Welcome to my 2012 motorcycle racing season

Hello again and welcome to the 2012 season, after a massively long lay off after my knee injury last year, I parted company with Newcastle Motorcycles on good terms, It was quite sad really as I’ve been with them since 2006 but I just wasn’t happy riding the Honda last year and didn’t want to waste their time or mine for another season but I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to Dave Winfield and the rest of the staff for their help and support over the last 6 years.

The long winter months were starting to really drag and I wasn’t sure if I would be riding at all this year but I eventually got something sorted with Roger Middleton (RMKD) to ride one of his Kawasaki ER6’s, Roger is a renowned tuner of Kawasaki ZXR400’s but broke into the Supertwin scene last year and boy can he make them go, so I was over the moon to be back on an ER6.

It’s slightly different to what I’d ridden before, another new sponsor for 2012 is Bell Helmets and I’d like to say thanks to Mark Taylor and Custom Lids in Newcastle for sorting me out with a Bell M5X, a top quality helmet plus a massive thank you to all my existing sponsors who have stayed with me for 2012.

Croft

The first race was at Croft but we did the test day on the Friday just to get a feel for thing’s and let me get back into the swing of it as it was the best part of nine months since I’d swung my leg over a bike, everything went well and we got to try both the RMKD ER6’s back to back although the other bike did have a bit of a misfire but my bike was absolutely flying and I was as happy as Larry and looking forward to race day.

David Bell Racing at Croft NEMCRC Motorcycle Racing Meeting

Both bikes in the garage at Croft

The weather was a bit ‘iffy’ on the Saturday morning and the 15 minute qualifying session for the Supertwin Race was a bit damp but drying quickly, I managed to get a few good laps in and put it on pole to start the weekend off well. The weather had picked up by the time the first race came around and I took the holeshot, I got my head down and pulled out a good lead to eventually win by 12 seconds and the bike was spot on. Next up was the Thunderbikes and having Qualified 3rd I was down on the 5th row of the grid because we were racing in with the Open class, I made a decent start and made up a couple of places on the opening lap settling in to about 12th or 13th, on lap two I closed in on a couple of bikes in front but as I went over the start/finish the bike lost power so I just pulled over to the side of the track and switched it off. After the mammoth push through the paddock I was “sweating like a glass blowers a**e”, I got back to the garage and we decided that we would use the other bike for the rest of the weekend, although it still had a misfire the bike was one of the best handling bikes I’ve ever ridden, I made a good start and slotted in to 3rd on lap one then moved through to second at the hairpin, I took the lead on the back straight and never looked back taking another win this time by 5 seconds.

David Bell Tucked in down the back straight at Croft

Tucked in down the back straight

The second Thunderbike race was full of action and I made a decent start but got hung out to dry at the chicane on lap one and ended up going over the kerb which lost me a bit of time but I soon made it up, I was on the back of a group of five bikes and kept passing a couple of them at the hairpin only to be re-passed down the straight, this went on for a couple of laps then as we approached the chicane I lined myself up to get a good run through and started to ride round the outside of the bike in front only for him to sit up a little just as I was alongside which forced me onto the grass, I stood the bike up and kept going as best I could on the wet grass until I could get back onto the track only losing one position so I got my head down again and within one lap was back with them but it was soon a repeat of the ‘shenanigans’ that went on before, I was starting to get a bit frustrated and in my haste to get past I totally dropped a bollock and ended up on the grass again in exactly the same place only this time I lost a couple of places and by the time I’d caught back up the race was over but I managed to finish 2nd in the Thunderbikes so I was happy enough.

The weather was better again on Sunday and after working late into the night to rectify the misfire Roger was hoping that he’d sussed it, I went out for the first Supertwin race and had another solid race this time winning by 8 seconds and only missing out on breaking the lap record by 0.01seconds, the bike ran great and the misfire was gone so I was really looking forward to the Thunderbike race, I made a cracking start and was up to 8th through turn one then I saw Garry Hamilton ahead and cheekily nipped up the inside to take the lead in the Thunderbikes and 7th in the Open race but all that came crashing down about 5 seconds later when Kirk Jamison ‘highsided’ right infront of me, I was left with nowhere to go and hit his bike knocking it over then riding over it, unfortunately Kirk was at the other side and I couldn’t avoid him and rode over him too crashing myself in the process.  I tumbled for what seemed like ages over and over again eventually coming to a stop and I just lay there for a few moments just to gather my thoughts and make sure everything was OK before trying to get up. I could hear Kirk so he was obviously in a lot of pain but by the time I got to my feet the doctors were already tending to him, I got a quick check over from the doc, had a look at the bike and quickly realised that my day was over then walked back to the garage. I was a bit battered and bruised but OK and got off quite lightly considering, but more importantly the new Bell helmet escaped without so much as a scratch, “Phew”.

David Bell and Kirk Jamison at Croft NEMCRC Meeting 2012

That’s me nearest and Kirk in the background, “OUCH”

On closer inspection when we got the bike back it wasn’t as bad as I thought and Roger was spot on about it, we packed up and went home and I was starting to ache badly. On Monday my left thigh had swollen a lot and my shoulder was giving me jip but that was nothing compared to poor old Kirk, Susan and I went to visit him in hospital and he was in good spirits considering he had two broken vertebrae in his back and has to wear a body cast for 4 months plus other injuries too, so I count myself very lucky to have walked away, I would like to wish Kirk a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on track soon.

 

 

 

Olivers Mount, Scarborough

Two weeks later I was at Scarborough for the Ian Watson Spring Cup and it was like racing in Siberia, we definitely had four seasons in one day but what a pain in the backside the weather was one minute it was dry the next wet then hailstones then dry again, it made tyre choice a lottery and I think everybody got it wrong somewhere along the line.  Anyway the previous night we’d been out for an Italian in Scarborough with our friends Graemy, Nicola, Andy and Abbi plus the tribe of Spencer, Carter, Lewis and Lily then we went back to ‘Fawlty Towers’ where they were staying.  It was like walking into a time warp as you went through the door but after a drink or two we had a right laugh although someone who shall remain nameless was paying a heavy price on Sunday. Anyhow back to the racing and qualifying went well in tricky conditions and I ended up 5th, my first race was the Spring Cup qualifying heat and after a heavy downpour 30 minutes before the race I opted for full wets but when I went on the warm up lap it was almost dry.  I also had a bad vibration from the front brakes so I started the race but wasn’t happy at all and pulled in after one lap as the vibration wasn’t getting any better, we checked the discs but couldn’t see anything then put the dry tyres back in ready for the first Supertwin race.

David Bell Racing at Olivers Mount Scarbrough

Leading Davy Morgan through the esses | Photo: fastrackimages.com

I made a decent start but was probably a bit cautious in the first corner as it was still a bit damp but I managed to hold my position and was 5th going up the hill then as I tipped into the right hander of the esses the front end let go, the bars turned and the front started to push and I thought I was off then it just gripped again and I got round the corner,  I’d like to say it was talent and I held it on my knee and all that ‘bollocks’ but it wasn’t it was pure luck and I don’t mind admitting it, after that my confidence was ruined for the rest of the lap and I lost three places, I got going again on lap two

when I was happy that my tyres were warmed up and started to pick my way back through, I moved up to 7th a lap later then chased down Davy Morgan and got good drive coming out of farm bends and managed to out drag him down to Mere hairpin, Lee Vernon was next but he was a couple of seconds ahead so I pushed on and caught him within a couple of laps and managed to get by on the run between Memorial and Drury’s, by now my shoulder was giving me serious pain and I was struggling to move around the bike but I gritted my teeth and pushed as hard as I could and held Lee off for the remaining laps to finish 4th.

David Bell heads for another fourth place at Olivers Mount

En route to another 4th | Photo: fastrackimages.com

The weather stayed dry for the rest of the day and I made another good start into 4th, luckily there were no scares this time and I managed to hang on to the front runners for a few laps, after four laps my shoulder started to give me jip so I had no choice but to slow down a bit but I had a big lead over 5th place so I could afford to do so and bring it home in 4th.

The bike has gone back to Roger’s workshop for a few alterations but I’ll be going to pick it up in a couple of weeks to get it ready for East Fortune at the end of May, I just hope my shoulder is OK by then, we’ve had a lot going on recently, Carter started Nursery a couple of weeks ago and just this week we took his stabilizers off his bike and he loved it, he’s a natural although he has had a good teacher in his brother Spencer. Well that’s it for now.

Cheers

David