Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Cadwell Sunday 26th..... Oil, Rain, Cold!

You can see how wet it was from the spray and the wash ahead of the front tyre!

All very close with Tony Rudd!

Sunday dawned wet and bloody cold!  My neck and back were really stiff now after yesterday's off.....  But in the rain, I should feel confident!  So ...... wet tyres on and ready to get out for practice......  as I rode down I could hear a clonking noise.....  clutch ?  Gearbox?  something was definitely amiss!

Doh!   Unwelcome Gearbox Noises

So.... practice missed yet again.........  Fortunately chief Mechanic Johnny Gilbert arrived in his waterproofs having ridden up from Grantham in the rain.... no time to waste he was set straight on dismantling things!  

Transmission apart!

Immediately we found a gear tooth floating around and a very obvious gap on the first gear where it had come from!  So Jonny set about cleaning everything whilst I ran around begging and borrowing!  Fellow Lincolnshire rider Tony Rudd came to the rescue with an Li150 box to borrow.

So with everything replaced it was time for our first race.  We sat forming up in the holding area for an age , only to find a marshall walking amongst us with a sign saying oil!  It was raining....... heavy......  and in the previous race a bike had managed to dump pretty much a whole tank of fuel ALL around the circuit and it was all over the racing line... with fallers going straight off on it.

The rain continued to fall as the circuit staff and marshalls applied cleaning agents and swept, washed, brushed the whole circuit.  It became apparent pretty quickly that the whole circuit was affected.  At one point we felt the meeting could actually be cancelled.  It was very grim..... very cold..... very wet.

After 3 1/2 hours waiting we had the call that a few test dummies would be offered a few test laps around to approve as safe.  So representatives from each class went out on circuit and broadly passed it as safe - (ish!)

So..... we lined up as the rain continued to fall......   the sighting lap gave us the chance to at least see where the problems were - there was a lot of chalk down at various parts of the circuit.

From the start I immediately passed a few people including Rob Sumner..... game on.......   as we lapped in the rain i was loving it!  Bizarre I know.... but these conditions are when I ride best!  

The grip from the Sava Monsum tyres is just awesome in these conditions and you can ride with such confidence.  I soon caught and passed Doug Turner and Dan Lewis so this was new territory for me...... along with Tony Rudd too .

On lap 3 the rain came down heavier and I was sideways through Mansfield with the rear sliding out, but just rolled off and got it straight then whacked the throttle open again .... no doubt grinning like a Cheshire cat!

On the 4th lap i went a little wide allowing Tony Rudd to get back past me.  I reeled him back in but ran out of time really to get back past him. My visor was steamed up, hands were wet and leather soaking but i was absolutely loving these conditions!

Yes - Its Wet!

My best race of the year by far!.

As we came into the paddock Dave Crampton and I were just grinning ear to ear.  A few people came over telling us how awesome it had looked with 35 or so scooters in those conditions.  They also said we were F%*&ing crazy too - but hey - tell us something new!

So it was time to get everything packed away and head nack to base with just teh one race today after the delays.

But spirits were high in the van driving back!

Dave and I had both finished and really enjoyed the wet race!

It was a brilliant day for us!  And yes - I think we must be a bit crazy!

Cadwell Park - September 25th / 26th - Where Did That Tyrewall Come From?

Everything forward over the Mountain!

Well....... hasn't  2010 flown!  It really doesn't seem like a year since we were here on the brilliant full Cadwell circuit.

I was still feeling under the weather in the runup to Cadwell with a lot going on and very busy work wise.

The good news was that Dave Crampton was to be back on track on the super tidy Group 6 bike.  He'd managed to somewhat comprehensively destroy the engine on the Cadwell club circuit earlier in the year, which had looked like it would be ending his year !  But good old Chalky White at Replay Scooters stepped in to rescue things and build Dave a brilliant new RB250 motor to borrow for the weekend.  There was a bit of last minute rushing around for him, but the motor sounded crisp and sweet.......   and it was great to see such a beautiful bike back on track - albeit much modified now from the winter when I painted it!

Dave Crampton readies the Gp 6 on Sunday

Saturday dawned cold!  So with the two scooters loaded it was off on the familiar roads to Cadwell, where things were misty and like something from the arctic!

Being Cadwell everyone had to be noise tested again - which is a bit tedious!  I was a bit concerned as I'd only just scraped through in previous tests earlier in the year.  John Howe had sent me an emergency special muffler just in case of difficulties ;-)

With a bit of choke applied ( sssshhhh one of the secrets to quietening the things down!) I was 104 decibels ! 1 under the limit......  Good to go!

Now the fun starts!  Heading down to practice whilst sitting in the holding area the throttle cable snapped whilst sat stationary!  Damn and blast.......  as i started the long and hard push back up the hill - the scooters went out on track!  

After just about needing an iron lung by the time I'd pushed back up to the paddock, it was handlebars apart, and new inner cable to fit and adjust up.  Trouble is - I didn't have too long to do it as i needed to get out to do a practice with the bikes now that i had missed the scooter session.

It felt strange lining up to practice with 40 vintage bikes but once on track the fun started as I started passing a few of them!  then coming down into Mansfield under braking the engine faultered and stopped so I coasted to a halt behind the cones by the temporary chicane.  Looking down I could see the problem - in the rush to get the new cable in, the outer can't have been home properly so it had popped out of its housing.  I was able to push it back in, and then bumpstarted the engine again and managed to get another lap in!  Brilliant - job done.....  now I can race.

So...... onto the first race and it was a really full grid - 39 bike I think, including Stoffi and co from Austria with  a trio of Vespas..  Theres a resurgence of Vespa small frames at the moment and unbeliably we had of them out with the 3 from Austria.

So as we lined up after the sighting lap - we waited..... and waited ..... and waited.... until the signal came from the startline officials to cut the engines!  A medical emergency had taken the doctor off to the paddock.

So we stood around on the start line waiting anxiously - these are exactly the sort of things that get the nerves jangling!

Eric popped up and we managed to get the riders all posing on the start line for a very rare chance for a group picture - the Class of 2010!

The class of 2010!

After quite a lengthy delay - another sighting lap and we were away......  I got a good start - getting past a few bikes off the line and up the left hander.  The pack howled down the Park Straight and round to the Gooseneck where a huge accident happened with 4 riders going down.  It has been a chain reaction really but was pretty nasty.  Ed Hocking came off worst suffering a broken collarbone and wrist .  Subsequent hospitalisation and operations mean sadly he is likely to be out for most of 2011 - Get well soon Ed and come back fighting!

So after a lengthy delay whilst Ed received treatment we had yet another sighting lap.... this time I didn't get such a good start, and wherever I went I seemed to be blocked.  As the race went on I drifted back a bit -0 it was only to be a 3 lap race after all the delays!  On the last lap Adam on one of those pesky Vespa's came by after I drifted a bit wide and up through the woodlands I was determined to make up the gap and repass him.  I managed to make all the distance back again and going around Barn I opted to go round the outside and go for it in a last bend of the last lap all or nothing move!.

Well...... it came to Nothing!

Adam went into Barn a little hot and had to stand the scooter up a little, which pushed me wide and onto the damp part of the circuit under the trees where I speared straight off track!

As soon as I hit the wet grass it was like ice and I was immediately down and sliding to the tyrewall.  I kept hold of the bike as long as possible until it dug into the soft ground and spun me around so I was now heading backwards towards the wall .  These things happen in slow motion and I remember thinking the wall looked soft..... big mistake...... the rubber tracking was pretty damn solid as I crumpled into it followed by the scooter hitting me - which was kind of handy as I managed to use myself as a cushion to prevent damage.

I came to a rest on my side in the mud, dazed and winded.  The marshalls picked me up and moved the scooter off the racing line and surrounded it with bales of straw.  I was to be there for the best part of an hour before being recovered back to the pits where I could set about bending the legshields back into shape and straightening things out!

I felt shaky and started to feel stiffness in my neck and back pretty much straight away, although after a trip to teh medical centre was signed off as fit to race ! ( More like fit to drop really!) 

So I was to make it out for Race 2 later on!

Race 2 was altogether less eventful!  I just concentrated on riding round in 1 piece and getting the points.  I had worked out that missing Pembrey race  meeting and now a DNF in race 1 had lost me enough points that I would drop to 8th in the championship, and unless Replay team mate Rob Sumner had a non finish realistically I wouldn't score enough points to over take him.
Chasing Roland Davis through the Woodlands!

So...... onto Sunday.........   rain forecast!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Belated Updates ! Lydden & Pembrey

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Crikey...... how time has flown.

Lydden Hill meeting was July 31st / August 1st.

This was in part probably one of my worst ever meetings if I'm honest. i had been feeling unwell prior to it and had a lot going on, culminating in being up all night the night before so with absolutely no sleep Saturday was always going to be a nightmare!

And nightmare it was - i was all over the place, so the less said about it the better. My lap times were about 4 seconds slower than last year on Saturday... so you can see the extent of teh problem as the scooter simply felt it was all over the place!

I completed the two races, basically just riding around to collect points really. There was an extra scratch race at the end of the day and i asked Ed Hocking to take out the scooter and see what he thought..... almost unrideable was the reply - and too much brake! hhhhmmmmmmm!!!!!

Further investigation revealed a loose front axle..... alllowing the front wheel to twist! That explained a lot! Also Ed felt that the front brake was actually too good! I have been using EBC HH compound brake pads.... these have the benefit of being VERY efficient and give incredible stopping power. The trouble is after talking to Ed I could totally see his point that what they also did was work too efficiently if you just wanted a 'dab' on them you actually scrubbed off too much speed as they are really either on or off! They are brilliant for example for late breaking into a hairpin, but if you just want a confidence check, they actually take off too much speed.

At Lydden Hill, saturday evening is a very social affair with a free BBQ and drinks to enjoy so I decided to leave the scooter till Sunday morning and enjoy the food and drink and try and get some sleep!

Sunday at Lydden is also unique as the local church has services in the morning so there is no racing until after 12.00 so plenty of time for maintenance and adjustments! So I stripped the brakes and removed the HH pads, and after further discussion with John Howe of Jahspeed I fitted some spare standard ScootRS road pads, after first removing about 20% of the brake pad surface.
The idea here being to actually remove some of the immediate 'grabbing' efficiency of the pads. the theory being with a little less initial 'bite' you could just confidence dab the brake and actually not scrub off too much corner speed.

Race 1 on Sunday saw me put this to the test and yes! much better! ( having a tight front wheel undoubtedly helped too!) Lap times was immediately about 4 seconds faster and similar to last years! It was particularly noticeable at the end of the start straight into the 'bombhole' bend that I could just dab the break and carry a lot more corner speed through the bend, leaving a much greater exit speed for the run down to the Devils Elbow left hander.

Devils Elbow

Ready to Bumpstart - downhill!

Feeling much better, especially after another brief power nap in the van, Race 2 saw me in a much stronger position, swapping places with Gary Biddle who had been 30 seconds up the road the day before! Also i was well in front of Replay team mate Rob Sumner who I had been nowhere near in the first 3 races. Lap times were another 2 seconds quicker and overall nearly 6 secs faster than the saturday ( with laps time just over a minute thats a big chunk! )

looking and feeling way quicker on Sunday!

Gary Biddle having to chase hard!

I was not planning to race at the Next Meeting at Pembrey in South Wales, which was just as well as a few weeks of illness followed Lydden, and I wouldn't have been up to it anyway!  Unfortunately though, it proved costly as far as the Championship goes as an extra race was added at Pembrey on the Saturday making it a 5 race weekend..... so a whole 5 no pointers for me would drop me from 6th to 8th in Group 4!

Next Race will be Cadwell Park at the end of September

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Cadwell Park Race Pictures

Many Thanks to Paul Thomas for these pictures of the BSSO round at Cadwell Park

British Champion - Charlie Edmonds - Performance Tuning

Jon Davis

Steve Wright with Guy Topper Chasing

Mike Bonnett - Kegra

Jon Uffindell and James Campen had a race long tousle!

Dave Crampton

Ed Hocking Team Replay - Head down Trying hard! 
Phil Bevis in close 


Double Race Winner Guy Topper

Thanks again to Paul Thomas for pictures

Friday, 9 July 2010

Cadwell Park June - What - No Brake!

I got to the circuit at teatime - just as the classic cars had finished........  some great machines there!

My good mate Matthew arrived for his second race in 20 years!   His new motorhome and trailer was pretty nifty!   Chalky White arrived too with his new retirement vehicle.....  mega !

Saturday night saw noise testing out the way - scraped through!.....

Flippin' eck it was cold the night before!!!!!

The van was bloody freezing......  is it really summer?  So up and cooked some bacon to warm up!

Dave Crampton and Mars Bar Jonny arrived and soon the paddock was filling up.

Practice..............  hhhhhmmmmmm  gearing is a bit high maybe...........   still experimenting really as the engine characteristics are different to last year.  I was running and Li150 Pacemaker box and had opted for 17/46........   just that bit out really.  Cadwell is always a bit of a compromise gearing wise, but i was not really far enough out to have the hassle of changing the sprockets........   which is what Chalky told me during his motivational talk!

So......  stick with it and just try and go faster!

Race 1 - got a decent start and had a good tousle with Rob sumner and Tim Simpson for a few laps.  What I was finding was that I was struggling with speed up the hill from the hairpin and over the hill, where the gearing could have been a little lower, but by the end of the straight I was maybe 4-5 mph quicker so was able to outbrake a few at the end of the straight.  The Gooseneck as always is a challenge and on teh last lap Steve Wright went off line coming out of it and so very nearly managed to stay upright - eventually succumbing to a slow speed tumble almost down at the next bend on the grass.  Thankfully Steve was fine and suffered no injury.  Guy Topper won from the front row being chased hard by Charlie Edmonds coming through from well down the grid.

Race 2 - not such a good start,  and was quickly in a tousle with Rob and Tim again, but this time joined by Dave Crampton too.  The three of them went round the outside entering the main straight , but once down the dip and rising uphill and back onto the flat I reeled them all back in and passed them under braking for the right hander........... however........ trying to scrub off speed I went for the rear brake..... ermmmmm  .... the pedals not there!  OOps.... looking down the pedal was flapping around.... looking back up ...... erm...... I'm all out of track!

Fighting with Rob Sumner in front, Dave Crampton alongside, Tim Simpson Chasing ...... then it all went wrong!

Dave C was about to tip into the bend - only to find me going straight on trying to slow down!   Oops........  he has no choice but to be straight on heading towards the tyre wall!  he managed to stay upright fortunately and makes it back on track.

If the brake pedal had actually come right off it would have been better......  but it was hanging by its cable and flapping around in the breeze.  It seemed no matter where I went to put my foot the loose pedal was under it!  It was such a distraction.  I let Rob and Tim go and just concentrated on getting round to a finish and collect the points!

Dave C had stopped on track after his motor appeared to nip up.....  later inspection would reveal total destruction!  Poor dave has really not had the luck in his debut season!  If it can go wrong it has done......  No wonder he calls himself Unlucky Alf!

So its another long lay off till Lydden Hill.  The intention is to do a track day or Mallory test in the gap and get some valuable track time as I'm not feeling so comfortable this year - the 3 race meeting so far have been nothing to write home about.... more speed and confidence badly needed!

Lydden Hill is the next race meeting on July 31st .......  Another small circuit - but one where corner speed is so important.  Fingers crossed for a better weekend there.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Three Sisters May 2010

The last few weeks has been manic busy with one thing or another - and Three Sisters seems like a long time ago!

Round 2 of the BSOO 2010 Championship was originally scheduled to be at Anglesey on the full circuit there. I had not actually planned to enter that race, so when it was cancelled due to lack of entries for the motorcycle club ( ironically scooters outnumbered bikes on the entry !) we spoke to the VMCC who we normally race with and were very pleased to reschedule our round back to the Three Sisters Circuit near Wigan.

So ahead of the meeting I had a lot of things to change and experiment with for Three Sisters. The new 2010 exhaust needed shortening and was quickly despatched off to Jahspeed for modification to allow higher revs and a little more clearance to the rear tyre to facilitate easier tyre changes.

I also paid a visit to Charlie Edmonds for a little help and advice with suspension set up. This resulted in a new Chiselspeed rear shock which gives much more adjustability in the setup. Additionally I stripped the front forks and went with a completely different setup.


So..... Friday night I arrived at the circuit and put together the new marquee before wandering over to the Jahspeed Funbus for a half of shandy ;-) Those essex boys know how to relax at the end of the week!
Saturday morning Dave C and Mars Bar Johnny arrived to spectate and later on the pit crew of choice arrived. All was set.....

So..... looking forward to the 'old favorite' Three Sisters circuit I ventured out on track for first practice - eager to try the new suspension set up...... first lap coming off the hill I applied the front brake for the 90 degree right hander and the front end was just all over the place,........ and again at the paddock right hand and going into the heavy braking zone into the left hand the front end was just locking up and skipping around like crazy.

Back into the paddock there was much head scratching as to what was occuring. Charlie came over and described the scooter as 'looking like a dancing kangaroo!' which actually felt an apt description. it was simple horrid to ride.

We wound up the front dampers and also the rear shock to stiffen them up - all we could really in readiness for race 1. Unfortunately whilst the changes had helped it was still wild and locking up solid under braking. I tussle with Biddle initially and the super fast Group 6 of returning Jigsy was fun - if a little frustrating !

Race 2 was more of the same.!

On Saturday we also were to have a 3rd scratch race just for fun..... so I thought I mat as well have a go despite the handling problems. On the second lap there was banging and clattering under acceleration and initial loss of drive..... so i pulled in and we set about stripping the motor with my trusty pit crew. The problem revealed itself in a damaged front sprocket which was spinning on the shaft and not allowing drive. In the rebuild I'd accidentally used a crappy Indian sprocket - so this was replaced with a good Innocenti one and we were good to go again on Sunday.....


I had some breakfast then decided to strip and rebuild the forks back to their original set up - not the easiest of jobs to do in the paddock and not one you would do for fun! I decided to try putting the front suspension back to its original setup.

This was finished with Chalkies help literally as an extra unexpected practice was called......... with some rushing around i missed the first lap but could get some valuable testing of things..... it was better - but still locking up under heavy braking.

Chalkie who was watching closely from track side identified that the BGM dampers were bottoming out under braking .....

Further examination and measurement revealed that I had 15-20mm less distance between the damper mountings than others.... so consequently i had insufficient travel..... meaning that the dampers were bottoming out on their rubber bushes to easily.

A little scouting around found me some trusty escort standard dampers to use for the rest of the day - to at least prevent the locking up.

So overall a really disappointing weekend which had knocked my confidence in the bike under braking and resulted in a lower than expected result ......

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Three Sisters Preview

Well it seems to have been really busy since the first round of the 2010 championship at Mallory on Easter Monday.  I didn't really touch the scooter for a week or so as I was in a lot of pain from my back and could not really move around too well!

I hadn't actually planned to do the next race meeting which was originally scheduled to be at Anglesey circuit - but the news came through that this meeting had been cancelled by the host club.   obviously this is outside the control of the BSSO, but i actually thought personally that we should have been racing with the VMCC at Three Sisters, but the dates clashed and the AGM voted narrowly to make the Anglesey date championship!

So a few frantic phone calls between the committee members and we changed the venue back to the VMCC date at one of my personal favourite circuits - Three Sisters near Wigan.

Three Sisters is a love or hate circuit!   For many who raced through the 80's and 90's they got heartily sick of the place as we went there 4-5 times a year !  but personally I like it.  Whilst scooter racing has moved on considerably in speeds and power in recent years - which is obviously suited to big high speed circuits - personally I feel Three Sisters with its tight twisty turns and lower overall speeds has a place in the  Championship.  Formula 1 has Monaco - Scooter racing has Three Sisters!  ;-)

So now.....  I had to rush the planned changes to the scooter to be ready in time !

The exhaust was sent off promptly to John Howe at Jahspeed for the planned changes to it.....  the main body was to be shortened to allow it to rev higher and move the power up the rev range, whilst at the same time making a little more clearance to the rear tyre in order to allow tyre changes without removing the exhaust to do so!  The muffler was also angled up to give more ground clearance on right hand bends ( it had been touching down at Mallory hairpin!)  Three Sisters will be very demanding in this respect as cornering angles are low.....  if you are going to ground an exhaust anywhere it will be on the series of tight right hand bends!

I have also totally changed the suspension set up of the scooter at both the rear and the front end.  The rear has been changed to the superb Chiselspeed unit which is fully adjustable, whilst the front end has been totally stripped and had the bearings changed to loose balls which smooths out the steering action.  Internally the front suspension has been changed as well to allow more 'sag' to the suspension which will help in high speed bends.

Dyno testing also showed that the jetting was a little out with the new exhaust - rich in the midrange and weak at the top end.  This has been changed, but unfortunately there is no time between now and Three Sisters to do more testing and set up so it will be fingers crossed!

I'm starting 12th on the grid so will be very much in the thick of the pack......

Will be good to see Jigsy back out on the flying carrot Group 6 bike, and Team Replay have a new rider out this weekend!

heres some onboard footage from Three Sisters to give you some idea of what its like...... good close racing!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Mallory Park - Easter Monday - First Day of Term... Pain!

So......  after the winters wait it was over to Mallory Park on Easter Monday.

I loaded the van and all the gear on Sunday afternoon. Miles was out for the afternoon and I couldn't be bothered to wait for him to get back - mistake!  A little after I'd loaded everything my back started to be very painful, which steadily got worse as the day and evening went on.  I actually fractured vertebrae a few years ago and my back is basically a bit of a mess and will never really be right again.  There is a lot of damage and I do have restricted movement in it .  The break was caused by a little 'incident' when I fell off the back of a 14 foot half pipe whilst skateboarding (!!!!!!)

So the pain I was now in was actually the worst it has been for many years.  I dosed myself up with painkillers and hoped for the best.... and vainly hoped that the adrenalin would overcome.... alas not!  Scrutineering was smooth, with no issues.  It was great to see my old mate Roland Davis back helping out with the weighing equipment for the controversial new weight regs this year.

So - onto first practice..... my doubts about the clutch proved to be correct!  I had experienced clutch problems on the test day and again when trying to do some dyno testing at Replay Scooters... and it just didn't 'feel' right somehow.....  it managed to last a whole lap and a half before starting to slip and give up the ghost.   So practice cut short ...... the bike was straight on its side being taken apart.  Fortunatley I had good mate Johnny Gilbert to lend a hand, and Chalkie White soon appeared to help out too.

The top cork had managed to free itself and had spun out the top of the clutch bell..... which was a bit odd as this had never happened before!  The corks had also partially broken up with plenty of cork floating around in the oil!  They were comprehensively destroyed.

After much head scratching as to why this had happened Paul Baker from SRP Racetech helped out with the load of 6 new Surflex red plates, and with Chalkies help we did some pick and mixing of steels and with a little addition we had the top cork in its rightful place... and a test around the paddock followed by a little adjustment, fingers crossed showed it was good to go!

So.... first race...... a decent initial start of the line ..... well a little too decent thought the stewards who managed to dish me out yet another jump penalty!!!!  The scooter with the new exhaust felt initially strong, but as the race progressed it was increasingly hard to move around as my back stiffened up.... but more importantly whilst the new exhaust gives grunt out of bends, the change in the engine characteristics became more noticeable.... and it was very apparent that I'd lost some straight line speed on the straights.

Race two was pretty awful and a real struggle to be honest, and I was pretty glad when it was over.  But on the positive side I had two points finishes which was more than several others managed so I actually scored decent points despite all!

I was in bed within half hour of getting in and feeling and looking very grey!

Monday was a visit to my trusty osteopath for emergency treatment.... damaged facet joints in between the vertebrae .... ouch to the back...... ouch to the wallet.... it's likely to be 4 weeks worth of treatment to get it sorted....

As for the scooter...... well.... a dyno session at Replay made things clearer, and as I type this John Howe is remodelling the exhaust to allow the motor to rev and bring the power maximum higher up the rev range.  The exhaust was a prototype after all so modification is to be expected, but Jahspeed are onto it!

Hopefully the back will be sorted out for the next race!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Mallory park BSSO Test Day

Well... here we go...... the first track action for 2010!

The weeks prior to the Mallory test had been really hectic one way or another.  Unfortunately I had totally run out of time to do the intended new paint job.... but my good mate Dave Crampton's Gp6 was looking nice once it was all bolted together!

The big changes to the scooter for 2010 were all based around the new 2010 exhaust.  John Howe at Jahspeed has done a brilliant job with this new prototype design for Group 4!  It looks and sounds amazing.  Initial dyno test shows 2 HP increase and more torque...... although achieved slightly at the expense of a wide power band as its a bit peakier now!

The new exhaust is built around the engine and runs real close to the back tyre and will nicely warm the rear tyre ready for left handers!!  The engine now has direct air scoop for cooling (the aluminium cooling scoop was erm,... interesting to make!)  In order to allow for the scoop cooling I have a new cylinder head - large!!!!!!

Chalky White at Replay has remachined the combustion chamber to a new 2010 shape, and also machined down the mag housing to a bare minimum..... no cooling fan now!

So...............  following the initial run on a dyno it was time to get on track.  Finishing Dave's Gp 6 had been very much a last minute affair with lots of midnight oil being burnt.....  which meant we had to take it to Mallory having not even started it (more in a future update on the Group 6 bike)!  So once we had got there.... I proceeded to get ready to go out.......  whilst Dave proceeded to try to start his for the first time!

so.............  first session....... felt great to be on track and the new exhaust sounded great!  It was really cold so would be taking a while to get the tyre warmed up (Chris Geyton managed to bin his scooter at the second bend!)   .............  scooter felt good.....  but the new exhaust seemed to have changed some of the engine characteristics and although I had put in higher gearing than last year... it was not by enough as I was hitting 4th really early on the straight.

The first session was over all too soon............  as I pulled in Dave was still struggling to get the Gp 6 running as the clutch was permanently binding.....  decision was made to strip it and see what was up!

The second session seemed to come around really quickly and we were back on track.  The sun was out now and the track was getting warmer, so time to try a bit harder!  End of the session again came all too soon and towards the end there was just a little clutch slip starting.......

So adjusted the clutch and then checked on Daves progress which had been good and the clutch problem  seemed to have been sorted and it was firing into life!

The third session was just before lunch and the clutch slip was much more noticeable!  As was the gearing issue now I was getting more used to the power delivery of the engine.  I thought about stripping it to check the clutch and change the gearing but by now the sun had dipped behind the clouds and it was starting to get really cold.........  so opted to just adjust the clutch again and hope for the best.

Dave had now made it out on track and was enjoying riding the Gp 6 although gear change was an issue and will need to be modified!

Next session.....  I managed a couple of laps and then called it a day as the clutch had totally given up the ghost and there was virtually no drive at all!

So we spent an hour or so chatting and catching up with other riders and spectators, including Kieran Doherty - a world renowned photographer who is hoping to attend a few meetings this year to complete a photoessay on scooter racing.  Check out http://www.kierandoherty.typepad.com/kdblog/  and www.kierandoherty.com for his work.

The clutch problems will obviously need sorting out, but the exhaust seems to work well ......  I guess some new experimentation with gearing will be needed so I am hoping to do a couple of tests or track days to iron this out during the year.

First race is back at Mallory Park on Easter Monday .... 5th April........ looking forward to it!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Dragster Painted!

Well I started respraying Miles Dragster over Christmas..........   not exactly the best weather for spraying to say the least!  It has been a struggle to get the paint to dry and harden, even with a paraffin stove, a calor gas heater and an oil filled radiator all on the go!

The dragster has been painted in the fancy Ford Frozen White colour......  a very 'bright' white! Some parts are painted in satin black as a contrast and its almost finished now and looking quite nice

It took way too much paint to spray the scooter after I wasted quite a bit after initially using an incompatible hardener, and then managing to get a couple of runs on a panel, then in disgust as I stood back and cursed, I managed to knock a freshly painted panel onto the floor!  Much swearing and cursing and rubdown and start again!

Now its more or less done I can get on with the race bike!   Deadline looming....

Friday, 8 January 2010

ScootRs Quality

First off...... let me declare an 'interest'......   ScootRS are helping me out in 2010 with supply of an anti-dive kit, so there is an element of sponsorship to me for 2010.........  however.....  there is a debate raging across the forums over quality of ScootRs products vs some of their competitors!  >> http://scooterotica.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7313&start=20

ScootRs disc external disc brakes are the main 'benchmark' external disc in the BSSO race series, between myself and race team colleague Dave Crampton we have three ScootRS discs fitted to our race and road scooters and have always found them to be great quality.  Although I have now upgraded the pads used to EBC HH race compound, even the standard pads gave pretty good braking performance last year- until I wore them out at least!

I have noticed recently that BGM products have also taken a bit of stick on web forums too......   and I'm kind of linking the two brands together here.....   but ScootRS products may be manufactured in the far east, but in particular their disc brakes I have found to be of good quality, as are the absolutely superb BGM dampers..... yet there are people who question the quality simply because of the country of manufacture.  

I really don't think you can do this as a sweeping generalisation.  The UK can make some superb products and also some utter *&%$.  The global world we live in nowadays means that products can be designed, sourced, and manufactured all over the world.  The most important thing being the actual end quality / price - not simply the country of manufacture!

Its interesting to note that Apple products proudly display 'designed in California' on their packaging..... but where are they predominantly made?... ermm..... well your sparkling new Ipod or Iphone is finest quality product of China!

Sometime people like ScootRS get bad press over the odd product that is a 'cheap copy' .....   they have a wide range of products of varying prices and qualities........  but you pay your money and make your choice.....  but with regard to things like brakes....... you have to make a careful choice!

Its pretty easy to see from the pictures on the scootRS 'censored' advert that there can be big differences in the castings of different brands.  But I guess its just difficult to make that point without showing pictures of different products!