Saturday, 23 July 2016

9 years ago

9 Years since i started this blog. I did it because i found it hard to find information on the net about how to get into drag racing and what all the technical mumbo jumbo meant. 9 years later and i'm pretty conversant with most of it, but as with most things - the more you know the more you know you don't know! So i'm far from being an expert.
Anyway ...... the blogs had a steady following, 100,000+ visitors and i get many people come up to me at race meetings to say they like it, so i hope it continues.

Lots happening at the minute, I've had the top end off the engine to replace some loose epoxy in one of the ports, and ended up replacing most of it anyway, it's quite easy to do - preparation is most of the work.
Been some progress on the new cylinder head too, valves are cut and I've started on the final version of the retainers which I'm making on the lathe out of titanium bar. getting the taper spot on and a good finish is key, but I'm happy with the ones I've tried so far.

I've also been researching and experimenting on ways to keep nitrous bottle pressure up during a run. There are a few tricks and various ways of achieving this apparently, so i've come up with my own particular version and will do some tests at the next event at shakey.

On a different note - i first went to Santa Pod as a spectator aged about 21, back in 1993ish, we went to the the Main event and the European finals for many years afterwards and still go to them now. I never imagined i might one day be racing there, never mind at one of the big Euro events. But, i've passed my medical and got my international/one event license.....and so for the first time i'll be entering my bike in the Top Fuel bike class at the Euro Finals in September! So it's pretty real now!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Two in a row

Consistency was a strong theme for us this weekend. The 1st run was a little off but was needed just to get everything settled. After that it just ran like a fast bracket bike, 7.29, 7.27, 7.29, 7.29, the speeds varied a little 170-174ish and were down significantly over previous events, especially the last meeting at Shakey where it ran 181mph.

The 7.27 was a personal best time, and the incremental times on all runs were among the best it's run so far. One of the highlights for me were the 60ft times, a string of 1.07's and a 1.06, which is really on fire!
Due to slightly wet weather there were only 2 qualifying sessions on Saturday, 10 bikes made a qualifying pass in total and a 7.29 put us in second place behind Fil Papafilippou who ran a stunning 6.71.

In the first round i met Dale Leeks, who left me on the tree which is quite unusual but his race ended prematurely when the bike wouldn't change gear and we took the win. In the semi finals it was like old comp bike days, and i ran against Allan Davies. Allan however had been having a terrible weekend, damaging pistons and had to work hard to build an engine out of parts to even make eliminations at all. His poorly engine did well to run a 7.7, but we ran yet another 7.2 to take the win.

And so we were in the final - against Eric Richard. Eric had run a couple of back to back 7.4's so i knew we had to make a clean run. Eric left first but i'd pulled ahead by 60ft and never saw him after that. And so, we took the win with yet another 7.29.
That makes it two events in a row!
In the points championship we are a little further ahead now, but it's by no means a safe lead - 190 points or so is only 2 rounds.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Summer time

Only a few days to go until the next event - the Summer Nationals at Santa Pod.
Really good entry in all the bike classes at this meeting, with 12 bikes on the entry list for Funnybike:

1    Dave Peters    Ulverston    Suzuki GSX        1327cc
4    Stuart Crane    Sheringham    Suzuki GSX        1640cc
8    Dale Leeks    Bury St Edmunds    Suzuki GSX        1640cc
10    Dave Buttery    Wigtoft    Suzuki GSX        1428cc
12    Thomas Joswig    Germany    Kosman Suzuki        1327cc
14    Lorcan Parnell    Kings Lynn    Storm Puma        1500cc
21    Pete Le Gros    Fleet    Nitro Harley        120ci
22    Phil Crossley    Lancaster    Suzuki GSX        1500cc
26    Shaun Branch    Horspath    Suzuki GSX1100        1425cc
30    Filippos Papafilippou    Greece    Suzuki         1570cc
34    Eric Richard    France    Suzuki Hayabusa        1300cc
42    Allan Davies    Flore    Suzuki GSX        1500cc

Amazingly, we have a slim points lead at this stage, but 70 points isn't a safe margin by any means.
Plus this is only the 3rd event of 6 so really it's still wide open.

I haven't done much to the bike, just checked it over and maintenance stuff. I'm not 100% sure what happened on the last run when the nitrous seemed to stop flowing, but i have a feeling i didn't refill it properly as it weighed less than usual afterwards, and it was probably picking up less liquid and more vapour sending it really rich.
Based on this, the plan is simply to run it without any major changes to the setup and see what it will do on a clean pass.

Meanwhile, back in the batcave...... the 30ton press is very nearly complete and had no issues popping a GS750 crank to bits. I'm just waiting on a fitting for the pressure gauge to arrive and i'm going to need a bearing separator.... eBay should come up with something!
I had some 1" thick plates plasma cut with cutouts just for crank purposes, a little machining and they should do the job nicely. I've no idea how to put a crank back together, but i'll have a play about. Hopefully without anything breaking free .... presses are a bit scary!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

It's all about the weight

Race, Rock n Ride turned out to be a pretty good weekend. The weather held out (mostly) and there were more people there than i expected, but we didn't manage any demo match races with any of the other funnybikes. We just ran against whoever was at the front of the queue.
We did 4 runs in total, and had little niggly issues with all of them. Traction was an issue on Saturday, we experienced wheelspin at the top of 1st gear on each run and that usually sets the bike up to go left wich it did. A 7.6 and a 7.5-  on and off the throttle wasn't too bad however.
On Sunday the first run was strange in that the bike took ages to leave the line. It seemed to just sit there revving but not moving, and a 1.33 60ft time said it all. It's not run that slow to 60 since the lockup clutch days. We serviced the clutch but couldn't find anything wrong, i even marked the tyre up on the rim thinking maybe it was slipping, but the next run proved it wasn't. the last run on Sunday made the whole trip worthwhile. It wasn't without issue, at 1000ft it went flat and the data showed it going really rich like the nitrous had stopped flowing but still ran a 7.33. But the incremental times to that point were all our best ever..... 1.0774 60ft, 2.937 330ft and 4.563 to the 1/8th. All times that point to a good 7.1 maybe even a 7.0?? who knows.
Suddenly it seems a 6 second pass maybe isn't so far away, and one easy area to gain a little something towards that 6 is if i lose some weight, so I've been eating carefully, no chocolate, no bread, no grains at all in fact. And so, it's bee falling off slowly,  and i see it like this ....if lose 10kg that's nearly a tenth of a second!

Other snippets of stuff ... i resumed progress on building a hydraulic press for the workshop. I bought the ram and pump 18months ago, but this weekend i got the steel channel to build it and have been drilling all the holes to bolt it together. Next step is to get some thick plates water jet cut, and mount the ram and pump onto it.
My van has been getting some upgrades too, I've had to fit new locks to the front doors after they both failed, so was reading on the Iveco forum how to change them when i came across an article that tells you how to enable the cruise control feature simply by buying the windscreen wiper stalk of a model with cruise control. So i checked on the steering column and sure enough the connector is there for it, so i got the part number and bought one -for the grand sum of £50 inc post. Bargain.
And lastly, i have another batch of Lectron WOT switches to make. Had them water jet cut but there's still a bit of machining to to. I have a few ready £45 if ya want one.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Just for fun

It's been a long time... years in fact since we last went to a Run What You Brung event, but this weekend we are off to Santa Pod for Race, Rock and Ride, an all new bike only event.
We hope to do a few runs over the weekend, but just for fun, it's not a race meeting for us, we just want to try things and show a little support for this new event.
It also makes up for the fact we aren't going to the Main event next weekend, an event we've been to as spectators for a long time.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

What a good bad meeting

The Springspeed nationals was badly affected by the weather, it didn't particularly rain that much but but just enough to constantly delay racing, and over the course of 3 days we only made 3 runs - one each day.
We've struggled to get off the line cleanly at Shakey for nearly 2 years now, and so i went armed with a setup that was deliberately soft on the launch - taking some ignition timing out straight away. Bigger burnouts was another strategy to help make the tyre stickier.
On the first run it left surprisingly well, but drifted towards the wall and i had to roll the throttle slightly till it calmed down, and once back on the power it just span the wheel and i crossed the line with the shift light flashing in top gear but only doing 168mph. The time was a reasonable 7.8 which was good enough for number 2 qualifier at that point behind Allan Davies who ran a 7.7.
The second run was much better, it still wandered about on the track but stayed 90% hooked up and i didn't have to come off the throttle at all. The Time was a real surprise and a personal best by 2 hundredths of a second, a 7.32 at 180mph - 3 mph faster than we've gone before.
The run was also enough to place us in the number 1 qualifying position.

Onto race day then and in the first round we raced Dave Peters, Dave normally runs low 7's but had various issues during qualifying so qualified 6th. With his problems all sorted i wasn't particularly confident about beating him. I got away first however and the bike left really well, it squirreled around for most of the run but just kept going and i didn't see Dave at any point. It crossed the line in an unbelievable, and new personal best time and speed of 7.28 @ 181mph.

All three runs also saw our best ever 60ft times for shakespeare county raceway, a 1.10, 1.11 and 1.12, which is right on the money - and very few bikes have gone that quick there.

We made it to the pairing lanes for the semi finals, i had a bye too so planned to just break the beams, but the rain came and didn't stop, and eventually the meeting was cancelled.

Overall then a really good meeting for us, 2 personal bests and finally sussed how to make a clean pass at Shakey.

Team bopchop are attending a new event at Santa pod this year - Race, Rock n Ride is an all motorcycle festival in just 3 weeks time (21st & 22nd May). It's not a race meeting but a biker lifestyle event with open run what you brung and lots of other attractions, but a few drag bike classes are attending and doing demo races. If the weather is good it should be a good opportunity to do some testing.


Thursday, 28 April 2016

Shakey 2016

This weekend is the Springspeed Nationals at Shakespeare County Raceway.
There are only 6 bikes entered in Funnybike, but it's enough to make an 8 bike ladder at least. Oddly - since i left comp bike it's flourished and is now the biggest bike class with 12 entries.

It will be good to see my old bike running there for the first time in the hands of Dave Batcheler, bopchop mk2 is now fitted with a nitrous GSXR motor.
No real changes to my bike, but i'll be trying to soften the way it leaves the line at Shakey, where it always spins the tyre and get tyre shake. More fuel and less timing might calm it down. We will see!

Coverage of the event will be courtesy of the great folks at, and the usual links can be found HERE

Finished the valve refacer rebuild, it still needs a spot in the workshop but i've not invented anywhere yet.