Thursday, 15 September 2011

Ledenon Race Report

Arrived at the circuit at around 11:30 Friday morning with Chris (my brother), and Carly (my daughter) in the van. Managed to get everything setup pretty quickly, but despite that I missed the first practise session of the day, and signing up after lunch meant I also missed one of the afternoon practises, only the ProClassic practise session had places, so I signed up for that.

Wasn't too worried although I would have liked to take the 350 around the circuit, as the last visit here, I had only used the RG 500. I was racing in 2 categories, the VMA Postclassic 350 class, aswell as the ProClassic Superbike class with the RG 500, so it would be a busy weekend.

I had moved the needles on the RG500 to the top slot, thereby weakening the mixture in the midrange, and to be honest I didn't perceive much difference from my previous test at Ledenon a month previous, so in the evening I decided I would try and go the other way and lift the needles to the middle slot (Nr. 3 from the top), in timed practise on the Saturday I was convinced that this had helped my low end power and filled the hole slightly, so we maintained this setting for the first race.

The 350 was running well, although a little flat, I put this down to the very hot temperatures on the Saturday morning ~ 30 degrees C. I probably should have down jetted, but I couldn't be bothered, better a little rich, especially as the engine temperature was already bordering on the red line.

My first race was on the 350 on Saturday afternoon, where after a reasonable start I was soon fighting it out with many other TZ's and RD's running at around the same speeds as I. After qualifying with a 1:47, my race speed came down to a 1:46, which although relatively pleasing, I was still being blown into the weeds down the straight, and up the hills, after analysing the situation we decided to drop the gearing as I was only using 6th gear at the very end of the longest straight, in the hope this would give me more oomph up the hills. My gear lever shaft started leaking again, and after having already changed the oil seal, it would seem that either the shaft is worn, or grooved at was persistently leaking. The droplets of oil were reaching the left hand side of the tyre, and I felt it slip a couple of times during the race, so in between races we got to grips with some gasket cement, and tried to stem the flow. We also decided to drop the gearing to a 15 tooth sprocket at the front to improve acceleration!

On Sunday, I had three races starting and ending with the RG500, with my second VMA PostClassic race in the middle.

The weather on Sunday morning was overcast with a high level of humidity, and because I had initially gone richer with my needles, I thought the bike would run well, however after an honest start I soon discovered that the two position change of the needles was too much, and the bike was not carburating well at all, anyway I managed to stay the race out and managed a lowly 1:46:5 and somewhere near the back.

The 2nd race with the Yamaha 350, I got a good start but was blocked in around the first series of bends, and lost a few spots. I then had a good battle with a couple of Ducatis (not in my category), and eventually passing both, the bike was going well, much better with the lower gearing and I had a good race improving my position over the first race and also getting a best lap time of 1:45:4 so a pretty good race, and I marked a few points as well!

The 2nd race with the RG, was great, the bike was really pulling hard, after 8K rpm and the temperature stayed around 80 degrees C, which although high, was reasonable enough not to worry about it. I got a reasonable start, and managed to build up some good speed. I was fighting with an FZR600, and once I had managed to get past him (finally), I concentrated on running down a VFR, and then a 900SS, which I took in the later stages of the race. I am still outside the points (18th), but managed to get a 1:41:1 which is definately a personal best so well happy. The bike still has a hole below 7.5K but it was very managable with huge gobs of power coming in all the way to 12K. I have seen some people on the RGV250 forum that recommends using the RG400 needles, so maybe I'll try them out. I will also try dropping the gearbox sprocket as like the 350 I was only hitting 6th gear near the end of the straight - a note for next year!

Thanks to Chris and Carly for helping out all weekend, and my buddies for coming to support on the Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Libby did film a little bit of Sunday, so I will post that up as soon as I get home.

Next race will be at Croix-en-Ternois, the first weekend of October!

Nr. 62 on the 500

Nr. 72 on the 350

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