Thursday, 7 March 2019

Guilty as charged

It feels like I've abandoned my poor old blog in favor of Facebook, but the 2 things are completely different creatures and Facebook is rubbish unless your already on there yourself.
So ..... I've decided to do an update seeing as how a great deal has been going on and the 2019 race season is just over the horizon.
The big 2v engine turned out to be a pain to get the valve timing right, and i wasted a couple of meetings not having it right and it wasn't until the National finals in September that i finally made it down the track. It ran ok too with a very soft setup it managed a couple of messy 7's, the problem with both runs was tagging the rev limiter hard in each gear. The old engine ran out of steam at 10,500rpm, and i set the limiter at 10,800, but this engine just want to rev so i kept turning it up, but still tagging the limiter which unloads the bike and makes it horrid to ride.
And that's how the season ended really, just scratched the surface ....

Over the winter i did a lot of work on the back half Suzuki Hayabusa Project i started for Kev Osman 2 years ago. Finished all the Bronze wending and fixed tabs and brackets on wherever they were needed, made the sprocket support plate and air shifter mounts and basically got it ready for Kev to take it away and do the finishing touches. The end result looks pretty good, and Kev has got it ready for testing in a couple of weeks time, and it'll be interesting to see how it goes.

Back in January our plans for the 2019 season changed quite radically, when received an offer I couldn't refuse - to ride something rather special in the form of the quickest and fastest blown methanol bike in the world - Bob Brooks', beautifully engineered Yellow metal racing bike. Bob has had his very unique bike for sale for a while now and rather than leave it parked up any longer he very kindly asked me if I'd like to run it this season, and of course I jumped at the chance!
The bike will still be for sale throughout the season and hopefully someone will see it run and fancy the experience themselves.
Bob and the Yellow metal team will be helping us run the bike for part of the season as there will be a lot for our team to take in before we can go it alone. The only similarity between our bike and Bob's is the number of wheels! I really fancy the challenge too, we have run a nitrous GSX for a long time now and this is just something completely different so it'll be fun learning something new.

I didn't want my own bike to sit being unused either, so i decided to ask my friend Dave Batcheler if he would ride it alongside me in Funnybike. Dave jumped at the chance and has now been and collected my bike, as I've no room for 2 bikes in the van, or in my shed either as Bob's bike is massive. It does mean that at some point I'll more than likely end up racing against my own bike - an interesting concept!

Bob is bringing the bike up to me this weekend and going over all the various bits and pieces. I may need to take a lot of notes!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Ready or not Redline rumble

Just one week to go till the next race meeting - the all new 'Redline Rumble' at Santa Pod. This meeting was organized after the announcement that there would be no more racing at Shakespeare County Raceway - presumably to make up the number of meetings required to hold a proper championship. It's actually two events in one weekend - with qualifying and eliminations on both days. So - in terms of the championship it's important not to break your bike on the first day or else loose a lot of points the following day.
Not the ideal meeting to go to with an entirely new setup then, but if it's finished in time that's exactly what we will have.
I've been working till 11pm every night trying to get it finished, and it's been a lot more work than i could imagine. But it's getting there and i'm hoping it will be ready to fire up this weekend.

New Crankcases being bored to leave as much material as possible. 
Machining piston pockets to fit the enormous valves, and taking some material off to help get the deck height/compression ratio required
Checking the crank after replacing no1&2 webs
 New and old carbs, 48's from 40's
 1640cc 12:1
 V&H 2 valve head
 And 100's of hours later - the nearly finished product

Thursday, 5 July 2018

6 months in 1 minute

I'm sure lots has happened between now and the last post. And I'm sure most people have given up on any blog updates but I'll attempt to fill in the 6 month gap.
The first thing that happened was - i built a new frame. Actually I built 2 because I made a silly, expensive, and time consuming mistake on the first one after setting the jig up wrong. And finally realised I needn't have built a new one at all. The only only positives I can pull from the whole experience are ... I'm now dead good at bronze welding, and the new frame has a couple of refinements making it sit better with the engine now 1.5in further forward.
Oh, and it seems to handle just fine too!
Easter was meant to be the first test but the weather was bad and the faster classes didn't run at all. The next event was the non ACU round - the main event, which we entered as there's a lack of meetings now Shakey has gone. We had a few small issues but went quicker each time, running a best of 7.5, sadly not good enough to qualify.
On to the Summer nationals, a well attended event and half the field now running 6's. We made 3 runs with a best of 7.5 again but on the 3rd qualifying run an ignition pickup came loose causing the bike to cut out violently, and then come back on, possibly with the timing being out which caused a holed piston. Back in the workshop I stripped the engine to find the cases also damaged, cracked on the same cylinder.
It's been a long time since we damaged any cases or pistons, do they had done well considering. With no spare 85mm pistons I've decided it's time to build the bigger capacit engine I've been gathering parts for. It should make a fair bit more power, which is what we need now to complete in a much faster classes than previous years.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Bopchops coming home

Today marked a milestone for this year - i finally moved the dragbike from the cellar at my sisters house, where it was born and raised and brought it home - to the shed of dreams.
This is what it's all been about, buying a house just so i can build a shed and have a larger, more accessible place to work on dragbikes. Oh ......and, i guess it's somewhere to live as well :D
The shed isn't totally finished yet, there's still some insulation to go up in the rood space, a chimney making for the stove and the SWA cable for the electric. But it's ahead of schedule and even under budget!

Monday, 16 October 2017

The shed of dreams

The 2017 season hasn't been a great one, plagued by handling problems and for the first time since i started racing we haven't gone faster than last year! However, it's not all bad. Despite not making a clean pass all year we still won the Easter meeting and finished 2nd overall in the championship.
The plan for the winter months is to get the new workshop built, get it set up and move the bike and all the gear in so i can start work stripping it down and checking it over. Things have had to take a back seat really as building a decent workshop from scratch is no small undertaking. It is however much bigger than the cellar, and will accommodate the larger machines necessary to do more work myself, and so it's become known as 'The Shed of Dreams'
Progress is good so far, and maybe in the next 3 or 4 weeks it'll be completed enough to move in....

Monday, 14 August 2017

Changing times

Apologies for the severe lack of updates recently, especially to those that follow my blog or pop in to catch up with progress. At the end of may i moved house and bike stuff has taken a temporary back seat while i sort out some crucial parts of the house before i can move on to the master plan! The whole reason for the move is so i can build my own workshop and move the bike and all my gear out of my sisters cellar. The 'Shed of dreams' will be started soon, now i have a kitchen and a shower! So as soon as I'm back up and running it'll be back to more regular updates. Meanwhile, i have a race meeting in just 2 weeks time and need to get some work done on the bike.
Watch this space

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Race report catchup and some other stuff

It's been a busy time the last few weeks, but right at the center of everything that's been happening there has of course been - dragbikes!

I didn't report back after the Easter event at Santa Pod, so here is what happened in brief: We went, the weather was the best Easter weather -ever, and we qualified 2nd with a 7.32. There were some great qualifying match-ups against Allan Davies who took the 1 qualifier spot by a hundredth,  and on race day we met in the final where we managed to beat him with a holeshot win, our 7.20 to Allan's 7.19 (and his PB).... off to a good start. You can watch and listen to a good video of that run here:

On to the Open sport Nationals at Shakey, we ran really well at the last event here and i was looking forward to building on those times.  But i just couldn't find a setting for the track, and out of 6 runs over the weekend not one was a clean one, and the bike suffered handling issues each pass, a combination of wheelspin and tyre shake. The number of entries was also disappointing, with just 3 bikes, and out of the 3 we qualified 3rd. On race day the weather delayed the start of the meeting so late that most people had gone home and only one elimination round went ahead before the track curfew put a halt to the proceedings. 

The next race is in a weeks time and is a new one for the ACU championship, it's the Race, Rock & Ride weekend - an all motorcycle event. We ran at the event last year - just doing demo runs, but at the end of the season everyone voted unanimously to drop the Extreme bike weekend in late October and make this one a round of the championship instead.
The bikes not ready yet, I've been thinking it's not been running quite right since Easter (even though it ran a 7.2) and investigations revealed I'd not fitted the head gasket quite right, allowing the copper power rings to sit slightly offset from the bores and they'd been leaking on every cylinder. The telltale was the outside of the carb rubbers were all showing burn marks!
A new set of rings arrived yesterday so I'll assemble it more cautiously this time and it should be ready in a day or two.
I've also made a small change to the frame where the seat sits on the rails. It's common to have a hoop at the back of the seat but I'd not put one on as i didn't think it was necessary. Well, it kinda is, and was damaging the bodyshell. I've now added little bit of tube just behind the seat to stop it moving backwards on launch.

I mentioned in an earlier post i was building a road bike, a chopper in fact.  It's been making some progress, but is on hold for the moment while a major workshop upheaval is looming.... More on that anther time.