The racetrack. Devoid of police, speed cameras and the hazards of distracted SUV drivers chatting on phones and admonishing toddlers on the back seat. Always a fine place to play and a perfect laboratory for testing a new motorcycle. So last week La Duchessa and I made our way to Sydney Motorsports Park. If the idea was to find faults then the day could be deemed a success: in the very first session, the Ducati was sputtering down the straight slower than a bicycle. The motorcycle was behaving like one about to run out of fuel. So I returned to the pit. Fortunately those jolly nice chaps from Shed-X were also at the track and they quickly set to work to diagnose the fault. As the tank had fuel we went to step 2: check the ignition.
While Neil fettled, I borrowed his motorcycle and later Jim’s race-prepped Shed-X Ducati 999. This machine is a fearsome piece of kit that rattles windows a mile away when the engine barks into life.
It was a blast pulling out onto the track on pre-warmed tyres that enabled me to go quickly from the start. (I usually do a couple of laps slowly to warm my tyres). Jim’s motorbike has the gears set in race-style: 1 up, 6 down. Even this didn’t deter me as I was enjoying a motorcycle that reacted as expected when the throttle was opened. That was right up until the clutch seized. I had to slowly circumnavigate the track working my way down the gears to then enter pit lane at a reasonable pace before stalling, clutchless a hundred yards from our pit garage. Despite having seemingly broken two bikes in a single day, Mark still valiantly lent me his Triumph Daytona for a session. This cheered me up no end.
Neil gallantly lent me his motorcycle to get home while La Duchessa left the track unceremoniously loaded onto the back of his ute.