Monday, 16 March 2009

Ledenon - Track day

Hi All,
Back from the training day at Ledenon. Had a fantastic day, and the bike behaved great!
On Saturday I had to move the fixing brackets in the trailer as although built for three bikes, I could not fit the RD and RG side by side, but this was easily done, I now need to plug a few holes in the panel floor. The RG actually slid over in the trailer after descending my mountain road, so we had to change the attachment points and after that we didn't have any problems. Ended up getting to the circuit at around 9:00 am Sunday.

While Oliver mixed up some fuel (I am using A747 Castrol and 98 octane Super), I went to buy some sessions. The track is in the South of France near Nimes, and on Sunday they were running alternate bike and car sessions. I bought 3 morning sessions, after queuing for about 30 minutes (they are just so disorganised!).

The first session I was really just getting used to the bike, the tyres and brakes are fantastic very confidence inspiring, the front fork a little hard, the rear end great, and the engine seems to pull very cleanly once getting to about 7K, it does seem to struggle a bit to get up to 7, and some very loud induction whine at about 6-7 as it gathers revs. At about 7k the whole thing takes off, very nicely pulling to about 11K, I say about 11K because the Alfano, is somewhat approximate in measuring and as it is displayed as a number it was difficult to read. Anyway my homemade footrests and rearsets were loosening off after 20 or so minutes so I stopped just before the end to tighten up all the bits!

Had the same kind of issues in the second session, I had lock tightened the bolts and stuff, but I think a redesign is necessary. The third session went well, although the bike started to misfire, lose a little power intermitently.

During the lunch break, we decided to change the plugs, I have no spares for the bike, so if that didn't cure the misfire, I would have to complete the day on the RD 350. What a job, good thing Oliver has smaller hands than I do, we tried to get at the plugs from the top under the tank, it is easy to remove the tank, so I thought this would be relatively easy compared with taking the fairing off. Well I think it took a concerted 30 minutes of messing about to change the plugs - phew! I must find a better way to do this.

I bought 2 sessions in the PM, and although the bike started with a slight intermitent problem it soon cleared, and I was back to full power again. The last 2 sessions I was really getting used to it, and having some fun with some 600's and a guy on a TZ. Great fun.

The fairing touches down on the right hand side, but at least it is protecting the exhaust (they are more expensive to replace!) - I must learn to hang off more. Although saying that I was having to lift my knee considerably on one right hand bend off camber bend I was over so far! Anyway the bike went great to the end, so really quite a successful day.

The trip home was against the wind the whole way, so slow, and expensive!

List of things to do before first race :-
Fix bolting down the petrol tank bracket (the thread is knackered)
Look at modifiying the rearsets, footrests.
Fix brackets (that broke - the pop rivets didn't hold I need to bolt them on).
Fix carb. overflow bottles.
Try and change control positions (my wrists ache!)

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