Catch up with the latest news from club racer Nigel Baines, as we follow his race season with New Era and Wirral 100 clubs.
Wirral 100 round 3: Anglesey: May 29, 2006.
After some great results at Oulton Park with New Era Superclub, I was on a high for the 3rd round of the Wirral 100 Championship at Ty Croes, Anglesey. The day wasn’t looking too good though, as just before morning practice, the heavens opened briefly and covered the track in water. The weather forecast had been for some decent weather, albeit a bit cold, so the early showers were unexpected. With no time to change bikes, I just went out on the No.1 bike on dry tyres to get a few laps in so we were eligible to race that day. With practice done I decided to make sure the wet bike was ready in case another shower caught us out. With the brisk winds the track was drying quickly between showers and by the time our first race came the track was dry.
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We were out in the second heat and looking to secure pole position for the Championship and Trophy races later on. Main rival, Aly Bayley, had already won Heat 1 convincingly so I knew I had to set a respectable time to out qualify him. Got a good start from pole and was leading the race comfortably, when the red flags came out due to a crash further down the field. As we were held on the grid, rain began to fall quite hard and as we hadn’t completed enough laps for the race to be declared a result, a re-run would take place.
Nobody was prepared to re-start the race with dry tyres as the track was now completely wet, so we all left the grid. The race was declared wet and I jumped on the wet bike and returned to the grid. By now, the track was already starting to dry and I was confronted by my favourite conditions, wet/damp, Arrgh! Got an awful start, wheelying the bike three times before getting it settled down and arrived at the first corner in third place, although Dave Moffitt nearly took Anthony Davies out, forcing them both onto the grass and allowing me back into the lead.
Passed on lap 3 by Martin Roberts and tailed him for the last two laps in this shortened 5 lap race, before setting him up to get a drive on him out of the last corner and out-dragged him to the line to win by 0.06s. Phew!! That was fun and only the qualifier. What I didn’t realise is that 3rd place was some 19 seconds behind, so maybe I should have rode steadily and settled for 2nd instead of risking it, but a wins a win!
By the Championship race the weather improved and the sun was out although it was still quite cool and windy. Due to our qualifier being wet and therefore slower than the first, dry heat, I qualified 2nd. Aly was on pole, Frank Baines 3rd and Martin Roberts 4th. Got a good start and led it to the first corner and got my head down straight away. After a couple of laps Aly was still in touch, but by lap 5 I had pulled out a 3-4 second lead and led to the flag to claim the win by 4.5 seconds from Aly, with my good mate Ste Porter finishing 3rd, from 12th on the grid.
15 points towards the Championship saw me increase my lead to 12 points over Aly and I also set the fastest lap at 49.3s. Unfortunately we got back to the paddock to find our awning had been picked up by the wind and thrown over the caravan, landing in a heap of crumpled metal on the floor. Luckily nobody was hurt and it didn’t hit anything, although all it was fit for was the bin! On the bright side, the sun was out and we didn’t need it to keep any rain off.
In the Trophy race I was hoping to improve on both my lap time and race time as these were still some way down and my previous best, although this was the first dry meeting at Anglesey and the wind wasn’t helping. Got a decent start, but this time Martin Roberts led into the first corner. Tried to pass him round the outside of turn one, then up the inside into Radar, before outbraking him on the outside into the hairpin. Once I’d got ahead, I was determined to pull a gap and set some quick lap times. Rode consistently and the race felt quick before crossing the line to take the win by 9.5s over Aly again in 2nd, with Martin finishing 3rd. 5 out of the 7 laps were all around the 48.9 – 49.1s margin with my best being a 48.916s, again setting the fastest lap, this time by over a second. The pace I rode felt quickerand I can only assume that the conditions were slowing the times down, as even the powerbike times were slower than usual. I guess the lap and race records will have to wait for a better day!
Very pleased with the results and strengthening my grip on the Championship, but gutted to lose the awning. I’ve now got some time to sort another one out before Pembrey in South Wales for rounds 4 and 5 of the New Era Superclub Championship on June 17th and 18th.