Following the success of our ongoing reports from club racer Nigel Baines (See related articles), young hopeful Alex Gault has signed up to report on his season in the CB500 Cup, Scottish Formula 400 and Super bike 400 classes. In 2005 he raced in the British 125cc class for Malaguti, but following a disapointing season, he's already back in the winning way:
Pole, 2 wins 2 DNF’s and a new lap record!
We did eventually manage to make it to Aintree. We had wanted to contend this championship but with Alex’s school exams taking place around the first meeting and a date clash later in the season with the CB500 Cup dates, we decided to give it a miss, however after the problems with the bike at Knockhill we thought it prudent to give both it and Alex a run out on it before returning to Knockhill on the 25th.
So round 2 at Aintree gave us the best opportunity. Aintree is one of the best club meetings in the country, always well organised with a great atmosphere, good competition, plenty of track time for your money and great to meet up with old friends. I’d entered Alex on the YPE Honda into the Superbike 400 class and also the open up to 500cc class which is brilliant to watch as every thing from 125 Gp bikes to CB500’s take part.
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This was a shakedown for the bike after a rebuild, and some suspected problems came to light. First the replacement petrol tank was very dirty inside. It's difficult to get new tanks for these bikes and it's much cheaper to go to the breakers. The one we got must have been lying around for ages as I am sure it filled with soot, rust and perhaps a few birds nests! Also the radiator has been suspect since we got the bike and I knew in these ambient temperatures, it was going to be a problem.
Seven laps of practice and every thing else looked good with Alex on the pace. However, the bike was very hot when it came in. We did a few things to get the temperature down to a respectable level before he went out in the first race for the Super bike 400’s.
At Aintree, the first race is a 5 lap qualifier for the final 2nd race and the grid slots are drawn out a bag, Alex drew number 5 so we were hopeful of a good race, as there were about 36 lined up on the grid.
The local heroes and Aintree experts in the S400 class were Alan Oversby and Tim Kermode alongside 250 2 strokes which are also allowed to run in this class and the man of the moment is Colin Skillicorn on his Aprilia , who I was told, won the last meeting here by over 8 seconds.
No need to worry in the qualifying race though, Alex hit the front and led the rest home, giving him pole position for the final.
Now it was out in the open 500 class, not so lucky with the draw pulling 27th out the bag, also with the two races being so close together we couldn’t do anything about the temperature the bike was sitting at.
Now we all know Alex can’t launch these 4strokes off the line but he did a pretty good job of it this time; from 27th on the grid he entered the first corner in 4th by the second lap he was in the lead, then red flags came out, as
someone had crashed blocking the circuit. They held the other riders on the start line for a very long time, while the medics attended the crashed rider. On the restart Alex pulled of the circuit after only one lap, the engine had reached a critical temp and cut out.
Luckily, lunch was called and this gave us time to get the engine temp back down for the final of the F400. From pole Alex never put a foot wrong leading the race from start to finish, just doing enough to bring it home in first place in front of Alan Oversby, Kermode and Skillicorn.
Then out again for the final of the Open 500 class, Temp was still a bit high in the engine and as Alex had retired from the heat he was on the back row. Now I tried to work a fly one, as I held him back and missed the sighting lap, trying our best to keep the engine temp down. Now if I say this was the race of the season for Alex, I might not have been far wrong. As the lights went out Alex launched from the back of the grid, certainly up to mid pack by the first corner, as they came back into sight up to 8th, 6th and then 4th.
At the front the “Aintree experts” Ian Perks, Colin Sillicorn and Tim Kermode were pulling away, the race lasted 7 laps; Alex caught the leading pack and made his way up into second spot before entering the last lap. It looked like he
could pull this off, a back row to winning the race in just 7 laps, unfortunately the engine got too warm and stopped again. If it had kept going for just another 40 seconds more, it would have been the race of the season so far, as it was….. Alex pulled of the circuit at the famous “Beaches Brook” (Race Horse course).
As always here; a really good meeting and thanks go out to the Aintree Club staff and marshals, we did every thing we set out to do, faults are being ironed out , the bike is getting faster and we know how to fix the problem with cooling system.
One last note, I was told in the last race Alex set a new Super bike 400 lap record with an average speed of 91 MPH.
Next weekend we are off to darkest Wales, when Super Club visits Pembery for rounds 4 & 5 of the CB500 Cup.