Monday, 11 June 2012

World Championships Fowlmead

Firstly, a big thanks to all the organisers, helpers, marshals, timekeepers, first aiders etc who made this a very smooth running and thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

Steve and I arrived at a very windy Fowlmead circuit early afternoon on Friday 8th June. With assistance from the Reltons, lee and other helpers, we attempted to erect Steve’s large dome tent. Although we eventually managed this, there was no way the pegs were going to hold it down for more than a few minutes. Fortunately, Mike Burrows had a spare, smaller tent that he loaned us for the weekend.
Lower Campsite
Quite a few people set up their tents in amongst the trees and bushes up nearer the circuit to try and find some shelter from the relentless wind.
Fowlmead is a excellent venue for cycle racing; there are two loops that can be joined together by a testing hairpin bend to make a 3.5km circuit. The first race was held on Friday evening, and was one lap standing start, anticlockwise around the smaller, Lydden Wood Loop. There was a second chance, for late arrivals and anyone else who was keen to have another go on Saturday evening as well.
Although Quattro was wonderfully stable in the ferocious Friday night wind, I probably should have had a go on Saturday as well, when the conditions were a little calmer. Steve went four seconds faster on Saturday but the event was eventually won by Lee Wakefield in his Beany with an average speed of 36.0mph (61.7kph) on his fourth attempt. I came 21st with an average speed of 29.5mph (47.5kph).
Start of One Lap Flying Start

Saturday morning’s race was a one lap flying start, clockwise, using the whole circuit. The wind was still very strong but because it was coming from the Southwest, it gave a welcome push along the main uphill straight. I was very pleased to get 9th place with an average speed of 32.7mph (57.9kph). Steve won with an average speed of 38.3mph (61.7kph).

Eddie Robbins in his Rome

We were all very impressed when Eddie Robbins in his untested Rome took 7th place. Rome is based on a tiny pre-Beano, K-Drive moulding that I was doing nothing with. Eddie has added a spacer along the length of the faring so that he can use standard length cranks. With a few refinements, still to come, it should turn out to be a very swift machine.
Faired Ice Monster

Tim Parker at Speed

Another new machine and a very talented junior rider is Tim Parker in his very elegant Faired Ice Monster, 12th place with an average speed of 32.1mph (50.4kph).

Saturday afternoon was still very windy and the one hour time trial on the full circuit was started with the slower riders going off first, at 30second intervals. This worked very well from a safety point of view, as there were never any riders with vast speed differences on the track at the same time.  I went off about 75 minutes after the start and was pleasantly surprised not to be overtaken by another machine until I was nearly ¾ of the way through my hour. Quattro was running smoothly and my legs were feeling good, I was delighted with 7th place and an average speed of 31.1mph (55.2kph). Surprise, surprise, this was also won on by Steve with an average speed of 37.8mph (60.8kph).
Quattro, Wayward Cousin Wobbly Bob & Spiderman
The two hour mass start race was held on the Sunday, with the faster riders going off first. I started off well and got to a similar running position as the one hour time trial. Unfortunately for me, the un-faired and part-faired bikes were running as a large group, doing bit and bit, which gives them a higher average speed. Being faster up the less wind assisted hill, they caught and passed me. I put my loss of speed down to lack of training and old age but towards the end of the race, I realised I was running with a puncture. Having four wheels means that a puncture is unlikely to cause any danger but the downside is that a slow puncture can go un-noticed. The first sign I had was that the steering was starting to pull to one side with about 20minutes to go and then a couple of laps later, it was completely flat. I had two spare wheels at the side of the track and could have stopped and changed one in a couple of minutes but I decided limp on to the finish. I ended up 18th with an average speed of 29mph (46.7kph), which seems a little optimistic. Guess what, Steve won with an average speed of 37.7mph (60.8kph).
Overall, I am delighted how well Quattro performed. The only mechanical issue other than the puncture that needs looking at is that some of the grease has already come out of my new UJ bearings. I think that part of the problem may be that they are only shielded bearings and they are spinning at 90deg to their normal rotation, so the centrifugal force is pushing the grease out.
UJ Bearing Leaking Grease
Champion, Steve Slade, Second Howard Yeomans and Third Lee Wakefield

Oh I nearly forgot, Steve is World Champion again!

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