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BSSO 2011: Round 4 – Donington Park

June 23rd, 2011

An action packed adrenaline fueled day of racing at Donington Park had its highs and lows, Adrenalin Pedstop spill the beans…

This additional round in this year’s BSSO series took place at Donington Park in conjunction with the International Superstars Italian V8 touring car series. Prior to the event most riders seemed pretty excited, but in the back of our minds we were thinking about bike setup and possible reliability issues on Donington’s mammoth 2.5 mile course. Come Sunday morning after the usual last minute preparations we loaded up the vans and headed down in convoy to Donington while most of the nation was presumably still tucked up in bed. With only geared and auto scooters present this wasn’t like our usual club meetings which are usually shared with various other two-wheeled machines. Instead, we were mixing it with Ford racing pickup trucks, touring cars and single seated racing cars. All three bikes passed scrutineering with no issues – maybe the shiny new team colour scheme blinded their eyes?!

PRACTICE: By 9:15am we went out for a 15 minute practice session. To be honest everyone was pretty steady when they got out there, we reckon this was due to reliability being in the back of everyone’s minds. A huge track like Donington’s isn’t ideal for scooters revving themselves apart at 14000 rpm. Unfortunately for Pedstop team member Joe Ravenscroft his engine seized after just a few laps – a complete new build with all-new parts was literally trashed. The look on Pete’s face (Joe’s Dad) back in the paddock said it all as he now had the task of swapping over to the spare engine. The thought of how much time and money had been wasted was enough let along having to swap the engine, which for Pete was rubbing salt in the wound. Josh wasn’t entirely happy with the performance of his bike so Chris made the decision to down jet. Sam, on the other hand, was fairly content with his Zip and the circuit at Donington – “it’s got a little bit of everything with some really fast flowing corners where you have to pick your line just right” he said after practice. “There’s some pretty tight hairpins too, the straights are fairly long and boring but I’m pretty confident I’ll do okay in the race”.

RACE 1: The first race began at 11.30am. After the sighting lap everyone went to line up on the grid but the numbers didn’t correspond to what we were given. There was a lot of shuffling around with a few riders trying to jump positions much to the amusement of the commentators. Eventually the race got underway to the tremendous roar of 36 two-stroke scooters screaming off the line. Into the first corner they all went and, although it was a fairly long and quick corner, it was busy with riders getting cut up left, right and centre. Unfortunately again for Joe he managed only two laps before his spare engine also seized. Josh also had a seizure in the fifth lap so this now left Sam, the only Pedstop rider still in the race. Luckily after getting a little bit of a break in front of the middle pack he managed to finish second.

We had quite a long wait before race two which gave Chris and Ian some time to get the spare engine into bike number 65 for Josh. This engine wasn’t quite complete and had been sat since last year so there was a lot of crossed fingers going on. Luckily after some fiddling with the set-up it was running okay just in time for the second race. Joe, after having two seized engines in the space of three hours, could no longer continue. Pete decided to quit from this year’s series there and then. It’s a really sad situation as Joe is a really gifted rider. But having suffered too many breakdowns that have already cost a small fortune at this early stage in the series, the decision had to be made. With Joe being just 14 years old there’s still plenty of opportunities for him to race in the future.

RACE 2: Race two went ahead mid-afternoon and a lot of bikes were missing on the grid due to the number of breakdowns. Long circuits and small scooter engines revving their nuts off mile after mile don’t mix – it’s hardly surprising why so many of them seize. It makes us wonder though why the BSSO choose such long circuits for scooters when most privateers can’t afford a full rebuild after each race meeting. We’re not having a go at the BSSO as it’s great to get the sport noticed, but for some people it’s costing them the earth, so much so that they simply can’t continue.

When the lights changed everyone was off again for another exhilarating race. Unfortunately the race didn’t last the full eight laps due to Dick Van Dyke coming off at Craner Curves. Van Dyke sat motionless on the track with his bike on its side. The marshals assumed there was a serious problem. The injured rider was taken away via a stretcher complete with neck brace – all very dramatic for what amounted to a bruised toe. This meant that the red flags were waved and the fun stopped, we’re unsure on specific positions on race two at the present time.

So it was back to the pits for all of us and time for a few modifications. A change in roller weights were in order to get bike 65 up to its peak rpm again. Sam gave his scoot a quick once over but made no changes throughout the day. By 4:15pm an impromptu presentation took place in the paddock where a few awards were dished out and some champagne got wasted. Within the Auto Class Chiselspeed rider Chris Cook received a trophy for coming third, Pedstop Sam clinched the second place trophy. And a delighted looking creature known as Craig Bewey received the trophy for coming first along with some Champers to spray over the oldies in the Geared Class who looked like they needed a wash.

RACE 3: Race three was the last race of the day and everyone was hyped ready to get it done and dusted. Sam got a decent start for once as he normally tends to hang back on the first corner, this gave him the space to push a little harder. Unfortunately half way round the last lap he came off at Mclean’s and ended up in the gravel. Luckily he wasn’t injured but the bike took a beating and is currently being rebuilt in time for the next race meeting. Josh finished first after another close run against the surprisingly quick Craig Bewey – Josh crossed the finish line first by a mere 1000th of a second thus taking the win.

All in all the day at Donington was a mixed bag. Josh picked up a first and a second to add to his points in the championship. Joe unfortunately received three DNFs and his Dad made the heartbreaking decision to quit from racing with the BSSO this year meant that for Joe things couldn’t get any worse. Sam, despite falling off, really enjoyed the weekend and got to grips with his bike in terms of finding its limits, or not as the case may be. Donington was a costly event for many but it was a good day out. The next round is at Cadwell which, at the time of writing, is only a matter of days away. The clock is ticking to get that rebuild finished…

Words: Adrenalin Pedstop
Photos & Video: Paul Robinson