Sunday, 26 April 2015

A few steps closer

Next weekend we should be at Shakespeare county raceway for the second race of the year. I've fitted a new head gasket and a fresh set of power rings to the engine so we shouldn't have head gasket problems again.
Getting that sorted and the bike ready hasn't taken too much time and i've been busy making bits for the new bike. I'm hoping - quietly, that it will be finished by the end of august in time for the 2nd shakey round. But thers still a lot to do so i'll just chill out and go with the flow a bit.
Battery box and nitrous bottle bracket are now done, and the rear mudguard is mounted properly. Made a start on wheelie bars too, which are similar to the last ones i made. just a bit more complicated and longer!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Blazing brazing

Some nice weather at the weekend meant i got chance to work through my backlog of 'waiting to be brazed on' bits and pieces. Front subframe is now done, battery mounts, footpeg mounts, mudguard brackets, allsorts.
Decided the mudguard i bought wasn't really wide enough so i tackled widening it, added 40mm and it seems to have worked, i used carbon fiber/aramid weave to make the modifications, so it's pretty strong still despite being chopped in half.

Used some of the carbon stuff to reinforce the bodyshell mounting points too. Should help prevent them cracking. Cutting the stuff requires quite some effort too .... amazingly tuff.

Thursday, 16 April 2015


Easter then ...... umm, new gazebo was ace. Came home with 2 trophys, but it was a bit of a disappointment really.
Friday it rained all day and nothing went down the track. Saturday it was slow going and we didn't get called till mid afternoon. Took the bike down, did a burnout and started pushing the bike towards the stage beams, halted to select 1st gear and i could hear an odd noise from the engine. Took another listen and sure enough an odd tapping noise - then i remembered the last time it sounded funny and i ran it anyway and it destroyed itself. So i turned it off and pushed it away.
Back in the pits i checked the tappets, lashcaps, camchain, clutch but found nothing. Ran it again and i spotted smoke coming from one of the unused 6mm cylinder head bolts. the head gasket was leaking! there was no time to pull the head off as we were due out again, so i loosened all the head bolts and re torqued em hoping it might do the job but no, still the same, and the tappety noise was still there. And so i didn't run and didn't qualify. We headed off home teh next day. I've since investigated further and can't find anything else wrong, the noise must've just been produced by gas leaking past the gasket. The power rings i got last time were rubbish so i wasn't too surprised they leaked when reused. New set on the way.
Lots of work on new bike recently, many things have come together making it feel that bit closer to getting finished. The bodywork is mostly sanded and ready for paint, and more importantly i have a final paint scheme i'm now happy with .... on the computer least. I've also made a start on a set of wheelie bars for it, battery box, nitrous bottle bracket are under construction too, oh and pistons are on the way as well.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Festival Essentials

A quick link update before we leave for the Festival of Power. The event will be covered as usual by and you can find the live reports, commentary and webcam links here on the event coverage page

With the bike now very nearly ready (i have 2 fuel pumps to replace after both the brand new ones i bought were found to be faulty, one ran for a few minutes then stopped, the other never worked at all), I've had a bit of time to work again on the new bike. I've made a fuel tank out of stainless steel - it's thin so ain't too heavy, although a lighter replacement will probably be on the agenda at some point in the future. It's been the first real job for my new welder and i found it pretty easy to do with it set on pulse. It holds just 1.4L of fuel, and it'll be rubber mounted and fastens to the frame with 2 rubber battery straps that go right under it and i thought were ideal for the job.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

New HQ

It's only a week now till the Festival of Power at Santa Pod, and it's been a bit of a rush getting the bike back together and new parts tested. But it's very nearly done - the gearbox and clutch now seem ok, the engine is back in, new nitrous parts fitted, tested - found faulty, thrown away and replaced and finally flow tested, now all that's left really is to hope it all works.
After minimal deliberation we've changed our Pit lane HQ for 2015, we've sold the Gala marquee that has served us well for the last 6 years and acquired a Gala Pop up gazebo instead. The problem with the Marquee was the hassle putting it up - especially for just a 2 day event. Dead sturdy and leak proof but a 2 hour mission to assemble. In fact the only thing worse was having to take it down again!
The pop up should take some of the misery out of HQ assembly and hopefully will be just as strong.

The funnybike class has a great entry for this event, 14 bikes in total which is healthiest it's been for a long time. Even Comp bike has a 8 bike field which is unusual for the first round.
1     Gary Jones    Suzuki Hayabusa    1427cc
2     Stuart Crane     Suzuki GSX    1640cc
3     David Peters     Suzuki GSX     1327cc
4     Robert Brooks     Yellow Metal     1700cc
5     Dale Leeks     Suzuki GSX      1640cc
7     Harold Wolfenden Suzuki Hayabusa 1299cc
9     Thomas Joswig     Kosman Suzuki    1327cc
16     Dave Buttery     Suzuki GSX     1428cc
17     Pete Le Gros     Nitro Derringer 120ci
22     Phil Crossley     Suzuki GSX     1500cc
23     Nick Daniels     Suzuki GSX     1500cc
34     Eric Richard     Suzuki Hayabusa 1300cc
42     Allan Davies     Suzuki GSX     1500cc
50     Filippos Papafilippou     Suzuki  1570cc

3     Kevin Osman     Suzuki Hayabusa 1300cc
4     Tony Clark     Suzuki GSX     1500cc
5     Paul Hambidge     Kawasaki ZX12R     1200cc
6     Dave Batcheler     Suzuki Bandit     1340cc
11     Eddy Smiley     Suzuki Hayabusa 1300cc
12     Sean Mills     Suzuki Hayabusa 1550cc
14     Mark Hope     Suzuki Hayabusa 1300cc
24     Mick Winyard     Suzuki GSXR1100    1216cc

Qualifying starts on Good Friday and will continue on Saturday, with eliminations on Sunday.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Easter is imminent

Posted my entry forms yesterday for the Festival of Power and the first entry lists are already out. Bit of a change this year too as we will not be running in Competition bike. It seems daft to start the season in comp bike only to have to move to funnybike partway through the season once i have the new bike done, so I've entered funnybike - it's a no brainer anyway, the entry's will be better, I'll probably do ok and the prize money is better.

For now though things have gone a bit backwards. I was almost ready to refit the engine on Wednesday, but after fitting the clutch basket and hub i discovered the wobbly clutch issue i though i'd fixed was not actually fixed - just as bad as ever i'd say. However - i think i've now got it sussed and it explains why the bearing surface on the clutch was worn oddly.  I tried fitting the whole clutch, the gear, the spacers, the hub, all the same parts onto an input shaft in another set of cases and suddenly the wobble was gone. It only shows itself when you tighten the hub nut too, but even with that tight in the other cases it was fine.
The culprit then? well i'd never have imagined it but the big bearing behind the clutch is garbage, it's not broken, damaged or worn, it's like new but one side of that bearing isn't flat, and the whole clutch bolts up against it, which explains everything.

Some parts have arrived recently, 48mm Lectron carbs to go with the V&H head and a set of titanium valves for it arrived today too. I've since made a wide open throttle switch for the lectrons as my current setup won't work with them. Basically i made a replacement carb top with plunger and microswitch. Works great.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Rewind 12 months

It's actually more than 12 months ago now that work began on this new bike project. This time last year all i had was this headstock tube and a bottom yoke.

It doesn't feel like much progress has been made recently but I've spent a lot of hours working on it, there's just not a lot visually to show for it.
I have now patched up the bodyshell after cutting it into 3 pieces, and the seat is a lot better- i can at last sit on it, sort of comfortably!

The front fairing was a bit of a gamble as i wasn't sure i could make it fit and look right, but it seems to sit ok on the bike and doesn't foul the steering, or suspension etc. The next nice day i get I'll finish the last batch of brazing jobs, all the small brackets, footpeg mounts, chainguard stays etc. They're all made and ready, just need fixing on.