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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Over 'The Mountain' and back again - Cadwell 2011

A warm midsummer afternoon, perfect for relaxing in the garden or chilling at the beach, but instead i'm frantically running around the house, throwing clothes and tools in the general direction of the front door, some people might call it packing, but i would call it chaos.

The unmistakeable rattle of a diesel transit van on the driveway lets me know the lads have arrived, ready to load up my bike for our trip way up north, destination Cadwell Park. We've got two days of intense track riding and camping ahead of us and we need to make it to Cadwell to get camp set-up before it's dark.

All three bikes, camping equipment, riding gear and tools are just about squeezed in the long-wheel based transit and we start munching the motorway miles up to Lincolnshire. After a quick pit stop for fuel and food we eventually make it the circuit just as the sun is setting.

A quick unload and record breaking tent building out of the way and we crack open a well deserved beer and fit in a quick pre-trackday walk of the circuit to get our bearings.

The 6.00am alarm clock was a much welcomed awakening after a terrible night sleep on the hard wooden floor of the van, after a quick shower and a remarkably good bacon sani cooked on our gas stove we head down for sign-on, noise testing and rider briefing.

With all the paperwork out the way we head back, prep our bikes and ride down to the paddock ready for our first session. The nerves and adrenaline in anticipation of taking to the track for the first time offers a unique glimpse into the mindset of a racer.

A swipe of a visor and a click of a gear later and we head out for our two compulsory sighting laps. First impressions are that the track is narrow but flows nicely when you hit the right lines. The first ride over the famous 'mountain' section is epic even without any wheel lift, the blind, steep corner simply has to be experienced by any trackday fan.

After the second lap the instructor moves over and we set off cautiously, not wanting to spoil two days of fun with any cold-tyre antics. The first session is a huge learning curve as i get used to the track and a bike that i've never ridden on track before. We return to the paddock with hearts beating fast and the widest grin you could imagine.

After a quick drink and a chat about the first session it's not long before we're back out on track again. With two days of riding to enjoy we use the morning sessions on day one sensibly without pushing ourselves. The last session before lunch and the midday heat is scorching, a quick tyre inspection after the session gives us huge confidence in the track temperature and amount of grip available.

A sugar-fuelled lunch is quickly devoured and attention is turned to refueling the bikes, lubing chains and checking tyre pressures. After a calm post-lunch session to bring the system back up to speed, we start to pick up the pace in the afternoon.

After weaving through the flowing right-left-right at Hall Bends and dropping into the tight negative-camber Hairpin, toes move up on the pegs and head tucks under the screen as we belt out of Barn Corner and down the straight towards Coppice.

Hard on the brakes and bang down a gear before shuffling over for the fast left hander, stand it upright and drop another cog using the engine breaking up the hill towards Charlies. Sweeping out wide for a long right hander, slowly getting on the throttle until the outer curb of Park Straight comes into sight and nail it up the straight to Park Corner.

Braking and down-changing to scrub-off speed for the fast approaching corner, slipper clutch working overtime, shuffle out wide again and grind the apex with my kneeslider. Stand it up straight for a few seconds then hang off the bike for Chris Curve, keeping a tight inside line until pointing the front wheel at the outside curb before Gooseneck.

Everytime i approach the Gooseneck the instructors words haunt my mind "this is first time you've used the left side of your tyre for half a lap!", cautiously flick the bike from right to left and bail into the gooseneck hoping it will stick. Over-thinking it means i've already missed the braking point for Mansfield, squeezing the lever for as long as possible before tucking into a knee-down left-hander before a 2nd gear blast to the chicane.

A quick right-then-left manoeuvre across the seat and the chicane has done it's job of slashing some speed before The Mountain. Another short burst of speed, followed by a squared off left hander and the steep incline of the mountain is in front of me.

Everyone has their own approach to The Mountain, for me it was in second gear, taking a wide line at the bottom and drifting over to the centre of the track at the peak, lifting the front wheel momentarily before setting up perfectly for the sprint to Hall Bends.

That's my lap of Cadwell Park, it might have been way off the pace of a decent lap but even so it took a lot of concentration and was massively rewarding.

With the first day of riding over we head to the clubhouse for a cooked meal, a beer and to reflect on our experiences. Everyone is still grinning and no one has a bad word to say about the awesome circuit. After a relaxing evening we wind down and prepare to do it all over again the next day.

Opting to kip in the tent for a better nights sleep meant that i wasn't feeling as knackered as i could have done for day two. After five cracking sessions we agree to call it a day and start the clear up operation before the long journey home.

We just get home and unloaded before the day is out and prepare to return to normal life after two days in bikers paradise. You really can't beat two days of track riding and camping to fully immerse yourself into the world of two wheels, there's no better way to get to know your bike and build up your confidence.

Thanks to RAF Odiham Motorcycle Club ( for organising an awesome event, thanks to Fresh Orange Photography ( for supplying some great on-track photography.

Tell us about your own trackday experiences below or email us at

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Oxford introduce new roll top luggage

The new RT30 waterproof multi-purpose roll top luggage is about to arrive and with Oxford's reputation for practical luggage it could be the time to invest in some new kit for your bike.

The latest 'lifetime luggage' item is designed to work as a tailpack, backpack and a pannier all in one, it has a whopping 30L luggage capacity and comes with a waterproof removable lining.

Living up to Oxford's reputation for innovative products, the RT30 has fold-out hi-vis patches to keep you seen, compression straps for squeezing your over-packed luggage down and is made out of strong 'ripstop' nylon material.

As with all Oxford Lifetime Luggage, this pack comes with a lifetime guarantee so keep your eyes peeled on for it's arrival soon.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Ride the Honda Eye at Goodwood FOS

Honda is introducing a 40-metre high, 24-pod giant ferris wheel at Goodwood Festival of Speed this year from 30 June – 3 July. The Honda Eye will enable motorcycle enthusiasts to experience widespread views of the Goodwood Estate and the beautiful surrounding areas of West Sussex.

The Eye will be open throughout the four-day Festival, running in 10 minute rotations from 9am-6pm and visitors can enjoy multiple rides on the attraction, free of charge.

A fast-track pass for the ride, for visitors to enjoy the views without the queues, can be downloaded from, where further event information and online activities can be found.

Honda (UK) is also offering 18 lucky Honda fans plus a guest each, the chance to join Honda at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, winning a special VIP experience on the Honda Eye. Four of the 24 pods will be VIP racing-themed and the lucky winners will win a Honda Eye experience with one of Honda’s racing riders or drivers in a VIP pod. Among the racers are champion motorcycle riders John McGuinness, Keith Amor, Sam Lowes and Cameron Donald.

To enter, you’ll need to sign up to follow @hondaeyespy on Twitter and, using #hondaeyespy to tag your entry, start your tweet with ‘I want to spy through the Honda Eye at Goodwood…’ followed by what you’d like to see from the Honda Eye. The competition closes on Friday 24 June 2011 at 5pm and winners will be notified through their Twitter account.

A range of Honda motorcycles from the 60s onwards will also be taking their place on the famous Goodwood hill climb, to include the 1962 RC162, 1966 RC181, 1979 RS1000, 1983 NS500, 1996 NSR250, 1998 RC45, and current day CBR1000RR Fireblades in various guises.

For race enthusiasts, Honda TT legends John McGuinness and team-mate Keith Amor will be riding up the hill and attending with their CBR1000RR Fireblade, the bike that powered McGuinness to achieve the fastest ever lap of the Isle of Man and many of his incredible 17 TT victories.

Check back to Momentum soon for more Festival of Speed updates.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Old and new Suzuki bikes at Goodwood

Suzuki will be displaying a selection of motorcycles from its current range at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, from 30 June to 3 July, plus some very special models from yesteryear.

With a theme of 'Racing Revolutions' at this year's event, the iconic 1975 Suzuki RG500 XR14 will also be on display. It's the bike on which Barry Sheene won the 500cc world championship in 1977 and 1978, and, in its day was considered to be the fastest and most powerful racing motorcycle in the world.

Also on display will be Suzuki's recently launched GSR750, which, although only available in the UK for a matter of months, is already proving to be the bike to beat this year, coming out top in a Motor Cycle News middleweight group test.

Suzuki will also be showing off the 2011 version of the legendary GSX-R600 supersports machine, fully 9kg lighter than the previous model and with new features for 2011. The baby of the GSX-R family is topping the charts, winning group tests and impressing none other than 2003 World Superbike, Neil Hodgson who tried one out for a recent Motor Cycle News test. The GSX-R600 on display will show Goodwood visitors a range of stunning new accessories brought out specifically for this all-new model.

A flavour of Suzuki's off-road range will also be on display in the form of the awesome RM-Z450 - the fuel-injected flyer that's currently riding high in world and British motocross championships.

Make tracks to the Motorcycle Village at Goodwood and be sure to see all these models and more on Suzuki's stand, number 220.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

2-wheels set to rock the hillclimb at Goodwood FOS

It's almost that time of year, in just two weeks time the Goodwood Festival of Speed kicks off and there are a huge number of spectacular two-wheeled machines and world-class riders taking on the hillclimb for your entertainment.

For all the TT fans, Goodwood are celebrating 100 years of the Mountain Course by assembling a vast selection of motorcycles and riders that have triumphed on this gruelling event over the last century.  A host of TT riders will be at the Festival, including Cam Donald, McGuiness, Stuart Graham, Guy Martin, John Kidson, Keith Amor, and sidecar pro Dave Molyneux.

For a more contemporary theme the festival is concentrating on the World Superbike Championship.  Many of the leading teams and riders will be at the Festival of Speed, including 2010 runner up Leon Haslam, plus Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea.  Other stars in action on two wheels at Goodwood will include multiple trials champions Sammy Miller and Dougie Lampkin, plus two- and four-wheeled legend John Surtees.

Tickets and further information for the 2011 Festival of Speed and Moving Motor Show, presented by Auto Trader, can be found on the Goodwood website here or via the Ticket Hotline on +44 (0)1243 755055

Check back to Momentum for more previews and post event reviews. Stay up to date with the latest developments to the Festival of Speed on their Facebook and Twitter pages:

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Dainese launch the world's first airbag race suit

Top bike clothing brand Dainese has teamed up with Silverstone and the Aprilia, BMW and Kawasaki World Superbike teams to deliver the ultimate prize to the first 20 customers who order the all-new Dainese D-Air Race suit.

You may recognise the name of the new 'D-Air' Racing suit, which has been developed on the racetrack with the help of nine-time World Champ Valentino Rossi, MotoGP's latest big personality, Marco Simoncelli, and TT legend Guy Martin. It delivers the first airbag system in the world without a physical connection to a motorcycle.

D-Air Racing works with existing armor, shielding the areas of the riders body that require further protection. Once triggered, the system is deployed within 45 millieseconds.

The D-Air Racing system is designed for much more than just safety though, the built in GPS tracker, data analysis, lap checker and a trajectory display make it one of the most desirable biker gadget's available. The system utilises Google Earth to follow your movements whilst on-track. You can literally plug the suit into a computer and download the data.

To launch the new suit in style Dainese is offering the first 20 customers a VIP weekend pass to the British round of the World Superbike Championship at Silverstone. At the VIP day customers will be fitted with their own D-Air Racing suit, receive hospitality lunch, garage tours and a chance to meet some top racers.

The D-Air Racing will retail from £2,409 which includes the suit and all of the internal technical workings. To register email your name, phone number and postcode to Applicants will be notified by email and then contacted by their local Dainese dealer.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Superbike TT: What happened to Guy Martin?

Guy Martin and the whole Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing team will pick themselves up after the bitter disappointment of yesterday’s Dainese 6-lap Superbike TT – where Guy was forced to retire from second position on the penultimate lap when his battery lost charge due to an uncharacteristic generator failure – and prepare for Monday’s double header: the 4-lap Supersport Race one [10.45am] and the 4-lap Superstock event [3.15pm].

During yesterday’s Dainese Superbike TT Guy was never outside the top four and an opening standing start lap of 17mins 23.82sec @ 130.126mph left him just five seconds off the lead. Coming in for fuel at the end of lap two Guy had moved up to third place with yet another 130mph effort [130.309mph], and by the end of lap three he only had eventual winner John McGuinness in front of him, just 19 seconds down on the Morecambe rider.

On the completion of lap 4, again pitting for fuel, Guy had consolidated second place ahead of fellow Lincolnshire rider Gary Johnson with a lap of 129.767mph. It was then a case of ‘wait and see’ with McGuinness holding a 29 second lead over the Relentless Suzuki man. But unfortunately on the drop down the Mountain at the end of lap five his GSX-R1000 Superbike lost power due to the aforementioned generator failure, and he eventually retired between Hillberry and Signpost Corner.

Guy Martin
“That was a disappointing end to what looked like a certain second place, but that’s the TT boy, it can jump up and bite you. We got off to a great start and were well within striking distance of John on that opening lap. From there I just kept it steady and felt pretty comfortable. After the second stop I knew John was going to be near impossible to catch, but you gotta keep trying, and we were well in control in second place.

"As you probably saw by the TV footage, I was looking around the dash frantically trying to see what had gone wrong and when I got to Keppel Gate I knew the job was… well you know the rest. It’s time to re-group and get the head in gear for Monday where we get two more chances. And we’re well up for it… well up for it.”

Philip Neill – Team Manager
“After all the hard work from everyone in our team, including Guy I might add, it’s extremely disappointing to lose out on a certain second position in the Superbike TT race. It’s somewhat ironic that following on from a 100% successful testing schedule and early race programme – where we did not encounter any mechanical gremlins at all with Guy’s machines – we suffer a very uncharacteristic generator failure in one of the biggest races of the season. But that’s the TT I suppose.

“I’m not sure if Guy could have made any significant impact on John McGuinness during that final lap, however with second position looking very safe and a lap time of 130.3mph under his belt, Guy can remain very optimistic about his chances in the remaining TT races.

"It’s great to see so many spectators on the Island, so hopefully we can give all those Guy Martin fans something to cheer about before too long. Thanks to all our sponsors and to those who are supporting Guy this week at the TT.”

Don't forget to listen live to all the action at

Friday, 3 June 2011

Honda Isle of Man TT video preview

The Honda TT Legends team is back on familiar territory as it embarks on the annual spectacular that is the Isle of Man TT. As 15-times TT winner John McGuinness and his teammate Keith Amor prepare to contest one of the most thrilling road races in the world, check out this video preview of the event.

Don't forget to listen live tomorrow at

Guy Martin: "I'm ready to race"

After posting the second fastest Superbike lap time of the week [129.333mph], Guy Martin has declared himself fit, healthy and ready to race – despite missing last night’s practice session along with the rest of the 2011 TT solo competitors.

A road traffic accident followed by an oil slick [dumped by a sidecar] forced the session to be abandoned. Tonight was the final practice available to solo competitors before tomorrow’s six-lap Superbike TT. The action gets underway at 12pm.

Guy Martin
"We’ve had a steady away practice week and as I’ve told quite a few people already, ‘the racing starts on Saturday’ so there’s no need to hang them out in practice. It’s a matter of getting everything the way we want for racing and the big GSX-R1000 Superbike is ready to race. I’ve enjoyed this week getting back out on the TT Circuit and I feel comfortable and confident on the TAS Racing bikes; everyone is doing their job and we’re happy, so let’s hope it all comes together on Saturday.”

Philip Neill – Team Manager
“Although it is still very early days it really is pleasing to get off to a good start. Guy has now completed four laps on the Superbike, two on the Superstock and two on the Supersport bike. He has declared himself happy with each of his GSX-R machines after taking the second fastest time of the week at 129.333mph; he even declared the Superbike ready to race already, although we will continue to make some very minor tweaks to help make his job that little bit easier.

“As I say, so far so good, let’s hope it continues this way and we have some luck on our side this year!”

Guy’s Lap Times to date
Superbike – 129.333mph/17:30.22sec
Superstock – 125.720mph/18:00.40sec
Supersport – 123.182mph/18:22.66sec

You can listen to tomorrow's race live here

Special Kawasaki TT night for road racing fans

Jason Griffiths Motorcycles of Castletown is to host a special Kawasaki TT night on 7th June for all road racing fans at the TT.

As the premier Kawasaki dealer for the Isle of Man and 13 times TT podium visitor, Griffiths and the Kawasaki Riders Club will play host to a variety of rider interviews and activities for your entertainment.

Promising equal insight into what it is like for a TT winner to return again and again to Mona’s Isle – as well as providing a window into the thoughts and emotions of riders with less mountain miles under their wheels – the night promises to both entertain and delight fans of the ultimate challenge for man and motorcycle.

Interviewed and commenting on a wide variety of subjects during the evening will be the man with the singular honour of recently passing Joey Dunlop’s total number of road race wins, Ryan Farquhar. The KMR Kawasaki rider has undergone a road racing renaissance in the past two years and his recent achievements on both mainland UK at Scarborough, and in his native Ireland, set him up well for TT 2011.

Manxman Conor Cummins is also scheduled to be interviewed having achieved a remarkable recovery from his well-documented crash at last year’s TT. One of the stars of the widely acclaimed recently released TT3D film, Closer to the Edge, Cummins is already up to speed on a Superstock bike and hopes to take that first elusive TT win this year.

The evening is being seen as a perfect opportunity to understand the thoughts and feelings of a special band of TT riders with a diverse range of experience and success between them, as well as an opportunity to discover what the newly announced Kawasaki Riders Club has to offer.

The event kicks off at 19.00pm on 7th June, if you’re on the island, make sure you get over to Jason Griffiths for this event.