MCN rides Rockingham

Published: 11 August 2004

The consensus amoung the other riders was the same, with everyone having a great time. And in the paddock we had been joined by other memebers of the MCN staff, including Editor Marc Potter. It felt like a real office outing, and I'd be back on track next Wednesday if I could. Instead the track list will be Angus Farquhar (Honda CBR600F), David Cushman (Suzuki GSX-R1000), and Peter Baker (BMW R1200GS). But both myself and Dan Caspersz will be on hand in the pits to chat to anyone who wants to say hello and discuss bikes, MCN, www.motorcyclenews.com and whatever else comes to mind..

If you're tempted to grab a place and experience a track evening at the circuit, the cost is £65. Call 01536-271100 or click here.

The first group of MCN long term test bike riders completed a track evening at Rockingham Motor Speedway last night, Wednesday August 11, and tales of riding bravery have been ringing around the office all morning.

Many of the MCN staff were there to provide support and attend as part of the Meet the Staff nights, which run every Wednesday up to and including September 1.

Last night's volunteers were myself, Dan Thornton on my Honda RVF400RR (on loan from DK Motorcycles), Marc Tucker on his KTM Adventure, Austin Smith on his Kawasaki Z750, and Dan Caspersz with a borrowed Honda CBF600. After signing on at 5pm, Caspersz and I took our places in the Novice group for the first of three 20-minute track sessions.

Each session began with two sighting laps behind the California Superbike School instructors. This was the time to get brains in gear, warm tyres, and in my case, learn a circuit I'd never seen before. Luckily the National circuit offered a range of corners from a first gear hairpin to third and fourth gear sweepers, without any untoward surprises.

The first flying lap was a shock as several 600cc and 1000cc bikes were able to power past on the relatively short straight sections. My focus was divided between trying to ride the course and nervously checking over my shoulder. But I needn't have worried, as a whole riders were happy to wait for a reasonable overtaking possibility, without scaring me too much.

And once I relaxed, I settled into pushing the RVF as far as I could, without traffic or police to worry me. The circuit suited the 400cc well, and it was only the unusual sensation of trying to overtake other motorcycles which held me back.

The sessions seemed to fly by, and by the third and final time, I was in the swing of things. Despite the same problems with the power of larger bikes, I found I was able to hang with them for far longer, and even catch a small number of people. One of those people was MCN colleague Dan Caspersz on the CBF600, and after a few laps I finally managed to force my way past on the final hairpin, on the final lap. Crossing the line I felt drained, but satisfied. My pegs had touched down, my tyres had been used to the edge, but at no point had I experienced any worrying moments. Now to learn to hang off and carry more corner speed, and I've got the perfect bike to do it.