Guest post from Mablethorpe regular, Joey Brindley (above), with a couple of interjections by me, Gary Inman.
Before you start, visit www.mablethorpesandracing.co.uk. You need to pick a race number and join the club, then enter each race online. There will be no entries on the day. You will also need a Nora92 license, the information for this is also on the website. Then, this goes for seasoned members also, read the rules. There are some very slight but important differences to how the club used to be run.
Mablethorpe Sand Racing only take place over winter, and the new organisers have lined up two meetings for this winter, before getting into a full season starting around October 2022.
Race dates are 6 and 20th March.
Read our interview with one of the new organisers, George Pickering.
BIKE PREP If there are any weaknesses in your machinery Mablethorpe will find it. There is more to preparing a road bike than cutting off the bits you don't need. Probably the hardest part is adequately waterproofing the electronics. Remove all unwanted stuff and strip as much as you can. I have run a modified Honda CB250 on the beach with the loom and CDI all wrapped in plastic bags and taped up hidden inside the airbox. On the subject of airboxes, it's probably best to keep standard. They generally do a decent job of keeping water from entering your engine. Also fitting extra deflectors to keep water away helps. Such as a rubber flap on the rear of a front mudguard. Flat track, speedway and grass track folk will be familiar with lanyard cut-outs, these are only needed on quads, sidecars and grasstrack bikes. Road bikes and motocross bikes must be fitted with a working stop button if you choose not to use a lanyard cutout.
Before the meeting lather everything in WD40 or your preferred water repelling, anti corrosion, lubricating spray, specifically around plug caps, coils, suspension parts. Anything bare metal. Spokes, nipples, levers. Basically anywhere you would prefer water not to go. I personally don't use chain lube on the beach, the sand sticks to it. I opt for a generous coating of WD40 (this isn't an advert for WD40). Re-apply through the day.
A minimum of one working brake (front or rear) is required on two-stroke road bikes, brakes are not required on four-stroke road bikes. However I'd be inclined to fit a rear one, especially on the faster bikes.
[I raced without a brake, and never had a problem. And it was fast enough for podiums in the Unlimited road bike class. Not having a brake is one less assembly to stop rotting. GI]
MX bikes can be left basically standard. Maybe wind a bit of preload on your shock spring, liberal coating of WD, you get the idea.
Tyre pressures are a debatable subject, but a good set of new, sharp MX tyres are what you need. Not the sand specific rears though, they don't offer much side grip.
Bring plenty of fuel, you will use more at Mablethorpe than at a flat track meeting as you spend much more time with the throttle wide open. Bring tools, your stand and maybe a piece of wood to put your stand on so it doesn't sink.
KIT Goggles with roll offs or tear offs are definitely needed. Warm socks, a few layers to keep warm and at a minimum a waterproof top. An old regatta cagoule is a good light weight choice. Some people wear latex gloves under their MX gloves to keep their hands dry. I bring extra gloves to swap through the day.
[I did race with goggles, but preferred a road helmet with a visor (below), as did king of the beach, Steve Lomas. If you go that way, make sure it's treated so it doesn't steam up. GI]
GETTING THERE It's winter, it's Lincolnshire, don't assume the roads are gritted. Give yourself ample time and go steady. Some of the roadside ditches are exceptionally deep. When you get to the beach there are two options. You can park in the Dunes car park next to the public toilets (which are 20p by the way) make sure you check the pay and display. This car park is easy to access but you can't see much from your van and your left unsheltered on the beach. The other option is to park on the beach. The key to getting on and off is second gear and flat out. Do not lift, or you will get stuck in the soft stuff, once on the hard sand it's much easier. Please be careful particularly coming off the beach, wait to be signalled by a marshal to attempt your departure. This will be once it is clear and any stuck vehicles have been moved. We don't want any flat pedestrians. The benefit of parking on the beach is that all your tools are at hand and you can shelter in your vehicle from the inevitable bad weather. If I'm parking on the beach I like to bring two pieces of wood to go under the driving wheels while parked. You'll be surprised how far you can sink. DURING THE DAY Get signed on in the cafe as soon as you arrive, get your kit on and listen at the briefing. Don't start your bike until after the briefing, if there are any long breaks in the day it's a good idea to start and warm your bike up. Cold seizures can and do happen at Mablethorpe.
Use practice as practice, it's very tempting to go barreling into turn 1 flat out, but get used to the surface first. Watch some races before yours so you understand the starting procedure. It's on a bungee cord set back from the front straight. Bring a brush with you to keep most of the sand off you and your machine. Blue roll is good for drying goggle lenses. Keep the WD40 handy. There's plenty of cafes to keep your own fuel topped up but check your bike too. Carbs hold enough fuel to get you to turn 1 before it conks out and it is a very long push back to the pits from there.
If you are unsure where, when or what you should be doing find someone who does and ask. It's a friendly club.
You get one practice, then five x four-lap races. There is no final. Results are worked out from the results of the five heat races. The awards are in the sign-one cafe within an hour of racing finishing.
WHEN YOU GET HOME Wash your bike and kit as soon as you get home. Wash your bike, and wash it some more. Then cover it in loads of WD40. Keep linkages and other bearings well greased.
Photos: Braking Point Images