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Manx Grand Prix 2007 - Day Four

  08/21/07 14:36, by , Categories: MGP 2007

Awoke to bright sunshine, which is always good when racing.  The forecast is for good weather (well, dry, at least) for the rest of practice week.

Not much to do to the bikes - put some fresh tyres on the 636, as the part-worns on there were sliding a bit too much for comfort last night.  The 600 hasn't turned a wheel yet, of course, as I just did two laps on the 636 last night.  I then drove over to Slick Bass's workshop, and met Mike the Mechanic there, and we discussed how we might adjust out the handling issues I had (too much weight transfer on the brakes, and too unstable on the bumps).  Slick diagnosed it as the attitude being a bit front biased, so I raised the yokes 2mm on the forks.  Yes, 2mm, that's all.

So, then into what is already a routine of driving to the paddock, queuing up to get the bikes scrutineered, etc. Having fresh rubber on (and having been out-psyched by almost all the other top 30 riders using them), I took the tyre warmers today. 

The plan was to do one lap on the 636, and then swap to the 600 for a second lap.  I'm not sure if I've explained before, but riders running numbers 1 to 30 get 'seeded' and get out in practice first.  This is dead useful, because the only traffic you might find yourself in is people that ought to be reasonably quick. And, of course, you get away early - with over a 100 bikes to send off, in pairs at 10 second intervals, you can end up waiting quite a while.

Yesterday I'd felt bizarrely chilled out and relaxed - very unlike me before going on track.  Today my normal tension was back, which is probably a good thing.  The clock ticked round, and practice started very nearly on time, and soon enough I was away.  I beat the guy next to me away from the line, and got to the bottom of Bray Hill first, but he pushed through on the run to Quarter Bridge.  A bit keen, I thought.  I kept in touch with him through Bradden and Union Mills, and wound him in on the long straights after that, nipping past on the run to Crosby.  Blow me if he didn't tuck past again on the fast left into Greeba Castle.  I though "fair enough mate, if you want it that much you can have it".  Turns out it was Mats Nilsson, the Swedish rider who very nearly won the newcomer's race last year.  I hung on to him for a bit, but we caught some traffic through the Glen Helen section, and by the time I was past them he'd gone.

The rest of the lap was fairly uneventful, and I definitely felt much more relaxed than yesterday.  The bike was much improved on the brakes and over the bumps, so that 2mm adjustment really was all that was needed.  I pulled in at the end of the lap, and Mike had the 600 waiting, with tyre warmers off and engine warmed up, so I was straight out on that.

The 600 makes 5bhp more than the 636 on the dyno, but revs higher to make it, so the engine characteristics are quite different.  I rode this bike at the Jurby Road meeting in July, and the chassis settings are the same as then, so I was confident it would work on the TT course. And so it turned out, tho it did feel a little 'lose' compared to the 636 - this will be partly down to running used tyres (compared to the new ones on the 636), but we may tweak it a little for tomorrow. The bike is a little harder to ride, as the power is concentrated more at the top, but once wound up it really flies.

After arriving safely back at the paddock, we got the times - 113mph on the 636, and 111mph on the 600.  This places me 7th in the Senior and 9th in the Junior, so obviously I'm pretty pleased with this.

[I used to have links to the full timing sheets on www.iommgp.com, but that domain is long gone now]

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