Pendine sands, on the southern coast of Wales. Our first Straightliners event and the beginning of a truly epic journey.
Me and Phil drove up separately and we both got caught in traffic at one time or another, but arrived in the paddock late afternoon in the rain. I was fortunate to have travelled up with Rhona who had booked us in to a hotel, so Phil was left to hold the fort - and the gazebo - for the rest of the evening! High winds meant our new gazebo ended up banging on Phil’s van asking to be taken down, at a difficult time due to rain etc.
Before I left the paddock on Friday we both had a chat to one of the teams there, Desperate Dan’s, who told us about the scrutineering rules for the event which we had unfortunately ignored during our rush to get the bikes ready for the event. This led to slight concern about the lack of steering damper on my part and the lack of cut-off switches on both our parts! Luckily we got everything sorted before scrutineering the next morning.
So Saturday was wet. We also didn’t take the tides into account and realised that we wouldn’t be starting the days racing until the afternoon, which actually gave us plenty of time to get the bikes ready. Luckily for us, our friends Mark and Ian turned up to watch the weekend’s events and so we quickly roped them in to being pit crew for the weekend, which was a good job for us as I think we would have struggled to get through the weekend on our own. We were in the queue for the first run of the day, the top speed kilometre, when one of the first bikes away, a massive Harley, crashed at the end of the run. This caused a delay of an hour and a half which meant we only got one run on Saturday. Luckily the Harley rider got away with only a broken collarbone and thumb.
We both took it steady on that first run, being unsure of the sand conditions and also never having raced on the sand, but still managed to get our first new record under the belt. Phil did the kilo at 86.732mph and I did it at 88.185mph.
A few beers in the evening rounded off a wet but interesting first day.
Sunday was a very different day. The weather was amazing and we felt in a better position to gun it on the sand after having a practice run the day before.
The first runs were for the one mile record, and Phil went off first and managed another new record at 97.090mph. My first run ended rather suddenly due to electrical failure and a slipping clutch so I headed back to the pits for a quick repair session.
The next runs were for the mile and a half records, and Phil set a 97.877mph on the first run and a new record of 98.096mph on the second. I also had two runs at the mile and a half. My first time was 100.982mph and after taking the baffles out of the exhaust, my second run set a new record of 108.28mph. I was the last bike to run on the Sunday and felt lucky to have got the second run in after having to retreat to the paddock for an hour to fix the clutch.
We met several teams over the course of the weekend that are regulars at Bonneville Speed Week in America, and we picked up some useful contacts for our pending trip. We thanked the organisers at Straightliners for a great weekend and then packed down and headed off home with a total of five new records achieved. What a fantastic first time out with the Straightliners club! Thanks to everyone for their help, especially Mark and Ian, and Rhona and of course Barney (the dog).