Team Ixion Race Report

Rider: Roger Ford
Bike: GP250

Track: Oulton Park
Date: 16/04/2001

Crashed in practice - DNF in the race. Do I feel a sense of deja vu here?

At least the DNF wasn't my fault - I nearly managed to finish my first MRO race this year...

Oulton Park is my favourite circuit. Last year I qualified ninth and finished tenth at the MRO round, my best MRO result by some distance. I had been hoping to do as well this year.

Saturday Practice

First session was wed. No problem - good chance to remind myself of the lines without going too quick. I was immediately comfortable, and was putting in some good times. My 2:03 was better than most other people, and apparently very close to what Darren Thomas - favourite in the wet - was doing.

But I couldn't get Knickerbrook right. Knickerbrook is a very fast right hander at the end of the bottom straight. On the map, it looks more like a kink than a proper corner. It doesn't seem like it when you're riding it. Nevertheless, every lap I'd go through and think "damn - could have done that 20mph faster".

On the final lap of the session (as it turned out), I finally got that extra 20mph "Yes! Got it right at last!" I thought, and wound on the throttle (doing maybe 100mph already). At which point the back wheel decided it was going to overtake the front. There was a brief moment of "maybe I can save it" followed by the unpleasant feeling of bits of ground thumping every available part of my body. Christ, this grass is bumpy! A very similar crash at Donnington had me skimming gracefully across the wet grass - here I was being smacked around all over the place.

The bike was a mess, but it was largely cosmetic. Some serious fettling and bodging by Duncan had the bike ready for the afternoon sessions. Another 250 quid crash helmet was trashed, though. I was largely unhurt, but sadly my confidence had taken a big knock.

In the dry afternoon practice I was doing 1:54's, an appalling time which could probably be beaten by an MZ, and almost twelve seconds off my last-year's qualifying time of 1:42.9.

Race Day Warmup

After a day of rest (they can't run full days at Oulton on Sundays, so we'd had practice on Saturday and race day was Easter Monday), I was feeling a little better, but still couldn't put in better than 1:48's.

Qualifying

Nope, still no better. My qualifying time was 1:48.3, which put me in a lowly 27th place on the grid. The really galling thing is that last year's time would have put me in fifth!

Race

The first start only lasted a lap and a half, until Rik Ballerini got it red-flagged by T-boning Frank Swain at the Shell Oils hairpin. Both were OK, if limping rather afterwards!

Oulton Park is hard work! As we lined up for the restart, I was already knackered. More gym time needed.

I got a cracking start in the restart. At the end of the first lap, I was in 11th place - a full 16 places up from my grid position! The trouble with this situation is that the only way to go is backwards, and sure enough rider after rider picked me off. I was, I have to admit, riding pretty badly, with none of the "flow" you need for fast laps of Oulton.

Still - I was still going, and on the last lap I was all set to finish in 20th place - better than my qualifying position. And that's what would have happened if Duncan had included enough fuel for the extra warmup lap for the restart. Bugger.

Next round is Snetterton - Bemsee on Saturday, MRO on Sunday 21st/22nd April.


Setup Notes:

Gearing: 14/41
Miles: Old pistons for practice: 50 miles
Top End rebuild after practice: 150 miles on new pistons