Archive for the ‘Peter Molloy - 2009’ Category

Good Weekend For Molloy

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

The 5th round of the 2009 season was held at the iconic Brands Hatch GP track over the last weekend in July. The weather was fine and dry for the race days but changeable conditions in testing on the Friday had the team changing wheels and tyres 5 times just to get out on track in 5 of the 6 available sessions. Showery I think would be the way to summarise that day!…

As the test day ran on the shorter ‘indi’ track this allowed good track time to learn about half of the bigger GP track and with the British Superbike event on the horizon, any additional track time was much needed.

After a few spills this year I decided to treat myself to a new set of leathers for the BSB meeting. Breaking them in at this event, after about 5 laps in the first of 4 qualifying sessions on Saturday (each very brief), I had a moment coming out of the first corner where I rode up onto the kerbs, expecting all to be well I didn’t panic as I drifted wide, only for the front tyre to loose grip dramatically and the bike to be dumped on it’s side at over 100mph with me underneath it. My new Arlen Ness kangaroo hide leathers were now being tested to the full as red dust and sparks flew into my face. Some 100 yards later I and the bike came to a stop just off the racing line. Fearing the worst, I lifted the bike expecting it to fall apart in front of me only to discover not a mark on her save for the crash protection post being totally worn away. My leathers were totally wrecked on my right leg and arm (which got very hot!) needing a comprehensive professional repair with new panels needing to be sewn in but the bike was fine. The remaining sessions were spent getting my confidence back together and getting used to the larger GP track which resulted in a qualifying spot of 16th from 44 bikes. The first 8-10 riders were regular BSB riders on quick bikes and with much more experience. We also tried a softer qualifying tyre for the first time which worked well, an essential bit of kit for a quick lap time.

Race 1

After a steady start I began to circulate in a group which had riders placed around 12th-17th.  My team mate, Sarah Jordan, led the group and was showing us the way round having done a trackday at the same venue about a week before. Still learning the track, I wasn’t entirely sure where I could pass and where there would be room so I was a touch hesitant. I managed a finish of 15th with a few changes potentially in mind to make the bike go better in Race 2 the next day.

Sunday’s events were attended by staff, friends and family of Keen Shay Keens, enjoying a day out in one of the hospitality boxes that I’d arranged. It was nice to meet with them and share the day’s racing. Several came into the garage to see the bike up close with some even having a sit on it and playing around with the bike running.

Race 2

After checking the bike over on Saturday night it was apparent that new brake pads were required which usually take about 5 laps to bed in, with morning warm up not quite offering this, I started race 2 thinking the pads were worn in but after the first few corners of really putting them to the test it was clear they weren’t ready for hard use. For the first 3-4 of 8 laps the brakes performed inconsistently and wreaked havoc on my confidence - I basically didn’t know when to brake and how hard. This translates to people making easy passes and it looking like you’re touring which was really galling! Towards the end of the race the brakes began to bite properly and so good were the new pads that this showed up a handling problem that had started to show itself in recent races as I’ve now started to get used to this Supersport 600 machine. Basically the rear was lifting and upsetting the handling going into corners, pulling the bike wide and with my new better fitness, I was able to brake later and harder than before. I finished 18th which was disappointing but changing the chassis so more weight would be on the rear in Race 3 meant I was confident of setting a PB laptime and finishing in the top 12, maybe top 10.

Race 3

All of the drama unfolded in the minutes leading up to the race start. The weather had closed in and it was getting darker. A misty rain began to fall but not enough to moisten the track surface, it was still warm and the wind was blowing. About 3-4 minutes before we had to be on the grid, the mist turned to drops and I decided to throw in a set of wet tyres. On rolling onto the grid, of the 44 bikes starting only about 4 others had made the same gamble, hoping the rain would persist and the track get wet or the point of dry tyres being of no use. The pace lap was taken very slowly by the dry tyre runners obviously sussing out the grip. As we formed on the grid I had a rye smile and knew we’d made the right choice……………….In the first lap and a half I went from 16th up to about 7th with the leaders in sight and the pace very inconsistent, some people were obviously relishing in these mixed conditions, others really suffering. By the third of eight laps, the rain drops had stopped and with the surface dry, those on dry tyres began to run quicker. Those on wets like me began to overheat their tyres and slow down. The result was a heart breaking slip from being well inside the top 10 to back in 19th place by the finish. The handling of the bike was terrible with it feeling like I was riding on punctures as the tyres cooked and fell apart. Had it have kept spitting or worse i.e. a bit of lady luck, we would have for sure finished in the top 5, maybe got on the podium.

 

In summary a frustrating weekend with lessons learnt. This bodes well for the next round at Cadwell on August 22-23 as the handling should be more stable with the better brakes which will be essential on that twisty track. We will also have 4 races there that weekend instead of 3 as one is postponed from our May visit there.

Next outing is the BSB meeting at Brands Hatch as a wildcard in the Supersport class over the weekend of August 7-9. This will be the highlight of the year with some 80,000 expected to attend the Sunday races with my race being LIVE on Eurosport at 15.00 on August 9th. The entire event is covered on Eurosport that afternoon. The aim at this race, being up against WORLD class riders and machines is to finish and not get lapped. This sounds pessimistic but we are hoping to be less than 5 seconds a lap off the pace which in my first year on this bike, only 3rd year of competition and on a machine that is much lower in spec, this would be considered a big achievement.

Peter.

Peter Molloy

Peter Molloy

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Great Start To New Season

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

After being baked in sunshine for 2 weeks before the event, naturally it was too much to ask for this to carry on over the weekend.

The weekend got of to a dramatic start with only half a mile completed before the caravan became unhitched and sank itself into a lamppost, the street furniture made light work of the fibreglass and timber shell ending up in the living room with the gas bottle doing it’s best to stop the process but then getting taken through the front of the van too. Photo attached. It took a little while to untangle the van from the post. It certainly gave the old couple across the street something to talk about as they came over to help me. Had the lamppost not been there for sure it would have hit some houses which would have been unsightly. I’ve since realised what failed and have fixed it. The hunt for a replacement is on! I was due to pick my brother up on the way but he ended up collecting me and all my gear in his van and caravan.

Friday testing was wet all day with the wind blowing and no hint of the early summer in sight. After lunch, as is typically the case, I thought I’d just get one more session in before calling it a day when someone decided to start dropping petrol around the track, with it being wet there was a rainbow colour appearing and I thought just better pull in this lap in case it gets slippy and then 2 riders went down in front of me, just as I thought best take it steady, next thing I knew I was face first on the deck still holding onto the handlebars. I wrestled with the bike while skidding along the tarmac and grass as I didn’t want to let it go and then flip over and over, causing all sorts of damaged. In short, a chaotic start to the weekend but thankfully I and the bike were OK.

Saturday there was a threat of rain all day. Qualifying was in the dry. Cadwell is a very undulating track and my lack of saddle time was going to show here. this was confirmed by a 14th place in qualifying which I was particularly gutted about having ridden as hard as I could. Feeling a bit lost I thought it best to leave the set up of the bike as it was for the first race so I could tell where I was loosing time against the others. From 14th I want to get into the top 10 at least.

The first race was a little difficult to remember as it passed without too much fuss save for a poor start which then resulted in my coming from about 16/17 through to 12th in the first 3 laps. After this point I was trying to catch a group that was running together from 7-11 places but I just could make up ground. I did though see where I was slow and started to get a feel for the bike in the dry as Friday was wet all so at the close of play we had a think about what changes to make and go out in warm up on the Sunday morning with a view to finding more pace. I had improved my laptime by nearly 3 seconds from qualifying so it was good to know that I still felt slow but had actually gone much quicker (trouble was, sold had a lot of other people)

Warm up was scuppered by our wonderful climate. All set up for dry running then about 5 minutes before it chucked it down. Barely a soul went on track as at this level, most people run just the one bike whereas at pro level, a choice of wet and dry bike is usually available to the rider, if not then an army of mechanics can change the bike to run in the dry within minutes. Having no such luxury I wasn’t able to find out whether the changes we made would work so I’d have to wait until the second race.

Come mid afternoon, after a lengthy wait, the second race ran in the wet. I was excited about the prospect of racing in the wet as the Friday testing had been wet and I got really comfortable in those conditions. Unlike race one I got a rocket start and was immediately up to about 10th. For the first few laps of 10 I circulated at the back of a group which I felt sure where holding me up. At the end of the back straight on lap 3 I made a move which I hoped would take me past at least one but the all braked sooner than I expected and as I shot past one I had to miss the other too, more by luck than judgement, to pass them. I did the 4th rider, leading the group coming out of the turn so went from 10th to 6th in one go. I set about chasing down those ahead, my task was made easier by several riders falling off and having to dodge stricken machines as the race continued. After closing down the 3rd placed rider by 2 seconds a lap in the closing stages I finished right up his exhaust pipe, another 400 yards would have seen me get 3rd from a 14th start. A total turnaround from the disaster of the previous days. Character building I think they call it.

We didn’t get to race for the third and final time as we were last in the running order and because of several accidents and delays, that race is not rescheduled for later in the year when we revisit cadwell again.

Next outing is Thruxton on June 20th, I am there practising for a trip to that track in October, this visit is with another series to get track time. Next MRO event is Oulton Park in Cheshire on June 27th. Having come up from MiniTwins to Supersport 600, I am now starting to get used to this new bike. Further testing after cadwell helped this along and now rather than being scared of the bike I am now enjoying riding it. I’ve upped my training regime and with the bulk of the season approaching, including an outing with British Superbikes, I need to get on it so I can crystallise my second place in the championship, which is only a few points ahead of 3rd, 4th and 5th. It’s very close.

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Round 1 - Brands Hatch 7-8 March 2009

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

 Supersport 600 Championship - Round 1 - Brands Hatch 7-8 March 2009 

 

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