Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Isle Of Man TT - The Hard Way

This is a good article on TT privateers Brandon Cretu and Graham English. I love the way the author stresses that they're doing it on second-hand bikes... as if most racing is done on new bikes ;-)

At the 2013 Classic TT I finished a few places behind Graham English - he was the second F1 privateer home, I was the third. Hope to do it again this year :-)

Monday, 28 April 2014

Very Cute

Just waiting to get a few action pics before I do a post on yesterday's Dirttrackin. In the meantime, thought I'd share this wee machine that was parked near the track gate for a while...

It was real sweet... kinda 3/4 sized. Love the minimalism, zorst pipes and some of the patina. Must have been a local.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

We're Going Dirttrackin' in the Mornin'

Tomorrow is the first round of the 2014 DTRA National Dirttrack Championships at my 'home' track - Leicester. I've been away since the Noyes Camp UK two weekends ago, so didn't have a chance to prep the bike till last night.

I made a few adjustments to the suspension and found out the new bars I had bought were pretty narrow. Then I hit the start button to check everything and nada. Hit it again. Nente. Shit. I look, check and put my multi-meter on a number of wires. Out with the wiring diagram. Check. Test. Check.

With my overly simplistic understanding of moto-sickle wiring, I narrow it down to one of the two starter relays. I removed the kick-start from the bike because it was in the way of the custom footrest I made and I had also never started the bloody thing on the kick-start despite many, many attempts. I find my closest KTM dealer online... just 1 hour drive away. Yipee.

I call them first thing - I'm in luck. They have both relays on the shelf. I pay for them on the phone and head up to Peterborough. I get the bits and pick-up a perfect set of Renthal bars as well :-) Back in the garage I fit the first relay. Still nothing. Shit. Fit the second. Hey-fuckin-presto!

With a bike that now starts, new bars, rear tyre and some suspension tweaks - she's ready. Bike, spares, tools, fuel and gear loaded. We're goin' Dirttrackin in the mornin'!!

Racing starts at 13h00 - Leicester Lions Speedway Track & Pavilion, Beaumont Sports Complex, 1 The Lions, Leicester, LE4 1DZ. Com'on down and watch the action!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Noyes Camp UK

On Sunday I was down at Rye House with 19 other riders for the inaugural Noyes Camp UK. Kenny Noyes was out in sunny UK to give us a bit of training on going sideways. An ex AMA dirttrack Pro, Moto2  rider and second place finisher to Brad Baker at the Superpresigio in January - Kenny knows a thing or two about twisting the throttle. And is a heck of a good guy.

We started off with some theory - analyzing super some slo-mo videos of AMA #1 Brad Baker showing how it's done at the Superprestigio. Really insightful... and hard to get one's head around the balance of lean angle, brake and throttle. There are so many different ways of doing it... but the Baker way is the model.

We then headed out onto the dirt for some free practice and to try some different things. The track was over-watered (normal for Rye House) and slippery as hell for the first half hour. I went down once. No damage to bike or body... just a whack on my right elbow.

We then did a training exercise focused around going into turn 1 harder and deeper, turning the bike on the power, squaring off the turn and firing it out turn 2 in a straight line. This is something I learned to do at last year's pre-season training session... but tended to only use it when I went in too hot and landed up going deep. It's hard for a road-racer to the head around going into a turn hard and hot, completely missing the apex. Neeeeeed to practice that.

We did some technique filming (thanks Olly Bindle and Alan Birtwhistle), a few race drills (the art of the start) and finished with an hour of free practice. Besides the early slippyness, the track was great and hardened up nicely. Olly and Alan were also testing their new bikes in the new and totally pro-looking Kawasaki Dirttrack Team. They're gonna be at the front this year!

For the first time, I also got to ride a dirttrack bike that wasn't mine. Been wanting to do that for a few seasons now, to feel the difference. I have no idea what one should feel like. I just built mine and learned how to ride it. Vince Hurst and I swapped bikes for a session.

Wow. Wow. Wow. His DTX dirttracker felt so light, nimble and easy to ride. After a few laps of finding where everything is I started pushing on. Man!  Just so much easier and more forgiving to ride. Uncrashable! My big old KTM feels like it's on the edge of crashing most of the time and I'm working it hard to not crash. I thoroughly enjoyed it riding his rapier. A real weapon. Vince didn't enjoy my bike at all. He said after 4 or 5 laps he was exhausted and that it was just about to chuck him off the whole time.

The experience was enlightening, but disappointing too. Disappointed at how crap my bike is as a dirttracker. Kenny Noyes spent some time looking at it after riding had finished for the day and gave me some ideas on how to improve it. We'll try a few things. Would love a DTX bike to try be competitive on.

Overall, what an awesome day in the sunshine, going round in circles on motosickles with mates and learning something. Thanks Anthony Brown and all at DTRA for getting Kenny out to the UK and putting the event on.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Flattrackin Starts Tomorrow

In for a treat tomorrow - heading down to Rye House early for the Kenny Noyes Flattrack School. Dusted the flattracker off, refit the exhaust (stole some bits for the Wee Monster), fixed the broken battery tray, fired her up and gave her some general prep for a day on the clay tomorrow.

Late this evening, as I finished loading her up, the left footpeg just fell off. Really... it just went 'plink' and was on the van floor. FFS! Guess its better for it to fall off at home than tomorrow at the track.

I whipped it off, cleaned it up and welded it back. My first welding job in about 18 months... and it looked good. Hope it's strong.

Been looking forward to tomorrow for a few months now. I want to learn just 1 thing :-)

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Classic TT 2014 - The Prep Starts

With the Wee Monster finished and bringing home the bacon, the bench was clear to start preparations for the Classic TT.

The old 888 was wheeled out of her winter hibernation and into the garage. I sat and looked at her for an hour or two... having a beer, some good tunes on the radio and making a long, long list of things to do. Life is good :-)

Some parts are ordered, other are being sourced and the 'Chipple-8' phase 2 is underway.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Another Beaut from Walt Siegel

Walt Siegel has just finished building another awesome Ducati:

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Entries are in...

... same classes and bikes as last year: