Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Festival of power report

We arrived on Thursday afternoon to find the bike pits were already overflowing and after a real struggle setting up in the space available we finally signed on and got the bike scrutineered.
The Easter event is always busy and has a huge entry list, so we already knew that the 3 scheduled runs per day was not going to happen. On Friday we managed just one run, but the bike ran great and it was a huge relief to find the new gearbox - and my own modified shift drum for it, worked perfectly. I had to feather the throttle slightly at the top end due to the bike heading slightly left, but it still ran a really nice 7.6 and very nearly a personal best. The time slip did show however that it ran best ever half track time and speeds, so i knew it would go a bit faster so long as i kept it nailed.

On Saturday we were one of the first classes out and the track seemed to have improved from the day before. This time the bike went pretty straight, and i kept the throttle wide open for the whole run. The result was a new personal best ET of 7.585 @167.31mph!
For a while that was good enough for number 1 qualifier too. Only - in the next round Allan Davies ran 4 thousandths of a second quicker to take back the top spot.
In a way though it was the half track times that had seen the biggest improvements, somehow it had gained 4-5mph at half track and was now dipping into the 4.7 second zone. Strangely this didn't seem to improve the mph at the finish.... or at least not on that run.
In the next and final qualifying round i wasn't able to match that time and once again had to get off the throttle near the top end, the result being a 7.7 @ 161mph.
Race day was a huge disappointment for everyone, but at least comp bike were one of just a few classes that made it through the first round of eliminations before it started to rain.We were up against Comp bike newcomer Robert Field but he must've had some issue as he wasn't in the pairing lanes, so we took a bye and ran another 7.6, this time with a new PB speed of 169.31mph.

Only 6 bikes made runs in comp bike despite there being 8 entries. I'm not sure what happened to Steve Whiting, but comp regular Harold Wolfenden has now permanently defected to Funny bike after buying the ex Al Young turbo busa machine.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Festival of power 2014

This coming weekend is the Festival of Power at Santa Pod raceway, it's first event of 2014 and the largest event we attend as well.
The entry list for comp bike still stands at 8 riders. There's a couple of new names in the class but largely it's made up of familiar faces:

4     Phil Crossley          Suzuki GSX         1500cc
5     Tony Clark          Suzuki GSX1100          1500cc
6     Harold Wolfenden     Suzuki Hayabusa     1299cc
8     Kevin Osman          Suzuki Busa         1300cc
9     Dave Batcheler          Suzuki GSX Bandit     1340cc
11     Steve Whiting          Suzuki GSX          1500cc
42     Allan Davies          Suzuki GSX          1428cc
653     Robert Field          Suzuki Hayabusa      1300cc

There are also 3 names missing from last years lineup, they are:
Phil Leamon, who is still rebuilding his engine after grenading it after 365 passes at the last event of 2013.
Jemma Venables,  who has moved into the Superstreet bike Class
And Lizz Mcarthy, who is also rebuilding her bike but also changing it somewhat and is hoping to be out partway through the season.

Whats new for team bopchop then? To recap  - changes from last year, we now have a full 5 speed auto billet gearbox, which has made the bike simpler electronically and the gearbox is now a lot stronger as well. It won't make the bike any faster though. I've also added an oxygen sensor and clutch input shaft sensor, both of these should help us tune the bike, and maybe produce some better 60ft times as well as improving fuelling at the top end of the track and maybe gain a bit of MPH.

All the event coverage can be found on the eurodragster.com event page here: http://www.eurodragster.com/santapod/live/2014festivalofpower/default.asp
The webcam will be running throughout the weekend as well as live reports and audio.

Santa pod also have a preview video posted up on youtube.....

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


Sundays nice weather persuaded me to get the bike out of the cellar and do a pre-easter fire up. It's been 5 months in hibernation, and has been modified and rebuilt with a new 5 speed auto gearbox. It sprang into life easily and sounded as good as ever. The gearbox is the only change - engine wise, the only other real changes to the bike are the addition of clutch and oxygen sensors to the Racepak and removal of the kill wiring and air shifter plunger.

Easter - and the first race of the year is only a few weeks away. The entry list is quite healthy - which is unusual for the first event, but there are 8 so far in Comp bike. And 10 in Funnybike which is a real comeback for the class.

A small update on the new chassis too - i've been practicing bronze welding on a big pile of scrap tubing, the inline gas fluxer works brilliantly, making it a lot easier to get decent looking and very strong joints.
I made myself a tube notcher too, using a clamp that holds tubing in the toolpost of the lathe and a huge roughing mill in the chuck. It works well, and can cut any angle with a perfect fit-up.

One of the last parts of the frame building jigsaw is a tube bender, well i got a good deal on one and went for it. It's an American made Pro Tools 105 Bender, similar to the popular JD2 type of ratchet bender. It need s a stand and handle making so that'll be next weekends task. It's actually the dies that cost the most money, working out a bit dearer than the whole bender. Luckily, i was outbid on one of these on ebay last week, that actually went for more than i paid for a brand new one.

Monday, 17 March 2014

All Tigged up

I came back from my trip to Norfolk with a loaned TIG welder - courtesy of Stu Crane of Warpspeed racing and instructions to "go learn to tig". Plus while i was at Bob Brooks workshop he gave me a crash course in Bronze welding using an inline fluxer, and a quick lesson in tig welding. So this week i bought a new welding mask and a bottle of argon, and well.... i learned to TIG .... in straight lines at least.
And the first thing i tigged up is a stainless box that is going to become my very own inline fluxer for brazing/bronze welding, it means no messing about applying flux paste or powder, and best of all, no trying to clean up the glass like deposits that those fluxes leave behind. The flux is just a liquid that gives off a vapour that is transferred into the brazing gas and turns the flame a bright green.
Next weekend then, should be learning to do really nice bronze welds!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

UK Tour

The main protagonist in team bopchop (me), went on a tour of the dragbike workshops of east anglia at the weekend. I visted fellow racers, Bob brooks, Stu Crane (warpspeed racing) and Sandra and Roland Chaplain. It was good to catch up with them during the off season, and nice to see where everyones creations have spawned from. 

Now back to the cellar, the smallest workshop i've been in this week......

The bike is ready really, it just needs some oil in it and it's ready to race. New Racepak sensors have been fitted and wired in, new race numbers applied and my entry is already in for the first event - the Festival of Power.

Sunday, 23 February 2014


The headstock tube is now finished, waisting it from the inside has reduced it's weight massively and left it with an simpler shape to attach tubes to on the outside (it also produced a lot of swarf!).

It's been machined for a modified Cagiva Mito Bottom Yoke. The bottom bearing recess has been cut deeper than the top so that the lockstop tab can be attached to the tube and still hit the stops. The yoke needed modifications to the stem as the mito - for some reason i can't figure out, uses untensioned ordinary deep groove bearings. So I've added a thread to the top to allow tapered roller bearings to be used.
I've been collecting bits off eBay and now have a complete Mito front end for it. The disk is huge and it uses a nice Brembo caliper and master cylinder. The forks which are Marzocchi should be easy to modify despite having sealed units inside. They are cheaply made with no adjustability but strong, light and perfect for a dragbike.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

ACU Drag Racing - National Finals 2013 Competition Bike & Funnybike

Things hot up a little at the national finals, just a few rounds of comp and funnybike this one....