Guy Martin on the way to the podium,
30 June – 1 July Spa Francorchamps Bikers Classic. Team Bike’s Honda RC30, and Peter Boast’s Team Lincolnshire Suzuki GSXR750 do battle…
WE BUILT two engines brand new – new cams, new everything. The 1991 GSX-R750 motors were just the job for classic endurance racing’s new Evo class. The problem came with the frames. After shot blasting them, the lads cleaned the frames but once they started revving the engines on the dyno some dust must have shaken out of a crossmember and directly onto the filters. And when abrasive dust meets high revving engine components… Both engines were toast. That was a complete and engine But utter we from – disaster. Team Simon Lincolnshire Bastow (who – managed used to race to borrow GSX-RS an in BSB) and it was game on. We qualified 11th and Guy was three seconds faster than me which I should expect. Last year in the wet we were about equal but he was pushing in the dry. As we predicted, we were a bit down on power. In the first part of the race [it was split into two two-hour stints] I had a good dice with the leaders – Neate Racing – but every time John Neate went up the hill out of Eau Rouge he I’d manage to outbrake him later, then he’d disappear on another straight. It was a bit frustrating but great fun. In the second half it was hotter and people started having trouble (Team Bike, for example, see p127) and so did we. I went round Eau Rouge and it was sideways and I thought that can’t just be the heat so I knocked it back a bit and came in. The lads were looking around then someone hit the tyre with a hammer and it hardly bounced back – it was a puncture. It had 12psi in. I was relieved though – I wouldn’t have been popular if I’d come in and there was nothing wrong. Then Guy went back out. I’d been missing the odd gear but hadn’t really thought about it. Guy came straight back in because he realised the footrest was loose. But nothing else went wrong and we ended up on the podium, which was mega. Everyone knew their jobs and the atmosphere in the team was great. A good fun race.
WE DID A test day at Spa on the Thursday before the race. We had both our Honda RC30S on track, the race bike and the T bike. It was perfect. 30° centigrade, new Dunlop D213 tyres, a couple of clicks adjustment on the updated Maxton suspension and both bikes running beautifully. And I got to ride in company with my co-rider Stephane Mertens. Well, for a couple of corners anyway. Normally we’re sharing the same bike so I don’t get to ride with him but it’s a pleasure to try and follow him. After qualifying on Friday we were 7th on the grid for the first race on Saturday. At Spa the race is split into two hour legs, one on Saturday evening, one on Sunday. Each rider can’t do more than 45 minutes a session, so it’s two sessions for one rider and one session for the other. Because Stephane was 11 seconds a lap quicker than me over a three minute lap he’d do two sessions per leg, and me only one. Stephane didn’t get a great start but was up to 2nd overall, behind the Team Neate Harris CB1100, and first in class by the end of his first session. Then it was my turn. Everything seemed good. A beautiful warm evening, dry tarmac and no problems. It’s normally raining at Spa, so it was a bit unreal. Then we made a mess up with the time keeping which meant that Stephane’s final session lasted longer than 45 minutes. We were given a one minute penalty which pushed us down to 4th overall and second in class. All we did between legs was wipe the flies off the bike (there were quite a lot) and change the tyres and pads. When Stephane started the second leg on Sunday he upped his pace by two seconds a lap, so within 35 minutes we’d got the class lead back again and everyone was happy. It didn’t last. A few laps later Stephane felt the bike lose power and he coasted to a stop on the straight after Eau Rouge. When he restarted the bike it was making bad noises so he turned it off again, and that was that. Shame, it was going well. When we got home we stripped the bike. A piston had broken. It’s the only non-honda bit in the engine, but we’ll have it fixed for the Classic Bol d’or on 14-15 September.
‘When he re-started it was making bad noises so he turned it off again, and that was that’
Been riding for: 45 years Owns: 31 bikes including Montesa 4RT, three speedways bikes…
Herwig Lemmens holds the brolly for Stephane on Sunday Despite broken piston Team Bike will return in September Been riding for: since forever Owns: ‘Jeez I don’t know. Maybe 25 bikes including Honda SP1, CB1100R and more.’