Coming off a strong finish to the 2017 race season, the Slowcocks were approaching the 2018 season with a little more seriousness, but still sticking to our mantra of 'Having Fun, Winning None'. Over the winter, Cody (515), Andrew(139), James (374), and Colm (665) all rebuilt their bikes. Their primary focus for improvement was on reliability and chassis strengthening. The frames were braced with CMR chromoly CB350 frame kits and powder coated. For Cody's frame, he took some notes from Thomas'(138), Tim Voyer built 350 and built a very similar frame.
For the engines, ignition was definitely the focus. The electronic systems that were on the bikes were very good, but relied upon old XS400 CDI boxes which were unreliable and very hard to troubleshoot. They also ran off a total loss ignition system, so batteries needed to be charged or changed out after each session. As a result, most of the team decided to go with a magneto PVL style ignition systems. These systems are self-generating and do not require a battery. This saves on both weight and area's of failure.
RD.1 - Shannonville Motorsports Park- Quinte TT
Going into the first race of the season at Shannonville, we were a little behind, an as a result, Cody was the only one to make it out. Having just received his motor back with a new bore, hone, and new pistons from a reputable race engine shop, the hopes were high. Unfortunately, the motor was inconsistent at best and clearly had some issues. Cody was lucky enough to make it out for Saturdays heat, but the laps were used for engine break-in and not really for racing. On Sunday, with heavy clouds covering the sky, heavy rains blanketed the day and put an end to any thoughts of serious racing. Regardless, Cody ended up finishing a competitive 5th in the final. With the Shannonville weekend in the books, we were all deadset on making it to Calabogie for round 2. Unfortunately for Cody, he had to build another motor.
RD. 2 - Calabogie Motorsports Park - Summer Classic
Heading into the second round at Calabogie, we were all pretty excited. It is definitely one of our favourite tracks and the racing is usually pretty good. Cody, Colm, and Thomas all managed to make it out to weekend and each were pretty pumped on finally being out. Unfortunately, the weekend didn't start off so well. After the first practice on Friday morning, it was clear that something was not right with Thomas' motor. After some inspection, it was clear that the shoulder of the valve spring retainer let go, and the rest of the retainer was caught up in the valve spring. This was actually quite lucky because it stopped the valve from smashing into the piston. Regardless, of how lucky it was, the top end needed to be rebuilt. After a six hour round trip, and the helping hands of everyone on the team and a number of our VRRA family, the motor was back together and ready to go. Also folks, always remember to time your engine on the right stroke...DOH!
Throughout the weekend the racing was good and the lap times were all down from the year before. As the weekend finished, everyone was pretty happy with their results. However, the leaders of the class, were still the leaders and proved to be very fast. As a finish, Thomas placed 3rd, Colm 4th, and Cody 5th. All in all, it was a tough weekend, with the regular breakdowns and engine rebuilds.
RD. 3 - Calabogie Motorsports Park - GP Invitational
Calabogie again! For round 3, brimming with confidence, we were back at Calabogie. This time we had four of our five member team out. Andrew was making his season debut and was a welcome addition to the weekend. Unfortunately, Andrew and Thomas did a terrible job of grocery shopping and were taken care of all weekend by the Oswell's, they made a solid family of 6.
As the weekend started, all the bikes seemed to be running pretty well. Friday practices went off without a hitch, and everyone was pretty pumped on the prospects for the weekend. The P1-350 heat race was red flagged at the start of lap two, as medical services tended to our friend Andrew D'Ornellas. When it was time to restart, the rain had started to come down and our minds were elsewhere, so it was a bit of a difficult race. At the end of it, Thomas finished 1st, Cody finished 3rd, Andrew 4th, Colm 5th.
Heading into Sunday, all the bikes were running well. After the races on Saturday, Colm noticed that his spark plug wasn't quiet sitting properly, so he put a helicoil in to rectify the situation. Also, Cody had been having ignition problems all season and it continued to hamper him for each of the first 3 rounds. On Sunday, the weather was warm and the track was in great condition. For the P1-350 final, the race was very tight and everyone found themselves fighting for position on each lap. Colm and Thomas had a good battle for the win, with Thomas eventually taking it. Cody found himself in an all out skirmish with 2 other riders for the entire race. He eventually settled for 5th, but the margin to 3rd was less than 2 seconds. Andrew finished the final in 6th, but he managed to shave a bunch of time off from his Friday and Saturday sessions. All in all, it was a great weekend, with two of our guys ending up on the podium.
RD. 4 - Canadian Tire Motorsport Park - Vintage Festival
The fourth and final round of the season was held at the historic Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport). With its history being such an important part of its allure, James decided to finally show up. It was his first race in nearly 2 years, but we were glad to have him out. He even brought with him 2 mechanics and a stellar attitude.
Friday practices were spent dialling in gearing for the long fast sections that make up Mosport. By the end of the day, everyone was pretty happy with they had. On Saturday, we had two heat races, P1-350 and P1-500. The first one being the P1-350, which ended up being cut short because of a serious accident on the exit of Corner 4. The race was jam packed with a lot of riders on track, all seemingly battling for the same piece of real-estate. At the end of it, Thomas finished 1st and Colm 5th. Unfortunately, for the other guys, issues with timing and penalties prevented them from being scored. The P1-500 race was quite a bit more spread out, with Thomas finishing 2nd, Colm 3rd, Cody 4th, Andrew 5th.
On Sunday, the day started with the P1-350 final. There were 31 bikes on track which made for a fairly spicy race. Thomas had a good battle with Isle of Man Winner Dave Roper for the win, but he wasn't quiet able to make any move on him stick and managed a 2nd. Colm finished a solid 3rd, just a little a bit a head of Cody and Andrew. Cody, Andrew, and Leslie Skinner had a huge battle for position for the entire race. The gap between Cody and Andrew for 4th was less than .5 of a second. James's mechanics found a faulty ignition box and his weekend was over before it really started. The final race of the day and of the 2018 season for the guys was the P1-500 race. The race was a little quieter than the 350 race because of the fewer bikes on circuit, but Cody and Andrew managed to dice it out the entire race. They finished a solid 3rd and fourth 4th, again less than a second split to two of them. Colm finished 2nd, just behind Thomas in 1st. The race was a great end to the season, as the team managed to lock out the podium.
2018 was a great year for the team. Everyone got faster, and we all seemed to have a bit more fun as our bikes got more reliable. In the points, Thomas won the P1-350 Championship with Colm coming in 3rd.
We would like to thank the entire VRRA family (marshalls, photographers, volunteers, executive), girlfriends/wives, friends, and the on track medical staff, without your dedication and generosity, we wouldn't be able to do any of this fun stuff. #havingfunwinningsome