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Team MAG Sport Race Report
Roger Ford
MCN Pound Day
Brands 26th October 1996


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An excellent first day out on the new TZ, but a rough day for the old RGV!

Roger round Clearways
Roger Ford's new TZ round Clearways. Photo: Peter Wileman

The Tally:

Bike1st Race2nd Race3rd Race
RGV2ndCrashed (13th on restart)Didn't start
TZ4th5th5th
Three excellent rides in the competitive Bemsee Open 250 class show great promise for next year. I'd been afraid I'd be dog slow, but I loved the bike and rode it really well.

Friday practice was wet. I only got one dry session on the TZ, and couldn't really judge it. Didn't seem much different from the RGV. Was to feel very different at race speed!

RGV Races

First race: Row 5. I carved through the pack, and caught the front group on lap one. Four bikes ahead. By lap 5, there was just one. Spencer Cook - an instructor at the Brands car racing school! I took him on lap 6 with late breaking for the hairpin, but within half a lap he was back past and cleared off. He'd obviously realised there was some competition, and started going for it - turning in a stunning 51.6 lap - two seconds faster than my best.

On the final lap, the bike started misfiring. I nursed it over the line to take second, and waved at my tuner Graham File to come over to my van.

Graham was brilliant. Come to watch a days racing, he had just finished fixing a broken stud on Darren Mowat's KR-1S, but delved straight into my bike.

Graham File to the rescue

What I'd thought was a simple electrical fault turned out to be a shattered piston - another case of over-revving! Mustn't get so carried away. Graham washed out the engine, and fitted one of Mark Jay's old pistons. He topped up the fuel/oil ratio to 20:1, and told me to take it easy in the next race.

Some chance. Mark Jay got the lead, but I'd caught him by the hairpin and barrelled round the outside. Graham later said that I was sideways on the exit from Druids, but I didn't notice. It felt great. Down the hill in the lead, and my front end washed out from under me. Cold tyres! We'd fitted the warmers late due to the engine rebuild.

All I'd had to do was come 8th. Now, if Mark Jay took the win, he would take second place in the championship. No problem, there's Spencer Cook who will beat him ... there's ... Spencer Cook in the kitty litter. Shit! Mark pulled out a stunning 4 second lead, and I watched my championship placing evaporate. This can't be happening! Two weeks ago I was in with a chance of taking the outright win.

Red flags out. Race stopped. Was it more than 4 laps and a result? Didn't know.

Were they restarting? Bike's knackered. Another one in the pit - thank God. I sprinted up the hill, and grabbed a lift on the back of a rider who thought it was all over.

We finished prepping No. 2 - no time for scrutineering - and just made it out for the restart.

The bike felt slow (turned out later the powervalves weren't connected!), and my head just wasn't together. I just couldn't get past riders, and ended up in a crap 13th place.

Mark lost - phew - beaten by SuperNovice Lawrence Hopper. I felt sorry for him, robbed by that red flag, but mighty relieved for myself.

TZ Races

As a late entrant, I was on a distant row 9 of a packed grid for the Open 250 / Unlimited Single races.

TZ's aren't easy to get off the line, and I fluffed it. Gave it far too many revs and it balked. But when it did run, it lifted the front wheel and hared off after the pack.

Big pack of bikes. It was getting a bit dangerous, and I touched with one round Druids, but once I got some space towards the front, it got much better. I was really getting into the TZ. It flew, and I loved it. You could push everything so much harder than the RGV.

I got 6th place overall, and 4th in class. Not bad for a first race! The bike was making loads of power. In spite of being standard, it didn't seem down on power compared to the others. When Graham's finished with it, it should be a rocket ship!

I love that bike. It weighes nothing, it handles and stops like nothing else, and maintenance is a doddle. Why on earth did I consider a 600?

In that first race, Stuart Shaw and another Singles rider had beaten me. But the next two races were to be all-TZ affairs.

I had some excellent tussles with the Johnson Brothers, just moved from TZR class onto open TZs, and Mark Marshall (who I know from long ago on a KR-1S). Got 5th place in both races.

Brilliant day.

That stupid RGV crash didn't cost me my championship position, but it did cost me 200 off the purchase price of the RGV, to the new owner Robin, who'd just watched me smash up his future pride and joy!

Now I'm really looking forward to next season. The bike is wonderful to ride, and I've proved I can cut it with the best in the TZ class. Moving up a class doesn't necessarily mean starting at the bottom.

That's it for Roger Ford this season. Bikes tuned by Graham File Tuning


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