Monday, 31 August 2009

First Race Day - Cancelled

Woke up this morning to the rain peltng against the window. A deluge. Today was going to start at 10:15 with the Newcomers Race, followed at 13:30 by the Junior Classic and then a 1 lap practice for the rest of us - a chance for me to qualify the BAMF. The days' racing has been cancelled. We'll try again tomorrow.

(Saturday evening - Getting through Appledean on the Wee Monster. Thanks to Nic Baleta for the pic)

This has given us some time to reflect on the performance of the BAMF. We're losing everything over 120 mph. Top speed is pathetic. We've fitted a screen deflector which will help with the airflow over my head and hopefully stop me being buffeted around and strangled by my helmet strap! There is also probably a low pressure area building up around the throttle bodies, starving it of air. The air is also probably tumbling about and completely unstable, which won't help. Besides changing to a full-fairing, there ain't much we can do. We'll try tape up the gap between the frame and tank which may be causing a low pressure system. Not enough time, not enough development.

(Saturday evening - Appledean on the problematic BAMF. Thanks to Nic Baleta for the pic)

Anyways... going to get the monster prepped today ready for racing on Friday - I'm not going to take her out again before then - I'm happy with her.

Also have a few issues with the Chevy bottoming out to look at.

Sunday - A Day in the Garage

Minging, drizzly weather yesterday. Spent it in the garage prepping the BAMF and Nic fixing the BSA.

(Brit iron and weather - oil and water)

Turns out the crap handling over the Mountain on Saturday evening was caused by a puncture. I must have picked up some debris from Ryan Farquar's crash at Guthries. It must have been sharp metal - it was picked up, pierced the tyre then flew around under the rear hugger and smashed a hole through the carbon-fibre. War wounds.

(War wounds from the Isle of Man)

Also stripped, checked and cleaned the throttle and linkages on the throttle-bodies. Couldn't find anything to explain the strange behaviour at Bedstead Corner on Saturday. This doesn't give me piece of mind... mabe the wheel was just spinning up in the punctured tyre? Dunno. All looks and feels fine.

(The broken BSA or foul weather didn't dampen spirits)

Nic spent the day up to his elbows in oil and grease fixing the BSA Streettracker. A piece of the steel chain-guard got ripped into the sprocket and went around a few times! It sliced through a wire from the magneto - that bike is an absolute pain in the arse to work on... but he eventually got it sorted.

(The BAMF gets finally gets some graphics)

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Seventh Practice - Zeus is Against Us

It looked like a peachy day for a couple of qualifying laps around the Isle... an hour before practice and the rain starts. Bah!

Got out on the wee monster first. Conditions very much like Friday evening. Patches of rain, wet track, standing water... a few dry bits where I could get the hammer down. I still enjoyed riding the little beast - I'm not going to make any changes for the race.

(The Wee Monster over Ballaugh Bridge on Friday night - pic from Dave Kneen)

Despite the conditions and being careful in the wet, I still managed 87 and 85 mph laps with a top speed through the speedtrap on Sulby Straight of 124mph. I'm going about 10% faster than that past the Highlander (based on rpm), but that's downhill and helps overcome the meagre power she's giving out.

On the first lap Ryan Farquar slid around Guthries and put the Drixon Honda he was on into the embankment. As I came around to the waved yellow flags there was bike and debris strewn across the the road, an impact hole in the grass embankment and Farquar being loaded into the chopper that had landed beside the circuit. The impact mark in the bank looked a lot like the one I made in Scarborough more three years ago. Word in the paddock is that he's hurt his shoulder but is ok.

(the Wee Monster alone in Parc Ferme - waiting for me to return on the BAMF)

I park the monster in Parc Ferme and warm-up the Aprilia. There's been a downpour in Douglas and there is standing water everywhere. I hop on and wheel-spin down Glencrutchery road. I take it easy with cold tyres, wet road and a full fuel load. One of the top-runners on a Martin Bullock Suzuki 750 passes me on the way to Braddan Bridge... I decide to follow him and have a massive front-wheel slide on the brakes. Whooooah! I then remember that he's probably on a flyer with half a tank of gas and tyres warmed by his pit crew. Doh! I take it easy.

I keep short-shifting the beast at 8000 rpm for some strange reason. I force myself to run it up to 9500 up towards Glen Vine. Dunno why I'm doing that. On the run down past the Higlander, the wind pushes my helmet so far back that teh strap is strangling me. I get buffeted around and have to roll off the throttle. As in previous practices, I'm struggling to get the girl up to speed.

A wet road makes the going frustrating but the changes I made to the suspension are making the bike feel better... but still far off where it should be. I struggle to hang on through the bumpy sections. Down Sulby Straight I cannot get her past 8000 rpm. Not good - turns out I was only getting 130mph through the speed trap... I should be getting at least 150-160 on her! She accelerates like a rocket but I just can't keep her going. I think it's one or more likely, a combination of three things:
1) The wind buffeting is forcing me to roll off
2) The hard suspension is making the bike unridable at high speed and I'm forced to roll off
3) At high speed the engine is starved of air (high and low pressure science stuff) and losing big power

(The BAMF over Ballaugh Bridge on Friday night - pic from Dave Kneen)

When I get to the mountain, there's been another downpour and the circuit is very wet. The back of the bike is moving around a lot and feels awful. I'm going being more and more cautious. I ease her around the Verandah and get gently on the power... the revs rise and the rear tyre breaks traction and I'm going sideways. Fuuuuuck! I ease off the gas and she straightens up... beyond the outside edge of the track is just grey, cloud-filled air as the mountain plummets to the valley below. "I ain't going down there!"

I ease off even more. The rear is still moving about and sliding everywhere. Slower, slower. I give up on qualifying as my sense of self-preservation kicks in. I make it down ok. Then, half-way through Bedstead Corner the BAMF starts accelerating by herself. "What the f...?" I quickly pull in the clutch and she starts revving her tits off! "Jeeesus!" I hit the kill switch and coast to a stop against the embankment. "What the fuck was that?" I check the throttle. It's okay and snaps shut when I let it go. Huh?

I start her up. Sounds fine. Blip the throttle. Fine. A quick look around - nothing amiss. I click her into gear and carefull pull off... finger hovering over the clutch to finish an abysmal lap.

I'm pissed off with the handling problems and lack of speed of the BAMF. And then the throttle/revving thing at Bedstead... foookin' shite! Still haven't qualified on either bike.

The Gods of Weather are against us.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Sixth Practice - It's a Bit Greazy Out There

The bikes were all ready to rock 'n roll yesterday, so we took the morning out and took a pootle down to the Calf of Man. Very pretty, but the wind was howling!

I setup in the 'day paddock' in the afternoon. It's hardstand so although it's away from my mates, the bikes aren't going to get covered in mud. We had 'sharp' showers in the afternoon, interspersed with some sunshine... this weather continued into the evening practice.

(Sunshine and howling wind at the Calf of Man)

The Ultralightweights were out first. The wee monster was feeling good, the changes we made to the rear suspension were definitely in the right direction. There was rain around the circuit - some places dry, some wet and some with standing water. There were enough dry bits to have some fun. For the first time I felt comfortable on the bike... it soaked up most of the bumps and only shook it's head a few times. I was having fun!

I was only going to do one lap and then come in with some time to get ready to take out the BAMF... but I was enjoying it so much I kept going for a second lap! I've probably said this before, but the feeling of flying along closed roads in the evening light on the IOM is incredible. :-)

(Wee Monster through Appledean)

I come into Parc Ferme after lap 2 to find all the Senior and Junior bikes had left already and the BAMF was getting quite lonely in pit-lane. I jog from Parc Ferme to pit lane, climb aboard the old girl and head down Glencrutchery Road.

Having just come in form two laps on the Monster I'm warmed up, psyched up and have to continually remind myself that I'm carrying a full fuel load (an extra 15 kilos or so on the bike has a major affect on handling) and am on cold tyres. "Take it easy" I keep telling myself.

She's feeling better... suspension still too hard and I struggle to see the road ahead on some of the bumpy sections - it's like I'm holding a jack-hammer! But she's not about to throw my into the hedges like on Tuesday and Wedesday night. The Mountain is wet and there is loads of standing water... and windy as fuck. I get blown around at 140 mph so take it easy. I don't see another rider the entire lap until Ryan Farquar passes me while going up the Mountain Mile. I try and stay with him and learn... but after the first turn he's gone! I guess that's why he's a TT winner. I blast down Glencrutchery road for a second lapon the BAMF.

(Opening up the BAMF through a dry and sunny Appledean where it was raining a lap before!)

The track conditions are changing from lap to lap. Union Mills: Lap 1: dry. Lap 2: rain and standing water. Lap 3: wet. lap 4: damp patches but dry. I ride to the conditions and take note of the flags at the marshal posts. I take it easy in the wet and wind the bike up in the dry. I don't see another bike until I catch a travelling marshal at Windy Corner. The whole of race control and the 570 marshals are all waiting for me to finish my lap. It's an honor! I'm having fun!

Lap times:
Monster lap 1: 86.188 mph
Monster lap 1: 85.968 mph
BAMF lap 1: 86.258 mph
BAMF lap 2: 85.455 mph

Consistent. I'm I'm happy that I was fast where I could go fast. Problem is... I still haven't qualified for the race on either bike. I need 90 mph on the Monster and 98 mph on the Aprilia.

Tonight is the final timed practice. I need the conditions to be dry... and I need to go fast... I need to qualify!

No pressure then. :-)

Oh - Nic has been cooking up a gourmet storm in the kitchen every night - first-class race support!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Fifth Practice - Cancelled

The weather's been shitty the whole day. Pissin' down at the moment. Practice has been cancelled. The bikes are all prepped but will have to wait till tomorrow to stretch their legs.

It's on days like this that I'm soooo glad I've rented a house. Three years ago I was camped out in the paddock with a river running through the middle of my awning. Two and a half weeks living in a tent in the a quagmire of a paddock in the Isle of Man weather sucks... big-time.

Good home-cooked food, warm, dry and a telly with TT and other bikey DVDs. Got a dry garage with a hard floor to work on the bikes. Sure as hell beats the mud of the paddock!

So... tonight I bring you some cool pics from local pro protographer Dave Kneen. Enjoy...

(Guy Martin approaching Kirk Michael)

(Local islander Tim Devlin on his cool Edwards Laguna Seca rep SP-2 at Quarterbridge... looks like he's lost the front there!)

(Jochen Trockel coming off at Quarterbridge - he was unhurt)

(Ken Davis leads Paul Coward and Alan Oversby at Greeba Bridge)

(Michael Dunlop on a classic Aermacchi going through Greeba Castle)

(A Classic machine into the sunset at Greeba Castle)

(A pint in the evening, watching the practice)

Fourth Practice - Wet, Wet, Wet

26 August 2009

Pissed down the night and into the morning. Cleared up by noon. Looked promising so got the prepped bikes down to the paddock. By the time I got there it had started raining again. Most of the lads decided not to go out and go up to the Creg-ny-baa to have some food and watch us fools. I wanted to try the geometry changes I made to the BAMF and if I got a few miles of dry road that'd be ok.

(The BAMF is soooo fast, just a blur!)

Got both bikes through scroots no problem, changed and up to the pits to wait... wait...wait. Light rain, wet roads and standing water. After an hour's delay we got started... only about 50 bikes in all - 1 untimed lap. That would be enough to test the BAMF.

(Alan Oversby on the imaculately turned out, rare and hugely expensive MV Augusta triple)

Down Glencrutchery road. Wet. Ballaugh. Wet. Union Mills, standing water. Glen Vine, wet. Crosby, wet. Greeba Castle, wet. Greeba Bridge, standing water. Appledene, spray from other bikes and low sun straight in the eyes. I had to slow down to about 30mph - couldn't see squat! Ballacraine, wet... wet... wet. The only change was standing water in some parts. Managed to give her a handful down the straight bits (Cronk-y-voddy & Sulby) and tested getting on the power through the bumpy parts. She's still bucking all over the place but a lot more stable at high speed. :-)

(Roy Richardson on an Aermacchi)

I get back to the paddock, load the bikes on the trailer. I don't even bother to change out my leathers because by the time the bikes are strapped down the last riders have finished their lap and the roads are open again.

(Classic two-smoke winding it up down Glencrutchery Road)

The lower paddock has turned to mush and I have to make a big run at getting up the hill... almost to the top and we hit a bog... the Chevy just churns the mud, but keeps inching foreward. Inch by inch we crawl up the hill... spraying mud and shit all over the nice clean race-bikes!

When I get back to the house I see how bad the mud is. The monster is not too bad with a full fairing... but on the BAMF it's fuckin everywhere. I get most of it off then pack them away for the night.

(Paddock access road - slush!)

I'm miffed and blood-sugar is low. I feel like shit. An hour before the last two practices I had a plate of chips... I didn't have anything before this one. I make a note to have a plate of chips before every practice and race from now on.

Rear Disc Farce

Just got a courtesy call from the folks who are making up the custom rear disc for the trick PVM wheel I've lugged all the way here. It was supposed to have been finished on Monday and shipped out to me. Turns out they mistakenly made it out of mild steel instead of stainless and only found out when they put it through the hardening process!

Ha! A farce!

It's a shame as the PVM wheel is 1.5kg lighter than the standard OZ wheel I currently have on the BAMF. Oh well... we have a working wheel... it's a bit tatty, but works A-OK.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Third Practice - A Step in the Right Direction

Tuesday 25th Augost 2009

Got the wee monster all prepped and ready in the morning. Hadn't heard any news about the BAMF so I took advantage of the brilliant sunny weather and headed out for a lap on the old BSA. It was good fun, especially coming over the mountain. I got her up to 74mph!

(1970 Dick Mann tribute BSA StreetTracker at Guthries Memorial on the TT Moutain Course)

I got back to the house, had some lunch loaded the monster and started packing the van for the evening practice. My phone rings and it's Paul with news about the BAMF. The parts arrived in the morning and she's all good to go! Brilliant! I finish packing and head over the mountain to pick her up.

It's 17h00 by the time I get back to the paddock with the BAMF and wee monster. the BAMF still needed a bit of work to get her through scrootineering so I set to work at a frantic pace. Top-up oil, fit transponder, apply numbers, fit belly-pan, lockwire front-end, fuel... she's good to go so I haul her up to scrootineering. As I get there I smell petrol. I look down to see my belly-pan full of petrol. Doh! I should have remembered this from 2006... to get to scrootineering you have to go up a steep hill... and if you overfill the tank she pisses petrol everywhere.

(These old bits of brit iron need lots of TLC- Nic obliges)

I get her back down to the paddock (whick of course is teh furtherest paddock from scrootineering) and whip out 5 litres of fuel... I guess it'll be a 1 lapper with her tonight then.

Back up to scroots. There is a question about her exposed oil tank... I always get ummmms in the scroot bay with the BAMF. It's because the the scroots don't normally see a bike that is supposed to have a fairing naked. They don't really know what to do... like when you bump into your naked sister in the bathroom.

Eventually she's all done 10 minutes before the session is to start. One of the Geordie lads, Pete was most helpful and helped out with getting the wee monster through scroots and into Parc Ferme for me. I run down to the van to get changed... all kitted up and I walk briskly back up to the pit-lane. When I get there, the session is well underway, most of the lads have blasted off the line and by the time I can get my helmet and gloves on, I'm facing down Glencrutchery Road again. I get a tapon my shoulder... and I'm off.

(The BAMF returns to the Isle!)

Jeeeeesus! After getting used to the genteel power of the wee monster, the BAMF just about rips my arms from their sockets and heads down the road in a blur. Man, she is fast!

But... she's jumping all over the place... before I get to Bray Hill I know she it setup too hard. Nay worries... I just hold on and enjoy the ride. Through Snugborough and she wobbles around a bit. Slightly disconcerting at over 130mph. I take it easy... get some heat into the tyres and get used to her pace. By the time we're 5miles down the road she feel slike an old pair of shoes.Very comfy. I take it easy and just feel what she's doing. Down Sulby straight I'm only at 80% throttle as she wobbles about over 120 mph. She is glorious over the mountain where the road is smooth though.

After 1 lap I come in to the pits. There's plenty of time so I drop her off down at the paddock and warm up the wee monster. It's a beautiful sun-shining evening and I should be able to get 2 laps in on her.

(Wee Monster at Ballacraine)

The two laps go well. She is much better, but still bouncing a bit over the bumps. I get into a rythm and really start enjoying the TT Mountain Course. The sensation of hooning along the closed roads of the most hallowed race circuit in the world, warm evening sunshine, boom of a Ducati vee twin in my ears, the smell of Castrol 'R' from the classic 2-smoke in front of me... I just lapped it all in.

(A job well done - the 3 beasts are put to bed for the night)

First lap 88mph, second 89.9 (with 3 yellow-flag incidents... costing me many seconds). I need 90mph and 3 laps to qualify... close enough.

The light was good and Nic got some great shots too... we got back to the house tired but on a high. :-)

Monster at the Gooseneck

After practice - Monday 24th August

As I headed down Glencrutchry Road, I felt the front-end of the wee monster bobbibg up and down over the bumps. Not good. I thought I must have made the suspension changes the worng way. Over the bumps on the fast section and she's all over the place.

A Ducati pogo-stick! It was awful... I was just hanging on through the bumps, gingerly feeding the throttle out. Over the Mountain she was fine...but it's not too bumpy up there. I just took it easy and worked on my lines through the corners and got to know the bike better. The gearing was better though.

I didn't have any tools or anyone to help with making some changes between laps, so I just carried on when I came down Glencrutchery road again. Worked on my lines and got to know the course more. I could get her revving up to 9750rpm past the Highlander Pub - one of the fastest parts of the course. I guess it would be approaching 130 mph... not bad for a little 620cc air-cooled monster. But we need to go faster!

I did an 82 and an 84mph average speed. Qualifying speed is 90mph. Waaaay too slow, but once the handling problems get sorted we'll be a lot faster. 3 laps down and the wee monster hasn't blown up yet, so I'm happy. I also gave my brand new leathers their first airing... they're brilliant!

And... as you can see, my brother got to work with the photography... besides the BAMF breaking down... a fair day.

Second Practice - Ducati Pogo-stick

17h30 Monday 24th August -Paddock of Manx Grand Prix

A lovely afternoon. 22 degrees, sunny. Got the Wee Monster through scroot ok. Waiting for practice to start. We'll be out at 19h25. I'm near the front of the queue and the weather looks promising - I'm hoping to get 2 laps in.

(the queue in Parc Ferme... spot the Monster. Clue: #72 and she's near the front!)

I did 2 laps in the Chevy this morning before 08h00, cooked a full english breakfast and then sorted the leaking fuel tank on the BAMF. All looking good. Then we try and start her up... Clack! Clunk! Clack! Whirr!

Oh fuck! What now? She doesn't start and sounds like the engine is about to fall to pieces. A few checks and very expensive phone calls later and we narrow it down to a poked sprag clutch (the clutch that engages/disangages the starter motor when starting). One needs special Aprilia tools to replace it. So we prep the Monster (we make a few changes because she was bouncing around on Saturday) and I haul the BAMF across the island to the Aprilia dealer in Ramsey; Paul Dedman Motorcycles. Paul says the work is no problem, but we have to wait for the parts that'll be shipped in from the mainland.

(Nic with the classic boiler-suit and tools for the job!)

What a fuckin' ball-ache! One gadamn thing after another! Not good... once again I'm missing out on valuable practice time because a meticulously prepared bike lets me down. When I get her back I'm gonna wring her bloddy neck around here!

(The Senior and Junior bikes start from pit lane... all lined up and ready for a blast around the TT Course)

Anyhow... we can only do what we can do.

The chopper (air-ambulance) has just taken off... that means the roads are closed, all is "GO" and practice is about to get underway. I'm gonna go see the other lads off and then get suited up for 2 laps on the Wee Monster.

(Some of my Manx GP mates: Mike Minns and crew)

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

First Practice - Good to be Back

The ground shakes in Parc Ferme as more than a hundred bikes are being warmed up. The classics with their booming megaphone exhausts sound awesome... the smell of Castrol R in the air. Riders readying themselves to go out and take on the fearsome TT mountain course - you can feel the tension and excitement. Parc Ferme as the riders go out to practice... a fantastic place to be!

I'm in the Ultralightweight class on the wee monster and our session is last. 10 minutes before we go out and it starts getting really dark. I nip back to the van and fit my clear visor. I get back to Parc Ferme and the riders in my class are heading out. I'm right at the back of the queue and couldn't see that most of the bikes in front of me are stationary and the peeps around are mechanics, waiting for their riders to come in from earlier sessions and change bikes for the last session. Doh! I start the wee bike up and push my way through the mayhem. Before I know it I'm facing down Glencrutchery road with the start marshal's hand on my shoulder.

He taps my shoulder and I go bombing off down Glencrutchery road. The wee monster is cold and I take it easy... Bray Hill is still a rush! Man, it's good to be back!

The 620cc air-cooled lump only gets warm enough a good 8 miles into the lap... I start to open her out a bit more. She just about revs out down Cronk-y-voddy. Note: gearing too short. The bike is quite flighty over the bumps and coming out of Parliament Square in Ramsey I get a bit of a tank-slapper. Note: change geometry of bike to stabilise over the bumps. I have an easy and steady lap, just feeling and listening to the bike. Everything on the course is just like I remember it from 3 years ago. I revel in the feeling of hooning along this hallowede course on dclosed roads.

It gets really dark coming over the mountain as the fog was closing in and I knew this would be my only lap. Bad light stops play and I get a red flag by the time I'm going down Glencrutchery road again. No worries... big grin!

My mates Neil Vicars, Mike Minns and Simon Mara all got out and did 2 laps in the first session on their Junior bikes and one lap in the last session on their Ultralightweight/Post Classic bikes. 3 laps - I sould have been with them on the BAMF in the first session and got 3 laps for the day. But I'm happy to be back... happy the wee monster did a lap without shitting itself like the last Ducati I took around here.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Manx is GO!

Left on time on Friday. The lowered Chevy wasn't handling an overloaded trailer and all the gear were hauling to the Isle. She was bottoming-out and scraping over every little bump. Not good... but we were going to get onto the ferry... even if the wheels fell off!

Traffic up to Liverpool was rubbish and we missed the ferry by 10 minutes. Managed to get onto the 02h15 ferry from Heysham. Also managed 15 minutes sleep in the docks. Only got an hour or so sleep on the ferry. Landed at 06h00, found the house we're renting and had a cup o tea.

Knackered, but no time to sleep so we unloaded. Found the BAMF was sitting in a pool of petrol. Not good. First time the fuel tank has been brimmed since the rebuild. Better to find these things out on the morning of first practice than when bombing down Bray Hill! It was going to be a day for the wee monster.

Signed on, riders briefing and ttechnical briefing done. Fitted the wired-in transponder and numbered up the wee monster. We're carrying number 72, white on green for the Ultra-Lightweight class. Busy, busy... then two hours nap and up to scrootineering with the wee bike. Fail.

I forgot a cable-tie on the belly-pan and to wire up a hidden exhaust spring. They're pretty thorough with scrooting on the Isle. Cable-tie and a bit of lock-wiring later and we were good to go. I get suited up for first practice.

I'm having issues with my camera pics... I'll get it sorted and some pics up here asap.

Friday, 21 August 2009

We Leave today

Whoooooah! What a week!

My brother arrived from South Africa on Monday. Been balls to the wall since then.
Mike's wee monster is ready to rock 'n roll. The BAMF? Well... there have been a few 'issues' during the week.

Got the 57mm throttle bodies on and all ready for the PowerCommnader and Dyno. The only folks I could find to do this were HM Racing - an hour's drive away.

So I bust my ass to get it to them Tuesday afternoon. I tell them "If there are any problems - please call me.". So of course there were problems. Basically it "didn't work". They tell me this on Wednesday afternoon when I'm about to come over and collect the bike. Apparently, one of the problems was the dyno was indicating 80% throttle. The Dyno guy asked me when I arrived: " Have you checked the throttle butterflies are opening fully?". Uuuummm... "Gee... I dunno... mabe you could have lifted the tank and checked?". Thsi is a 10 second job on the BAMF. He couldn't be bothered to even lift the tank and look. They just connected the Power Commander up (I even had to help with this), downloaded a fuel map and gues what? It didn't work.

I guess if you have a standard yapanese bike, HM Racing could fit a PowerCommander, download a fuel map, give a dyno run, print a power curve and charge you 4 hours. It seems that's all they're capable of - anything remotely challenging they cannot do. Fitters!

Nay worries. Managed to put the old 50mm throttle bodies back on last night and get her running sweet again. Then spent the rest of the night packing and organizing. We managed to shoehorn 3 bikes onto the 2-bike trailer. The Chevy is going to be packed to the rafters! I'm a bit concerned about the overloading on it's lowered sport suspension... but nothing can stop us now!

Some bits haven't arrived yet (custom brake disc, air ducts, vinyl lettering...) - disappointing, but these aren't showstoppers and we're good to go.

In a few hours we leave for Liverpool to catch the 19:30 ferry to Douglas. I just want to be on that ferry now!

Oh... the mysterious third bike?

A 1970 BSA A65 Thunderbolt that's been custommized into a street tracker:

My first piece of brit iron.

After seeing the puddle of oil under it after the first ride I had some buyers remorse... but it's coooool. I'm sure she'll be fine to do laps of the TT Course on.

Next posts will be from the Isle.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Wheel woes

Ho hum... just chased up the disc that's being made for that trick PVM rear wheel I have for the BAMF. It's cut and ready... but the guy who does the hardening has gone on holiday for a week... so I'll only get it at the end of next week. This wheel would have given me a 1.5kg weight saving over the standard OZ I've been using.

Disappointing. Disappointing.


# 98 :-(

The race number you are allocated for the Manx GP is a seeding. The number they give you is an indication of how fast they think you'll go based on previous races and IOM experience. Simmilar to the TT, the start order is generally the race number order. This is to ensure that for the race and practice, the fast lads start with the fast lads and there isn't too much overtaking... because it's bloody hard to overtake and can be a wee bit dangerous to make a pass on a 130mph corner.

A higher race number also enjoys other priveliges; such as getting away first for practice (increasing your chances of managing two laps per session and getting any laps in if the weather is bad) and not having to be at scrooteneering at the crack of dawn. As in life... it's easier if your near the top.

I got my race number a few weeks ago... but didn't really take note. I checked it out the other night when vinyling the number boards on the BAMF.

In 2005 I was given #30 out of about 37 entrants in the Newcomers 'A'. I finished 12th. In 2006 I think I was given #60 in the Junior (which I never started because the bike pissed itself in practice) and #80 in the Senior (I may be mistaken... but it had a zero in it) in which I finished 40th.

This year, I've been given #98 in the Senior. This is out of about 110 riders - there are only 102 listed on the website but I recon a few more will be along. I'm not rated at all!


Gonna have to go fast in practice and convince the organizers that I should start further up the order!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Beemdawg For Sale

After a year of saying that I would... I've finally put my beloved Beemdawg up for sale...

... the thing is... everytime I drive it I want to keep it.

It's been chipped, lowered, blah, blah... handles fantastically and pulls like a bastard!

It's old school... but cool.

It's a bit juvenile, but making clouds of blue tyresmoke still puts a grin on my face and going sideways makes me yelp out an involuntary "Whooo-hooo!".

I wanted to learn to drift proper in this machine... but am in too deep with bikes at the moment and she hardly gets used... and I need the cash to pay for my new bike aquisitions.

So... if you or you know anyone looking for a bag of larfs check out the Pistonheads advert and get in touch.

It's the most fun car I've ever owned.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

BAMF Build 08

A couple of things I've done on the BAMF...

Fitted the 57mm throttle bodies... they're monsters compared to the original 50mm ones!

Also built a custom 'airbox'. I chopped up an '04 airbox that fits on the 57mm throttle bodies so it would fit under my non-standard tank. I fiddled for hours trying to get some sort of air-scoop going that would direct the cool air from the inlets through the frame and up and over the top of the front cylinder and up to the throttle bodies. I eventually went back to a solution used on my 2005 Manx GP Mille... an old car mat! In this case a mat from an old 1977 Merc 280SLC I used to have. Cold air is important so I tried to insulate it as much as possible... this is NASA shit man!

The only dyno time I could get is next Wednesday - 2 days before departure for the Isle... living on the edge!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

More sick cars

Some more sick cars from RM Auctions:

1932 Ford "The Avenger" Five Window Coupe

1950 Mercury "Cool Merc" Custom

1935 Ford V8 "Rat Rod" Pickup