Monday, 21 July 2014

Ground Clearance

Done a bit of lock-wiring the other week as per TT requirements. Also wrapped the bottom pipe to minimise damage on the tight-fitting belly-pan.

Lat year the belly-pan took a pounding during the race. It just scraped here and there during practice, but as soon as we wound it up during the race, we had a few issues. I've raised the whole bike by 5mm both ends to help alleviate this - hope I haven't mucked with the geometry too much.

Got an older-style 916 carbon-fibre belly-pan from MADASL Mark Lumb. I flattened it...

...then did a cut-n-shut job on the back end to give that millimetre of clearance for the underneath pipe but at the same time lifting the back as much as possible. As per regs, it still needs to clear the side pipes and have at least a 50mm high wall. Job done. I also added some weight by filling in the back corner - the traditional hole-grinding place for the TT.

Belly-pans on an 888 are a pain in the ass as they were never made for one. In the end, we got it fitted better, with more clearance (more than the technically determined 'fist-and-an-inch'), extra volume at the vulnerable areas and a 300g weight saving on last year's one. It's a win-win-win-win situation... just needs an IOM race to prove the concept :-)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

SV Ready to Rock!

Got the little SV onto the bench the other week and gave her a thorough once-over. Lots of little bits n pieces but also made her look a bit purdy - touched up the bodywork, resprayed the seat and refurbed the battered belly-pan.

She's donated her discs to the Ducati 888 but has a fandangled set of Braking wavy discs up front now. I repaired and repacked the exhaust, gave her and oil change and brake fluid change. She also gets a new fuel filler cap that doesn't need a screwdriver to open it - my fuel man, Ian, will be pleased about that!

Back in May I had her down with Gary Smith of SDC Performance. Gary built the wee bike for me 5 years ago and his Dad rebuilt the engine 3 years ago with a mild tune-up. After that rebuild, she was putting out a healthy 84bhp at the rear wheel. After my mechanical numptiness and revving the knackers off her on only 1.5 cylinders for 4 laps in the 2012 Supertwins race, she was down to around 73bhp. I ran her like that last year and still managed 104mph from a standing start. She's been a good little bike.

Gary gave the engine a thorough check and managed to find and extra few bhp on the dyno. Competitive Supertwins have around 90bhp... I'm about 15% down on that. Oh well... will just have to ride her a little harder ;-)

I finished all the lock-wiring today, charged the battery, gave her a final check and slapped some numbers on her. #21 - happy with that start number... just oh so close to the privileged top twenty. Oh well, I'm used to being in the queue with the masses.

Tomorrow I'm dropping her off with Alan Birtwhistle (UK's own AMA Dirttrack hero) who will be taking her over to the Isle for me in the next few weeks. This is a big help as I've really struggled to take 3 bikes, all my tools, spares, paddock malarkey and gear for 2 weeks in my van and trailer in the past.

She's prepped and ready to rock 'n roll down Bray Hill!

Friday, 11 July 2014

One Cool Cuda

I love MOPAR... especially Barracudas.

From Petrolicious.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Quicker Action

I've been looking for a quicker action throttle solution since last fall. The Venhill quick-action throttle I used last year has too much travel - 90 degrees from zero to 100% open. I had to re-grip the throttle when winding it on to get to the stops. I have short fingers. The biggest issue was  that my glove would often snag the throttle it when I went for the brakes and the throttle wouldn't close properly. It gave me a few heart-in-the-mouth moments out there last year.

The big problem is that the Venhill quickest action cam that I use has a radius of 25mm. I found out that this is one of the biggest out there - I was struggling to find any bigger. The other option is to reduce the size of the throttle-body cam. This is also 25mm as standard... which tallies up with the 90 degree throttle travel.

I had heard different size throttle-body cams were available... but I couldn't find any around. So I popped into Baines Racing during the week to pick Geoff Baines brain about this. He rummaged around in a drawer for a minute and came up with this beauty...

It took 3 minutes to fit an has reduced my throttle travel to only 60 degrees. Shazam! Like lightning!

Big thanks Geoff Baines!!!

Monday, 7 July 2014

RC8 Cafe Racer

Thanks Mike at MD Racing for this FB post:

KTM 1190 RC8 by Anders.K
Apparently that's a standard frame too. Damn fine! Project for 2015?

Off the Holographic Hammer feed.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Wee Monster Goes

The other week, the Wee Monster's new owner came to pick her up. Sad to see her go... I've spent a lot of time on her and she was good to me. The only bike I've won a race on. Three wins and five podiums... and that was from not more than 20 races over the 5 years I've had her.

Her new owner qualified 2nd last weekend at Donnington in his first race meeting... unfortunately he crashed out of both races. She'll get more podiums and wins for him.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Workin the 888

Been flat-out working on the 888 this week...

Got some tasty bits from Mode Performance... some MotoGP bling. I don't normally do anything to a race bike that'll cost me cashola and not help me go faster for longer. But these reservoir holders are just too cool... and not too pricey.

I didn't want to drill and tap the SP3 'plaqued' top clamp... so made a few brackets form some angle ally and bolted them (with locktite) into the unused ignition barrel bolt holes...

... looking proper factory!

At last year's Classic TT/Manx GP, my little Suzuki destroyed it's exhaust end-can, so I borrowed the right side can from the 888 for the Lightweight race. The 3 laps burned the carbon. I think the packing had moved around and the Suzuki might have been running a bit lean.

I had to grind some spot welds to get the can open and shoved more packing in there. These cans are really well made and I had my mate Steve spot weld them once assembled again so there is no risk of them coming apart.

Adding lightness... 

Lightweight, period looking Moto Master rear brake disc arrived from Germany. Nice piece of kit!

I also bored out the front spindle, dropping just over 100g from it... every little bit helps...

Added a bit of weight here... strengthening brace (welded underneath to the original cross-piece) and repairs on the rear sub-frame after I found a few cracks on it. This little cross-piece takes the weight of a full tank with the bike bottoming out at the bottom of Bray Hill and Begarrow... and me wrestling the bike from side to side with my knees/thighs. It takes a lot.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

888 Dyno Day

End of last week I headed down to Southampton to meet RedMax Steve Hillary down at Doubletake Motorcycles to give the old girl a dyno run and set her up for the new Oronero airbox, velocity stacks and MADASL spaghetti exhaust.

She sounds crisp and clean and spins up a lot faster now - thanks Stafford Evans for the Kaemna light flywheel and lightened primary gear. An ally clutch basket from a 1098 was also fitted. Together with the close ration gearbox, when revving hard, you're just grabbing gears. It won't be as extreme on the road, but with a quickshifter, it would be immense! Maybe next year.

The following is some of the engine work was done by Steve...
Fit lightened flywheel
Fit lightened primary gear (standard 2:1)
Fit ally clutch basket
Fit slipper clutch (thanks MADASL Mark Lumb for loaning this)
Check, torque, locktite all bottom end nuts and bits that can fall off
Check head and shims
Replace belts 

Steve and Nic of Doubletake Motorcycles
They have McGuiness's first TT winning bike - McGuiness offered to buy it, it wasn't for sale so he had a replica built. I will never sell my first race bike.

Interesting thing about the belts - they were new before last year's TT... after the TT, they were discoloured blue. A sign of them getting too hot. Extreme rpm for suck long periods of time and no ventilation I reckon. This year I will run without belt covers... or come up with some ventilation.

So, other than the lightened bits and some vernier pulleys to make setup easier, the engine is completely standard. Just a Oronero carbon airbox and velocity stacks to get the air in and a MADASL spaghetti system to get it out (oh, and an Oronero crank breather box). On the dyno, we played around with the fueling, but in the end just needed a little tweak using Steve's magic yellow box for it to be optimized for the new setup.
Last Year: Blue
This Year: Red
Keep it above 6500 and we'll be okay

Last Year: Red
This Year: Blue
Definite gains in 3rd, 4th and 5th

Compared with last year, we've lost some power mid-range... but it's now smoothed out and it's moved to the top. On the TT Mountain Circuit - this is where she'll live. These are usable gains for flat out riding.

Looking forward to what she feels like on the road :-)

500 Two-Smoke GP at the Classic TT

Gonna have our work cut out for us if we're going to get the better of Anstey on the Padgett's 500 GP smoker! Hell... I'm gonna savour the moment he comes flying past :-)

Bruce Anstey to ride YZR500 for Valvoline by Padgett's

Ducati 888s, 500 GP bikes... it's gonna be a corker!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


Another great result for Travis Newbold at this year's Pikes Peak International Hillclimb. Read all about it.

Sad news about Bobby Goodin.

PPIHC is defo on the bucket list... a lot of Ducatis out there :-)