Sport – MNM’s in turmoil … –

MNM’s in turmoil…

Sport - MNM's in turmoil ... -

Bowls, cylinder head gasket, shock absorber HS, morale at the bottom of the sliders: a difficult weekend for the two Moto-Net Mobiles entered in the 2nd round of the Challenge des Monos on the Carole circuit. The testimony of the pilots.

Bowls, cylinder head gasket, HS damper, morale at the bottom of the sliders: difficult weekend for the two Moto-Net Mobiles entered in the 2nd round of the Challenge des Monos on the Carole circuit. The testimony of the pilots.

Thursday: private training

First laps of the wheel for the MNM n ° 25 of Benoît after reassembling the engine and a passage to the bench which shows a clear progress compared to the first test of Ledenon (read): the curve arrives at 48 hp out of the box, which places it in the good average in the monosport category. Unfortunately, an excess of optimism in Golf creates a wind of panic, the motorcycle not restarting immediately after the fall … Benoît thus loses half of his driving time on a technical incident … But the problem is minor and the pilot is doing very honorably, even if he drools a bit physically. The difficult learning of the track…

The MNM n ° 95 was only entitled to a slight suspension adjustment and a lowering of the saddle, in order to further improve handling and ease of cornering. For the rest, we do not repair a machine that works! So I prefer to keep this day to rest a little and heal the mind rather than the technique. Back home, the two motorcycles are ready for the next day’s arsenal: the weather is fine, morale too: it will bleed !

Friday: training sessions

Arrival at the paddocks, late on the scheduled time as usual … Barely time to chat a little with the knowledge of Ledenon (yes, Jerôme Tartaud, you made me a hell of a home in the triple left of Ledenon!) and we start for free practice.

First session: 20 minutes of driving just to loosen up the joints a bit. The 95 is doing well but I’m dying a little in the heat. The times revolve around a regular 18 minute. Not shiny shiny! For its part, the 25 is already starting to make its own: the rear shock absorber shows serious signs of weakness and turns into a simple spring over the turns … Benoît’s morale begins to drop sharply … the less the bike rolls and he will have the assurance of participating in the B final, because he turns in a regular 20 minute, well within the limit of qualifying.

At the second session, everything changed: the 95 saw its lap times drop by a small second when, out of the Hotel, stuck to the howling exhaust of the 25 that I caught up with, a squirt of water sprayed my visor. My first thought goes to Benoît, whom I can already imagine with his hands in the sludge all night long to solve any leak, until I realize that it is MY water collector that is overflowing at all costs !

Fear in my stomach, I returned to the base with the slight impression that the trouble was only just beginning … An hour later, after a diagnosis carried out with the help of Regis, team manager of Team Trophy Sport , the verdict is final: bubbles in the cooling system, the cylinder head gasket has cowardly abandoned me !

The 25 is also in a sorry state, rear shock permanently out of service. Only the spring remains! Morale is in the socks, the next day is likely to be disillusioned !

Saturday, 3 a.m. !

On a stroke of blood, I decided to take the engine out of the frame and change that damn seal at all costs. The dismantling completed, Regis confirms the verdict. It appears that the cylinder head was loose during reassembly and the gasket has warped strangely.

What to do ? Fortunately, Team Trophy Sport, which has been fighting at the forefront since the first round, lends me a spare gasket, a torque wrench, joint compound and a lot of wise advice. When we tell you that the Challenge des Monos is above all a story of passions !

With the invaluable assistance of my tender and gentle, MM and C, regular readers of Moto-Net who have come to watch the tests, we finish the reassembly at three o’clock. The engine starts right off, the bike is ready for the next day. Relief, but above all intense stress at the mere thought of attacking a busy day with only three little pillow hours on the clock

Saturday, 9 am: first qualifying session

The 95 rolls on its own, its pilot, still sleepy, ends his night … On a session of 15 laps, she stops in the seventh, pilot livid, wanting to vomit in the helmet, nothing works. Time retained: 1’17.23. Not so bad under the circumstances. The 25 continues on its way and despite the problems, the qualification in final B is assured in 1’22.19 At least, Benoît will be able to gain a little driving.

Saturday, 11:50 a.m .: second qualifying session

Once again, the 95 only does half a session because I prefer to manage the fatigue and keep a little under the foot, knowing that I am anyway qualified in final B. The cylinder head gasket does not give any news , at least that’s won! Best lap in 1’16.59. The state of the 25 empire at each lap and Benoît has no morale at all … Two races in a row marred by stupid technical incidents, there is enough to discourage the bravest of pilots, right? Despite everything, he continues to win around 1’22. We have to deal with fatigue and the B final does not take place until 2 p.m., which leaves us very little time….

A sandwich swallowed, I go to the trunk of the 205 to rest as best I can, surrounded by the noise of the paddock and the consternation that reigns on our stand … We will see, but a priori I do not feel like attack for the 15 laps of the race and I even wonder if I will not leave the 95 to my teammate … I am really afraid of getting carried away by exhaustion !

At 13:45, the final classification of the qualifying practice is finally established and the composition of the grid of the final B is announced by the crackling loudspeakers. We call 95. And there, big adrenaline rush: I don’t ask myself any more questions! Reassembled by Jef Huron (n ° 17), I equip myself and go on the pre-grid. We still didn’t come to give up !

Careful training lap, starting position in thirteenth place, warm-up lap a little less careful and GREEN! Except that I did not see it, lost that I was in my thoughts … The pack overtakes me and I finally react by starting in disaster. Oulah, I’m already starting to regret having left … After three laps, I lose all hope of catching up with the middle pack and see it inexorably sticking to me about ten meters on each lap. I find myself alone on the track, telling myself that my only objective now is to finish my entire fifteen laps at all costs! The notice board ticks off its countdown and I feel numbness take hold of me … My times are gradually deteriorating and I look forward to the end … Until the blessed moment when … I hear a noise that I know behind me! I barely have time to realize that the 52 Guy Picard Destelan has just passed me under braking. But where does it come from, that one? I take advantage of my increased power to regain it in a straight line (it is engaged in monosport, the guy!). Once, twice, three times, it keeps passing me on the brakes…

But how does he do it? Only one way to find out: there are 5 laps left, I stand behind him, cut the throttle in a straight line to stay there and study his style for three laps … Hell and damnation, he brakes at least twenty meters later than me ! If he does it, I can do it too, the whole point is not to ask existential questions in these tense moments. A full turn allows me to adopt his braking cues, and … it works wonderfully !

I just understood what braking on the track means! The braking is attacked fully and must then be well degressive, in order to release the setting on the angle. I realize that until now I was braking constantly, which made me enter a curve stretched on my arms, increasing fatigue and risks … Incredible how the front gets stuck in the overheated asphalt, and it holds !

Only two laps left before the finish. GO! I place my "Tchoub ‘attack" and in my turn I do the braking at the entrance of Alpha. I put pressure on myself for two laps so that he doesn’t come back up to me. Two anthology laps at my modest level, I am euphoric, I surpass myself, I pilot, I am on cloud nine! Sensations never reached before !

Last round: I enter Golf at the cleat and who do I see? Benoît’s 25, thirty meters ahead! There remains a straight line and Hotel, the temptation is really too great … I try everything for everything and decide to offer myself the icing on the cake: give it a spin! Straight line at the bottom of the hold, hard braking on Hotel, return to the checkered flag: I have about … ten centimeters ahead! It is then that I realize that it is an inglorious victory, but finally, I am undecided between the bitterness and the pleasure of this first experience….

On the way back, a small pat of encouragement on the back of Benoît, little "apology" to 52 which allowed me to progress and return to the paddock to take a well-deserved break.

Final classification: I am twelfth in the B final but above all, my time dropped to 1’15.9 ‘on the last lap of the race, which was my hidden objective: to see 1’15 appear on my times one day! J ‘gained two full seconds in the weekend, while I had been peaking for ages on this circuit that I know like the back of my hand.

Saturday evening, over mint tea

Debriefing with Benoît who is decidedly at the bottom, with the bitter feeling of being taken for the turkey of the farce … But frankly, I know only one guy who can dare to start a race – and finish on his wheels! – with a spring as a rear shock absorber! And the track experts may have told him that this experience will be most profitable for him, he still feels bad … We are therefore counting on you to encourage him not to hang up on a whim, because it would be a shame to spoil the races to come and frankly, this adventure would not have the same taste of friendship for me…

News from Calimero from the slopes…

After my non-qualification at Ledenon, almost a month ago (read), the disappointment was great. So much so that I lacked the courage to count down the thread of my misfortunes to you. Yet the weekend was far from being completely negative.

Because if we take things in order, we must admit that I had not put all the chances on my side: a ten-year-old bike with 50,000 terminals in the legs freshly rebuilt from the day before, one of the the most technical circuits in France and a leek fresh from the road and barely trimmed during a few runs in Carole … We must admit that it was a little too many unknowns to master in one go! Beside, Pascal would almost pass for a professional !

The first runs on a wet track resulted in times at the gates of qualifying, which was ultimately the goal, but it was difficult for me to concentrate on driving because I spent most of my time dismantling and reassembling the motorbike to solve a thousand and one problems of youth: oil leak, wiring harness…

And the worst was yet to come, with the arrival of fine weather … As the track dried up, everyone started to open wide and the times were falling … except mine! The sluggish nature of my bike was apparent in the straight line, which seemed endless to me from being ruthlessly rotten by all the other competitors. A quick pass to the bench revealed a power at the wheel of 30 horsepower, 8-10 less than the category average, with an abyssal hole at mid-speed. Nothing like it to break morale that is already low !

However, I was ready to do anything in the last qualifying session to secure my place in the race. I lowered my time to finish at 2 seconds of this rascal of Pascal and his 52 horses, but it was not enough to be qualified ‘in the place of the caliph … A mad hope remained a few hours with the package of a competitor on engine failure and speeding of another in the pits. But after having been fined in the cash register of the FFM, he finally resumed his place on the grid.

So it was as a spectator that I saw Pascal’s first race. Although I was frankly happy for him, I must admit that the frustration was great at the time of departure…

All that remained was to prepare Carole to avoid repeating such a disaster. But four weeks is very short, so it was at the last moment that my bike was ready with an engine fresh from the dyno, 48.5 horsepower out of the box and with a well rounded curve. Not enough to bang your ass on the floor, but enough to figure out correctly. On the chassis side, the fork hydraulics were revised as well as the position of the bracelets to be more tilted forward.

The first free practice went pretty well despite a small crash at Golf due to a slightly optimistic angle. I started in the 1’20, which had to be enough to qualify. But in the following sessions, my times deteriorated and I lost all my sensations with the feeling of being loose everywhere. The catamaran … In the small left double before the parabolic, yet one of my favorites, I was completely stopped and forced to contain the kicks of the rear wheel. It all ended with a fall at the Hotel (in front of the grandstand, just to get noticed) luckily without consequence.

In the evening, at technical control, a MuZ guru advises my bike and tests the rear shock absorber by pushing on the saddle: chbong, it bounces like a spring with a metallic noise, zero damping. Only by fully compressing the shock absorber does some semblance of damping remain on descent. It’s a brand new EMC that I rode just before Ledenon, but it’s clear that it’s completely dead. Once again, nothing like it to lower morale … Calimero is back, it’s just too unfair !

The next day, I achieved 1.20 in the first qualifying session without asking myself too many questions. In fact, things are going roughly in the first few laps and then it deteriorates very seriously. But there are enough other galley slaves like me for me to qualify. In the second session, it is frankly a disaster. I seriously start to freak out when I play the yoyo in the parabolic. It is confirmed: my amorto is dead from home dead! However, I didn’t have too much to feel sorry for myself because Pascal for his part had broken his head gasket, which seemed to deprive him of his brilliantly earned place in the race. But with the help of our hardworking supporters (thank you again), he managed to change the famous seal overnight. So there, hat, this story is worthy of the Paris-Dakar.

In the face of Pascal’s superhuman exploits, I wasn’t going to give up on some shit shock absorber, it would be really small player. Anyway, the ridiculous does not kill … It is still a great pleasure to experience the magical moments of the start, even if it is on the last line. The first two laps are a lot of fun because many competitors are rather hesitant at the start, which allows me to easily gain a few places: one interior in the snitch and another in the parabolic, I laugh under my helmet. But the 73 goes loose in Alpha and almost collides with me coming back on the track, I have to slow down seriously and from there, I will be unable to keep up with the groupetto’s rhythm (back-grid stories!). The bike throws me into the bends, from one turn to another I never have the same trajectories, it’s really not a pretty sight … The motivation falls, I must admit and I do not avoid not the humiliation of making me take a turn including by this scoundrel Pascal: he stripped himself in the last lap to pass me on the finish line … and be able to room me with this story for a year.

I’m trying to laugh about it now, but I was downright disgusted when I arrived, feeling like I was the jerk of history. Finally, I still think that I can do better than that with a material say "normal". However, we cannot fall into the two-ball biker excuses either … All I have to do is play Rocky’s tape over and over until the next race. !

If not for those who came to Carole this weekend, they were rewarded with a beautiful A final of the Challenge des Monos: the duel between the two best, Jean-Michel Bouiller and Olivier Desjours, was frankly magical, unfortunately cut short by abandoning the first on mechanical breakage (loss of its silencer at the exit of the parabolic!)…

See you on June 12 and 13 for the 3rd round at Croix-en-Ternois !

Pascal DI MARCO and Benoît LACOSTE

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *