Angelsey 2008

Angelsey 2008

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June 2009

I didn't do any racing this month. After all the fannying around that's been going on I decided to skip the airfield meeting and concentrate on organising a bike for the Southern 100. This was eventually sorted outside a pub in Ramsey during TT practice week. The long and short of it is I am using a bike that I have to return in better condition than I borrowed it in! Thanks anyway go out to Keith Mckay, Mike Noble and Andy Stewart who have all been more than reasonable and who I now owe favours to.

TT was quite entertaining even though Jackie and I were both working all fortnight, but we met up with a lot of mates and had fun, I got to work on the Manx entry for the TTXGP which was based on a 748 and would have won it's class had a motor not let go during the race.

So at the moment I'm contemplating what to do next, the start of the Southern 100 will be a year and a day since I was punted off at Donington and since then I've had shit luck racing. So I'm assuming that's all over and done with and I'll be back to having fun. Watch this space.

Jurby Road Race 23rd May 2009

The weekend before the race I had almost finished the bike. Unfortunately I had to get on a plane on the Sunday and fly off to a training course in Chester. This meant that I had a few minor jobs to do before the bike would be finished 100%. Trouble was I wasn't due back til 8.30 Friday night, the night before the race. I knew this was going to be another screw up and as I got on the FlyBe plane to come home at Liverpool Airport the captain announced that there was fog over the island and so they had filled the fuel tanks so that thay'd be able to circle for a couple of hours if necessary. I would have got off then if I'd have been able to. So 2 hours later at about 10pm we were coming in to land back at Liverpool having flown figure 8's for a while over the Irish Sea. I'd decided then I wasn't going to be beaten, and apart from anything I was missing Jackie and wasn't going to piss about in an airport all night. We got our bags and all us passengers were confronted with a lady with a clipboard (which is a dangerous thing in any circumstance) who announced we were going to be shipped to a hotel and which flight did we want in the morning the 8.30 or the 11.30? None says I. Get me to Heysham and I'll get the night boat. Apparently this is not possible. Yes but I race motorcycles which means I'll get to the race meeting by any means neccessary. I used the Airport internet to book a ferry ticket for the 02.15 sailing and this gave me 3 hours to get to Heysham docks. I walked out of the airport leaving a load of bewildered sheep to their fate and hopped into a taxi to the train station. At the train station the conversation at the ticket desk goes something like...

"Is there a train to Lancaster tonight?"

"Yes, it takes 6 hours"

"Ah that's no good, what about Preston? I can see by the notice board there's a train leaving to preston at 23.08"

"Oh yes no problem it arrives at 12.30pm"

"I'll get a Taxi"

So I went out to the taxi rank walked up to a group of taxi drivers and said "I'm on a mission, I need to get to Heysham docks by 1.00am who wants to take me?" They weren't very keen but the guy at the front of the taxi queue took on the task and we agreed a price. Jeremy Clarkson is right, public transport in the UK is shite. But a Liverpool cabby on a busy friday night is a man on a mission. I had no idea a black cab could go that quick! The guy whose name I didn't get (which I regret) was ace, and got me from Lime St station to Heysham docks in an hour and a quarter in driving rain. What a star. So on the ferry I get and grab some sleep, and at 6.00am Jackie picked me up from the ferry and we drove off, loaded the bike in the van, nipped home for breakfast and then drove straight to the circuit. I had a few cans of relentless and some chocolate and set to getting the bike ready. I had put some scabby crash damaged fairings on as the stones at the road race wreck all the plastics anyway. Unfortunatly this meant I got the third degree from the scrutineers and they had me running around like a headless chicken. I even had to change the rear tyre for one with a different profile so the chain wasn't running against the tyre. Eventually I got sorted and in no time at all it was time for the practice session. I was quite relaxed and enjoyed the run round although it wasn't particularly quick. If I had more time to set up I think I would have done a good time and been further up the grid.

I came back in and altered the jetting to be a bit richer for the race and changed the battery. This turned out to be a mistake as the battery we put in turned out to be a dud. When I got out onto the grid all was fine and I got a reasonable start but as the first lap ended I seemed to be down on power, and coming out of Jurby West for the second time the revs went up and down and I knew I wasn't going to finish. Basically I rode it out to the last corner and pulled in to the runoff. I wasn't the only one either!

Having still not finished a race this year you'd think I'd be hacked off with it all but to be honest the new RGV seems like such a good runner that I'm quite happy to persevere with it.

And then it was May 2009

I haven't updated the site recently as I have had nothing good to write about. Basically the ZXR engine blew in practice at the first meeting due to a shim falling out because it was the smallest possible to fit. When I stripped the engine I discovered that I'd bought an illegal 440 engined bike, no wonder it won the modern classics championship last year. I built a new engine and had to miss the second meeting of the year. I took the bike to a track day at Jurby and it wouldn't start which meant I lost more money and had to strip the engine again. This time it turned out the engine had the wrong timing pick up rotor. I went to the 3rd meeting and the bike kept cutting out in practice and when I went out for the first race warm up lap the bastard locked the back wheel up on me at one of the fastest parts of the track and chucked me off. So I kicked the shit out of it and now it's being broken up on ebay. I had some luck though, I was chatting to my mate Steve Pond on the phone and somehow bought a low milage RGV250 for a 1000 which was already in track trim. 60hp and still standardish. So after a quick trip to Stafford with a box of Kippers and one pub lunch later I owned my new racebike.

So now the plan is now I've fitted the bike with my racekit, I'll turn up to Jurby Road Race and see how it goes in the F400 race and we'll take it from there. Assuming it's a good day then I'll see about entering the Southern 100 and maybe the Scarborough Gold Cup.

March 2009

I have spent just about every spare minute working on the ZXR400 in the garage, which hasn't been ideal due to there not being any power or lighting there. The bad weather hasn't helped either. Nevertheless I thought I'd got the bike sorted in time for the 15th of March meeting at Jurby. I thought this at about 4.00pm on the 14th of March. I actually took the bike for a quick test ride and it felt very quick and responsive. However having set up in the dry sunny paddock with my mate Jules and got settled I went out in practice for the modern classics only to find the bike handled like a wobbly old barge. Not to worry I'd just sort it out before the first race. Trouble was after 3 laps of practice the engine made a horrible noise much like a V4 and so I pulled in. I'm not entirely sure what the problem is yet but I suspect it will be a bent valve. Probably an exhaust valve as the intake valves all looked fine when I checked them. Ho hum back the the drawing board!!!!

February 2009

The first race meeting is on the 15th of March and the bike is still in bits. I still have loads to do but on the plus side when I stripped the engine I found no major problems and assuming I can get everything sorted in the next 2 weeks I'll hope to be doing well at the first Jurby meeting. I might not get the bike set up with the ram air kit in time and the suspension will be a bit of a best guess. I was hoping to get out on the track day at Jurby on the 22nd of Feb but it's just been impossible to do everything in time. I'm also trying to find out everything possible about the setup of the bike which is time consuming, but hopefully when I do the 5th of April meeting everything will be definitely finished.

Winter January 2009

It's a new year and I have a lot of work to do to get the ZXR400 ready, I also need to sell the ZX6R to get things roling this year. I'll be in the garage from next week and when I get the engine out that's when I'll know how much work I've got to do to be ready in time for March.