
As for ‘first Vespa home’, well that wasn’t going to happen once the likes of Team Vespa (Pinasco-Zuerra powered SS90) and Hornet Racing (using Ian Scutt’s BSSO 4e Parmakit 145 motor, running on Quattrini cases) got into their stride with hot engines. Teesside is tight and twisty and perfect for smallframes. In the end, the first Lambretta home was the impressive (over 30hp) Chiselspeed Quattrini M210.
Stand in the corner
As for zero crashes, we came oh so close but no cigar. Shaun, Sam and myself all managed it. It was a noble objective. Every crash not only costs crashing time but also repair time. Every knock costs at least a lap, but if you snap levers it’s several laps. If it’s a snapped headset then it might be the whole race.
It will always be faster to ride at 95% and not crash than to ride at 100% and fall off occasionally.
Imagine you are handed a bike that’s in the lead and are warned that it is suffering from loose forks and not steering properly. If you still push hard enough to have an unforced crash then you need to stand in the corner with a big ‘D’ for dickhead on your crash helmet. By pure luck our dickhead got away without serious damage to himself or the Vespa.
It’s not all about us
While the videos may give you the impression that Iggy is the flawed superhero of the hour, there were actually other people having their own dramas too.
Across the paddock from us, the seniors of The Odd Mod Squad from London rebuilt their seized engine without one of its knackered piston rings. Revving Lambretta noise from their direction was followed by a big cheer and they were ready to recommence battle.
Similarly, Coastal Trippers, who had a coming together with Tearaway Tim on the Chiselspeed Lambretta, suffered a smashed headset. Thankfully, Martin from Chiselspeed had one in the van which got them back out on track again.
Such is the spirit of camaraderie in the endurance paddock. This is a new sport to the UK that is as yet unspoilt by the rivalry and bitchiness that breeds in intense competition. At the moment everyone wants everyone else to finish the race (as long as it’s behind their team, obviously).
That, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
I just wish I was compos mentis enough to gather more tales of derring-do, but I was wearing my own D-hat that morning…
Thanks to BESC
None of us would be able to take part in events like the Tside6 without people like Keith Terry, Mikey Bonnet, Kirsty and Bev. They’ve really pulled out all the stops to make sure we got to the track this year. Thank you to you all from everybody who was there.
Words and video: Iggy
Additional words: Sticky, Shaun Hodgkin, John Chitoglou, Simon Purdy, Steve Halstead
Photos: Iggy, Sticky, Mag, Shaun and Lee Hollick
You can view more of Lee’s excellent photos and buy copies of your favourites by visiting this link – Lee Hollick – Tside6
Tside 6 2020 race results
Need more statistics?
According to the Teesside website the track length is 2.1km or 1.3 miles long. We completed 208 laps during the race, that’s 270 miles in total. During that time the scooter was only turned off during the red flag incident and during fuel stops. It also cut out when it ‘fell over’ on the track. We estimate other than the race stoppage, the scooter was off for a maximum of four minutes all day. It didn’t need anything other than fuel and oil.
You can get the full race results, lap times, and loads of data from the meeting by visiting the following link or by clicking the image above: Alpha Timing.
Get your own RST airbag race suit or road jacket from the SLUK Shop