Talan Racing - Donington Park Report, 11/12 May 2019
The team joined North Gloucester Road Racing for a weekend race meet at Donington. The usual club of BMCRC are racing the following weekend, but due to an International Para-rowing race, Andy was unable to make the meeting and so the team decided to race together with NGRR instead.
Andy Houghton #333 - Open and Powerbikes
It was clear it was going to be a busy weekend for Andy this week. Racing with NGRR gave the opportunity to race in 2 classes, the Open and the Powerbikes. The Only problem with this was that there was no time to test the rebuilt R1 since the crash at Cadwell Park 2 weeks prior. As it transpired, although as far as the running gear and bodywork went all seemed fine when Andy got on track it became clear that the powershifter and autoblip were not working. This meant Andy had adjust his riding to the old-school style of letting off the power to shift up the box and using the clutch on the way down.
Saturday's schedule consisted of a qualifying an a race in each group but given the issues Andy only made it out with the Powerbikes on Day 1. Making a good start and picking of riders 1 by 1 through the short 7 lap race Andy achieved a respectable finish in the mid pack.
Sunday and day 2; In the sunshine Andy got all 4 races in without incident, A couple of close calls with the same ride off of the start line where rider stalled getting away right in front of Andy was the most nervous moment of the afternoon. Other than that 4 solid performances were put on the card with the highlights being the most outrageous block pass into the final chicane on the last lap of the first Powerbike race and a best lap time of 1.17.1 which is half a second off Andy's PB round the international circuit and not bad considering the extra mental effort put into those gear changes!
Qualifying - 23rd from 32
Race 1 - Start 27 Finish 17
Race 2 - Start 29 Finish 20
Race 3 - Start 21 Finish 14
Qualifying - DNS
Race 1 - DNS
Race 2 - Start 35 Finish 29
Race 3 - Start 32 Finish 21
Talan Skeels-Piggins #83 - 600cc
Talan was fortunate to get three dry sessions on Saturday. Practice proved the newly adjusted gear shifter was working well and meant he could focus on racing hard. Out in the qualifying session he steadily improved and finished 25th from the 40 racers out on track.
Due to a few BSB racers entered, he was able to see close up how fast they can corner and get back on the power. In the afternoon, there was much deliberation about which tyres to run. There had been a couple of short, but heavy, rain showers and the rain radar was showing more heading towards the circuit. Luckily a race in the next garage went out a race before and claimed that there was nearly a full dry line when they started and it was definitely time to move onto dry tyres. A choice was made to stick with the dry tyres and it proved to be the correct choice. During the race he began carefully, although still managed to pass six riders on the first lap, and then set about tracking down and overtaking the riders in front. During the penultimate lap, when lapping one of the back markers he lost contact with the racers he had chased down and so couldn't reel them in to improve the places made up. Even so, he had managed an improvement of nineteen places from starting, a very positive start to the races.
Sunday was dry throughout, so less sky watching took place! Both races followed a similar format of a tricky first lap to get past five or six of the slower racers, followed by periods of; tracking down - passing - tracking down - passing, those in front. The final race being his better performance and also the race in which he began to relax and find better pace. It has been a long road back from losing the finger in October, but the races over the weekend gave Talan the confidence boost he needed to enjoy the racing again. During the last race he managed to get down in 1.17s and repeatedly improve on the times with the last lap recording a 1.17.7 for a personal best by 1.1seconds. A wonderful way to finish the race weekend.
Thanks goes to the Team, supporters and sponsors who enable both racers to compete and have such an incredible freedom.
Qualifying - 25th out of 40 racers
Race 1 - Start 41 Finish 22
Race 2 - Start 37 Finish 24
Race 3 - Start 31 Finish 19 (set personal best lap of 1.17.7 beating previous best by 1.1seconds)
The Team will be back racing with NGRR in Aug/Sep when Talan competes at Castle Combe, the circuit which first helped him to get back on two wheels.
Talan continues to make plans for his participation in the 2019 Classic TT Parade Lap over on the Isle Of Man. Ferry crossing and accommodation have been booked, which was a huge concern due to the late confirmation of the entry. The opportunity will be used to promote the team and to promote the charity which Talan founded - The Bike Experience. The charity instructs and advises disabled people how to ride a motorcycle. In fact Andy Houghton came through TBE and then joined the race team, so it really is grass roots for disabled motorcyclists.