Back at work, after a great weekend at Le Mans, the 4th weekend on the ProClassic Calender. Arrived at the circuit on Friday midday, after going through a couple of rain storms, on the way up through France.
Found the paddock, and installed the tent, and van, and got the bike ready. Running 230/240s as main jets this weekend (at least to start), and I had left the gearing quite short (14/41). 10 litres of premix in the tank, and of for the first practise of the day. Unfortunatley we were just out for 4 laps or so, as the rain came down, and there was a bad fall just after the Dunlop chicane. The guy on a nice RC30, high sided, and fell on his head, so was unconscious, so the red flags came out.
Anyway it was enough laps to establish that my gearing was too short for the long start/finish straight, I was running out of steam going into the Dunlop bend, plus I had altered my needle to the third clip setting, which did not improve my hole in acceleration, so I would need to go back to the second slot down from the top.
For the second practise session, the carburation was back to normal, and I changed the rear sprocket to a 39. The second practise was also dry, so I set about learning the track, and trying to get to grips with the chicanes. Le Mans, is a great circuit, the start/finish straight ends with a top speed right hand sweeping bend running into a left/right chicane under the Dunlop bridge, if then runs downhill to a long/tight right hand bend (La Chappelle), and up to the Musée, where the braking point comes up on you very quickly, and then around and down to the double right hand bend (Garage vert), and then down the back straight 'til Le Chemin aux Boeufs, another tricky chicane (where Simoncelli took out Pedrossi), then onto the "S" du Garage Bleue, a nice right and then left sequence which is quite quick, and then down to the reccordement which joins you back up with the main straight again. It's a nice long circuit, just over 4kms, which I lap around the 2 minutes. Dani Pedrosa did a fastest ever lap at 1'32.647, so I have a little progress to make before changing my day job!
The 2 chicanes are key to keeping speeds up as they are one of the slowest parts of the circuit. Second practise I hit a 2:04 lap time, which was a PB, so was quite happy with the bike setup.
Saturday afternoon, we had qualification, and I could only manage a miserable 2:06, which put me 28th on a grid of 44 bikes. Pole position was 1:52, by an RC30!
After my traditionally crappy start I went into the Dunlop chicane around the outside, and managed to get past some of the traffic, and was back in my "grid" position going into the Garage vert. I had a pretty good race, battling with a GSXR, who I was quicker into the Dunlop chicane, but he had me around the Garage vert, and eventually he managed to keep in front, and I finished yep - 28th, with a best time of 2:04.295.
There are just so many places where it seems like you can go quicker, I was determined to do better on Race 2.
No changes for Race 2, and again, I got a real bad start, but managed to claw my way back to behind the same GSXR as the first race. this time we were joined by a ZXR 750, and a guy on a CB6 600, I managed to stay in front to them right up to about 3 laps from the end, when both the GSXR and ZXR came through.
I finished 27th with a best lap of 2:04.273, yippee another PB, but still with some work to do.
From a technical perspective, I still have a lot of petroil mix covering the engine after each race. It seems to drip from as far forward as the exhaust valve on the front cylinders, back and around the carbs on both sides... I have tried changing the all the rubber o'rings around the carbs, and I have also now changed the black plastic carb insulators, all to no avale. I currently run with just the carb inlet trunks (not connected to the air box), and I will be trying to connect up to the airbox, to see if the reflux or petroil is coming out of the carbs inlets or whether I really do have a leak. I would have thought that if the carbs were leaking I would be seizing or suffering from air leaks somewhere as well. Someone told me that with tuned disk valves, there is a lot of mixture that comes back out of the carbs. All the plugs have consistant colouring and seem quite rich. The only other technical mishap, was the gear change return started to mess up, and this turned out to be that the shaft was pushed too far to the right, and therefore binding on something on the clutch side, I pulled it out to the left and retightened the small collar to avoid it moving again.
Thanks to my pit team, Chris my brother had travelled down from Finland via the UK to pick up his bike, and my wife for supporting my habit! Video and photos coming later.
Two weeks to Magny Cours, where I will be running the RG500 and the RD350!