Friday 29 August 2014

Mission accomplished.....

OK so the lead title sort of gives away the end of the tale, but hey we all know how the Mousetrap ends, don't we? So if you've read Stuart's blog at you do know but here's the tale from inside pit wall to tell. With the race shortened to three laps we had a choice of fuel strategy, to fill at the end of lap one or splash and dash after lap two. Stuart fancied the splash and dash, so no flying lap but if the race was stopped after two laps for an incident we would be ahead of the game. So scrutineering was passed without comment, the bike was fuelled and tyre pressures checked, simply add tyre warmers, bike cover and wait. 

Fairly easy for us but I'd say Stuart was certainly feeling the nerves as he kept going off to look for the thing. With Emily in her allotted space in Parc Ferme I'm just thinking is there anything else to check so in my head I'm trying to go from front to back and visualise each nut and bolt, not too hard really as a race bike there's not much to her. The announcement is made for the entries in the Formula 1 and 2 race to line up on the road ahead of the start, we wait as long as we can to keep heat in the tyres as we don't have a fancy portable generator.

It's not too long before we're on the move and start to line up in numerical order, that makes it nice and easy for the starter and spectators on the first lap anyway. It turns out that 3 of the 4 Ducatis in the race are starting line astern.

With a final thumbs up from Stuart he promptly stalls the bike but she restarts fine.

There's no going back now and Stuart gets the tap on the shoulder and almost the last ridge can be climbed. 

We put what we can away and having already filled the fuel dispenser with the required amount of fuel we wait by the pit wall and watch the arrows that the scouts move to indicate which section the rider has passed, Glen Helen, Ramsey and Bungalow, well they do sometimes as some seem to never move and others are seen to go backwards. Stuart was shown at Ramsey as his light comes on to show he's at Cronk ny Mona, oh well, I ask Steve to get his fuelling gear on in case we have an unexpected stop. We watch, we wait, and Stuart flies through looking good, but then he says he always does. Fine, just wait another 23 minutes and he'll be back we hope, others pit on the first lap and we look for tips. To be honest any way is good as long as it works. The pit box is tiny for the three of us with a box of essential spares and a paddock stand. Times passes and once again the light above 56 comes on. We get ready, I turn on the ball valve for the fuel and Steve gets his fire proof gear on, Liz once again sticks a spare visor in her top should Stuart require one. Now we haven't actually physically practised the stop, Steve's only had a quick go on the rig to assess fuel flow, Liz has practised the visor change sometimes it goes well, sometimes not, Arai helmets are a sod. I see Stuart arrive at the pit entrance and step out to guide him in, now it all goes in a bit of a blur. The paddock stand locates and Liz shouts "YES" to indicate her bobbin is engaged, I flip the bike on the stand and Stuart cuts the engine. I pop the key in the fuel cap, open, and leave Steve to the fuel. I spot the scrutineer give a thumbs up to his colleague so he's spotted nothing awry so I crack on with cleaning the screen as Liz has a chat with Stuart and gives him a drink. Stuart's declined the new visor but does have time to mention "It's lovely out there". I've cleaned and Steve's done so I close the cap and flip Stuart back on two wheels. She starts, he's off. Now it's taken longer to type and read than time it actually took to do, so I'd say it went bloody well and we're all feeling quite pleased and relieved. One more lap please Stuart and Emily.

The arrow on the board moves, that's Ramsey done, just the mountain to go.

Right on cue Stuart crosses the finishing line and speed trap at 139mph.

Personally I don't feel as emotional as when they both finished their first practice lap. Once we'd overcome the gremlins I couldn't really see anything else to go wrong with Emily. We all rush back to Parc Ferme to congratulate Stuart, it really has been a lovely day. After 14 years since he last rode a bike on a closed road on the Island Stuart has completed the race and a finish is what we'd hoped for but a week ago that seemed way off. I'm pleased for Stuart and hope that next year we can come back and do it all again, this time we have a bike that already works and some data to work with. I think it's ice cream time.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome job... the whole Team. One to be proud of!