Anna’s Superbike Diary 4

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

***The latest edition of Motorcycle Racer magazine contains a 6 page article on the PEME sponsored CTR Racing team***

“After missing the Knockhill round of the championship, where the team came ninth, I was keen to get back into the sidecar paddock and reacquaint myself with the team at Brands Hatch for rounds 9 & 10 of the Eastern Airways RKB-F1 British Sidecar Championship.

It was a busy day on the Friday with Free Practice, Qualifying and Race 1 all taking place on the Indy circuit due to noise and licensing restrictions. Saturday and Sunday racing were on the full GP circuit.  Free practice and qualifying went without a hitch, dispelling past demons of previous crashes at the Paddock hill bend and the CTR F1 LCR outfit qualified onto the fifth row.  At the start of Race 1, they were hampered by a stalled sidecar in front of them, but from then on it was close racing to the end finishing in ninth place.

The team were in good spirits on Saturday and with only minor adjustments and routine checks to do before practice, we took time out to watch the solo classes and have a look round the track.  When it was time for the race, we had to start from the pit lane and managed 8 laps before a problem was encountered; the clutch wasn’t working properly. Rather than cause any other damage the engine was cut and the sidecar was coasted into the pit lane.  Once back in the CTR awning, we put the sidecar onto the stands, removed the complete clutch from the engine and examined the clutch to find that the plates had overheated. We replaced the clutch with the clutch from the spare engine and re-assembled the sidecar. This took a few hours to complete but we were satisfied that it was a job well done.

Sunday arrived and our televised race was due to start at 1730. There was no practice to check and adjust the settings of the new clutch. The day was filled with double checking everything on the maintenance checklist.  We also had guests from the PEME HR department and Engineers from Tate & Lyle to entertain. The guests were shown round the sidecar and were given the opportunity to get to grips with the controls as driver and passenger (While stationary!).

As the race got closer, the engine was warmed-up and prepared for the race. We made our way to the pit lane, as the sidecar was driven round the track to take-up position on the fifth row of the grid. As they rounded the final corner, the passenger was aware of fluid on the arm of his race suit. Once on the grid, it was quickly decided to get into the pit lane and find out what was wrong.  The fairing was quickly removed and we found that the problem was a split fuel pipe. We removed and repaired the broken pipe and put the faring back and were able to get back out to start the race from the pit lane, after everyone else was round the first corner. Driver and passenger, Craig and Darren, fought hard and worked their way through the field to finish in a creditable eighth place”.