I have two bikes this year which is a bonus and the track day was used to run both of them in and meet members of the new team.
I had never ridden at Donnington Park before but had played it plenty of times on the playstation so I knew the layout of the circuit but the computer game never does the elevation changes like Craner Curves justice. In my first session out it was cold but dry so I kept my team fleece on over my leathers to keep me warm, I was told by my mechanic Derek Huxley to take it easy and learn the circuit so off I went and after a few laps I was loving the fast flowing stuff but didn’t really like the tight chicane and stop/start Melbourne loop but that has been the comment from many a rider.
I was only revving my number 1 bike which was still basically in road trim to about 8 or 9 thousand revs through each gear while trying to find the perfect lines, I noticed a lot of riders were staying wide and squaring the corners off and that’s because a lot of the corners are late apex. After the first session I was so happy to at last get a run out and couldn’t wait to get out again, I did three more sessions on my number 1 bike getting faster and faster as I learned some new lines and made some suspension adjustments.
We were suppose to have a lunch break but because of some over enthusiastic riders binning it lunch break was scrapped and it wasn’t long before I was jumping onto my number 2 bike.
The other mechanic in the team is Mark and he quickly swapped the bodywork and petrol tank from my number 1 bike to the number 2, the reason for the swap was that the bodywork and tank was at the painters and wasn’t going to be ready for the bike going to Donnington Park.
The more sessions I done the more I wanted to take the bike to the red line but I couldn’t as I was told to run them in and with no crash protectors on any spill would result in a hefty repair bill and a telling off from my boss Neil Haslam. In total I done eight 20min sessions which blew the cobwebs away and at least I learnt the circuit which is a big help as we will be racing there towards the end of the year.
My next outing will be at Mallory Park to put some more miles on my bikes and then we will be heading to Belfast for the Adelaide Insurance motorbike show were one of the bikes will be on show, I will also be having a chat up on stage about my year ahead. After that we are at Snetterton at the end of the month for the official test and that’s were I will stretch the legs of my new Yamaha’s.
See you all soon!
Alastair “The Wizard” Seeley