Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Weekend de merde.....
Travelled to Carole this last weekend on my own as Libby was otherwise indisposed... Arrived on Friday afternoon, and setup up in the pits. There were two planned free practices. The weather was unsure and there were some big black clouds coming from the North, so I just bought the first session. The bike started well, and as we waited on the pregrid for the off, the skies opened up. My first track experience in the pissing rain! It really chucked it down, but after a few laps you get more and more confidence, and the bike only slipped ever so slightly a couple of times so I had a good run for 20 minutes... I overtook most people on the track, and I was quite glad when the chequered flag came down as I am sure another few laps could have lead to disaster.
I missed the second practice as it was full, which was a shame as the sun had come out and dried the track.
The official timed practice was on the Saturday morning with the first race Saturday afternoon. After the wet practice the plugs seemed to be running a little hot, so I decided on going up another 10 points on the jets, also I had run a 15 gearbox sprocket which was OK going down the straight, but was awful in most of the bends, so I also decided to go up to a 16 tooth sprocket.
Saturday morning I took the bike out for a warmup lap on the exterior of the circuit, and although it seemed to be accepting the bigger jets it didn't seem to run smoothly. This worsened as I took it out onto the track - halve a lap and it conked out! This was slightly serious as this was qualifiying and we are supposed to do a minimum of three laps to qualify. Anyway I got back to the pits and started troubleshooting. Jerome Lefevre helped as his TZ always runs perfectly, and soon we had identified an ignition problem, preventing the bike from starting, plus an airbox problem (in fact I discovered that my airbox contained a couple of K&N filters that I didn't even know were there!). I swapped in the original Yam CDI box, and cleaned out the airbox, and the bike started fine. The dilema now was should I up the jets or not!!
For the first race I left as was, i.e. with 290 mains (this was already 10 points higher that Le Vigeant). After a few laps the temperature was going up alarmingly fast, and so I was obliged to pull off. For me this was an indication that I hadn't jetted up enough.
For the second race I went up to mains of 300 - the biggest I had! THe bike was running well, and no signs of overheating, so I started to really open her up - on the third lap I had overtaken a few guys and was finally getting into it, when at the end of the (quite short) back straight I seized! F*%K!
After having stripped the top end down, the right hand piston had siezed, and starting to disintegrate, although the cylinder itself is relatively undamaged. I have already put in an old replacement piston (I have quite a collection of sizes now). It seems to giive quite good compression, and I hope it will last the next 2 weekends racing.
The only 2 things I am looking at that could have caused the seize are :-
Still too weak - I have ordered bigger jets, and will try an extreme (like 340s and work backwards)
The ignition (remember I seized with this ignition at Nogaro!).
I need to retest the zeeltronic again to make sure it doesn't work..... Borut (the friendly manufacturer will not be pleased) I have received a replacement for the powervalve controller which will also go back on.
Voila un weekend de merde!
The only saving grace was I picked up a winter project on the way back from Paris - I am now a proud owner of an Suzuki RG500, possibly the most powerful, fastest road going two stroke ever......photos coming soon.