Wednesday, 29 May 2013

DTRA Flattrackin' - Round 2 - Rye House

Been away so I'm a bit behind on this one...

Sunday before last we were out at Rye House for the second round of the DTRA National Flattrack Championship.

I think I'm just about to bite the dust here... but looks cool.
Thanks Tom Whiting for the pic

With all my racing, I'm a bit of a slow starter. I need to get out there and do a few laps before I can get up to the pace I know I can do. Problem is... with these short races (road racing too), I leave myself too much work to do. I only really get going half-way through the heats and so don't qualify as well as I should in the final. Start slot in the final is crucial... if you're not on the front row, you're gonna struggle to get up near the front in the race. So, I decide to pull my finger out and go for it from the practice so that by the time the first heat rolls on, I'm onnit. Yeah - nice theory.

Pre-race stretchin
Thanks Ian Roxburgh for the pic

Practice - I go harder than I usually do... finding the limits as quick as I can in 2 x 5 laps. A little break, check the bike over... top up gas and ready for heat one. I'm drawn on the front row so have to finish in the top four. No problem.

A sweet lookin' Yamaha new build from Tom Clemans

I get the bike out onto the clay... practice start on the back straight... find my slot on the front row... revvs up... and we're away! I get an okay start and get out of turn 2 in third I think. From there... it goes backwards. I land up coming home in 6th. Bollocks! I chide myself.

Thanks Tom Whiting for the action shots!

Gotta pull that finger OUT! Next heat - Pro Open mixed with Restricted class. I'm drawn middle row. A decent start... I push as hard as I dare. I land up coming 6th again. No good enough.

Another well organised event - thanks Anna, Anthony and all those helping out!

Confidence, confidence, confidence. That's what I think it is. It takes me some track-time to build confidence. As the heats come, I get faster... I even bag a 1st in Thunderbikes and a 2nd in Pro Open by the end. Too little, too late.

I qualify 8th in Thunderbikes and 9th in Pro. Well, at least I make both finals :-)

Thunderbike final: My starts have been getting better all day and I make a good one in the final. Out of turn 2 in 5th. I hang onto the back of Neil Martin, Dave Chadburn and Guy Sutherland. I can't find a way past and just ride as close as I can, waiting for any of them to make an error.

Thunderbike Final
Thanks Ian Roxburgh for the pic

There are a few small mistakes - enough to keep it close and exciting, but not enough to make a pass out of. I run home in 5th. Happy with that :-)

Pro Final: Another good start from the back row. I get right up into the thick of things in turn 1 and am up to 7th. I hold it for a few laps before George Pickering and then Derek Brindley make passes on me that stick. I'm getting loads of drive out the turns, but the weight of the Thunderbike puts me at a big disadvantage against the DTX bikes when sliding into the turns. Too much momentum.

Battling with Drogo Michie
Thanks Tom Whiting for the pic

I hang on, pushing harder each lap. I'm the first Thunderbike and am 9th with a gap to Guy Sutherland in 10th. Eventually on lap 6 or 7 I push a little bit too hard going into turn 1... front and back slide a little too far and I can't get it back... I lowside in a nice, even slide. Swishhhh-grrrrrrrrrchhhhh...

We're goin' down!
Awesome photography from Tom Whiting - catching the off again!

Fuck! I scrabble up and out of the race line. I and try and get the bike started, but she's a dog to start on the clutch and my gear lever is knackered. My race is run. Bollocks!

Giving it sum beans in a earlier heat race
Thanks Tom Whiting for the pic

At round 1 I qualified 8th and 8th. In the final I got 5th and a crash-out. This round I qualify 8th and 9th. In the final I get 5th and a crash-out. At least I'm consistent! Leaves me 12th in the Pro and 4th in the Thunderbike Championships. Bring on Round 3 at Dirtquake II in 2 weeks!

Awesome sunny weather and long evenings... I can get home from a day in the clay, crack open a beer and take my time getting the bike all clean and sorted for the next meeting - perfect!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

BSA Streettracker - For Sale

Will be sad to see her go... but got my old, super-cool BSA A65 Thunderbolt Streettracker up for sale.

Spread the word... she's a good 'un and needs a good home.

This Classic TT Ducati build is bleeding me dry!

Classic TT Build - Oil Analysis

We're going all scientific here. Sent the Ducati SP3's first oil sample away for analysis last week. Got the results this morning...they aren't great:


The water might have something to do with the fact that the bike has been standing for the last 2 years. The lead? Hmmmm... sincerely hope it's not bearing wear. We'll drop the oil, replace and send another sample in 2 hours of runtime and see.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Classic TT Build - Ohlins

Also got delivery of some proper bling from Harris last week...

Besides all the 'Manx/TT' proofing you do to your race bike, if there is one mod that's essential around the Isle, it's one of these puppies. It's worth many bhp - horse-power isn't much use when the bike is tank-slapping all over place. Doesn't have to be Ohlins... but didn't find many competitively priced options out there for these old-timers. Made a bracket... looks the part.

Using a spacer to keep it well clear of the original bodywork. We'll see if I need that when I fit the race fairings. Took it out for a test... pukka!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

We're Goin Flattrackin in the Mornin!

Round 2 of the DTRA National Flattrack Championship at Rye House tomorrow. Racing starts at around 12h00, culminating in the Grand Final at around 16h30.

Be there!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Classic TT Build - Week 1

Been in the garage every night this week... making a bit of progress.

Fitted some Renthal clip-ons. Never used them before... thought I'd support British industry. They are a bit chunky and almost foul the brake and clutch master cylinder so that there is zero room for adjustment and a 0.3mm gap. Not happy with that. Back with the standard jobs. They are a bit higher and only 100g heavier. They'll do. Renthals can go on my old Aprilia RSV that has been without handlebars for over a year after I robbed them for my SV650. I hope they fit. Woodcraft are still the best clip-ons out there. Oh - and some Renthal grips. No other grip comes close. Best 7 quid I'll spend on the bike!

Also fitted a quick-action throttle. On garage tests, it's not as quick as I'd like. We'll see when we get he out for a test ride.

Changed the sprockets and chain. Trying different gearing to get a feel for the differences and to make sure the toe guard is in the right place to cover all eventualities. Got it geared pretty low now.

Got the bling-bling toe-guard fitted too. It's a bit basic, but kinda fits in with the ally swing-arm and the image of the bike. One in carbon would be ideal... if I got time I might get around to making one. Did the alignment and marked the swing-arm too.

Turned the tick-over up to 1500rpm. Bike idles now and is suddenly not lumpy from pickup. Yay! Aggressive gearing, quick-action throttle and 1500rpm tickover. I gotta watch it around town!

Scratched around my pile of wheels in my dining-room (keeps the rubber good - don't store race tyres anywhere where the temp goes below 5 degrees). Jackpot! Found a set of good Brembo discs that were on the spare wheels of the last Aprilia I bought. Got started on replacing the stock iron ones (thanks for the help and advice on this one Mark and others...).

Of course, simple things aren't ever that simple. First - a seized bolt. Got it out. Mismatched disc bolts... oh well... 11 more M8 bolts into the miscellaneous bolts drawer. Fitted the discs only to find a slight clearance issue. The discs aren't exactly the same offset... or maybe that's why the original disc carriers are mullered. Hmmmm... a problem for the morning. Nothing that a few spacers can't sort.

Oh - almost forgot... got an oil sample off for analysis. Hopefully it'll tell me a bit of what's going on in the bottom-end. We'll see what they come back with.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Classic TT Build - Start

I got the flattracker prepped for next weekend... and then got the 888 onto the bench for some lovin...

First up were those crap brakes...
Disgusting syrupy-snot brake fluid.

Iron discs are still good... but rivets or even the carrier may be worn. Need to get them refurbed.
With the brakes all clean, fresh brake fluid and some new Brembo sintered pads... the brakes were proper again. I test rode the bike on Saturday afternoon. Loads of stopping power now :-)

I also started taking off some bits I don't need...

This is the air intake collector. There is mesh on the front fairing intakes, but some muppet put more mesh and sponge in the air-pipe. Not much airflow going through there.

Non-standard stickers on second-hand bikes always hide damage. Pity. I like carbon.

First 'TT Proof' activity. Stainless mesh on the rads.

R&G toe guard is pretty heavy and doesn't give enough required coverage over the sprocket for different gearing... It'll go back on Fleabay soon... out with the grinder...

Made a proper coverage toe guard from some 50x100 ally box section. Maybe not a pretty as the R&G one (still needs some angles to it) but nearly 50% lighter, adjustable and will get me through skrootineering :-)

The box of bits I don't need is starting to fill...

Coolant is nasty to race-tracks. Drained and system flushed. Replaced with regulatory water.

I didn't get through as much as I wanted... with all road bikes, once you take things apart, there's a whole cleaning to be done.  I spent most of the time with the bike just looking. Figuring things out. Seeing what I need, what I need to change, what bits I need, how things work on this old machine and working on problems I need to solve.

The most used tools of the weekend were my eyes and measurers.
Despite being 21 years old, she is generally in really good nick. I am impressed. I how her innards are as good as her shapely outside. There's still a shit-load of work to be done on her...

Friday, 10 May 2013

Classic TT Ducati SP3 - The Build Prep

So... a couple of weeks ago I got the bike. I rode it once... then I was off travelling again (mostly for work). On the road I ordered some bits. It was like Christmas when I got home on Thursday night... Santa Claus left quite a few packages. More on the way :-)

Getting everything I need has proved a bit more difficult for this old bike. But... I've made calls and met some very helpful folk. We're getting there. The credit card is getting damaged... big time.


Just read on the Classic TT website that the Formula 1, 2 and Formula Classic race had over 120 entries. Shit. They will only allow 90 or so... sincerely hope I get in. No reason that I shouldn't be accepted... other than it's just me and a modest old bike and not an all singing and dancing big-budget team. Hey... the fact that I'll be on a beautiful Ducati should be enough to get in.

Ace Café getting in on the Classic TT

This weekend the conversion from a very neat 'n tidy, collectors road bike to a Isle of Man racer begins. First thing to sort are those shit brakes. We're gonna turn those Brembos back into Brembos...

1962 Ducati 125 Sport

This is just oh-so-sweet...


Thanks to Café Racer Culture for the link...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Manx GP and Classic TT Entries

It's gonna be a busy summer...


Thank you for submitting your entry for the 2013 Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix. Your entry has been received for the following race classes:
  1. Formula 1 Classic TT - August 17-30, 2013 @ Isle of Man
    Rider: Baleta, Paul
  2. Super Twin - August 17-30, 2013 @ Isle of Man
    Rider: Baleta, Paul
  3. Senior Manx Grand Prix - August 17-30, 2013 @ Isle of Man
    Rider: Baleta, Paul