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Bike racer Mark Fincham, sponsored by Bikesure, closed the gap on the leaders in the MRO 1000 Clubman series with two wins out of two at Oulton Park last weekend.
On a rebuilt bike and on a warm, sunny weekend, King’s Lynn-based Fincham clocked a personal best on the track in qualifying of 1.46.2 to put him on pole in his class.
In the first race of the weekend, Mark made a good start and spent the whole race mixing it with the Powerbike riders and leading the Clubman class, taking the class win ahead of the championship leader.
It was a similar story in race two, a blistering start putting Mark into fourth overall and first in class. After spending the whole race swapping places with the Powerbike champion from last year, Mark took another class win and set a new personal best of 1 minute 44 seconds around the three-mile circuit, not far behind the National Superstock riders’ pace of 1 minute 41 seconds.
The double class win ensured Mark stayed in fourth place in the Championship overall, but picked up 19 points on the leader. Norfolk fans can get a close-up look at Mark’s progress in the next round at Snetterton on June 22 and 23. Follow Mark on Facebook (Mark Fincham Racing) or Twitter @markfincham23.
After a race-ending accident in the second race weekend of the championship, King’s Lynn bike racer Mark Fincham got back on track at Pembrey, ending the weekend in fourth place overall.
The accident at Brands Hatch had left Mark in 11th overall and with work to do to complete for the title this season.
And the former Marine, who lost a leg in a road accident in 2007, had to contend with a front brake seizure and a loose gear lever in resting at Pembrey.
But Mark, sponsored by Bikesure, flew through the wet in qualifying to end up first in class and second overall on the grid.
Here Mark takes up the story, race by race over the weekend of May 4 and 5:
I made a good start for a change, was holding second place right up until the first corner when another guy came from behind and out-braked himself, causing me to run wide and pushing me back to 11th. I was gutted, all that promising work I had done in qualifying. I spent the race picking people off, but the powerbikes are so fast here I had little chance of keeping with them. However, I saw my main rival in front of me and set my sights on catching him. I could see the gap getting smaller turn by turn, but I ran out of laps and had to settle with second place.
Determined to get another good start, I went for it. Lights out and I was off, but my foot clipped the gear shifter which, in turn, caused the electronics to shut the power off thinking I wanted to change gear. Everyone went flying past – I couldn’t believe I had messed things up again. I think I was running roughly 8th in my class, which was appalling by my standards. I did everything I could to make places up and by the time the chequered flag was out I was second, but way too far back to have caught up with first place.
After doing my normal morning routine, I went to check on the bike. I found it had developed an oil leak. We think this was caused by my crash at Brands Hatch. This meant I had to switch to the number two bike. Having never ridden it, I was keen to get on it during morning warm up. Due to the early morning cold temperature I wasn’t able to push it as hard as I wanted in warm up.
The race began and I absolutely launched it off the line – this bike is clearly much easier to get going than my number one bike. Into turn one and I’m first overall. I managed to hold this for a while but we had some national and world level riders joining us this meeting and they got past eventually. I soon realized that the bike was not set up very well – the front end was far too stiff, which was causing me to take all of the stress the suspension normally deals with through my arms, which was very fatiguing. Also the rear was too soft making it hard to hold a tight line through a corner.
I fought as much as possible, but unfortunately my arms got so tired that during heavy breaking from 170mph down to 20mph I ran on and missed the corner, which cost me valuable places and I finished fourth.
In the down-time between races I changed the settings on the bike that were causing me issues.
Having to start quite far back on the grid, I was determined to make places as quickly as possible. I managed to launch it again, I had gone from mid pack to run with the boys up front. After battling at the front even with the national level guys I managed to pull out a second place.
So, having moved up from fourth to 11th, there is much to look forward to in the rounds ahead, though the championship leader sits nearly 100 points ahead.
The next meeting is at Oulton Park on May 31 to June 1.
That’s right, here at Bikesure we’re giving away one free quad bike insurance a month for the next year to celebrate a decade of providing cover for these fun and versatile vehicles.
We’ve been covering all different types of quads since the market for all-terrain vehicles took off, and now customers old and new can benefit from a monthly prize draw to win back the cost of their policy up to a value of £1,000.
All types of quad qualify for the draw, from performance and sports quads to utility and buggies.
Bikesure general manager Gerry Bucke said: “This is a thank you to all of our customers for helping us to stay at the forefront of quad insurance for the past decade.
“We have recently reduced our rates for quads and negotiated increased discounts for no claims and length of ownership, so we could well save you money as well as giving you a chance to win back your premium.”
The competition will run from April 2013 to March 2014 inclusive, and anyone who takes out a new policy or existing customers whose policy renews during that period will automatically be entered into the draw, with one winner selected per calendar month to receive a refund.
As well as £100,000 of free legal cover with every policy, Bikesure offers a range of features including:
Off-road or road use, including commuting
Multibike discounts, including a mixture of quads and motorbikes
Cover for riders with zero no claims discount, motoring or criminal convictions
Cover for modified or customised quads
Optional breakdown and personal injury cover
Optional helmet and leather cover
Discounts can be offered for membership of owners clubs, limited mileage, additional security precautions and experienced riders.
It looks like a smart new supermini.
But this is no ordinary car – in fact, it’s not technically even a car.
The Aixam Coupe S is classed as a light quadricycle, dubbed carpeds, which means it can be driven by 16-year-olds holding a moped licence.
To qualify as a quadricycle, vehicles must weigh less than 350kg and have a power output not exceeding 4kw, with a maximum speed of 30mph.
The launch of the vehicle in the UK follows EU legislation which allowed carpeds to be driven on the nation’s roads with a moped licence.
Set to be launched in the UK at the Motorcycle Live event from November 24 at the NEC in Birmingham, the vehicles are considered to be a safer alternative than two-wheeled mopeds.
Justin Bond, Aixam’s UK manager, said: “The vehicle was launched internationally at the Paris Motor Show to great acclaim.
“We believe that the young rider market for scooters and mopeds has been contracting lately due to the difficulty in convincing parents of the safety issues surrounding mopeds and scooters, and this will offer a safer method of transport to this demographic.”
Gerry Bucke, general manager of specialist insurance broker Bikesure, said a typical premium for a 16-year-old with a moped licence and no accidents or convictions would be around £2,200, based on a mileage of 5000 per year.
“This is in the same ballpark to a 17-year-old driving a small standard car, and it’s certainly a safer, drier and warmer method of getting about for 16-year-olds who want their independence on the roads,” he added.
The vehicles are powered by a Kubota 400cc diesel engine, and come with 12 months free road tax, alloy wheels and a CD/radio.
French car-maker Aixam hopes to sell up to 1,000 units in the first year, with the first vehicles being delivered in January.
They will be sold through a network of motorcycle dealers, and the Coupe S will retail at £9,999.
For more information about the vehicle and to book a test drive please contact Justin Bond on 01788 422011 or 01788 553330, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about insurance for the vehicle please contact Matt Ware on 01553 818550 or at email@example.com
Ever wondered what’s beneath a biker’s leathers? No? Well we’re going to show you anyway.
Fourteen brave members of the East Northants Classic Motorcycle Club (ENCMC) have stripped off to raise cash for the Spinal Injuries Association, which supports and campaigns for people suffering from spinal injuries. Specialist insurance broker Bikesure, which provides cover for almost anything on two wheels, has sponsored the calendar.
ENCMC member Chris Saunders said: “On a cold dark December night whilst eating fish and chips at the annual Christmas do for East Northants Classic Motorcycle Club the idea of the calendar came about but, instead of using sticky buns, we would use motorcycle parts instead.
“Thus on a cold rainy day in April we got our kit off and bared our bellies, bums and bikes to the elements and Anna the photographer. We had so much fun even when our trousers got mixed up and some of us ended up with the wrong clothes. We had an excellent day and we want to raise as much money for the cause.”
The calendar can be bought from the SIA’s website, priced at £9.99.
Every day three people are paralysed for life by damage to their spinal cord. There are an estimated 40,000 people in the UK with spinal cord Injury, and the SIA helps them and their families to return to full independence – from the moment of injury – for the rest of their lives.
Motorcyclists can benefit from bigger discounts and tailormade cover thanks to specialist insurance broker Bikesure.
The broker has introduced two new schemes to reward owners club members and cater for touring bike riders.
A new owners club scheme only available to members provides discounts of up to 25 per cent.
And the tourer scheme is a tailormade policy including standard features such as:
- Sat nav cover up to £250
- Accessories covered up to £1,500
- Free cover for most European countries for three months in any one year
- Cover for bikes valued up to £30,000
Rob Balls, of Bikesure, said the two new schemes would provide great savings and specialist cover for dedicated enthusiasts.
“We know from experience that members of owners clubs are more likely to take care of their bikes much better than non members, and so we’re happy to reward them with bigger discounts than ever before on our owners club scheme,” he added.
“The tourer scheme is specifically designed for those who take to the roads for longer trips, taking into account the extra equipment and accessories needed for British and European touring.
“We hope that these new policies, added to our existing schemes, will help provide even greater value for our customers.”
Bikesure is one of the UK’s leading specialist insurance brokers, with schemes covering everything from standard road bikes to modified, imports, superbikes, scooters, trikes and quads.
Marine-turned-racer Mark Fincham, who lost a leg after an a horrific accident in 2007, brings us up to date with his exploits throughout his debut track-racing season, sponsored by Bikesure.
Here, he talks us through an eventful, and wet, weekend at Cadwell Park.
Friday, June 23 – practice day
It had been pouring with rain all night and the track was a complete wash-out. Because of this many riders were put off from going out testing. I figured the weekend might be wet so getting some good wet settings in place would be useful. In free practice one, I went out just to re-familiarise myself with the track. Still managing a decent pace, I had left all the other riders behind. At the end of the session I came in, fiddled with my suspension and got ready for FP2, this time on the pace. I was loving the wet, had a couple of scary moments when the front washed but managed to hang on to it. FP3 was different, the track was starting to dry but not enough to go on to dry tyres. I had a small crash going through Hall bends, a little keen with the throttle you could say. Unfortunately I broke my foot hanger and no-one in the paddock had any spares to fit my bike. One of the officials kindly leant me his car so I could rush home to have it repaired by local engineering company Eurotech Precision Engineering.
I have Colin at Eurotech to thank for the weekend, as without his craftsmanship that crash would’ve been my weekend over. Instead it was just my day over, unfortunately missing out on two more sessions on a dry track.
Saturday, June 24 – qualifying
Not having time to test the bike after the crash, I got it back together and went out for my qualifying session. I knew something was wrong straight away as the bike only let me rev to 4000rpm, where normally it goes to 16000rpm in a race. Also the front brake wasn’t working. I let everyone past me on track while I rolled along fiddling with my electronics. I usually ride in a setting called ‘slick’ which gives no electronic help, but even in this mode the bike seemed to be running in safe mode. I manually turned all the electronics off, traction control and ABS, and the bike woke up! We were off, I got my tyres nice and warm and managed to put it on the front row in second place, just behind my demon from Oulton Park.
It was wet. I launched my bike off the start and into turn one. We were three abreast, with me in the middle. I shot past P1 after the back straight going into turn four and that was it – just me and him. The whole race corner to corner we were swapping places, quite literally wheel to wheel. With three laps to go, I decided to sit behind him to conserve my energy and wait. On the last lap, I shot past him on the brakes as I did on the first lap, this time it wasn’t as easy, I could hear his engine singing next to mine. Round the goose neck and down into Mansfield, a sharp left hander at the bottom of a hill. So fast, so late on the brakes we both had our bikes sideways going into the turn, he managed to get the inside line, once again wheel to wheel round the chicane, over the mountain (hearing the crowd love the race), through the trees, I was searching for a gap but I couldn’t find it. He rode perfectly. Round the last corner on to the finishing straight, our bikes were evenly matched and the race was his.
This was pretty much a carbon copy of race one, wheel to wheel, swapping positions. Again finishing second.
Sunday, June 25 – Race 3
The track was even wetter than it was on the Friday practice. All racing was delayed while the track was cleared of standing water and the inside areas of the track were dug up to allow the water to run off! We were out with the premier 1000 boys this time. It felt good to be on the grid with premier guys behind me. Lights out and we were off, an average start this time, we bundled into the first corner, and everyone made it round safely. Once again I beat my rival on the brakes into turn four, this time much more intense, we had to be faster than normal. I was in front, and chipping away at the premier guys – not many of them like the rain. By now I was loving it, until I came down Mansfield again and couldn’t get my bike stopped. I had to run it on to the soaking wet grass, so careful not to drop it I got it back on the tarmac, checked my tyres were clean from grass and mud and got them going again. I’d lost four places though and, with only three laps to go, I had a lot of work to do. I have since been told the commentator had said I was going two seconds a lap faster than the people at the front since I had been off track. This wasn’t enough, I only got back three places, once again settling for second place.
This was the first dry race of the weekend. Lap times were a lot lower, but this race didn’t get much of a chance for anyone really as four laps in it was red flagged as someone had come off and the marshalls couldn’t clear the track well enough. It was flagged while I was in second.
I came away from this meeting with four second place trophies, closing up on second in the championship. I also have learned a lot about my main rival and his riding style, and I can’t wait for Snetterton on July 7 and 8.
A former Marine from King’s Lynn who lost a leg after a motorcycle accident has made a great start to his motor-racing career.
Mark Fincham had part of his leg removed after a catastrophic accident in 2007 when he was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle.
Now, thanks in part to sponsorship from East Winch-based insurance broker Bikesure, the 31-year-old is in third place after three rounds of the MRO BEMSEE 1000cc championship, and has already picked up five trophies.
Mark moved into third place in the championship overall after two second place finishes last week at Oulton Park.
Given his injury history, he could be forgiven for feeling some nerves ahead of the weekend’s racing.
“The thoughts were running through my mind of my friend who came off here in his race a few weeks ago and broke his back among other bones,” he said.
“There is no doubt that this is a scary track.”
After qualifying in second place, Mark went in search of a podium finish.
“Nerves had set in fully, we were kept in the holding area for a long time, and all I could think about was the fact my tyres were losing heat,” he said.
After a poor start, Mark held on for second place despite muscle fatigue in his right arm and losing some control of the throttle.
In the second race of the weekend, Mark had to battle with a wild-card rider for second place for much of the race.
“Into the last two corners, I couldn’t dive in on the right hander which left the last left hander,” he explained.
“He took a lovely fast sweeping line, I squared it off and shot it out of the corner, crossing the line less than one tenth of a second in front, my best piece of race-craft yet.
“Second place in both races and a comfortable third in the championship. Not a bad weekend.”
Follow Mark’s progress at www.markfinchamracing.com
With summer around the corner (believe it or not), many will be looking to renew their motorcycle insurance. But are you paying too much? You can keep down the cost by following specialist broker Bikesure’s top tips.
1) Fitting a security device such as a tagging device, alarm, immobiliser or tracker will lower your insurance bill substantially. Parking in a garage or locked building will also drive down costs. Good quality physical locks will also be a great deterrent to theft, particularly if the bike can be locked to an immobile object or anchor. Look out for items that are “Sold Secure Gold” approved. Many of these will also attract a discount and help prevent theft, which is the ultimate aim.
2) Members of a UK owners or riders clubs often receive discounts up to 15 per cent as “enthusiasts” represent a lower risk to insurance companies.
3) Ride sensibly – the more points you have on your licence, the higher the cost of your insurance. One speeding conviction could bump up your premium by around 10 per cent, but two may cost you up to 25 per cent more. If you have a conviction for using a mobile phone while driving, it can increase your premium by a whopping 50 per cent.
4) Modifications that improve the performance of your bike can increase the premium, although specialist brokers like Bikesure offer very competitive modified bike schemes. Make sure your insurer knows about all modifications – failing to declare them could invalidate your policy. Modifications include anything which doesn’t come as standard on your bike. Sometimes specialist custom bikes can actually be cheaper to insure!
5) Opt to pay a higher voluntary excess on any claim you may make. The higher your excess, the cheaper your car insurance – remember that many people find that claiming for less than £500 worth of damage loses them their no-claims bonus and increases the future cost of their insurance. Ensure you can afford to pay the excess if you do have to make a claim.
6) Consider limited mileage insurance if you only ride rarely or for short distances. In standard insurance policies, you have to pay a fixed insurance premium regardless of how often you drive, but limited mileage policies are specially underwritten for bikers who ride less. You will be asked to sign mileage declarations and these will be checked in the event of a claim so, as always, honesty is the best policy.
7) It may sound obvious, but many bikers are caught out by high premiums because they didn’t check the possible cost of insuring their new bike before making their purchase.
9) Be honest with the valuation of your bike – the truth is that no matter what you value your bike at, insurers will only pay out the current market value of a vehicle in the event of a claim, so inflating the price of your bike will do nothing other than potentially push up the price of your premium.
10) If you do not take pillion passengers, tell your broker as this will often attract a discount on your premium.
11) Consider taking an additional or advanced riding test or course to lower your insurance premium. There are several that attract discounts for your insurance and you’ll hopefully come out of it a much better rider.
A King’s Lynn former Marine whose leg was amputated after a road crash is embarking on a new fast track career in motorcycle racing.
Mark Fincham, 31, had part of his leg removed after a catastrophic accident in 2007 when he was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle.
Refusing to allow his injury to change his life, Mark went on to return to the Marines and, after joining Civvy Street last year, is now planning to combine working for the family engineering business with a busy programme of motorcycle racing.
Mark, who was born and raised in King’s Lynn, decided to join the Royal Marines after seeing a presentation at his sixth form and being told it was difficult to join.
“As soon as I knew it was difficult, I really wanted to do it,” he laughed.
“I absolutely loved being a Marine: the challenge, the camaraderie and I loved all the courses I was able to take – I learned about nuclear, biological, jungle and Arctic warfare and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
In March 2007, when he was on leave from his duty on-board a military ship, Mark was involved in an accident which would change his life forever.
While riding his motorbike, a car took a U-turn in front of him smashing into his vehicle, sending him flying through the air and breaking his back, pelvis, leg and ankle.
“I remember various bits about the accident – flying through the air and thinking I was going to hit a tree, the paramedic cutting my leathers and looking at my leg which pointing in all sorts of different directions,” Mark explained.
“I was driven to hospital and I asked if I could be put back together. My back was set and my leg from hip to ankle was pinned.
“When I woke up, the doctor said to me that I would probably never run or walk in the same way again. I said to them, then and there, ‘cut it off, then’.”
Doctors decided not to amputate Mark’s damaged foot and he was sent to a military rehabilitation unit to recuperate.
“I knew straight away that if my leg wasn’t the same as it was before, it would cause problems to my career in the Marines. In the end, my ankle had to be fused and I had to learn to walk all over again,” said Mark.
“As soon as I could walk, I started to run but the ankle just couldn’t take it and I kept breaking it. In the end, I said to the doctor: ‘this is ridiculous. Can you just cut it off?’”
In October 2009, part of Mark’s leg was amputated, the first of three such operations, and he was fitted with a prosthetic limb.
“When I woke up and it was gone, there was a massive sense of relief. I knew another man in the Marines who’d lost a leg and knew that he’d gone on to have a great career with them, so I knew I could do it too,: he said.
“Before I had the operation, I couldn’t even bear the weight of a quilt on my ankle because it was so painful. Suddenly, all that pain had disappeared.”
Within a matter of weeks, Mark was walking again. Three months after his operation, he was running.
Throughout his recovery, Mark hadn’t lost his confidence with motorcycles, buying a new one before he was able to walk after the accident.
“I’ve ridden bikes since I was about 13 and I’ve always loved them,” he said.
“I started doing track racing days when I was about 19. When I had a lot of sick leave after the accident, I’d spend days at the track.
“I started to get a bit frustrated on the track days because I didn’t have anyone to chase. Even the racers in the fast group couldn’t go as fast as I could.”
When he left the Marines after 10 years in early 2011, Mark – who works as an engineer for his father’s company, Eurotech Precision – decided to commit more time to racing.
Marks’s first competitive race will be at Snetterton on March 24. Beginning in the rookie class and riding on his Kawasaki ZX10 R 1000cc sports bike, he will compete in 10 races before progressing through the ranks.
“The only difference that my leg makes is that I have got an adapted gear shift because I don’t have the power in my gear-shifting leg,” he said.
“I can’t wait: I’m a bit nervous of embarrassing myself but I’m going all out to win.”
Since his catastrophic accident in 2007, Mark has had another accident while racing at Mallory Park, in Leciestershire. While driving at 120mph, he came off his bike which catapulted into a barrier and ended up in the grandstand.
“I got up and the bike had disappeared!” laughed Mark, “I was thinking: ‘where is it?!
“I don’t let myself feel scared because then you couldn’t get on the bike. My attitude is the same as the one I have for life – just get on with things and get them done.”
Mark has received sponsorship from specialist motorcycle insurance broker Bikesure, based near King’s Lynn.
Gerry Bucke, general manager of Bikesure, said Mark’s was an inspirational story.
“Mark is living proof that you can overcome tremendous obstacles in life to achieve your ambitions,” he added.
“He is a fearless young man and we’re looking forward to seeing how far he can go in the motorcycle racing world.”