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CRMC Brands Hatch - 4th / 5th October

Another lap record!!
Brands was the final round of the Classic Racing Club’s Championship; Betty, the 350 was still out of commission since the engine failure in Denmark so Andy Molnar lent me his personal 350 machine for the event. Instead of a Manx, it has a Tickle chassis, so it would take a little getting used to.

Vanni asked me to show him round in the first practice and give him some lines; the weather was going to play an important part this weekend, as it was forecast grim to say the least, Saturday started nicely but gradually deteriorated to light rain - not nice at Brands.


Practice over and it was time for the first 350 race. I’d only had the one session on ‘Tickle’ but felt confident so as the lights went out I set off after Lea who, as always was off and running. As we started the second lap I made my move passing Lea into Druids and then pushed very hard to try and break the tow. It worked and I quickly built up a lead.

With Lea there are no half measures - he never gives up so I just kept going and took the win. In the process of doing so I broke and set a new class lap record of 54.14 on the second lap! Andy was bursting with pride over his machine and rattled on about its virtues, I could only agree it is a really nice machine, not exactly how I would have it set up, but good all the same.
Next the first 500 race came around quickly. Lights out and off into Paddock for the first time, Alan Oversby led with me second. Lea went round the outside and cut across the path of Alan catching his front wheel, Alan wobbled and I had to take avoiding action before setting off after Lea.

Quickly we pulled away from the group battling as we went, however Buster was running wide out of the turns particularly Paddock, this affected how early I could put the throttle on and as a result could not get in the slipstream of Lea. I decided to settle for a safe second and followed Lea across the line 3.3 seconds behind.
Ron Williams had sent me a set of softer springs for Buster to try out so I set about changing them before the second race. Then, after lunch it was time for the second 350 race, the weather was starting to close in and the track was damp now with more rain coming, the question would be, was it going to hold off?

Lights out and Lea set a quick pace, he seemed to be going much quicker and we passed and re-passed each other repeatedly, it must have been great to watch I bet! The last couple of laps it started to rain, not hard but enough to sow the seeds of doubt in my mind. We were both lapping under the old lap record and I managed to bag the fastest lap but at the end eased off, the one thing I didn’t want was to crash Andy’s pride and joy.
The last race of the day was the second 500 event; ‘It was going to be interesting to see how the new spring would affect Buster’ I thought as we plunged into Paddock for the first time, but it was not until a few laps into the race that I felt they did help. Buster now could hold a tighter line, meaning I could open the throttle earlier, great!

Lap after lap Lea and I charged round and I pushed hard to find out where I could overtake Lea. The only problem was I could hold Lea’s slipstream but could not pass him on the straights – however, when I was leading he could pull out and pass me! Very frustrating! Anyway he out dragged me to the line for the final time - me just 0.22 behind him. I had once again posted the fastest lap of 52.92 but no lap record this time!

Sunday morning brought no let up in the weather, the forecast was the same all day, the classic bikes have no wet weather tyres so it would just be a matter of doing the best you can on the day. I didn’t fancy morning practice, I knew what I would find: ‘slippy everywhere’.

First up was the 350 race, lights out and it was business as usual Lea and me battling it out at the front, real nip and tuck stuff and great fun. But it was not to be as I started the 8th lap the bike spluttered and died going into Paddock, I pulled in the clutch and coasted to a halt halfway up towards Druids.
Getting back to the paddock Andy investigated and found water in the magneto hence no sparks!

Cleaning it out and spraying WD40 everywhere Tickle fired up again, we would have to see if it would last the next race out, in these conditions. Next was one of the big races of the day the 350 National, This time I managed to hole-shot the first corner and set about pulling away from Lea, it was pouring down and extremely ‘testing’ shall we say.
Gradually I pulled clear from Lea setting the fastest lap in doing so but starting the 4th lap Lea’s machine failed and he retired. I didn’t know this and was already passing back markers. The last thing I wanted was for Lea to catch up so I pushed on to take the win never knowing Lea was out of the running.
Vanni had his best result of the weekend battling for second place loosing out by only 0.05 over the line from Andrew Taylor.
The next race was the main race of the weekend the 500 National. Once again Lea and I slugged it out at the front, the track was drying slightly and the times were getting quicker and quicker. I would lead then Lea - then me again - top stuff but as we started the 8th lap going into Paddock with Lea leading my front brake failed!

A bolt holding the back plate dropped out, quite how I managed to avoid running into the back of Lea I don’t know but I missed him and made the corner to boot, a real bonus. I thought about pulling in but rode round using the rear brake and engine braking. I knew we had a huge lead on third place so decide to just bumble round and see where I ended up. Crossing the line in 2nd place I thought I had been very lucky a) to finish and b) not to crash.
The last race was the 500 club finale, the weather was closing in again and lea and I pushed on through the rain and puddles, all was going well until entering Paddock on lap 4, trying to get the run on Lea up to Druids and needed to go up the inside of him. Unfortunately I lost sight of the kerbing and clipped the white line loosing the front wheel.


Narrowly missing Lea I slid into the gravel trap at the bottom of the hill; unfortunately Buster dug in and flipped over several times making a real mess of himself. The irony was that on the next lap Lea’s machine stopped. If only I had waited eh?… But that’s racing - you do what you do. My only consolation was once again I had the quickest lap. Mike Cooper went on to win from Alan Oversby and Vanni an excellent third place.
Back in the paddock Buster looked very sorry for himself but after we had both been hosed down with very cold water, things didn’t look quite so bad. As I write this, Brands was the last race of the year for me, a conclusion to some 16 individual race events – phew!
Not sure what next year is going to bring so watch this space…
Personal Sponsorship Association

Your support is still needed; there are plans to start making for next year!

In addition to any race events I have planned, I have to think about support and assistance for my other track and coaching work.
With the extra time on circuit it makes it almost a continuous annual season with lots of time away from work.
I really do have to secure myself personal sponsorship; people and Companies who would like to be directly associated with my endeavours throughout what potentially will be a varied and interesting season.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss the potential of personal sponsorship further, or if you would prefer, you can directly donate using PayPal for a secure online credit or debit card payment, simply click the ‘donate’ button above.
Don’t forget, you can keep up to date with all my latest news direct from the event by visiting my current blog. Go to: www.mike-edwards2008.blogspot.com

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