Wednesday, 16 April 2014

2014 Round Two: Anglesey

My first visit to Anglesey - and what a track! I arrived in plenty of time and got the tent set up right next to the track. After helping unload the DKS vans, Steve (5), Mark (97) and I walked the track. It looked fantastic.


From the last meeting, I had had front issues - when we took it back to Replay Scooters, we noticed that the Nissin caliper only had one nut fitted - the other had fallen off on the workshop floor. I assumed that the vibrations had been caused by this but swapped out the front pads for non-sintered too - just to try to get more feel.


Come the practice around this epic track and I felt okay - the vibrations were not solved but were only bad braking into the corkscrew section. I was mid pack as I would have expected with not a lot to do before the first race.

In race one there was an incident so the race was re-run. In that race, I had a great scrap with Mark Clipstone (44) but both of us and Mark Hullah(28) got stopped prematurely before we crossed the chequered flag.

In race two and three, it was much of the same, battling with Mark until the last lap where my engine felt like it had developed a misfire. I nursed the bike home and had a closer look at everything. I put a spacer beneath a section of the ignition and waited until morning to try out the fix.

Race four came and the bike started okay (with the exception of a backfire through the carb) but during the sigthing lap, the "misfire" was still there and it felt like a jumping gear I pulled in to save the motor.

For the final race, I still couldn't tell what was wrong so I checked the drain plug and that was when we saw a mass amount of metal shavings. With a solution found, we swapped out the gear selector for a new one and got ready for the final event.

Again, it was no better but this time, I stayed on for the first lap and miraculously, the issue disappeared. I finished the race in fourth place in class due to the high number of DNFs and DNSs.

Unfortunately, over the weekend, my camera broke so I will have to get a new one sorted over the year.


The actual issue was a lose drive sprocket bolt - and the cause was the MB bolt - This was replaced for the next meeting at Cadwell Park.


Race 1 - 7th in class
Race 2 - 7th in class
Race 3 - 7th in class
Race 4 - DNS
Race 5 - 4th in class

Many thanks to the DKS team for the help and support over the weekend - especially getting me out for the last race. 

Race Scooter: All events occurred April 2014

Thursday, 3 April 2014

2014 Round One: Croft

The annual visit to Croft! Sporting new panelwork and a refreshed engine for the season Saturday morning could not come soon enough. Over the winter I secured a hospitality package from DKS meaning that there is much less to worry about for the meetings. Pictures and videos will be posted both here and YouTube over the coming weeks as I give the blog a complete refresh and update the information with some unpublished posts from 2013.

I thought that the weekend went well and much better than expected, despite a mechanical failure on race three. By the end of the weekend, I was up to the pace of the previous year and 5th place in class and much more confidence than at the start of the weekend.

Race 1 - 8th in class
Race 2 - 7th in class
Race 3 - DNS
Race 4 - 5th in class

Many thanks to the DKS team for the help and support over the weekend - especially getting me out for the last race. 

Here is a teaser of the footage. More to be uploaded after editing. Watch this space.

Race Scooter: All events occurred March 2014

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

2013 Round One: Croft Sunday

In the morning, dad and I walked the track once to explain my lines and gears to him. We were joined for a second lap by Gary Biddle (58) and Rob Sumner (84) and watched Paul Green (49) cycle past us a number of times.

In race three, I was back on the same pace as the previous day but being mighty careful with my front brake now - the brembo replacement will be fitted by Mallory Park. I had a bit of a moment at the start of the race, accidentally starting with the automatics but realised my mistake in time, reversing back one row to my starting position. Unfortunately, there were a few others who made the mistake who got a time penalty instead but over the course of the race, I found my way to sixth in group four again.

In race four, I had a great battle with Bert Conneely (51) and Stewart McKenzie (96). It was a fantastic finish to the weekend as Stewart, Bert and I swapped places on the last two laps and there was a real tustle.

A list of objectives for us both has been drawn up for the next round - Mallory Park. Preparation is certainly an aim for the season and we are already dramatically improved over 2012's efforts.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

2013 Round One: Croft Saturday

As previosuly mentioned, I have been busy with University since October 2012 so as a result, I was unable to aid my dad much in getting the bikes prepared for Croft. He was working to the last minute and all night on Thursday and had help from Replay Scooters on the Friday so understandably I arrived at Croft first and set up camp. Not before too long, he arrived and the camp was complete. We had a little chat but hit the hay very quickly.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'd rather not bore you with my account of the racing so at this meeting I tried to record some footage. Despite working rather unsuccessfully, it confirmed to me that the video is not only a great way to show the events but also a good tool to remind myself of tracks.

I hadn't visited Croft before so in the practice session I followed Tony Rudd (54) the whole time to attempt to learn competitive times. I was respectably only three seconds of the fastest group four times for the session so had certainly entered the weekend with confidence. Dad (43) had retired the session with a broken gearbox which was a brand new DRT box.

The first race came and I was again following Tony Rudd (54) overtaking him but unable to keep infront on the straights and finished the race behind him in a respectable 5th place in group four.

The second race came and I was with Tony Rudd (54) and had been caught up by Robert Rees (27) and Damon Tunnicliffe (2) but a handful of the front brake going into the hairpin on the penultimate lap saw me hit the track and roll around in the conventional rag-doll style. It was a great shame to have fallen as I was battling for fourth place and felt I could have got it given the next lap. Unfortunately, dad (43) came off in the same race so we both would have to start from the rear of the group fours on Sunday's races.

I had some great racing over the day that ended with a self-diagnosed sprained wrist but I was very excited for the Sundays races. Hopefully over the season, we'll be seeing more of this:

Photos: Lee Hollick Photography 

Race Scooter: All events occurred 6th April 2013

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Test Day 2013: Mallory Park

Before I got to the test day, there were a few tasks to be completed. For a start, the entire engine was still stripped from Cadwell Park 2012 so we had our work cut out to reassemble and fix things along the way. Nothing had drastically been altered but we had changed the magneto gasketing for a custom made, stronger counterpart. I had managed to get away with only using one piston through 2012 so a new one was machined and used in assembly. Otherwise, no real changes - same gearbox and overall drive ratio, same top end and despite our best efforts, the same exhaust.

A DRT gearbox has been selected by using the criteria decided at the 2013 AGM but has yet to see manufacture and I am still messing around with exhaust pipes. I will just have to lean off the bike a bit more to alleviate the ground clearance issue.

I failed to start the bike at home on my own as the clutch is a real pig when it is cold and the rebuild didn't help. However, now that I could drive the Mazda Bongo, I took the bike over to Replay Scooters to be started and hopefully tested. However, it soon became clear that the six months I had experienced away from Lambrettas had resulted in me being very rusty - leading to some stupid mistakes.

At the dyno, the clutch was far too tight and a replacement cable was required so that was the first thing. The throttle cable had also found its way out of the housing leading to difficult starting and the carburettor not closing properly. A few more teething problems were found such as the HT lead routing but within an hour, we had tested the bike on power and despite reading lower than the start of 2012, it was consistent with what we had found towards the end of the season.

So we were both ready for the Mallory Park Test Day. And what a cold, cold day it turned out to be. Scruiteneering was passed with a not on loose forks and my numbers being too close together but we were both ready with plenty of time before the first session... which came and within a few laps, I felt surprisingly confident with the feel of the bike again.

I felt much stronger through Gerrard's and took people on the outside which was a confidence boost. I wasn't pushing too hard and braking for Edwina's was far off a fast pace - as was the racing line due to a well placed patch of oil. Up to Shaw's corner was good and I felt good though the whole section. Devil's elbow still saw me not on full pace but entering Gerrard's felt much more stable than it had last year with my rear suspension properly adjusted. I could feel a massive improvement over the previous year's test day.

No changes before the second session but on the last lap the bike developed an issue. I made it back to the pits and with a moment of deja vu realised that the ignition mount had let me down in a similar fashion to the previous year... and also in a similar way to Lydden Hill. However, the bike had been tested and I was confident in the setup oncemore. New parts would be required but the engine had not let me down drastically and everything was repairable before Croft.

Dad had also had an issue with his bike, the plating had chipped on his newly tuned Mugello engine and forced him out in the same race as me. We both watched the rest of the day and were impressed with everyone's performance but most notably Mike Bonett - who looked fantastic despite not feeling well. It was also nice to see the DKS pair in formation reminiscent of spectating Chris Geyton and the recently passed Jon Uffindell in 2012. Jon will be a noticeably missed character in the paddock and never forgotten.

Onto the first round of the season at Croft will see us struggle with the Easter weekend and deliveries but we are entered and I am eagerly anticipating learning the new circuit. Good luck to everyone heading up there and we will see you there.

Photos: Lee Hollick Photography 

Race Scooter: All events occurred 21st March 2013

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Race Scooter: Winter news

After Cadwell Park, there was a little recovery time before I booked a last minute cheap holiday and shot off to Fuerteventura - a nice end to the season. Straight after this, I went back to York University for my last year in education for the foreseeable future. My arm had just about healed by the time I was back in the UK - the bruising went a lovely shade of green whilst on holiday.

In the few days that I had between commitments, I managed to take the top end apart to inspect the damage. It transpired that the tightening of the mag housing had cause the bearing to explode so I lost all support on the flywheel side. I was very lucky that there wasn't more damage to the internals than what we found.

Onto the overall progression over the winter and we first arrive at the purchase of a hydraulic bench. Hopefully, we won't have to use this often but it should make life easier when bikes need to be worked on. We also plan to insure both of us on the Mazda Bongo, not only to alleviate dad from all the driving but to transport bikes for testing when dad is unavailable. Both of these changes should dramatically reduce the stress levels we experience lose to race meetings.

We also solved an issue that will have been contributing to my gears jumping and possibly the oil leak. The button head of the wishbone assembly was rubbing on the crankcase internals so moving this should dispatch that issue and hopefully provide a better seal for the oil.

In my work at university, I started to design my own exhaust as part of my final year project. I progressed to the point of three dimensional drawings - using my own simplified CAD system and I also produced sections for a straight pipe to be tested on Chalkie's dyno at Replay Scooters.

And the last real piece of news was that I won an award at the BSSO AGM. I received 'Best Newcomer' which was a really big surprise and a very proud moment. It currently stands on my windowsill for everyone to see.

So what is in store for 2013. Well not much I'm afraid. I have very little time away from my University commitments and will have to entrust a lot of work to my father, who already has his own work to do. Near the start of the season I plan to fit a Brembo radial master cylinder as the one I currently have fitted is for two discs so lacks any sort of feel.

My blogging process is also likely to change over the season in order for me to give quicker updates and not fall behind as happened near the end of 2012. I would aspire to get footage of every session of a weekend and give a summary of results and the inevitable problems. This way, I can concentrate on other updates which is the part of my story that everyone seems to prefer reading.

Good luck to everyone that will be involved in the BSSO 2013 championship and roll on March 21st.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

2012 Round Seven: Cadwell Park Sunday

We were halfway through our races of the weekend and the season was nearly over. Despite the weather looking cloudy, race three arrived and we were still safe to use our dry tyres - an aspect of machine setup that I have learnt to appreciate over the season. I got quicker again through the race matching my best lap time ever at Cadwell Park which was a real positive for the day. I had another great battle with Stewart McKenezie on his PX too.

When I arrived back to the camp, I inspected the bike and noticed the magneto housing gasketing had started to creep out. Some silicone and a tighten of the nuts satisfied my preparation for the fourth race - which turned out to be damp.

In my limited experience, I would have said that the weather conditions were no worse than Darley Moor so I decided to go out on my usual dry tyres again.

The sighting lap came and I was excited to have a wet race. Unfortunately, I didn't get much further than the corner you see in the picture. I got to Chris curve before the back wheel locked solid. I pushed it to the side of the track and watched the last races of the 2012 BSSO season.

Most notable was that James Campen (53) had won the group four championship outright so he wasn't near the front of the pack. Steve Conneely (99) also had an off at Chris curve chasing after his brother Bert (51). He came off a lot better than the bike. 

Most notable on our long journey home was the fact that our Mazda Bongo roof wouldn't come down, forcing us to have a slow drive back. Annoyingly, the issue was solved the next day by simply pressing the unlock button. Won't make that mistake again!

Now is as good a time as any to conclude my 2012 season, which despite trials and tribulations, had most importantly brought me some fun. I have met and raced against some fantastic people and have developed myself as much as the bike. Thankyou to everyone for their help over the season. Roll on 2013!

Race Scooter: All events occurred 30th September 2012