Thursday, 27 May 2010

Amman Valley

This is where I'm going to be this weekend (from the ShorttrackUK website):

Amman Valley has the largest entry of Flattrackers ever seen in Europe, with 4 classes on both days with 60 + riders and 65 races over the two days....

Riders from 7 different countries are coming to compete in the European Mefo Flattrack Cup and Round 3 of the Pozzani Silkolene Shorttrack Championship on UK's only 1/2mile Dirk Track Oval at the Amman Valley Horse Trotting Track ,South Wales.

It is a real star line up including Elite League Speedway Star rider Edward Kennett (GB),3x UK Champion Marco Belli(IT), HM Plant Honda rider Ade Collins(GB), AMA Pro Flattracker Levi Mayer (USA), 2009 UK & European Champion Peter Boast, 2007 European Champ Jacopo Monti (IT), 2nd 2009 Euro Championship Jan- Willem Janson (CH), last years Winner Steve Hall(GB), Mick Janson (NL), Halbe Scheper (NL),Massimiliano Andreotti (IT), Tom Woolley(GB), Rusty Hodgson(GB), Stefan Gatzenmier(D) and many more....



See Europe’s best flat tracker battle on the super high-speed 1/2 mile oval. Saturday night racing commences at 7pm

With the highlight being the brutal Harleys in the All-American Twin Class. Sunday racing commences at 1pm
See the biggest entry ever for a European short track race compete in over 20 heats
Competitors from USA,Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Italy, England and WALES.

Britain’s best street trackers and vintage flat track race bikes on display. Prizes for best in show, best budget bike, best engineering and best paint donated by Sideburn magazine and Red Max Speed Shop.

PLUS Bar, Food, Camping.
More info for places to stay or

Anyone turning up on or with a street tracker gets half-price entry.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Lesson for the Day

A few weeks ago I was trying to explain to someone the difference between 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines after he asked why 2-stroke smoke. It was hard. I tried to draw pictures but don't think I did very well. (My own limited understanding probably played a part there...)

Got this great lesson on a recent Sideburn post. Check the post for more details, but here are two great images that tell a thousand words:



Never understood the need/function of an expansion box on a 2-stroke before this. Thanks MP.

2-smoke or 4-poke?

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Nitro Circus at Erzberg

I put a post on ThumperTalk asking for some Erzberg Newbie advice:
ThunperTalk - Erzberg Newbie Advice Please

Here's a great vid someone responded with... it's when Travis Pastrana and the Nitro Circus visited Erzberg in 2006:

Also watched the Erzberg 2009 DVD this weekend as a wee bit o homework... it's gonna be one heck of a ride!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

ShortrackUK - Round 2 - BMF Show, Peterborough

I was up at 4:30 on Suturday for a leisurely drive up to the BMF show at Peterborough for the second round of the ShorttrackUK Championship. Met up with Anthony and Geoff (Co-Built) and setup the 'garage'.

The Co-Built Garage 

This time last year at the same event I smashed my wrist in the second practice session so I just took it real easy for practice. Managed two sessions of slithering around on the just watered track. Not great. Wobble-wobble-slip-slide-phutter-phutter...

 Taking it easy in practice...

First Shorttrack heat. Front row, second from the outside. revvs rise, tape shoots up and we're racin'!

I don't get a great start but only have 3 bikes in front by the time we all crowd into the first corner. "Whump!"

The front of the bike disappears from me and I'm tumbling across the ground. Fuck! I just see dirt, wheels, tyres, sky, dirt, steel-shoe'd boots and sky again. I hear and feel the dirt tearing into the back of my brand new lid as I slide to a stop.

My brand new lid... bollocks!

They restart the heat while I check the bike in the centre of the track. Thankfully not too much damage. I have the tank back on on a few bits straightened by the time the heat finishes. Need a few tools to get the rad straightened and tank back on proper. I get back to the 'garage' and get to work.

KTM and Co-Built in the garage

I work as quick as I can, Geoff and Anthony can only help for a minute or so and then have get to their heat (that I'm supposed get another front row start in). Shit! I finish getting the bike back together just as the tape goes up for the heat. Shit, shit and bollocks!

Oh well... I'm okay and the bike's raceable. Could have been a lot worse. This gives me time to examine the damage more closely... and feel the pain in my left calf as the adrenalin wears off.

Dirt doesn't do this to radiators... other nasty bikes do

The next two heats go okay but I get my arse kicked. Just that one (or two) extra heats was bringing out the speed in everyone. I was just starting to gett going. Then a long break while the other 'shows' do their thing - a stunt quad, some stunt dirt-bikes and other stunty things.

 Getting off the line in a Shortrack heat... look how far over his start line #7 is... the way to do it!

 One more heat in each class - my last chance to try make a Semi-final or Final. I'm drawn in the middle row. In both races I make a decent start and have a few good battles. Getting into it, finding the rhythm and having great fun! I got a fifth in the Thunderbikes heat... but just wasn't enough to make the final. :-( Didn't miss the Shorttrack Semi-final by much either, but it was only going to be the 'B' (losers) final for me on Sunday.


Geoff and Steve - Geoff was out on Steve's Vertimati Shorttrack bike

Spent the rest of the afternoon prepping the bike (3 minutes...) and browsing the show. The best part of the show by far was the 'Wall of Death'. I'll do a post on that soon. Alex arrived in the evening to add some much needed glamour to the paddock where had BBQ. later we had a pint at the 'Killer Queen' gig that was going off in the main hall.

A few of the sights at the BMF show... more like a jumble-sale for bike gear and rally than a 'show' 

Glorious sunshine greeted us on Sunday. Just the 8 lap 'B' final for me.

Front row start. Made an ok getaway... 3 abreast into turn 1. Keep it nailed. Then Anthony Brown pulls a great move and slides around my outside on turn 3/4. Matt Moore in the lead, followed by Anthony and myself. Wheel to wheel for most of the race - so hard to pass with a dry blue-groove. Matt doesn't make a mistake and takes an emotional win. And I'm third. My personal best Flattrack finish!

A great action shot on turn 2

The Semi-Finals and Finals were great races with Marco Belli and Jacopo Monti styling it it up big-time. Ade Collins was too strong in the Shorttrack final and took a comfortable win.

 Ex Speedway pro Ade Collins was in a league of his own

Next round in two weeks - Amman Valley, Wales. :-)

Italian showman - Jacopo Monti

eBay buy of the month - a race cart that can take it... all!

Many thanks to Steve Baldock for the great action shots!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Flattrackin' in the Mornin'

Packed and ready to be up with the sparrows tomorrow morning and be in Peterborough for 08h00. Round 2 of the ShorttrackUK Championship at the BMF show.

Looking forward to giving the Duke a run on the clay with her new fire-breathing exhaust!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Enduro News from Africa

My brother, Igor, competed in the Mafeking 400 National Off-Road this past weekend. He crashed heavily 3 weeks ago while setting a course, cracking some ribs and hurting his shoulder. The weekend in his words:
"Time trial on Fri was a little challenging, hadn't ridden a mo-cicle for about 3weeks, in fact I think thats the longest stretch that I haven't ridden since I started this here sport.
So needless to say the time trial was a darstardly affair... couldnt get a rythm, loose in and out of corners, ribs hurt like a S.O.B. generaly rode like a girl, and got a 82 position to start the race... didn't mind, I knew I was hurtin, and had totake it easy, I was going  to finish this race, not race it.
Anyhow, Sat came and the race course led us into the first loop of 200km thru thicksand and thorn bush, quite technical for a National off-road, with all the weaving(and ploughing) thru the folliage. Lots of riders couldn't take the pace in thissection, it saps a lot of energy riding in thick sand, over whoops and aroundcountless bastard thorn bushes. Thats where I knew I could make time... just put head down, open throttle and fight thru the pain... got my mo-jo back !
Got into the main pit and we had a 15 min de-control, things were good, bike 100%, body ok, smoked my team principal in the first 100km....! ( and that clown started2min ahead of me)
My bling team jearsy has been reduced to a workshop rags by the thorns... no shit. My arms didnt look that much better. Went out on the second loop (100km) and soon saw it was the same trail as last year, more open and flowing. So I relaxed into a nice rythm and finished strong in 11th inseniors... F'ing A! That result moved me from 13th to 11th in the National Seniorchampionship. Shit.... didn't think I could do that carrying an injury."
Well done Chief!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Duke Flattracker Build Update

The Duke Flattracker build is ticking along nicely. The tank arrived from the states (delayed because of volcanoes) and I headed down to Steve at Red Max on Saturday to pick it and few other gubbins up. Rachel was there getting her manicured nails all greazy replacing a cylinder head gasket on her Cafe Racer!

I then headed down to Co-Built Geoff's to pickup the Flattracker with her new exhaust.

Wow! What a great job!

Removing those monstrous cans and having a 'traditional' flattracker style exhaust has transformed the bike.

I was supposed to go crossin' down the field that afternoon to get some Erzberg training in, but it didn't work out so I stayed on at Geoff's and we tackled a few other jobs like lowering and chopping the rear subframe...

Cut the subframe braces...

...give her the 'chop'.

A real 'chopper'!

Measure and weld her back up.

The job's a good 'un!

Next job is to fit the tank (need to get smaller rads for this), some tasty Co-Built yolks, R6 forks and some sicko bling-bling Talon 19" wheels.

Many thanks Geoff for all your help on this project so far. He'll be out this weekend at the next round of ShorttrackUK on Steve's Vertimati flattracker. Looking forward to it!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Erzberg Training in Scotland - Day 2

Al, the trials pro joined us down the quarry on Sunday. Sporting a helmet he had only worn once (he normally rides with just a snoopy-hat), he said that it gave him more confidence. Bejeesus! As if he needed it!

Al showing off at the top of a big climb

 This is a 5 foot vertical boulder that Al managed to get up by just bouncing off a rock on the ground! Pure class!

Al and Mike taking a break for all that boulder-hopping

At first I just wasn't into it. Tired, stiff and sore from the day before I made many mistakes. but after an hour or so of crashing I got my shit together and started to ride properly. I spent the next four hours abusing my bike and body.

Mike getting up a gnarly boulder on the first attempt.

 Looks easy when others are doing it. I didn't have the nads to try this on the KTM... but now that I'm in comfort behind my PC I'm thinking 'I could have had that!'. Yeah... right!

It was another brilliant day in the quarry. There were some 4x4s there in the morning, so we kept out of their way and where they couldn't go. When they left, they set a pile of tyres on fire - bunch of wankers. This brought the old bill to the quarry... but they just asked if we knew who set the tyres on fire and then called the fire dept. No grief. If that was in England, we probably would have had our bikes confiscated and been chased off. Bonny Scotland!

All packed up and ready for another evening in front of the fire...

My body really felt the two days abuse. My tendons in my good wrist were inflamed that night and started pressing the nerves - it felt as if I had broken every bone in my hand! A handful of painkillers and muscle relaxants downed with beer and a good nights sleep helped. Now, 4 days after riding, I'm still feeling a bit stiff and sore. The worst being my hands, wrists and forearms from hauling the fallen bike around. The pain is all good training for Erzberg!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Erzberg Training in Scotland - Day 1

Last weekend was bank-holiday weekend. Perfect opportunity for a trip to Scotland for some Erzberg training. We drove up on Friday night to the brilliant hospitality of Mike's Mom. On Saturday, Mike, Jack and I  headed out the a nearby old bing quarry for some training.

Trials on!

Jack, practicing his wheelies

It was a bit chilly - only 6 degrees, but dry. This is the same quarry we rode in November 09, but I was on my trials bike then. Mike and Jack were on their trials bikes, but  this time around I needed to get more time on the four-fiddy in preparation for Erzberg.

This was a great climb we found. It was loose and steep, the last 4 feet of it was almost vertical. It just pops you up over the top... huge fun when you get it right. Mike was getting it right all day...

...I didn't get it right every time... the big KTM spent a lot of it's time getting turned upside-down. My forks were leaking oil... from the top! They obviously weren't designed to be used upside-down.

Mike getting some air

All smiles!

A huge, steep bank... my wee camera can only show very little of what was out there

Up the bank in a big arc - 'wall of death' style!

Some of the bits were steep and sharp!

On one of the gnarly sections I lost it on a steep bank and slid down to the boulders at the bottom of the pit with the bike. It was a mission to get it out - you get hardly any traction... the big knobbly just digs a hole in seconds and I wasn't good enough to Dougie Lampkin it out across the boulders!

After the ride.

We spent about 4 hours riding the quarry. It was fantastic! The best training for Erzberg I could ever do. Big climbs up loose shale. Lots of losing it on a 45 degree slope that just disappears from underneath you if you're going any slower than running pace. Brilliant practice for maneuvering a 125kg bike buried in the dirt around, getting it  back up on it's wheels and then down the loose, steep bank... only to try get up it again!

That night we had a fantastic home-cooked meal at Mike's Mom's and sat, knackered around the open fire having a few beers and sharing war stories form the day. Awesome!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

All American FT Series Story

A pearl of a story from Mick Jansen on the Red Max Speedshop blog.

Looking forward to seeing these guys in action at Amman Valley at the end of May. Great looking bike too!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Erzberg Training - Ouch!

Just back from an awesome weekend with Mike and Jack to Scotland for some Erzberg training in the bing quarries. My whole body aches, especially my hands and wrists - stiff, sore and aching. The old KTM got a bit beat up too!

A fantastic experience and brilliant training for the Iron Giant in only 4 weeks time. I'll get the pics up soon...