The leafy Lincolnshire countryside provided the setting for round 4 of the Hottrax Junior TAG Endurance Championship at Cadwell Park over 3rd and 4th of July 2009.
GT Racing as usual arrived at the circuit on Thursday afternoon to get ready for Saturdays race, eager to put the disappointment of Anglesey well behind them.
With Geordie keen to find the optimum setting on the ZX10R, and Brad eager to simply bring it home without any Cadwell shaped additions to the bike; at the track he had his first ever track crash at (twice on the same day!) back in 2005, the pair set out onto the narrow and technical track to dial themselves in on Fridays trackday.
Luckily the forecast inclement weather never materialised and the trackday, indeed the whole weekend, went ahead with perfect, if rather warm conditions.
Cadwell with its tight technical sections and massive elevation mean hard work for the riders, and so Geordie and Brad called it a day with one session remaining in order to get the bikes and kit scrutineered on the Friday afternoon.
Brad took this lull in action to have a go on Sams new mountain bike, and while trying to do an endo, fell from the bike straight down onto his right shoulder, and having heard a crack and in immense pain, feared the worst for the weekends racing.
Luckily it appeared to be just bruising and although having to be helped into his leathers and gloves, was ok once on the racebike.
GT Racing qualified in 5th place out of 30 teams on Saturday morning (earlier topping the timesheets in the ‘untimed’ practice session) before parking up to watch the Seniors and Nationals take to the track for the first race of the day:- this time a 3 rather than 6 hour race.
At lunchtime the infield was opened to Junior teams to assemble in the meager pit area, with chaos ensuing as the mix of departing Senior teams and arriving Junior teams creating a jumbled confusion in the confines of the oversubscribed area.
Order restored and shortly after 3pm the bikes took to the track for the formation laps ready for the start at almost half past.
All riders lined up on the outside edge of the track as a similar incident to Anglesey happened when the red flag was dropped and many took this to signal the start and ran across the track, much screaming, shouting and gesturing later and the premature off was halted and reset.
Second time lucky and this time the chequered flag (apparently in lieu of the standard National flag) dropped to see 30 riders sprint across the track to their waiting bikes, Brad scrambled aboard, hit the start button and dropped into gear, only to see the kill switch off, and after re-engaging neutral, hitting the switch, starting and riding off, left the grid in roughly 25th position in furious mood.
Very careful not to allow a repeat of Anglesey’s early crash, Brad tried to settle into a rhythm over the first few laps, which saw a few downed riders around the circuit as GT Racing made up some of the positions lost in the start error.
The heat taking its toll on the riders on track meant that the end of the first half hour session couldn’t come soon enough, and Brad gladly pitted where Sam and Drew performed a smooth transponder change and Geordie joined the track on the same lap the Safety Car came out for another crasher.
While some teams were desperately unlucky with this timing, GT actually benefitted, and were pleased to see the start problem somewhat eased - although still with a substantial hill to climb to reach the leaders.
Geordie rode well to move the team further up the standings and higher into the points as more incidents happened on track, before he pitted to another slick changeover at the hands of the excellent pit crew.
Brad had to wait at the end of pitlane for what felt like an age, but was really no more than about 3 minutes, as the Safety Car again was employed to enable the removal of a stricken rider by ambulance, and spent the first 5 laps of the session behind the M3 as more teams took the opportunity to pit and change riders.
Once the M3 Safety Car pulled in it was ‘head down and regain some positions’ time which was largely successful save for being run off track at the end of the super fast Park Straight by team 808 (the eventual winners).
No hard feelings though, this is racing. Luckily the grass excursion was short and Brad soon rejoined having conceded only two positions, which were soon retaken.
Thankfully the last two sessions took place without incident, and with both riders achieving a healthy decrease in lap times, and a progression up the standings, the chequered flag was waved at the 3 hour mark and GT Racing claimed 4th place, their second of the season to date.
Championship leaders Graphic UK racing on the #44 Yamaha R1’s suffered a crash in the final stint, dropping them from 1st to 6th place, meaning GT Racing moved to within 17 championship points of the lead, and only 7 down on second place with 3 rounds to run.
Massive thanks once again to Pit Boss Sam Bonnet, Chief Mechanic Drew Tuck, and Pitgirl Doné Schreiber for their excellent efforts, as well as Niel Chapman for site maintenance and updating.
Join us at Pembrey on 1st & 2nd of August, another unknown circuit to the team, where we hope to step onto the podium once again! www.gt-racing49.com Sponsors needed!!