The Road to Circuit
I'll basically summarise the events that took place for a
number of Go Star racers who decided to commit to a few days in the sun down
under in the south of France about 1.5 hrs drive from Monaco. Joe Patti, Tony
Norman and myself Ian the Porter.
The plan was to leave work on Wednesday and go straight to Joe's then my place
and finally Tony's before heading of to Dover where we would sleep over before
catching the 07:30 hover to Calais. The plan was going to plan and all three
bikes were packed but during the trip to Dover we had a major blow out on the
van while towing the caravan. There was this big bang and then everything went
loose and I had to do a
great many left right, left right in order to maintain a
vaguely straight line.
Finally after a lot of messing about with left handed threads
on the wheel nuts we finally got to Dover for 05:00. We only managed 1hrs sleep
before we had to board the hover before we set out on the 600mile trek. We spent
a few hrs in Calais trying to find a cheap tyre for the spare wheel but
eventually had to settle with paying 120 euro. After that the trip was completed
over two days without any further incident apart from beautiful scenery and good
French food. How ever as we came to Circuit De Ledenon we were met with the
steepest hill we have ever seen on a natural road. This circuit is set within
the hills and as such it is a Cadwell park type circuit but x4. We got stuck up
this hill and had to unload Tony's bike from the caravan and unhitch the van as
well. Tony road his bike on the road to the circuit while I drove the van in 1st
gear up this hill while Joe stayed behind protecting the caravan. Luckily we met
an ex pat from Germany with a 3.5litre Mercedes van who hitched up the caravan
and easily pulled it up the hill from a standing start. Listen here " don't tow
for several hundred miles away from home if you are on the power boarder line
and don't know the route". Listens are to be learned and remembered.
The track day sessions started on Saturday with a stern
warning from Ambrose " the organiser" on the dangers of the circuit and the
respect we should give it. Joe & Tony were running in their bikes so opted for
the Novice group and I went into the expert group as I always believe these
groups to be more safer in which to ride fast. This track is about 2miles long
with approx 13 corners. It has jumps, steep up hills and down hills with about 3
hairpins and fast sweepers. It's got just about everything and we were told it
is the most technical track in Europe which was also confirmed by an MCN report
on European tracks that same week. We set a deal up between us that who ever
crashes on the first day will buy dinner for everyone. I'm glad to say that
nobody brought dinner for anyone that day. Everybody's bike was running fine and
we took the next 1.5 days to get to know the track as there are more blind
corners on this track than I have ever seen.
After two days getting to know the track we all started to
make real progress with getting to ride the circuit faster and getting more
familiar with our bikes. I must say that after an initial ear bending, Joe
finally took our instructions on board and ended up looking real smooth and
sharp and must be a candidate for the most improved rider of the week at
Ledenon. Tony was also making progress and was power wheeling his bike as a
result of his resent engine tuning work. My R1 is standard and needs no
introduction and I was getting well comfortable with the front wheel
continuously leaving the ground after our 4 days. Every time I nailed it to the
stop in 3rd gear the front would leave the ground so I had to line it up with
where I wanted to go before pulling the trigger. It's definitely more fun than
Aprilia RS250 and a lot faster.
On the final forth day I put slicks on for the first time as
it is what I will be using in the power bike. I could feel the extra grip even
after just 3 laps and I had full confidence in the tyre probably too much as I
ended up crashing on the 3rd session by trying to enter a corner about 15mph
faster than I had ever before. I guess I needed to build up more heat in the
tyre or go slower. The damage was sorted out and I was back out in the afternoon
to pick up where I left off. Joe was also full of riding confidence and wiped
out a 14yr old kid who was on an RS125 challenge bike by going up his inside.
Joe was in fighting mood and said " he should not have been going so slow".
Fighting talk is good and we will need lots of it during the season.
In closing we had a really good time and 4days back to back is
equal to or greater than 8 separate track days in England. It's recommended and
I will be doing it again. We met some new friends along the way from Germany,
France and England. For consistency a couple of Germans parked next to us in the
paddock and crashed their VFR400 ( Michael ) and ( Klaus ) ran of the track on
his GSXR1000. Again people we meet at track days who park in our garages or next
to us always crash! Michael and Klaus are real hip guy's and spend a lot of time
globe trotting around Europe and USA just for kicks. Michael is also a
designer and made a carbon fibre tank and one of styled carbon fibre fairing for
his VFR400 which does not look like a VFR400 anymore. Unfortunately I forgot to
take a picture of his bike. If you have a picture Michael, send it to me for the
We also met a guy called Oliver who I dubbed Luca Cadalora as he was a dead look
alike. He rode a CBR600 and was very fast. He was part of the tyre crew there
selling tyres and is an experienced racer of many years. His friend Bernard was
on a Honda SP 1000 and was one of the fastest as well. Their company is call
Motek and they service and repair all type of generators as well as sell tyres.
We also met a farther and son team from Bournemouth who were
there just for the fun of it. Darren was the son and he was having a few tyre
problems due to over stiff rear suspension which was causing his tyres to spin
and hence blister. I lent him some of my experience and made some adjustment to
get him going in the right direction. A few clicks here and there and a new rear
tyre and the blistering was cured. He was looking real fast out there and I
reckon this boy will be racing soon.....I can tell! Darren give us a call when
you are ready. Darren was on an R1 and so was his father Steve who I never
managed to see riding as there were a few blue R1's out there and I could not
tell who was who. Darren was also a lucky man as his
girl friend Naomi was there with him all the time. My girl told me to ?|!%$£&
off when I asked if she wanted to come to circuit de Ledenon.
This time we had plenty of sleep before taking to the roads
and we drove a marathon session to cover 600 miles in one day at an average
speed of 50mph. We got to Calais for 02:30hrs in the morning after leaving at
10:00hrs. The trip back was smooth without problems and we arrived back in our
homes on Thursday well sun tanned and feeling ready for the season to begin.
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on the way to Ledenon
we encountered snow
The town of Ledenon
Circuit De ledenon
is set in the hills
The bikes we rode
Klaus our new
The big hill that nearly
spoiled the day.
This chap Darren will
one day be racing
The road to Ledenon
Some girl we
met in Ledenon
Joe lost his
virginity big time
Klaus with his
I ( Ian ) crashed
The ciruit went
The ciruit went left,right,left,
and more ,
GO Star arwing