Being responsible for the online aspect of Motorcyclenews, I don’t get much of a chance to leave the office and the phosphorous glow of the monitor screens. So, when I had the opportunity to spend three days at Donington Park for the World Superbikes I leapt at the chance.
It was work – of course – I would have to spend my time writing race reports and generally pretending to be a journalist for the duration of the race weekend, but who am I to kid? It’ll be three days in the company of some of the best and brightest riders, engineers, mechanics and general petrol-headedness; I was excited.
Friday was a blast – despite the wind and rain – the ride up and back to Donington Park from Peterborough was genuinely one of the most memorable and joyous experiences of my life (more of that in my longterm report in next week’s paper).
Saturday however, was less so.
I’d left in good time and with the warmth of the sun on my back. The ride through the local, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire countryside was exceptional and – having been invigorated by Tom Sykes and the others the day before - I was really giving the F800GT a good thrashing. Then the warning light on the LCD display flashed on.
I slowed to a crawl, looked down and had no idea as to what had happened. Everything looked and felt normal, so I carefully continued on my way. But something wasn’t right. The light didn’t go away and then the Tyre Pressure Indicator took over the screen. I had gone from full to almost half-pressure in less than hundred metres. Bah!
As I was coming up to Melton Mowbray I slowed to a crawl, put my hazard lights on and started to look for somewhere safe to pull over. Had this had happened three miles down the road I would have been essentially stranded, but luckily on my right was a Yamaha dealership.
A few minutes of wheeling a completely flat, back-wheeled bike through the local farmers market later and I had attracted the attention of the guys in the workshop, who were already busy with a sunny Saturday’s worth of work. Neil Young and his guys at Len Manchester’s’ were excellent. Like most bike places on a weekend, there were punters a-plenty to talk to and a solid flow of coffee available whilst they looked into the problem with my back wheel.
Plus, there are some fantastic old bikes on show in amongst the modern machinery, so I took a little time to bath in the glory of a BSA Bantam and discuss the virtues of the Triumph Tiger Cub.
It transpires that my Conti RoadAttack 2H rear had been subject to the most unfortunate of luck; a small shard of glass had managed to penetrate the tread at just the wrong place and this, tiny hole had been the sole source of the leak. I’m never sure of what tyres I should choose – even on my car – so the help and choice offered was welcome. A new set of Metzeler Sportec M5’s later and I was on my way.
The rest of the ride was spent with me taking it easy, knowing not to push too hard on new boots. It was also spent with me marvelling again at this little work-horse of a machine. The Tyre Pressure Control comes as part of the Dynamic Package for £680 (along with the ESA and ASC) and previously I’ve been a little weary about justifying that additional cost, but there’s no doubt that without it I would have been stuck in a little road awaiting a recovery van; rather than enjoying the sun and pressure of reporting on a World Superbike Race for MCN*
I can't thank the guys from http://www.lenmanchester.co.uk/ enough. If ever you're around Melton Mowbray way - and you should visit, it's lovely! - then pop in and tell them Steve sent you.
*I still have to pinch myself when I say that.
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