Anna Walker has been given the opportunity to be a mechanic for CTR Racing during the 2012 season and is providing a diary as the season unfolds. This is her second installment
“On arrival at Brands Hatch it was apparent that this race meeting was a major sporting event. Last year there were 32,500 spectators and nearly 1 million TV viewers. The sidecars are now part of the British Superbike Championship which is the premier motorcycle championship in Britain.
The team were already set-up with their new awning which has a garage area and a seating / eating area and quickly went through the machine preparation routines. At about 1230 the sidecar was warmed up and pushed out of the awning for free practice. We made our way to the Pit lane with a few tools, timing beacon and Pit board. The session was damp but went well. After this session, the sidecar was put back into the awning and onto its stands to be prepared for the qualifying session later in the afternoon. I was now getting more familiar with the sidecar and the team and beginning to know what needed to be done.
At 1730 we fired the sidecar up and again made our way to the Pit lane. The qualifying session started but within 2 laps the sidecar was in the gravel having had a collision with one of the slower competitors on one of the fastest parts of the circuit. The telemetry later showed that the collision was at 129mph. Driver and Passenger suffered no injuries but the Passenger of the other sidecar was taken to hospital but was later discharged with minor injuries.
The CTR team wasted no time in assessing the damage. It didn’t look good; the front section of the monocoque chassis was irreparable, the undertray was bent and the bodywork was smashed. We thought the weekend was over, but another competitor offered assistance in repairing the bodywork. A spare monocoque section was also offered by yet another competitor. We started to strip the front section of the sidecar in readiness for the arrival of the monocoque section. When it arrived it was unfortunately found to be unsuitable. An alternative was sourced in North Yorkshire. We set off at 0500 on the following morning for the long drive to Yorkshire and arrived back at Brands Hatch with the new Monocoque section at 1400.
The new section was attached to the chassis using rivets and slow setting araldite. The suspension, steering , brake, hub, etc. were all attached in readiness for the race at 1800 but it was decided that the araldite would not have had time to cure and the sidecar stayed in the awning. We worked on the finishing touches until about 2230.
The next morning, we prepared the sidecar for the warm up, which went well without any problems and again the sidecar was put on the stands in the awning and the checks and preparation for the afternoon’s race were completed. The weather took a turn for the worse and it looked like the race meeting was going to be cancelled, but the organisers decided that the race could go ahead. The sidecar was warmed up and we made our way to the pit lane. The race started and CTR carved their way through the field from the back of the grid (25th) to finish 10th. We were all really pleased and after the events of the weekend it felt like we had won.
I really enjoyed seeing how a team (and the rest of the paddock) can pull together for a positive outcome and learning how a sidecar comes apart and goes back together (in a very short space of time). I am really feeling part of the CTR team now and am looking forward to the next round at Thruxton”.