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Jenny came along to help on Thursday while Sally stayed in the shop, all went smoothly until it was noticed that the exhaust on the Cub was a bit wobbly; a bracket had broken. Not to worry, I could take the bike back home and make a new one; fabrication took half an hour, fitting and fettling – which involved lying under the bike and getting excessively warm in the continued fine weather – took much longer. Still, it was done in time for an early night and there was time to get the bracket scrutineered in the morning before practice.
The Cub felt pretty good for a lap or two – and then not too good at all. Taken back to the paddock in the Van of Shame, it became apparent that the big end had gone. OK, let's see what we can do on the 500 – not a lot, I pulled in after a couple of laps with something amiss. A strip of rubber that gives the carbs some extra support had given up the ghost, and one carb was trying to escape. So it was a swift departure for home with the Cub in the back of the van, and a busy evening ripping the engine apart, fitting my last spare crank assembly, checking the card tournament was running OK in the shop, and grabbing a quick pint with Sally and our friend John, staying with us while marshalling at Donington, then leaving Sally to close the shop at 11.00 while I continued working on the bike till 1.30.
Up at 7.30, engine back in bike, and back to the circuit. With the last bits to bolt on a timing to re-set, catching the first race wasn't likely, so the first trip out was on the Daytona which was way off the pace. The continued jumping out of third gear wasn't helping, but some of it was down to a lack of incentive to push hard once I had lost contact with the bunch I would usually have been dicing with. Hope for some fun therefore rested with the Cub; I knew I could beat one of the Hondas, and a couple more were within range, so it was particularly disappointing when the piston seized on lap three. That's the piston that had behaved perfectly well recently.
That left a couple of races on Sunday on the Daytona, with time to see if I could sort the clutch slip that had also not been helping. And lo! A cure was effected – and the lap times were all of one second better, not what I had hoped for. The poor old bike has given good service these last 40 years, but on the longer circuits it is not quite up to the ever-faster competition any more. Time to put the road tyres back on and we can potter round some country lanes and enjoy our mutual retirement.
Spirit Games (Est. 1984, Lefglow Ltd) - Supplying role playing games (RPG), wargames rules, miniatures and scenery, new and traditional board and card games for the last 34 years
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