Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Weekend at Ledenon

I had to adandon the idea of getting the RG ready for the track weekend at Ledenon, with the modifications to the fairing necessary to make way for the carbs to breathe, so Libby and I went down to Ledenon with just the RD350 in the van. The primary goal of the weekend was to give Libby a go at the circuit, so she wouldn't be too shocked with the speed of things at Magny Cours later in September.

I took the bike out first to check things were running OK, and after a break of over 8 months it was really great to get back on the track! The bike was running OK. Libby took the bike around the car park to get used to the position and then headed out for her very first track experience! Strange bike, unknown circuit - but she didn't bottle it - respect to her!

Unfortunately the bike let her down as the gear lever decided to part ways with the bike, so after just 2 laps her initial experience was over, and of course the mechanic needed a good bollucking - where is he....can't find the bugger....

After replacing the gear lever (the pinch bolt had fallen out), Libby headed out for the second attempt! This time she managed to do a full 20 mins, and managed to bring the bike and herself home saftely. She didn't break any records but had a good time although was somewhat impressed by the rapidity of her track companions, and the speed of everything. It was in fact nearly an ideal weekend as most of the time we were sharing the track with only about 10 or so other bikes - great for beginners!

I don't think Libby is going to apply for her license this coming year, but all respect to her for having tried it - you don't know until you try and of course invaluable experience of the bike she will be riding at Magny Cours and also track time!

I had a total of 5 sessions - 3 Saturday  and 2 Sunday morning, I was running times that were very acceptable - nearly up to PB. The good news is the modifications to the fork, made the front end much stiffer, although still reacted well to bumps, the bad news I suffered some chattering going through the "Triple Gauche" which was very off putting, and I think the action plan would be to back off the gold valves a smidgen! Didn't really notice any difference in engine acceleration due to the lightened flywheel, but it was running well, so maybe it did make a difference.

By the end of the fifth session, the power valve was making a strange noise and it seems to be badly aligned, so I will have to adjust it for September (our next outing).

I have finished (almost) making the carb cables for the new carbs. In fact I was going to buy a load of nipples and make them up with bicycle gear cables, but were selling a throttle DIY kit with enough stuff to build at least 8 cables, so I went for that as it was only 30 quid.

So I am almost ready to start the bike again, and then attack the fairing, with the dremel! I am thinking as I can't use the lower fairing brackets (due to the carbs) I will use the old fairing sides (which didn't use the brackets), and just cut a big chunk of fairing out where the bellmouths now sit, and then build a bulge with some of my left over carbon fibre. We'll see, the plan hasn't yet completely hatched in my mind!

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