June 2011

Well 2011 finally got under way at an unusually sunny Croft back in April and while I was extremely rusty having not even had my leg over a bike since October I was looking forward to it, We still hadn’t sorted out what I was riding yet so we dug the old girl out of retirement and dusted her off for the first two meetings of the year. Practice went ok and then it was the timed session and that felt better although I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular but was pleasantly surprised to find I’d qualified 5th behind four 125 GP bikes who’d come up for practice ahead of the BSB meeting.  The first race was a good one and I made the perfect start, I got my head down and never looked back but with a couple of laps to go I could here a 125 behind me so I just tried to keep it nice and tidy and not make any mistakes, on the last lap he came past on the brakes into Tower and it was 14 year old Luke Hedger who went on to win the first round of the British 125’s at Brands Hatch, I got a good run out and got alongside on the exit of the Jim Clarke esses just enough for him to know I was there and he overcooked it into sunny running wide so I nipped back through and went on to take the win which I was over the moon with.

David Bell on Kawasaki at CroftAccelerating hard out of the hairpin.

 Race two was the race of the weekend I made a good start but didn’t get the holeshot that went to Tom Carne on another 125 but I managed to get past on lap two, I led for a couple of laps then was passed by another young 125 pilot called Harry Hartley I managed to re-pass him straight away as I had to try and hold them up in the corners and couldn’t afford to stay behind and follow, another lap went by and he came up the inside into the complex but I managed to outdrag him down the start/finish straight but again he tried into the complex and this time he made it stick only for me to pass him down the back straight this time, I didn’t dare look over my shoulder and thought there were only a couple of them as I could here them buzzing away behind, the last lap flag came out and I rode a good but defensive lap almost coming to a dead stop at the hairpin to stop them from getting a run to the line and I managed to hold on to take the win, as I crossed the line I looked over my shoulder to get the shock of my life and see four 125’s right behind with the top five covered by less than 1 second. Loads of people came to say what a great race it had been and to watch me leading those four little 125’s around was fantastic which was nice but it was even better to be involved in. I got a call on the Saturday night telling me that my bike was now sold as someone had put a deposit on it so I would have to be careful from now on, Ha Ha.

Croft - David Bell Being Chased

Leading Luke Hedger in race one, it was this close for most of the weekend.

 Sunday was a bit cooler and race 3 was another good one, I made a great start and led for most of it but then Hedger came past and a lap later so did Hartley, this time I didn’t retaliate straight away but was right on their heels as we went onto the last lap, as we went round the long right hander at Hawthorn we came across two backmarkers and they squeezed through before the chicane and I lost out and had to back off which gave them a couple of seconds lead so I settled for third but I managed to set a new class lap record of 1min 30.8 seconds so I was happy. Race 4 was pretty much the same I made the early running but both Hartley and Hedger came past I then made a mistake going into Tower bend and ran wide at Sunny which allowed them to get away, I managed to keep the gap pretty much the same but couldn’t reel them in so I finished 3rd again but in all it was an excellent start to the season and I was looking forward to Scarborough.

We turned up at Scarborough for the Ian Watson Spring Cup and after Croft was feeling really confident of getting some good results but for some reason I was really struggling in practice and I got held up on every lap in qualifying, I just felt out of sorts I don’t know why, the bike was spot on but I just couldn’t figure it out and that left me on the third row. My first race was the Superbike Qualifier and I made a good start and rode a good race to finish 11th and grab the last spot on the grid for the Spring Cup. Next was the Supertwin 1st leg and I made a good start slotting into 6th then after a couple of laps I moved past Dan Frear to take 5th, I missed a gear going up the hill which allowed Ian Lougher past so I hung onto him as best I could and that dragged me up onto the rear wheel of Adrian Archibald, he was riding very defensive and I was struggling to see a way past but I got a good run out of Farm bends and outbraked him round the outside into Mere Hairpin “a cool move if I don’t say so myself”, I managed to hold onto 4th to the flag and I was happy with that after the way things had gone in the morning.

Leading Dan Frear out of Memorial.

 I was straight back out for the Spring Cup 1st leg but after nearly running into the back of somebody at the start and then almost being punted off the track twice on the first lap I decided enough was enough and pulled in to concentrate on the second Supertwin race. For this one the grid positions went on the 1st race result so I moved up to the front row, I made a good start into 3rd and held onto it for a couple of laps although the front two were pulling away, Lougher came past up the back straight on lap three and I hung onto him for as long as possible but he slowly edged away. I could here a bike behind and knew he was close as I couldn’t see him at the hairpins but I just kept my head down and didn’t make any mistakes to hang on to take another 4th place, considering what a crap start to the day I had it all finished up really good and a fitting end to my time riding the ER6.   I was a bit sad but all good things come to an end and it was time to move on to the next chapter with Newcastle Motorcycles ( the same people just a different name & manufacturer).

Rounding Mere Hairpin for the last time on the ER6.

As your reading this I’m currently building my new Honda CBR 600 RR I was hoping to race at East Fortune but too many parts just didn’t turn up in time so I had to knock it on the head, but it’s nearly ready and all I’m waiting for is the back shocker, it’s booked on the dyno then I’m off to Cadwell Park for a trackday to blow the cobwebs off before the Barry Sheene Classic at Scarborough although that’s still a  week away. Things didn’t get off to the best of starts when I managed to crash it on some gravel when I was out running it in, I felt like a right donkey and couldn’t believe it had happened but shit happens and hopefully that will be the one and only. I’d like to say a big thankyou to all my sponsors for staying with me for 2011 especially Dave Winfield at Newcastle Motorcycles for providing me with another brand new bike and I like to welcome a new sponsor Steve & Jackie Abbott, Steve has helped out at various meetings over the last couple of seasons and just loves being involved so big thanks to them.

Well that’s it for now hopefully things will go good at Cadwell and I’ll be in good shape for Scarborough then we’re off to the Isle of Man for the Southern 100 the week after so fingers crossed. Cheers David.