Torrential rain cuts short Oulton Park endurance race for Dubai based Vendetta Racing Team
Oulton park, UK, Sept 17th – As part of the ACUs UK endurance bike Championship, the sponsored “Sorrymate.com Hottrax Motorsport Endurance Championship” is a fairly relaxed series of endurance races run over eight race weekends at some of UKs most demanding circuits.
The UAE based Vendetta Team travelled to UK to race in the National 600cc class with the Ducks Cross prepared Yamaha R6. They left scorching temperatures of Dubai to bear the cold and wet conditions of Cheshire, England.
Heres a first hand account from UAE Sportsbike Championship racer Alan Boyter.
Oulton Park – Qualifying
We had been promised rain for the weekend but we managed to get 5 sessions in on the test day before we had to switch to wets. It gave me a good chance to learn the track and Steve to remember it! Its quite a flowing track compared to Cadwell Park where we raced only last month, a lot wider too which picking out the reference points a bit easier. It still has a couple of parts where its impossible not to lift the front wheel which is entertaining, at least there is no jump….
The track had started to dry out when we went for our qualifying laps, we did toy with the idea of swapping back to slicks but it just didn’t seem worth it as its an endurance race, the start isn’t everything. We did ok regardless and qualified 17th out of 27, our tyre decision was decided for us when the heavens opened up just before lunch.
Oulton Park – Race
Steve started the race Le Mans style at Cadwell so it was my turn to run to the seat this time, while Steve propped up the bike for me, what a daunting prospect, let me tell you. The soaking wet waterlogged track made it even worse! Luckily I got away cleanly and was laying in 19th by lap one. With the wet track and spray it was just a case of finding a rhythm and seeing how much grip was really out there.
As it happens there was quite a bit as some of the fast BSB guys who presumably got in a tangle behind me started to pass so I tried to get a tow with them and sure enough with full wets there is still enough grip to lift the front end in the same places as the dry and get knee’s down! I slowly built up my speed and confidence and started to pass people. Even when it really started to come down I was quite confidant and actually enjoying the rain, the biggest thing to look out for was the standing water as it was moving around on every lap.
After a while I started to suss out where I should be seeing the pit board, I had already looked for the spot in practice the day before but the rain adds a totally different dimension, the space where I thought it was is right beside my braking marker which I knew would make things hard. Lap by lap I was looking and looking as it felt I had been out for ages, eventually I spotted it and came in.
Steve was waiting to jump on but seemed quite agitated as I stopped. It turns out that they had been trying to get me in for 15 mins! I just hadn’t seen the pit board…oops!
The bike was fuelled and Steve got out cleanly. I went to check the timings and we were sitting in 10th place and second in class! The downside was we knew a 2 second penalty was coming as I had stayed out over my allocated 50 mins, I was out for 1:05. Just then Steve arrived back at the pits, the clutch adjuster had slackened all way back leaving him with no clutch, we wound it back up but presumed it would do it again and had no idea why it was doing it to begin with.
As luck would have it the safety car was then out due to 3 bikes going down. The car was out for 5 laps and the rain was getting heavier and heavier, as we’re used to racing in Dubai we have perforated boots and leathers to keep us cool, not really the appropriate equipment for racing in monsoon conditions!
Five laps later the safety car ducked in and racing resumed. The rain was still heavy but Steve was lapping in some good times and looked to be in a rhythm…until he didn’t turn up on lap 39.
When the stop watch passed the 4 min mark I went to check my phone, as soon as I picked it up it rang with Steve’s number. Holy Cr**p.
He had lost the front going into Druids which is quite a fast corner surrounded my grass then gravel. Nothing changed from this lap to the last but the front just let go with no warning, presumably standing water caused it. Sadly the crash had taken out the bar, crash bung, foot peg, tank and a host of other small things so that was that, we were out.
Another endurance race and another non finish but what an experience. We’ll be back to do more of this next year for sure! We would both like to say a Big Big thanks to the guys at Ducks Cross racing for sorting out everything. Another thanks to Russell who repaired the bike from Cadwell and is going to have to fix more this time! And finally to Steve, Sharon and Brittany for standing at the pit wall in the rain holding a pit board, which i couldn’t see.
You tube Videos of the race action can be seen here –