|Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 12:48 pm: ||
Team Adrenalin-Moto Race Report- Pembrey 26/27 August
It has been a long month since the last round at Brands Hatch, and a lot has happened in the Adrenalin-Moto camp since then. Phil was involved in a serious car accident and suffered facial injuries and broken fingers, so we didn't know if he would be fit to ride until quite late in the day. Luckily he was raring to go and despite painful fingers and tendon damage on his left hand decided to go for it at Pembrey.
The bike had been playing up at Brands, and we decided to take it down to John Warrington's dyno for another mapping session to try and sort out the fuelling issues that we had been suffering. What we thought would be a simple one hour mapping session however turned into a marathon seven hour problem solving quest, as the fuelling would work for one run then be completely wrong for the next! Eventually, and having changed pretty much everything including the lap top computer John was using, we chanced upon disconnecting the rear cylinder head temperature sensor. Voila! All of a sudden it worked, and we had found a missing 6bhp that had disappeared since the last dyno session. I was a little unsure of what the long term effect of disconnecting the temp sensor would be on the bike fuel injection system but decided that, as we had a map that seemed to work well with it disconnected, we would leave it exactly as it was for Pembrey and take a spare sensor with us just in case.
The dyno session also revealed that the teeth on the starter ring of our belt drive primary system were wearing very badly. Further investigation revealed that the clutch hub had too much play, meaning that the starter was not meshing properly. This was stripped and rebuilt ready for Pembrey, although as we didn't have a spare starter ring we decided to take the complete stock primary chain system with us, again just in case of emergencies.
Pembrey is situated right on the south west coast of Wales, and turned out to be a nine hour drive for the 340 miles, battling against holiday traffic and accident hold ups. On the journey down I picked up Glyn Richards, long time Adrenalin-Moto friend and customer, who was going to help out with mechanics duties over the weekend.
This meant that we didn't arrive at the circuit until late on Friday night to meet up with Phil Read, so didn't even get the bike out of the trailer until the next day. I was quite surprised to learn that lots of the competitors had been at the circuit since Wednesday night and had been testing for two days!
Saturday - Practice
Saturday dawned dry, but with ominous black clouds scudding across the circuit with a stiff breeze. Phil hadn't raced at Pembrey for something like twelve years, and I had never been to the circuit before, so gearing was left on Brands Hatch settings and Phil spent the short 10 minute practice session just learning where the track went and scrubbing in the new tyres. Phil took it pretty easy during the session and finished with a time of 1'.06".5. He also expressed his satisfaction with the new seat unit, which allowed him to get right down behind the screen for the first time this year without sitting on the tail unit!
Saturday - Race 1
The Thunderbike class race was being run in conjunction with the rookie 600 class, so there was a very mixed ability group on track together with some very quick riders at the front and also some beginners who were not quite as fast, with a difference in lap times of some twelve seconds! The first corner at Pembrey is a very sharp hairpin, so everyone was a little worried that there would be carnage, especially as the 600's were starting in front of the Thunderbikes. This meant that Phil was starting 9th on the Thunderbike grid but 25th overall for race one.
We had a minor panic when the bike refused to start in the holding area before the race, but surprisingly it started with just a short push from the marshals and Phil took his place on the grid.
Phil decided that he would have to be a little aggressive on the first lap in order to get past a few of the 600 runners, but none of us realised just how aggressive he was going to be until the start! As the lights went out for the first 12 lapper Phil got a flying start and had overtaken all of the Thunderbike runners and most of the 600's by the time they got to the braking zone for the hairpin. We were treated to the sight of the Buell braking hard for the turn with the rear wheel around a foot in the air! It seemed as though Phil had overcooked the turn at first, but then an obliging 600 Yamaha turned across the front of the Buell and provided the perfect stopping aid as Phil ran straight into the side of it. Luckily both riders stayed on and damage was minimal, but the result was that the entire field had backed up behind them, so as Phil accelerated away he was amazingly still in the lead of the Thunderbike runners and in 8th place overall. By the end of lap one young hotshot James Wainwright (ZXR400), Martin Cooper on the SV650 and series leader Rob Wittey on the SV700 had managed to slip past, but Phil crossed the line in 4th place for Thunderbikes and 10th overall. By lap two however the order had changed and Phil came into sight ahead of both Wittey and Cooper in second place and up into 8th place overall behind some very fast 600's. On lap 3 Phil slipped underneath the 600 of Marlon Butcher to put some distance between himself and battling Wittey & Cooper, who were locked in their own private fight for second place, and stay in touch with the fast charging Wainwright.
As they came around to complete lap 5 Phil had managed to pass Wainwright around the back of the circuit and took the lead of the Thunderbike race for the first time this year, taking overall 5th place at the same time.
Across the line at the end of lap 6 and the order was Phil Read, James Wainwright, Martin Cooper and Rob Wittey, all pretty closely bunched together and in amongst the 600 front runners.
As the four of them went into the fast right hander at the back of the circuit the Buell suddenly went into a huge slide, then suddenly gripped, throwing Phil out of the seat into the air in a huge highside. Somehow he managed to stay on the bike and keep it on the track, although he landed hard on the airbox, shattering the carbon fibre but luckily not causing injury. Just as well the carbon was flexible! The slide and resulting save had allowed James Wainwirght and Martin Cooper to nip past, relegating Phil back down to 3rd place in the Thunderbike race and 8th overall and battling with Rob Wittey for the final podium spot. By lap 9 Rob had managed to out drag the Buell down the start finish straight, and Phil slotted in behind Wittey to try and close the gap to the 2nd place man Martin Cooper. With two laps to go on of the 600 runners slid off spectacularly at the quick left hand bend in front of the paddock, and his bike cart wheeled along the side of the track smashing itself to lots of very small lime green pieces and bringing out the red flag to end the race. 4th place was our best result for a long time, and considering how close Phil had come to disaster, a very happy result for all the team. A best lap time of 1' 04.7" was also a big improvement over the practice times and Phil thought there was still more to come.
Phil causes havoc at turn one!
Back in the paddock we noticed that one of the gearbox bearings was leaking oil onto the swingarm, and coupled with the starter ring problem decided to swap the belt drive primary back to the stock chain drive. This would add considerably to the weight of the bike by around 5.5kg, but as we had no alternative starting method decided it was a better option for the rest of the weekend. Some frantic spannering by Glyn and myself saw us manage to get the primary changed over between races, and after some running repairs to the airbox (thank god for gaffer tape!) the bike was ready to go for race 2.
Saturday Race 2
After some discussion with the organisers, it was agreed that the bikes would start race two in their overall finishing positions form race one, which meant that instead of starting behind the whole 600 grid, Phil would take his place on 10th spot for the start. As the lights went out Phil again got a good start and this time made a clean turn around the hairpin, emerging in 3rd place in the Thunderbike running behind Rob Wittey and Martin Cooper. By lap 3 though James Wainwright had forced his way past following his traditional slow start, and while he set off in chase of the leading two and an eventual win, Phil got baulked by a group of 600 riders. By the time he had managed to pick these off he was left in a lonely 4th place to the flag, 5 seconds behind the leading group and another 5 seconds ahead of the 5th place finisher. On lap 10 the red flags went out following a crash, bringing the race to a premature halt. Still, another good 4th place and more valuable points for the championship to end the first day with, in addition to an improved lap time of 1' 04.2".
Sunday - Warm Up
A new rear slick was fitted in time for Sunday morning warm up, and with the sun actually making an appearance we were confident of building on Saturday's great results for the team.
Phil looked fast and smooth, and it was obvious that the same 4 riders were going to dispute the top placings in the Thunderbike class today, as they had ton Saturday. In the final few minutes of warm up however Phil pulled the bike into the paddock with a gearbox problem. Coming down the main straight he had tried to select a gear and found, nothing! The problem seemed however to right itself and we ran the bike through the gears on the stand with everything seemingly normal. As a precaution we changed the gearbox oil and checked everything that we could see before race one, but crossed our fingers that there was nothing seriously wrong.
Sunday - Race One
Starting 8th on the grid, Phil got his now customary good start and into the first hairpin corner, to end the first lap in 4th in class and 7th overall. However yet another accident brought out the red flags early, with the riders being brought to a halt out in the middle of the track. After a 10 minute delay they were led back around to the grid for another warm up lap and a shortened re-started race over 8 laps. Phil again got away well and crossed the line after the first lap as 4th Thunderbike and 7th overall again. On lap 2 Martin Cooper made a mistake at the hairpin and slid off, promoting Phil to a safe 3rd place and what looked like a definite podium finish for the team. Then suddenly on lap 3 the bike slowed and Phil's hand went up to retire. On his return to the paddock he explained that the clutch had just let go resulting in no drive. Taking the clutch cover off we were met with lots of smoke and the smell of deep fried clutch plates. Obviously the two starts and two sighting laps had taken their toll and the clutch plates had cried enough. Luckily we had a spare set of friction plates with us, so yet again had the primary cover and clutch in pieces between races. The steel plates didn't look too great either, but would have to make do as we didn't have spares for these.
Sunday - Race 2
Because of the non finish in race one, Phil was forced to start right at the back of the grid for race 2, so again need to find the 'Phil Read Lane' to the first corner. One of our visitors casually mentioned to Phil that he would have to take 10 riders on the first lap, and Phil jokingly replied that he would overtake 10 into the first corner! Prophetic words indeed, as from the lights the Buell once more sailed up the inside of the pack into the hairpin, taking 14 riders and moving from 28th to 14th place overall in one turn! By lap 2 he had passed two more riders and was battling in a large group of 600 riders and trying to get up to the 5th Thunderbike runner Andy Palmer. Lap 7 and Phil managed to get past Palmer, although by this time the top 4 Thunderbike riders had opened a gap at the front, with Rob Wittey actually fighting for the overall race lead with some very quick GSXR Suzukis. By the time the chequered flag came out he was less than half a second behind the 4th place man Paul Barlow and crossed the line in a creditable 5th place in Thunderbikes and 10th overall. Phil's best lap time of the weekedn was also achieved at the end of race two with a 1' 03.7".
At the finish the clutch was slipping again and the lever action very 'notchy', so a full strip down will be in order before our next outing.
Overall a very good weekend for us, with some useful points scored in the championship taking us up to 9th place overall. It is frustrating being so close to a podium finish all weekend, but considering Phil's injuries, our lack of experience at the circuit and mechanical failure I think we can be very happy with the results.
Special thanks must go to Glyn Richards for his outstanding efforts all weekend on the spannering front, and to all the people who made the journey to support us.
We will miss the next round of the series at Brands Hatch on 7/8 October, but will be back for the final round of the inaugaral UK Thunderbike championship a Lydden on 26/27 October 2006.
Thanks as always goes to our sponsors, without whom we wouldn't be out there racing at all:
Free Spirits, Hal's Harley-Davidson, Hot Performance Exhausts, Reactive Suspension, AST Shock Absorbers, Airow-Safe, Ilmberger Carbon Parts, Nimbus Motorsport and Torco Oil, R&R Customizing, Motogadget, Paint my Ride, Reality Motor Works, Bell Helmets (Fowlers of Bristol), John Warrington Motorcycles (Rapid Bike ECU)
|Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 11:47 pm: ||
Good showing... You need to nominate a family member as the video crew... so we can see these events, damn reports are so intriguing.
|Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 12:25 am: ||
Excellent report! Thanks Matt.
|Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 12:30 am: ||
Keep up the good fight Matt!
|Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 04:46 pm: ||
Trojan, we need more pics of the bike in its new form!
|Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 07:06 pm: ||
Matt, great report as usual and a great result too. BTW everyone Matt features in this months Performance Bike magazine - Project Buell
|Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 07:14 pm: ||
great report once again!
|Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2006 - 07:37 am: ||
Excellent Report THANKS!
|Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2006 - 09:03 am: ||
GREAT report there Matt! YOU should be a reporter! Excellent review on the race!
I will be calling ya soon for some Replacement parts!!!
|Posted on Thursday, August 31, 2006 - 04:05 am: ||
Here are a couple more pics of the bike with the new seat/tail fitted.
(It shows how late we arrived. There was no tarmac area left available in the paddock so we were left on the grass!)