The Pilgrims go a Sprinting – 1st April 2007

We had been invited to a Sprint Meeting at Tempsford only a couple of weeks ago and so it was on April Fool’s Day we met as usual on the Piazza. Good to see so many turning up, as while it was a nice sunny day, the wind was really getting up! Great to see the Luton Lambretta Club members as well as We Know Feck All SC members.

Soon as we’d all done our Sunday chatter, and had our coffee’s and buttie’s it was time for the off. Course with me leading the way ’twas like the blind leading the blind as for the bloody life of me I just couldn’t get my head round how to get out of Bedford via Goldington Road. As it was we ended up heading in the wrong direction and going up the bypass one junction. After that though, it was a simple matter of cutting through the arse end of Great Barford, through Blunham and over the A1. Barring a small amount of confusion and nearly doing an Evel Kinevel jump over a railway crossing we soon found the sign for the NSA. (National Sprint Association, not No Strings Attached, you dirty buggers!)

Everyone had been forewarned about the road through the farmland to the actual track so it was a matter of going nearly dead slow, to have gone any faster would have been to have tempted an off, even in a proper 4X4 it would have been a rough half mile!!

Still we got there and parked up at the end, attracting interest from many of the sprinters there. Quite nice really considering the majority were serious bikers and sprinters alike. We soon spotted Darren and Carl and thought it a bit odd that it seemed quiet. Turns out we’d missed a couple of runs already and it was lunch time. Ah well, gave us all a chance to see what sort of machines were about as well as have a chat with the scooter team, particularly as the first two runs had resulted in some problems, one meaning Carl had to push the scooter back from the end of the track!
So tools out, scooter laid over and the pair had the exhaust and side casing off, the clutch and belt out, the end plate off and the gearbox out before you could have the kettle boiled! And yes, I said belt, not chain. This scooter has a belt drive rated to 40 bhp, specially machined front sprocket and clutch housing. It certainly looked the business and runs much smoother than a chain apparantly, however, the parts cost about £250 before you even machine those parts, so it’s hardly a viable commercial upgrade. Bloody shame.

Before you had time though to lament over that, the scooter was being stood up again. (New gearbox in, endplate on, rear sprocket and fancy belt on, clutch in, adjuster eeeeeerm, adjusted, side casing on and up the scooter comes and the exhaust is on. Almost the most difficult part was poor Carl trying to get the exhaust springs on while Darren tucked into a bacon buttie.

Still, all ready for the off and well timed too as lunch was over and the engines were being started all over ready for the off. Well, they were as soon as the guys sussed the generator running the start lights had run out of fuel.

The sound of some of the machines there was phenomenal, just astoundingly loud. Some were like a loud thump thump thump, others a high pitched whine and several variations in between. We watched several sprints in awe at some of the speeds these guys were doing on anything from Lambretta’s to Tritons to GSXR’s. Some of the sprinters I could never have recognised due to the modifications.

Carl managed another couple of good sprints in between the others, slightly better times I think, but I’m sure that they can do better. I think Carl and Darren are sure they can get more out of it too but I believe they were just happy that it was running and performing given that it was the first day of the season.

So, with a wave of support and hope that they get another couple of runs in, it was time for most of us to make our move, homeward bound. All except Mr. Chips decided to grab a refresher back in Blunham so we headed for The Horseshoes where we’d been for the January Rideout and spent a pleasant afternoon extoling the virtues of being a mod first time round as well as music and the scene in general. We all also agreed that it had been a great day out and something that is little seen or supported in the scooter scene.

Interestingly, the National Sprint Association are back at Tempsford for a whole weekend the 21st and 22nd of July 2007 and according to Carl, if anyone wants to sprint their own machine then it can be done, but you’ll need to speak to Carl about it.