It was April 2008 that Gordon last had a run out at Snetterton. Slipstream Tuning, generously lent a replacement motor, and we decided to have a ‘run out’ at Assen in the last round of the European Supermono Championship to see how Gordon felt after 18 months off.
After scrutineering, we had the tyre warmers on in plenty of time after running him up for a while and we were ready for the first timed session. I wanted to get out early so I could get plenty of laps on Gordon to familiarise myself with him again.
After only 3 laps and starting the 4th Gordon's motor died momentarily going down the back straight then cut back in again, next corner he spluttered again then again and he also started to backfire. Initially I thought it was a problem with the woodruff key. I backed right off the throttle and limped back to the pits but the motor stopped just as I entered the pit lane.
We double checked all the electrics until we found a spark, and went out for the 2nd timed session. I felt better on the bike now I was getting used to him again and quickly got down to a reasonable time. It was all in vain however as just like the first session Gordon's motor spluttered and died after only three laps this time I was out at the back of the circuit so it was a long push back to the pits. We traced the fault to the pickup sensor, and Wim Hendriks kindly lent me a spare. As soon as we fitted it, Gordon was sparking again.
We had morning warm up to see if Gordon would keep going for more than 4 laps; I stayed out for the whole session and Gordon seemed to be going well, with us being 2nd fastest - so it was fingers crossed for the race.
True to form Gordon rocketed off the line and I was right up behind the leading three riders into turn one, Stefan Meiners passed me going into the hairpin (turn 4) onto the back straight but I was still in a good place for the first lap.
As we arrived at the chicane to end lap two I could feel something hitting my hand and knocking my knee, after crossing the line to start lap three I looked down to see the whole fairing hanging off the bike, the side fairing bolt had vibrated out!
I had no option but to retire. I cruised around back to the pits and parked the bike back in the pit box, ordered a cup of tea and watched the rest of the race from the pit wall.
All in all, we had a great time in Assen. It was fantastic to see such a packed meeting with almost 40 totally unique and individual supermono machines.
Okay we didn’t get a result – but ‘Gordon’ got to meet lots of his European fans, and as always, it’s great to ride the circuit van Drenthe.