Monday, June 7, 2010

Portland pictures

This is not what it looks like. It was actually a short cut.

My friends Mike and Rob flew up to see the races (that's their story, I'm convinced the famous Portland beer had more to do with it) and actually had steady hands for a few minutes and took some very nice shots (in more ways than one). Click on the following link: here to see the art shots.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Racing recap

It's been a month since I had 2 weekends of racing in a row so I think it's about time I catch up on the blog.

First up was the AHRMA event at Willow Springs located here in Southern California. Generally I'm scrambling to get everything ready but this year I was fairly relaxed and just had a few things to get ready.

The Wednesday night before Friday practice I decided to check the timing on my Honda 160 racer. I had changed the clip ons a few weeks before after crashing the bike at a trackday but hadn't actually run it. I wheeled the bike out to the car park of my workshop and proceeded to bumpstart it. Usually it starts right up but this time it was being uncooperative so I dismounted and ran alongside while pushing. Big mistake. It fired right up and immediately went to full throttle, tore out of my hands and went careening into the side of my workshop. DOH!!!
After picking myself up of the ground I killed the motor and surveyed the damage. I quickly went from thinking the bike was completely destroyed to realizing that perhaps it was salvageable.

Luckily the left fork had taken the brunt of the impact and saved the engine. The forks were bent,the fairing was broken, the top triple clamp was broken and the bottom triple was bent. It also slightly bent the wheel. Damage to me was scraped leg and torn shoulder that is still giving me grief.

I had spare forks and triples so they were replaced within an hour. The wheel would have to be taken to Buchannans Spoke and Wheel the next day for straightening. My friend Ralph was kind enough to let me come over and use his facilities to fix the fairing. I also needed to mould a belly pan in fibreglass from my old aluminum one for the Guzzi so it ended up being a late night........ Ralph was busy sorting out his Honda 160 engine that he had secretly milled special pistons for. The truth only came out at midnight when he started the engine and the pistons were kissing the valves. He's a sneaky one that Ralph!! He got it fixed though and it's a flyer.

Thursday was spent running around picking up last minute stuff, finishing up work and generally feeling tired and stressed. The 160 came together but it still had a sticking throttle which I would just have to deal with at the track which is something I hate doing as I like to have everything ready before I go. I finally got both bikes loaded and ready to go at 3 a.m. Friday the day of practice.

I'm reaching my 1 finger typing limit so I'll keep the rest short:

Ralph fixed the Honda throttle. I took 4 2nd places on the Honda. Video here.

The Guzzi was handling crappy. It blew an oil pressure gauge line covering the bike in oil. I was my usual useless self at Willow. Steve Arnett and his Ducati were blazing fast. I didn't take any pictures.........

Next up Portland:

1 week later: Somewhere on the 5 freeway.

Returned from Willow Springs on Sunday night. Caught up with work and life, prepped the bikes and headed to Portland on Wednesday evening.

Kristina and I stayed with our friends Dave and Ann Stark near San Francisco that night. They are both 160 racers too and we were all going to convoy up to Portland the next day. Dave is the announcer at the west coast AHRMA events so we had a running commentary the whole way up via Dave's walkie talkies. Nothing like recreating scenes from Convoy to keep you occupied for a 600 mile trip.

The Portland event was the first time AHRMA had visited and so a big effort was made to make it special. There were 55 entries for the Le Mans start 160 race. Ralph flew up, Steve Arnett drove down from Seattle and pretty much the whole west coast racing contingent was in attendance.

Racing: The Honda ran great. I took 4th in Saturday's 160 race. Video here: 160 race. More.

The Guzzi was giving me problems. During Friday and Saturday performance felt flat. At full throttle it would run better letting off the throttle so I was under the impression that it was jetted too rich. I was already jetted lean with 128 mains so I was a bit perplexed. Being busy with the the Honda and lazy by nature I was unable to focus on the problem. On Sunday I finally got round to putting 140 mains in which made a huge improvement. The bike was pulling better and I'd shift into 5th about 100ft earlier. It felt great to get it sorted. I have changed the exhaust from last year for a freer flowing set so I think it breathes better hence the need for richer jetting.

Also discovered that 1 or more of the front brake discs is warped. Braking into turn 1 at 130mph to be met by major juddering is not fun and as a result my lap times were a little disappointing. About 2 seconds slower than last year.

Portland pictures:

Team Guzzinerd corporate headquaters.

Chris and Patty's 160's

Ralph changing his clutch without making a mess

Steve Arnett getting in the zone

Steve's Duc

Video of how a top flight racer prepares for a race