13/03/2013

SorryMate.com Race Team: Test and Race Report 8th – 10th March 2013

This year Sorrymate.com are running our own team in the ACU National Endurance Championship. Sorrymate have sponsored and raced in the series for a few years now with Fergus Dalgarno (founder of SorryMate.com) taking 3rd place in the Junior Championship a couple of years ago with Richard Dilks. This year we are going for the full National Championship.

It was eagerly awaited, the first proper test and race meeting of the 4 years on the Snetterton 300 circuit, the same one used by British Superbikes.

The team of Colin Norris and Warren Verwey had been at Snetterton the week before for a track day with No Limits and had put in consistently fast lap times, so things were looking good for this weekend. The management, Fergus and the pit crew of Sarah and Ollie did not make the trip.

As we all rolled up on Thursday night the paddock was full of teams ready for the start of the season along with a few teams testing. Dan Linfoot and Peter Hickman were there on their GM Moto Hondas to show us all how it should be done.

As Friday morning arrived, the team were booked on the track. That’s as far as we got for the first two hours as the fog rolled in and blanked out the line of sight between the Marshall’s points. It was cold, wet, and foggy. Not a great start. We finally got out for our first run at around 11:00am. It was interesting hitting the 300 metre mark at the end of the back straight and not being able to see the corner. After 20 minutes of learning nothing we retired to the garage only to watch the fog thicken and stop all action on track again. Eventually we managed one more session before packing up for the night.

Saturday dawned with the rain teaming down and Colin and Warren were first out for a half hour qualifying at 9.00 which started with two laps behind the pace car to keep everything sane. With 4 laps each and a practice change over, we qualified fourth in class and 14th over all. So ready to play.

I spent the next hour or two cleaning and prepping both bikes making sure all the nuts and bolts were tight, tyres were right, warmers ready etc.; endurance races are won in the pits as well as on the track.

The next group got out for practice and then the track closed, this time because there was too much water. (Puddles up to 4 inches deep on some of the Apexes with streams across the track in places.)

After a number of delays the club called all the teams together and put it to them that it was up to them if they wanted to race. The majority said no and that was it. We brought 3 trucks, three bikes and eight people down for two to three days and probably managed about 60 laps between the three of us but that’s what you get if you go racing in March in the UK. That said we got to spend time together getting to know how we are all going to work, so all set for the next round on 20th April at Oulton Park where the team will have to survive without Fergus since he is getting married that day.

You can see pictures of the bikes and the team by clicking here.

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