Anna’s Superbike Diary 3

Anna Walker is working as a mechanic for CTR Racing during the 2012 season and is providing a diary as the championship season unfolds.

“My third race meeting with CTR Racing was at Thruxton for Round 2 of the Eastern Airways British F1 Sidecar championship. Regular passenger, Darren Tritton, was unavailable for this race and so Jason Crowe (current F2 sidecar British champion) agreed to race with the team. Jason has never taken part in F1 or ridden with regular driver, Craig Chaplow and neither had raced at Thruxton before.

The sidecar was prepared for free practice with the session going well and the team was ready for the qualifying session. The sidecar was again checked before qualifying with particular attention being paid to ensuring everything was secure and tight as the Thruxton track is the fastest in the UK but also the bumpiest. Qualifying saw the sidecar getting faster as they became familiar with the track and each other better, finishing a credible 14th out of 21 qualifiers.

As the sidecars circulated on the warm-up lap for Race 1, the steering was a bit vague, so the steering damper was adjusted but something was seriously wrong and we were unable to start and the stricken sidecar was towed from the grid. The steering system was inspected revealing a broken steering arm. We were lucky that the failure happened at the end of the warm-up lap and not going into the first corner under race conditions. We sourced a steering arm and repaired the steering system with the sidecar being ready for the following days racing.

Warm-up, the following day, went well and the achieved lap times would have put us 13th on the grid but unfortunately we had to start from the back due to the non-finish in Saturday’s race. I stood in the pit lane learning about what is done at the pit wall, such as operating the stopwatches and giving accurate signals to the driver such as lap times and how far in front of the next competitor.

The race started and the team were on course for a mid-field finish but with only 5 laps to go they had a fuelling problem that wouldn’t clear and was getting worse so they pulled into the pit lane to avoid any major engine problems as a result of fuel starvation. We stripped the fuel system and found that the fuel filter was faulty. We changed the pump and filter in preparation for the next round at Snetterton. A desperately unlucky weekend for the team but I am learning all the time and really enjoying the experience. Roll on Snetterton and maybe some good luck!”