Posts filed under Race Reports 2015

Disappointment at Oulton Park

I had been champing at the bit to get back to Oulton Park, as it would be my first return to a circuit on the 1000cc bike, so I was keen to get out and put what I had learnt since my last visit to good use.

We had heavy rain over Thursday night, but the track had just dried enough to be clear for Free Practice.  I went out and quickly found some issues with the setup which, after coming into the pits, I managed to iron out.  By the end of the session I was beginning to feel more comfortable with the setup, although I didn't get any really decent times on the board.

We made a couple of tweaks before Qualifying 1, and I went out keen to make the most of them.  I got close to my previous fastest laps on the 2nd flying lap of the session, so it looked like there was some good progress to make.  Unfortunately, I had carried a bit more speed out of the last corner and over the start finish line, and so slightly missed my braking point into the first corner.  As I fought to scrub the speed off, I overran just on to the slightly less clean part of the tarmac, but it was enough to cause the front tyre to lock, and that was that.   As I went down I could hear the engine of the bike racing; as soon as I stopped I reached over and hit the kill switch; before heading for safety behind the barriers.

After the session, through which I could only sit and watch the pit lane clock count down, we got the bike back and started to assess the damage.  Apart from a dented tank and silencer, it didn't look too bad and was just the usual bent levers, footpegs, and broken bodywork.  The throttle cables had dug into the grass, though, and that had been the cause of the revving engine; and our main point of concern.

We worked to get everything back together, though, and when we could, fired up the engine.  All seemed well, and it looked like we had got away without major damage.

Even so, we decided that it would be worth utilising the Dynomometer that is always available at the BSB meetings; mainly to check that the fuel pump was still working ok, and hadn't been damaged by the hit to the tank.

So, after getting back through scrutineering Saturday morning, we lined up for the Dyno.  Whilst queuing, and warming the bike up, we suddenly had smoke billowing from the bike! The recitifier/regulator had decided that was the best moment to pop, and was happiply melting itself!  We managed to get it off the bike before it did any further damage, but we then had to source another one before we could do anything.  Great! Just what I wanted, and another item to add to the bill!

We got another fitted, and the bike went into the Dyno.   We stood anxiously, listening to it running up and thinking it all sounded good.  However, it was not to be.  The back door opened up and the Dyno technician sadly shook his head.   He had done 2 runs, with decreasing power on each; and then bad noises had happened. He had turned it off, and that was that; the end of my weekend.  The damage caused by revving on it's side had just manifested itself by at least breaking up a big end shell, and at worst taken more parts with it.

The rest of our Saturday was spent removing the engine from the bike, so that MSS Kawasaki could take it back and see what the damage is; literally and figuratively.

It stands as the only terminal failure so far this season, but that doesn't really make it feel any better!  We are still awaiting the verdict on the engine, and that result and the cost of which will determine when I will be able to get back on track.

I very much hope that I will be able to race at Silverstone at the beginning of October, or at least afford to be able to make the last round at Brands Hatch.  As such, I hereby rally the troops; if you know anyone who may be able to help out, please send them my way!

I'll post more updates as I know them, and will be back on track as soon as I can!

Posted on September 8, 2015 and filed under Race Reports 2015.

Best results yet at Brands Hatch!

Brands Hatch GP
Pirelli National Superstock 1000 - 25th
Fastest Lap 1:32.457

The trip to Brands Hatch was yet another journey to a track I had never ridden before - the full GP circuit was new to me so I had a lot of learning to do.

Free Practice on Friday morning went really well, though, and I quickly got a loose grasp of the circuit!  I managed some respectable laps, and was 33rd after Free Practice.  I felt there was lots more to come and was looking forward to 1st Qualifying.

The weather had got much hotter for qualifying, and I was struggling with rear grip as a result.  Coupled with a little dose of 'trying too hard' to make up for this, and I didn't manage to improve from the morning's session.  Frustratingly, this left me 38th, and with much work to do.

After much discussion, we decided to continue down the route that we had started at Snetterton, and to soften the rear shock.  We sourced a softer spring from KTech and fitted it, ready for the early qualifying session Saturday morning.

In this session to improvements were noticeable, and I knocked 2 seconds off my PB, and found 37th on the grid, a mere 5/100ths off of 36th!  We also decided to take the changes further still, to try to create more compliance and movement of the rear suspension to get it to really drive out of the corners.

 

I got a great start in the race, and managed to tag on to the back of Nico Mawhinney and the pack the next step up the field.  As the race went on I couldn't quite keep their pace, but was still lapping another second faster than the previous day.  The rider behind managed to get through at Druids, so I regathered my thoughts, concentrating on my riding style to suit the big 1000cc bike (which is very different from the 600s!!) and managed to reel him back in.  I got a great drive out of the last corner and managed to retake the place into Paddock Hill.  I worked hard to secure the place and held onto that position until the chequered flag, coming across the line in my best Superstock position of 25th, and having brought my PB down to a low 1m32s lap!

The next round is at Thruxton in just 2 weeks, on  1st and 2nd August, and I can't wait to get back out on track!

Posted on July 21, 2015 and filed under Race Reports 2015.