Disappointment at Rockingham
ThundersportGB Formula 600
I had been really looking forward to Rockingham, after the gains made in the closing stages at Oulton Park, I really felt ready to fight hard and push for more points and be further up the results sheets. Having never visited the circuit before, I was keen to get out on circuit and start learning.
Testing on Friday started well, and by the third session on track I was posting good times and was enjoying the circuit. I had had a few missed gears though, and was confused as to why, but I was soon given the answer in the first session after lunch. I now could not easily change into 4th gear at all, and if I did manage to get it in as soon as I put any power through it, it would slip back into a false neutral. This, clearly, was not good.
I came back in, and we discussed options. Aware that ZX6 gearboxes are a little prone to difficulties, a bit of investigation told us this was not an uncommon problem at all. Ringing round to see if we could find any solution, we struck gold. Someone who was at Rockingham knew which bit we needed and what's more, had one with him! Result!
So, we stripped the gearbox down, replaced the 4th gear selector fork, and started rebuilding. We had noticed quite a bit of wear on 4th and 6th gear, but we decided it would last the weekend, and we didn't have those parts anyway we had to go with it. So, the bike was reassembled, we got it up to scrutineering and what small amount of testing I could do in the paddock seemed to show we were all good to go.
Having been fast so quickly in testing, I was really looking forward to qualifying, determined to get a good grid position. However, it was not to be. I didn't quite manage to complete my out lap before I went for a change into 4th, found another false neutral, but this time I couldn't move through to 5th - the whole shifting mechanism had jammed up, luckily in a neutral. I rolled off to the side of the circuit and tried, in vain, to free everything up. I had to stand and watch the qualifying from the side; not fun at all. Clearly those gears had been worse than we thought.
Back into the paddock, and we thought we may have found yet another solution. However, every lead we tried had just used their spare gearbox, or had just sold their last parts - it seems that weekend there had been a glut of ZX6 gearbox failures and we were part of a larger club. One guy was just starting to struggle getting into 4th gear - good luck with that, I thought.
We tried and tried, but by early afternoon had to admit defeat. Frustratingly, even my testing times on the Friday would have done me well in qualifying, and there was much more to come. But it was not to be, and we packed up, waved farewell and took it all home.
The only consolation is that it seems my closest championship competitors had terrible weekends too, and so I am very luckily still holding onto my 6th place in the Formula 600 championship.
So a frustrating and disappointing weekend, but we will have it all sorted for Anglesey and I will be raring to go, and keep up the momentum of improvement. As well as the Formula 600/Sportsman Elite I am also entered for the prestigious Demon Tweeks Moto Super Prix of Wales, so I will be doing my best to shine in that one too!