Thursday, 11 June 2009


First off, sorry for the lack of any updates of late!

We all went up to Cadwell for the first round on the 16th & 17th May. I went up earlier, to test on the Friday and sort out those carb/ timing niggles.

First off, i noticed that it was decidedly reluctant to get going, worse than the last test at Snetterton...

However, I put the carb needles back to base settings, as per the last laps of Snetterton. Not sure why, but it felt even worse, tho would just about run. Someone had an off on my first lap tho, and they held us all on track just after Mansfield. Told to kill our engines, it was back to the paddock in the Race Support truck. Not for the first time...

So I decided to decrease the size of the needle jet. Running round the paddock it was no better. So the other way, jet up. By that point, I must have been feeling optimistic, and it was our next session, so I tried, but got a few hundred yards before stalling at the slow-running point of the hairpin. Unable to bump it again before it stopped rolling, I sat that one out and waited for the Support van to come and get me again.

I put the carbs back to standard, and then tried to very marginally retard the timing. She still wasn't happy to start, and would barely run at all. Ok then, advance? No better.

By this point, the best part of the day was behind me, and I was no further forward.

To cut a long story short, I fiddled a bit more on Saturday morning, but couldnt even make it out for practice. A bit more time on the carbs and the rollers in the afternoon, but I eventually spat the dummy and went home on saturday night.

On the way home, the heater matrix in the van burst, making for a sauna-like cabin.

So what now then??

Well, I sold the van, and haven't touched the bike. The week after Snetterton got married, and then had a couple of weeks off on honeymoon...

Got back on monday, and I think I may start pondering where to go with this. Perhaps its the cam? Its a stage 4, previously used with a 100mm domed piston. In this motor, its got a 98mm flat-top piston, could this explain why it will only run well above about 5k??

The season's not looking great for me, but I'll keep posting on the development of the bike. For more successful racing-related stories, may I direct the avid reader towards Dave Bennett's excellent

Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Empresses New Clothes

Ta Daaa!!

It has been said that the results achieved with doing bodywork stuff are directly proportional to the time and effort put into preparation. Subsequently its looking a bit ropey, but I had no more time, no more aerosols, and it wont matter after a trip through the gravel...

I wish I had more time to make the suface good; more paint (yellow doesn't give great coverage!), and more skill. However, it was a not unpleasant weekend, and as ever, I learned lots. "Every cloud" and all that....

Far from perfect (Andy- its not even "good"!) but at least its now all the one colour. In Team spirit, its akin to Dave's (click that link- his is looking sweet) but I get the feeling that mine will be a poor relation parked up next to his shining jewel!

I only put the bodywork on to make myself feel better on Sunday morning. So the exhaust hangers aren't there, and there bellypan isn't on properly.

From here, I've hung the exhausts, made lower brackets to stop the pipes banging about, sorted that back faster on the bellypan and painted number boards on it.

A bit of soldering to finalise the wiring, add some vinyls (thanks Ash) then off to Cadwell to sort the jetting of Friday. Saturday is the first round of the British Supermono Cup of 2009. I should really have been at this point 12 months ago, but it just didn't happen. And it would still be in multicoloured bits without buckets of help from lots of people. Thank you boys n girls!

Monday, 20 April 2009

She feels fine...

An early morning trek up to Snetterton on Friday, and I was feeling very nervous! The van's been abit rough of late- would it get me there? And the bike's an untested hypothesis- would it work well enough to ride? Or would it clatter to an early death on the back straight? Or would it pitch me off, making life much more complicated than it needs to be?

Ash and his brother Rob were a huge help all day

I needn't have worried, the noise man just laughed when I pitched up for testing. So the whole morning was written off, trying to (ahem!) tune the exhaust with baffles and lots and lots of gaffer tape....

It got quieter with each successive modification, but he still wouldn't let us out. And if I'd have run for more than a few minutes, the tape would surely have melted. However, all wee needed was the "Pass" sticker... And anyway, with so much backpressure it barely ran at all! I managed to buy a couple of new, more restrictive baffles. You can see them plugging up the cans here:

These met with his approval, but then hen the noise man tells us "Oh you were right enough, we whould have been testing at 4000rpm, not 5000"..... So I've missed the mornings test, and I'm thirty quid down.... oh well...

Ash removed the baffles for me, skilled motorcycle engineer that he is!

Anyway, after a bit of fiddling with the timing, she ran, well enough to test.

Dave Bennet took few shots, just so you know I'm not telling fibs! Check out his blog on the Yamatax he's building for Ash.

So she runs, but the carbs need a bit of fettling now. We kind of ran out of time, but managed to get an approximation of base settings for the carbs, the ignition timing and the chassis. And I am in no way to be considered a test rider...!
However, I'm very pleased about the motor. There are many people who have contributed to Friday, and I know its not even a race, and I was slow-slow-slow, but even just a test feels like a victory. So thank you to all who know who they are! Will post soon on the minor fettles before the next test at cadwell, on the 15th May, the day before Round One.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Recalcitrant Single!

Sorry for the lack of info of late! There were a few minor issues to iron out with the motor, involving loose things bouncing around, and part-strips, petrol-soaked shoes and lots of time on the rollers.
A definate reluctance (or rather a refusal) to run had us scratching our noggins.

Ash has rebuilt the carbs, retimed the ignition, checked the cam. And now she runs, and despite re-packing the cans is still pretty loud. So I've got a couple of dB killers coming this week.

We've decided not to bother dynoing it now, but have instead booked a trackday for the 17th April at Snetterton. The back straight should tell us if she's making any power or not... And it will also let us see what the chassis is like initially.

And 4 weeks later, (if the motor holds together) we should be at Cadwell for the 1st round. For a while it looked like she was going to spit the dummy and refuse to run, but Ash cajoled and coaxed her into agreement.

We'll put some pictures up from Snetterton. Promise!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

On Any Sunday

The peace in an otherwise non-descript industrial estate was shattered today with the harsh bark from the cut-down "silencers"; the bike running under its own power for the first time. Finally. About a year later than hoped!

I didn't realise that my hairline was receeding quite so much....

However, Ash described himself as "looking like the man-mountain on that".

We spent the morning fitting crash bungs, here: Also captive nuts to the seat unit, sorting the tank cover and making exhaust brackets. They sit much betrer now. We also fitted a guard to stop small children being sucked into the carbs :

You can see the white plastic guard here, as well as Ash who obviously thinks that he'd be a great bouncer. Looking less thuggish than usual here, he is almost smiling. Despite the hideous exterior, he is a great guy to have onside. I am massively looking forward to the imminent 2009 season.
So, out findings from the initial run: the pipes need brackets underneath, and the silencers re-packing. The battery terminals need to be better secured, and more importantly we need to consider getting some time on a dyno to sort out the ignition timing and the fuelling. There's also an oil weep from the crankshaft where it passes through the CNC ally engine cover, so that will be next. Its getting there, the first race meeting is on the 16th of May. We will be on the grid at Cadwell Park!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

A few hours more...

...and we’re very nearly there!

The weekend was very fruitful, and now with a little bit of faff (oil, fuel, tyres, lockwire, and check fasteners) its testing time.

This is how it was on Saturday morning:

We needed to push a new stem into the yokes, and buy some new bearings. It then became apparent that we had 2 different cups in the steering head- one metric, one imperial! So another favour was pulled in and DBR machined out the lower one to size.

Back to the shed to put it together. On its own 2 wheels, we did those little all-important jobs :

Front and rear brakes, engine and tank breathers, (with a non-return valve in the tank breather). We decided that for the present, we’d use the 5litre tank under the cover, with the under-seat tank and on-going project. Fuel lines, positioning of bars, controls, steering damper and fairing, rearset link rod and rose joints. We fitted the Scitsu tacho, and then decided about placement of the (few) electrical components.

Sunday morning saw a trip to Maplins to buy a small (1.3Ah) battery. You can see it’s a good bit smaller and lighter than the 3Ah one I had planned on. I will just have to keep an eye on charge etc. I think a spare would be a good idea for a race weekend!

We put the Silent Hektic ignition unit under the battery at the front fairing stay, and the coil beside this.

It was decided that it was (reasonably) out of harm’s way, and would be kept quite cool. The problem with carrying the oil in the frame is that it quite quickly gets rather warm…!

Ash stuck on a toe-guard

while I made the tea!

The blue seat unit weighs about 2 elephants, so we decided to recycle Ash’s old red one. We’ll need some captive nuts for this to enable speedy strips and mounting, but that’s not a problem. it’s a lot lighter and looks a bit more modern too- I’m guessing this seat unit is a later development of the Tigcraft chassis

And that was the state of play on Sunday night
Looking good eh?? I can’t wait to just do the few little things, then hopefully, around the end of Feb, we can get back on track. Cadwell’s the first round on the 16th of May!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Happy New Fuel Tank

I’ve been thinking about fuel tanks of late. The original tank, holding 5 litres sits under this cover, but may be just a little too small.

A phone call to Dave Pearce at the Tigcraft Technology Centre was very fruitful. He let me have not one but 2 tanks, for an absolute steal. Thanks for that Dave, very much appreciated.

Option one is 7 litre plastic job, which could live under the existing (or my spare) seat unit.

This was originally on a Derbi GP50, but could potentially solve our problem.

Secondly, he also gave me (for a song), a manx tank, which looks like it holds about 18 litres! As he said, we’d probably only have to fill it up at the start of the season…”. Dave also observed that it did appear to have fallen out of the ugly tree, but maby it could be judiciously modified by someone who knows what they’re doing. there’s certainly enough sheet ally to work with there!

I think it was made for flying Scotsman Denis Gallagher for the '99 Singles TT, and then passed thru the hands of Andrew McCombe before coming back to Dave.

Next to it is the carbon fibre cover.

The bike is still out at Ash’s, I’ll report more after we get the front end together next weekend. And there may be another seat option too...
Finally, provisional dates have been published for the upcoming season:
Cadwell May 16-17
Snetterton June 19-20 BSB Combined UK & Euro-round
Brands GP July 25-26 (Possible UK/Euro-round)
Snetterton September 5-6
Brands Indi September 26-27
Plus probably one more weekend in either April or August to give a championship of 6 weekends. I'm getting excited!