2014 May @ Phillip Island
Blog by Lee Alen of Oilee Racing helping Alan Kempster. Refer to facebook
It’s cold, damp and it’s slippy. The rider has made his way from his qualifying position of 14th on the grid by threading his way through the field of bikes as they spray rooster tails of water from their slick tyres. He’s flying! Tipping into the left hander after already securing forth position the front tyre loses traction at about 150kph. Suddenly his race is all over… The rider tumbles through the gravel trap. The unpiloted bike somehow kicks its self-back upright and keeps driving forward into the trap. A great effort but finally succumbs to gravity and smashes into the ground with an unceremonious thud. The fiberglass fairings in pieces and the fuel tank has a dent the size of your fist. The left foot peg and its controls are left dangling by a length of locking wire and the screen has disappeared into smithereens. The rider continues to flip and tumble the survivor voice of the mind screams “Ahhh me thumb!” “It’s been bent backwards!” Another roll and the self-diagnosed dislocated thumb smashes again “oh that feels better (musta popped back in!)” and the turbulence comes to a halt. With the noise of tarmac and gravel still ringing in his ears he spits out some dust, opens his eyes and hears himself say out loud “F*^k!”
The rest of the bikes hammer on to Lap two and our man signals to the flaggies he’s OK whilst admiring his painless thumb raised in the air.
Instinct sets in. Get up! Get away from the track and inspect the damage. Not as easy as normal as there’s still tweety birds’ circling around his REEVU helmet. He manages to pick himself up and Hop out of the way.
Unknowingly at this point on pit wall I’m putting 2 and 2 together. There’s a yellow flag waving at turn 11, the bike I’m looking for hasn't completed a lap.
The red Kawasaki with #½ on the plate has disappeared. The rider I’m looking for is yep, you guessed it Bloody Alan Kempster… He must be off…
The race continues, an ambulance isn't on track so things must be ok? I make my way back to his pit to wait for the bike and of course Al. During the walk back I couldn't help but hope he’s ok and quietly hoped for a chance that he could get back out there. After all, it was early in the day and there were plenty more races left in the days program for him to compete. It’s a five hour drive home for Al and he had just recently been able to get his hands on enough cash via his sponsors and Facebook fans to enter his first race of 2014 in Australia. Alan had just smashed his personal best lap time of the Phillip Island Circuit the day before. During his qualifying session the man had just officially smashed the 2min Barrier with a time of 1min 56. No mean feat for any rider on a Superbike never mind on his 20yr old 400cc! If there was a chance to get back on track He’d be up for it!
We got back to his garage just in time to have him roll back with a big smile. No need to ask him if he was alright as that’s the first thing he said “sore thumb, think I popped it back in, she’ll be right! How’s the bike?” he asked.
The bike was put back on its stand and the mechanical autopsy began.
Now! This procedure must commence in the right way.
First up. A smoke with initial inspection. “She doesn’t look good mate” and the classic reference of “that’ll not buff out” usually comes from the comedic genius of a bystander.
At this point the obligatory Facebook picture must be taken.
The ZXR was looking a bit sad and Al didn't have room to bring his sweet TTI toolbox sponsored by ERIC BURGOUN so we were left to utilise his precision instruments wrapped in a tea towel (pictured)
First thing was to address the snapped left foot peg assembly sponsored originally by KANEG. This had been left destroyed and unrepairable so Al suggested we used his spare.. So we did just that. Removed the right foot peg and swapped it to the left. Sorted! Thanks KANEG. Good thinkin Al!
As the bike flipped in the gravel trap whilst still running, the air box and carbs had to be removed. All parts had to be inspected as the risk of contamination dust/rocks and other nasty foreign material getting into the engine was too high to ignore. With the help of Al’s competitors pitted next to him we were able to loan the tools for the job. Whilst the carbs were stripped/cleaned and flushed with fuel Casso straightened a bent needle and Sarah and Charlotte got their hands dirty by dismantling the body work and repairing/making safe by applying Race Tape! The wee bike was rebuilt, started and bent back into place. Al grabbed his new REEVU helmet and newly Christened RST leathers and off we went to scrutineering. All was safety checked and the tyres where put back on the warmers.
# ½ competed in another 3 races on Sunday. The look on spectators faces as he rode out onto the grid only a couple of hours after his major “off” at turn 12 was priceless. Alan Kempster had many reasons not to get back out there on his bent bike with his tired bruised body but he did. He didn't say it but we all know why. Al’s passion for what he does is true. He don’t mess about. He’s a Racer but more importantly he is an inspiration. He is fueled by his belief of “live YOUR dreams” He is inspired by all who gets off the couch and give life a fair go. He wants to show EVERYONE that YOU can do whatever you set your mind to.
Alan Kempster is only out there because of his sponsors and Facebook peeps that help through The Disabled Motorcycle Racing Foundation of Australia Inc. Sorry If I have not mentioned any of his friends or sponsors here cause I have just wrote this to tell you a wee story that we had at the weekend and show off a couple of pics
Sponsors and even $1 Donations come here for more infohttps://www.facebook.com/LeftSideStoryAlanKempsterCommittee