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BSSO 2011: Rounds 8 & 9 – Lydden Hill

August 11th, 2011

The 2011 BSSO series continues – Rounds 8 & 9 took place at Lydden Hill on 30/31 July. Representing Adrenalin Pedstop was Piaggio Zip rider Sam Schofield who despite sleep depravation, a breakdown and a couple of crashes still had a smile on his face at the end, here’s his story:

Conditions were far from arid at the previous round at Three Sisters so it seemed like quite a while since I got some real track time in. My results at Three Sisters meant that for all three races on the Saturday I started in pole position. Little did I know things weren’t going to go to plan…

We set off at 2am Saturday morning and arrived at Lydden Hill at around 7am with practically no sleep. After scrutineering and signing on it was time for the practice session. I’d never been to Lydden before so I was eager to get out there and see how it was. Two laps into practice and a Lambretta had come off mid-corner which left me running over the top of him and going over the front. Not in the best of moods this left me with no experience on the track knowing that other riders have either raced here before or done a full practice session.

Lining up in the assembly area ready for race one seemed like an eternity. When they finally let us out for the sighting lap I managed about half a lap and the piston let go leaving me pushing the Zip back to the paddock. Out of action I got the chance to spectate, it was a good race with a few people falling off or breaking down. The win went to Josh Brown who had some close racing with Damon Tunnicliffe who at one point got the lead on Josh.

Feeling tired and fed up I had a limited amount of time to swap the engine over to the spare before race two. With some help from Ian and Josh the work was done in no time and this allowed me to relax and get a bite to eat. Race two was just after lunch and with the spare engine in place I felt a little more confident but still concerned about my lack of experience at Lydden. The lights went out and everyone went steaming off into the first corner. I had the speed on the straights but after being overtaken on two or so corners by quite a few people this put me in a negative mood. Knowing I couldn’t or wouldn’t carry the speed into the corner at the bottom of the hill I just kept my sights on Mark Shirley and crossed the line pretty much at the side of him. Finishing in seventh I was extremely disappointed and knew I’d need to step it up by quite a lot if I wanted to get a decent position.

During the afternoon the atmosphere in the paddock felt good. Everyone was sat about chatting and enjoying the sun. With no changes to the bike it was a case of waiting for the final race to arrive then we could enjoy some well-earned rest. With race three underway I really tried to pick up my pace. It seemed like everyone else around me had picked up the pace too so I finished in the same position as race two right down in seventh place. Although finishing seventh I didn’t feel like I could have gone that much faster if at all with the back end twitching around. The race was stopped on lap nine due to an incident involving a Lambretta, a Vespa and a Gilera DNA which resulted in the red flag been waved.

We soon got the van packed back up with all our gear and headed off down the road to Tesco for some much needed supplies. When we returned we made sure the tents were still securely held down with the screwdrivers we’d used due to leaving the tent pegs back at home. One of the sponsors was providing free beer and a BBQ so Josh and I decided to go and check it out. Most of the older classic riders were pretty drunk racing up and down on space hoppers and generally acting the fool. As 12pm approached I couldn’t stay awake any longer so we headed back to the tents for some much needed kip.

Waking up at half past ten to find Ian had set everything up was a nice change. Due to the track being near a church this meant racing couldn’t start until 12:30 because of the noise – we didn’t want any angry bible bashers chasing us around now did we? Race one came around pretty quick and the weather was scorching which meant the track was nice and sticky too. Again I felt like I was pushing relatively hard but couldn’t make up those 1.5 seconds that the frontrunners had on each lap. However I managed to get Mark Shirley on the last lap finishing just 0.08 seconds in front of him across the line. Although I didn’t get a good result I still enjoyed the race.

We packed up our stuff so we could head for home straight after the last race. I’d got it into my head that I’d have to get my lap times down by a second or so. A few laps into the race and Runner rider Keith Terry was mixing it with the Zips. Although the Runners have straight line speed they can’t really go round corners that well so they end up over doing it braking right into the corner thus slowing other riders down. After a close call between Mark Shirley and Keith I decided to carry some more speed into the right-hander at the bottom of the hill. On exiting the corner the back end went which left me on my back with the Zip bouncing through the dirt at the edge of the track. Luckily I was okay. With a pair of torn gloves and a wrecked Zip I got a lift back to the paddock. Josh went on to win the race leaving Craig Bewey in third.

Apart from the odd few who were taken to hospital after some pretty bad crashes I think it was a good weekend for most. Despite having a breakdown and a couple of crashes I still enjoyed the weekend, although I didn’t enjoy the circuit that much. Everyone seemed to be really on the ball and pushing for good positions. Feeling disappointed with my results I really need to be ready for the next round at Mallory Park.

Words: Sam Schofield @ Adrenalin Pedstop
Photos: Lee Hollick
Video: Mickey Dee