Racing: Cadwell Park, NLR Round 7.

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We returned to Cadwell Park for the penultimate round of the No Limits Racing championship - with a new steed, too!

n.b. I'll be honest, It's been 6 weeks since this race - but, better late than never, here's my race report. This is an extended version of the report I posted on Facebook the day after the race.

New bike

It's a 2014 ZX6R ex-BSB stocker. I've just had the suspension serviced and sprung for my weight, and moved the Brembo stuff and quickshifter over from the CBR.

Oh, and had a new gearbox chucked in the day before the race since it shit itself on a trackday a couple of days before we were due at Cadwell. Massive shout out to Swinton Motorcycles Performance for helping me out of that pickle on ridiculously short notice.

First race day

The gearbox went in on the test day, so I missed it - which means that all in I've had just under an hours worth of seat time going into my first race.

Getting more confident at keeping with the pack.

Qualifying 1: Fuel

Qualified: 16th of 25
Lap time: 1:44.965 (lap 5 of 5)

I'm terrible at qualifying - it's something I definitely need to work on. Still, managed to post a respectable time considering.

But had to pull in early as the bike started flashing fuel warnings at me, and I have no idea what that means on this bike - do I have 3 litres left, or are we running on fumes?

Race 1: Felt Great

Started: 16th of 26
Finished: 9th
Best lap time: 1:43.407 (lap 6 of 9)

I missed the practice start by pulling in early in qualifying, so the first time I started in anger, was on the grid for race 1.

I made a tentative start, but #19 made such a good start, I followed him through the hole he punched in the field.

Feeling really good, I made up a few places throughout the race up until lap 6. I was tiring fast, and could hear a bike closing in on me. Heading through Hall Bends, I considered just letting him through and hope for a tow round the final few laps.

However, a cheeky look at someones pit board showed P11 as I started lap 7. P11? That must mean I'm at least 10th.

Well, that wiped the ‘being a bitch’ out of me. I got my head down, gritted my teeth and defended my place to bring it home to a 9th!

Second race day

Felt really good going into the second race day. I had some areas to improve worked out, and was looking to repeat some of the same success as I had in race 1.

Love me some Coppice.

Qualifying 2: Meh.

Qualified: 18th of 26
Lap time: 1:44.986 (lap 4 of 5)

Same shit, different day. I suck at qualifying.

Race 2: Felt bad.

Started: 11th of 28
Finished: 12th
Lap time: 1:43.069 (lap 6 of 10)

I started strong again, and managed to get myself into the top 10 by half race distance - and posted a time 0.1 off my PB - a 1:43.069.

Unfortunately though, I started getting pretty bad arm pump and just couldn't maintain my pace. I lost a couple of places and finished 12th in agony - barely able to hold onto the throttle.

Race 3: Felt worse.

Started: 18th of 26
Finished: 14th
Lap time: 1:45.036 (lap 2 of 10)

I'd recovered a bit, but my arm still felt sore from race 2. I had one or two good laps, but that's all I could manage. For most of the race my throttle hand was so numb I only dares to brake when in a straight line.

All I could do was wobble round and pray for the chequered flag.

Race 4: Caddy in the sun.

Started: 17th of 27
Finished: 13th
Lap time: 1:43.955 (lap 6 of 10)

Come the last race, I just thought 'fuck it'. I needed to stop over-riding the bike, and just enjoy myself - after all, it is Cadwell Park in the sunshine. Just relax and have a laugh.

Surprisingly, I had a couple of decent laps, and brought it home in 13th - which, to be honest, was a bit of a cheat as a bunch of bikes didn't show up.

Conclusion

I'm starting to think I'll never be happy. The last time I was here in April for round 2, I was over the moon to finish in the high teens - with aspirations of getting into the top 15 by the end of the year.

This weekend, I failed to finish outside of the top 15, and even made a top 10 (a goal I'd hoped to achieve next year!) - but still left feeling a little disappointed.

I felt I had more to give, and maybe even been able to edge closed to that elusive sub 40 lap - but my body let me down.

I have a lot of work to do before the final round.