Anna’s Superbike Diary 5

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

*** CTR had a great weekend at the Donington Park round of the British championship with a 5th and a 7th place giving them 4th place overall for the meeting. Both races can be viewed on ***

“CTR arrived at a sunny Donington Park in good spirits on Thursday afternoon following the Brands Hatch round of the Eastern Airways RKB-F1 championship where they scored 8th and 9th places. It was also going to be a busy weekend in the team awning with PEME guests invited to the race.

Before Friday’s practice, we went through the standard pre-meeting maintenance schedule and found a broken part. This was replaced in the morning. During the Free Practice session we finished in 5th place, less than 0.8 seconds behind the 2nd place team.

A sunny Saturday morning arrived with a couple of suspension ‘tweaks’ being done and the sidecar was then ready to go out for the lunchtime qualifying session, where we were quickly on the pace. After 9 laps we managed to shave 0.6 second off our lap-time putting us on 7th place on the grid.

The side car was put on the stands, checked over and fresh rubber put on in readiness for the Saturday evening race. The race started and we got a great start from the 3rd row of the grid and at the end of the 1st lap we had leapt up to 6th place. During the 1st half of the 10 lap race, a battle with two other teams was running at qualifying speed with no quarter asked or given. One outfit had to pull into the pits with a loose rear sprocket. The battle carried on and we swapped places with the other team several times. At the chequered flag the other team got the better of us by 0.2 second. However, it was a great race and we were happy with our 5th place finish knowing that there was a bit more to come for Sunday’s race.

On Sunday morning the team checked the data logging and it was decided that to maximise the handling round the fast and flowing parts of the undulating Donington Park, the front suspension settings should be adjusted and a new front tyre fitted. The team went through the race day maintenance checks.

During the lunch break, the PEME guests enjoyed a buffet lunch and a selection of drinks. Team principal and rider, Craig gave an entertaining technical talk and passenger, Patrick showed the guests how his movements on the sidecar affected the way the sidecar behaved on the track. The guests then had the opportunity to try the sidecar for size.

With the grid positions for Sunday’s 10 lap race decided from the Race 1 result, we took our place on the outside of the 3rd row of the grid. Into the first corner, we were on the outside of the leading group which was not ideal, however Craig drove it round and stayed out of the trouble that was happening in the middle of the pack. At the end of the 1st lap the top five outfits across the line were the same five sidecars that started at the front of the grid. By the end of the 3rd lap, we had been demoted to 6th.

A battle ensued between us and another machine. With places being swapped at almost every corner, the lap times slowed allowing two other machines to join in the fray and by lap 7 there were 4 sidecars within a second of each other. Then on lap 8, we entered the Old Hairpin corner a bit too fast and went off track allowing the others to make the break. We returned to the track 12 seconds later joining two other sidecars. There was to be no cruising round for the points as the last 2 laps would be as frantic as the previous 8. Coming out of the final corner it was a straight race to the line with us finishing less than 0.1 second ahead of the next team.

After such a tough start to the year, it was great to see the results starting to show more consistency with top ten finishes in all of our last four races. It was a great weekend. The next round sees the Eastern Airways RKB-F1 British F1 sidecar championship circus head towards Assen in Holland”.