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Team MAG Sport Race Report
Roger Ford
Bemsee Rounds 19
Lydden, 18,19 October 1997


Links: [Roger Ford] [Lydden Circuit Map]

The first time I really got back on my feet (wheels?) since my crash. It wasn't perhaps the record-breaking ride I'd been hoping for, but some good rides, and a couple of trophies, marred by electrical problems traced to a five pound plug cap.

Saturday Race 1.

An abysmal start. Would you believe I started in second gear? What a plonker. My lay-off meant I'd forgotton which ways the gears went, The whole pack sailed past as it bogged horribly. I got through most of the pack of mainly 600's, but couldn't get through the top seven. I stayed in eighth until my lack of fitness started to show, and a couple of 600s got past on the last lap. 10th place, but 4th in class.

Race 2

It took me several laps being blocked by 600s before I got some clear track in front of me, but by this time I was getting tired and found it hard to be smooth. Must work on that fitness! I wasn't very happy with my race, but in fact a best lap of 44.13 was only a quarter second off my best ever. This gave me third in class and my first trophy since I've been back.

Race 3

Finally, it came together. I was flying and feeling smooth. I was catching the leading pack when the intermittent engine problem we'd been suffering all day made a big comeback, and I had to retire on lap four. Before then, my best lap had been 44.03. If I'd completed the race, I might well have cracked my best time of 43.85.

The problem - which we'd previously blamed on the new CTS Quick Shifter, and then the jetting - turned out to be a duff plug cap. Bummer.

Sunday

I hadn't intended to race on the Sunday, but after my rapid improvement had been cut short, I wanted a chance to continue, so I got a late entry.

Race 1

My good friend Mark Jay was out for the first time on his new 95 TZ, and he rode brilliantly. Dave Cohen got a good lead, but Mark was behind in 2nd. I got stuck in the pack and took ages to catch up with the front group. Mark screwed up when he attempted to rest his aching hands, and hit his kill switch. That let 600 rider Kenny Everest past, and Mark took third with me in fourth. I didn't feel I'd managed the smoothness of the day before, and the lap times showed it, with me half a second down.

Race 2

My best full race of the weekend. At last I was really pushing the bike. I couldn't keep up with Dave Cohen, but held second place for most of the race with Kenny Everest snapping at my heels. On the penultimate lap, I overdid the brakes into the hairpin to stop him outbraking me, ran wide and let him up the inside. Third place, and the second post-crash trophy.

Verdict

Crashing doesn't just affect your body, it affects your head. Every corner you feel the bike's about to let go from under you. Getting to the end of the corner is quite a surprise. The 'invincible' feeling you get when you're racing fast and well is hard to recapture.

Being on my home circuit helped, and I now think I'm over most of my mental trauma. During the blacker days of my incapacity - when I felt totally useless and incapable - I'd seriously wondered if I'd ever be able to race well again. But it's looking good for a full recovery soon.

Silverstone might be different - new circuits always freak me out a bit - but we'll see how it goes.

A winter of fitness-building is needed.

Then roll on next year, and another - hopefully unbroken - attempt at the championship.


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