Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Here comes the rain again

With 3 out of 4 events rained off this year it's not been the most successful year for drag racing, and it seems unbelievable that the day it rains has always been eliminations day rather than a qualifying day. Surely it's some kind of conspiracy!?
The Open sport nationals was not exception then, 2 days of pretty good qualifying weather followed by a day of non stop rain and no racing whatsoever. We were in a good position too, no1 qualifier for the second event in a row, and we ran a new best time and speed in the opening round, with a 7.53 at 172mph.
We had a few problems getting the bike to leave the line properly to, much like we did at the last event at shakey. It leaves ok then quickly starts to get tyre shake and wheel spin, then it starts bouncing until finally away it goes. I think the bike is too short really, I'm going to put a couple of links in the chain so the wheel can be pulled right back towards the end of the axle blocks. The extra 1.5inches should help calm it down a little and maybe stop it hitting the wheelie bars so hard.

As mentioned in previous posts, i'd created a nitrous graph to help cancel out a lean spike on the O2 trace of the racepak. It was just an experiment really but it has worked to reduce it and a little more tweaking should see it disappear completely. It's not a fix for the problem but it's a pretty good band aid for it.

There are now 2 races left in the ACU championship, and mathematically anyone could still win. However we are currently placed in joint 1st with Allan Davies. Because of the rain off, and with no more rounds at Shakespeare county raceway Allan has now secured the shakey club championship and we are runner up. The Santa pod championship is still to play for.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

2014 open sport nationals

Tomorrow we head off to Shakespeare county raceway for round 4 (of 6) of the ACU championship - the Open Sport Nationals. Qualifying is on Saturday and Sunday and eliminations on Monday.
The bike is ready but will likely need a new tyre fitting at some point over the weekend - a new Mickey Thompson will be collected at the track.

Coverage of the event can be found on, with live reports and end of day galleries.
The link to the page is here:

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Wider, stronger, lighter.

Frame is half brazed - awaiting a dry and less windy day so i can finish it. In the meantime some aluminum nuggets arrived so i made a start on making the back wheel. It'll be just like the current one but lighter, stronger and wider basically.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Coming up soon .....

Just over a week  till the 4th round in the ACU championship - the Open Sport Nationals at Shakespeare county raceway.
No entry list as yet, or at least - i can't find one anywhere. It's a 3 day meeting this one and a bank holiday too! I'm waiting on a back tyre arriving before then, not much 'tread' as it were, left on mine. We use the car version of the Mickey Thompson 10" tyre as the only apparent difference is 3lbs of weight (more rubber) and about 50 more runs. Or at least that's the difference according to stories on the internet, whos estimates for the life of the bike version are something in the region of 8-10 runs apparently.
I've only bought 2 tyres in the 5 and a bit years I've been running this bike, so probably 60 or 70 runs out of a tyre.

I gave the bike a good check over and service at the weekend. Doing an oil change, valve clearances, epoxy checks, clutch etc. I modified a nitrous ramp for the controller too. An experiment really - pulling nitrous out at the same time as a lean spike on our wideband log. Only a bit, but if it works it would show up on the graph if i overlay a couple of old runs on top of it. If it makes any difference it'll make it pretty simple to lose it altogether.

Saturday, 2 August 2014


Today i freed the new frame from the confines of it's jig and took it outside to make a start on the bronze welding. The plan is to weld all the joints bar the headstock tube, then put it back in the jig, cut the headstock tacks off and weld it up properly. That way the back axle and headstock will be as close to perfect alignment as possible.
There's still a lot of brackets and tabs to fabricate and weld on, but at least when the tubes are all welded up i won't need the jig set up anymore and i can regain some space in the cellar.
The rear axle channels need shaping yet too, but I'll do that by hand once i have the ride height spot on, and that requires the rear wheel being in place with a tyre on. Which means - that I'll soon have to make a start on making the back wheel.

Engine mounts are ongoing as well, trying to make the engine as immovable as possible in the frame is the idea, so some simple but accurate mounts are being made. The bottom back mount is the only welded solid one, the rest will use

ally brackets which locate on sort of oversize dowels, these should help stop it moving and flexing.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Tube notch central

Despite being preoccupied with milling machines and related paraphernalia - and even decorating! YES I've made a start on painting and tidying up the walls in the cellar. The floor is next for consideration, it needs all the oil getting out of the concrete first but after visiting Bob Brooks workshop a while ago i was amazed how much light is reflected back up off his painted floor, and with no windows the lighting in the cellar has always been an issue.

I've managed to get a few more tubes notched up and tacked into position in the frame. It's really starting to take shape now and most of the tricky tubes are already done. Only a few more tubes left and i'll be moving on to all the brackets and other bits that will undoubtedly take up a lot of time.
I have a whole front end (forks, brakes, wheel etc) to go with the frame, but the forks will need shortening and stronger springs fitting, and i can't do those things until i have a back wheel and tyre in place so the ride height & ground clearance can be set correctly.
It looks like i'll be building the back wheel from scratch, probably following the design from the bopchop wheel but fitting wider rims.I don't like the look of the side drive wheels that are popular at the minute, and i can't find split rims with beadlocks, so they might have to be beadlockless.

With new mill now in situ i spent 2 evenings  this week fitting a Digital readout and Linear scales to it. I bought them as a kit off eBay, and initial impressions are that it's very cool! No doubt they will quickly become invaluable, as it opens up a whole new world off accuracy and repeatability. Not like it wasn't possible before but all that measuring makes it very tedious. This looks a lot easier to me!
The mill itself seems pretty impressive so far too, it produces some very clean cuts, doesn't vibrate when making decent size cuts, and the variable speed is a revelation!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Going down.

It was a fairly mammoth task getting the mill down into the cellar. Most of today was spent inventing various ways of getting it from one place to the next, and trying to overcome various obstacles.
We used an engine crane to get it out of the van and back onto a pallet, however the engine crane doesn't have a very good range of movement and we had to make a spacer to get it to lift from that height. Then a pallet truck was used to get it down the garden to the top of the cellar steps.

Next was to make some long skis out of bits of 4x2 timber, the engine crane was used again to lift the mill clear of the floor whilst it was fitted with it's new ski's and bolted tightly to them.
The next bit was surprisingly easy, using big bar it was pried towards the cellar steps until it started to pivot downwards. It's just a matter then of giving it a shove to get it going. It seemed the real problem now lie in lifting it onto the stand, the crane can nowhere near lift that high in one go. And so i went and borrowed a hydraulic bench and that made light work of getting it to the right height.
It now sits on it's new base and fits back in the corner of the workshop where the old mill used to live. I've used it very briefly and it seems very nice, dead quiet, smooth and snug ways, no vibration and loads of power.
Tomorrow I'll oil it up properly and adjust everything. Thanks to Stuart, Tom, Arge and Benji for helping out.