Saturday, September 26, 2009

It works!

Sorry for the delay in posting, but the startup to the new school year has been a bit hectic. The last round of the season took place on Sept. 12-13. Finally, some decent weather was forecast, and the weatherman(woman ?) was right. Of course, that meant I needed to wear my silly hat, keep the sunglasses on, and layer on the sunscreen (I have 3 different types) in order not to fry... come the end of the weekend, I was successful. It was a neat weekend in that as referee, you are involved, albeit at a distance, with the success and failure of other riders. Lennon Stevens wrapped up the overall championship partway through the schedule on Sunday, which was an emotional win for him. Was neat to see "the kid who came out with his dad on an old RZ350 when he was 14" develop into a smooth, insanely fast dedicated rider on a 1000. Congrats, Lennon. As well, my buddy Wilson won the Canadian Thunder Championship, although it was not without drama. His TZ250 had engine troubles during the 600 race, and so he had to borrow an SV650 from Bob Bais. His 7th place on "the couch" was enough to win the MRA championship and the CMA championship by 2 points. There's sportsmanship! The photo to left is the last thing riders see before they head onto the track. Poor things!

On a personal note, the most exciting time of the weekend was the 15 minutes I FINALLY got to spend with the supermono. It works! It still needs work, but the 8-9 laps I got in showed me it stops and turns to an acceptable standard, for now. My one worry, the engine temps, was unfounded as it never got higher than 68 degrees throughout. I still have lots of tweaking to do with the bike, but its nice to know that fundamentally, as a starting point, it works. Again, its no rocket, but I built it (or finished it, anyway) and it is a reflection of me as a mechanic, engineer, and rider. Rob Bye did get a shot of me exiting turn 5. I promise you I did have the bike leaned over much farther than in this pic, but you'll have to take my word for it. I shared the track with 2 other riders and an instructor on new 600s. I got out ahead of them, and then actually came aound and "lapped" them, although I couldn't pass them. This bike will be all about momentum. Until I purchase the rights to the photo from Rob, here is a link to a proof.

The guys were teasing me a bit and calling me "Vermulen". No way man, Capirossi all the way!

I immediately began to strip the bike down for the finishing over the winter. As well, for the sake of engine durability, the valve and springs are a weak point for sustained high RPM. The heads are going off to Sinceros Speed Works for some hi-end valves and springs, and will be mated to a HotCams Intake and exhaust cam kit. That will be it for engine mods for now. As much as I want to do a big-bore, upon investigation the stock cylinder and piston are in great shape. I do a quick ball hone of the cylinder, install some new rings and an "E" base gasket (for a bit more compression) and leave it alone. Suspension and handling is the objective for next season.
As for the Ducati, the last few days of decent weather are coming. This winter is a "big" job -- the valve check and adjust. There are some other engine-related things I want to clean up while I am at it, so I plan to drop the engine out of the frame -- which, with the swingarm through the engine case design of the Ducati, means a creative way of suspending the frame while I drop out the engine. I have some ideas... I want to take the engine inside (a la my 900ss) and do it in the warmth of the office. I need to build a platform to do it inside (the woodshop at school will come in handy), so the pre-service work will be needed too.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

motogp and me (and Kate and 145,000 others)

Back from the Indy vaction. Included a trip to a Cubs game (which they won vs Washington Nationals), Chicago sightseeing and culture, and some crazy driving on the way home. You all have heard the results of the race, but it was pretty neat to watch, and nice to see 250s for the first and last time in the USA. The Moto2 bikes looked interesting, but I didn't get to see them up close.... just circulating the track. From what I can remember, the 800s sound far more nasty than the 990s from Laguna back in '05.

Some pics from the pits and the seats:

Roland Sands' new KTM 450 450moto bike. Nice. Spent more on the paintjob than I have with my machine (almost...). Took a pretty close look at the Racetech modified forks, and the shortened rear shock. Reminds me about what Dave Pearce said about the poor geometry with slapping on a set of 600 forks. Woulda liked to hear it run. Some passing interest from the others fans I saw, but most of the Yanks were looking at the RC8s.

Ran into Eric Bostrom. Was walking around near the Yamaha and Speedvision tents pretty incognito. I think he was touched that a few people recognized him. Wanted to ask when he was coming back, but why would anyone come back to the AMA at this point. He was always a good 600 rider; maybe he should head to Moto2? Just said, thanks, shook his hand, and walked away. Seemed like the "nice guy" we all saw on TV. Guess he's headed back to Brazil to work on his Coffee plantation or whatever...

Our seat location was based on advice from Wilson and Cherie, and it was good! We sat together on Sat and Kate joined us for the races on Sunday. Good weather! I'm not trying to avoid them -- the "gap" in the stands was where Kate was sitting... Note the bedouin fashion statement by yours truly -- trying to avoid a sunburn... success!

One of the photos we snapped with the digital camera. Brought mom's Canon and huge zoom lenses to Laguna, but stuck with the wee one this time. Not bad, considering. Photo courtesy of Kate, I had the video camera.

I think I took this one. After Rossi and Dani P crashed, it was a bit of a processional for Jorge. However, like Laguna in 05, the entire contingent was willing Nicky H to hold onto 3rd and get a podium, which he did.

This is what 15 hours of driving in 1 day does to you.
As for things on the home front, I will be installing the PCIII for the 999 when it gets in (shortly). Inspired by the NCR tent on Ducati Island, I also moved the battery for the mono from the tailsection to just fore of the engine for weight distribution and general "cleaning up". Took most of a day figuring out where to put things like the regulator and ecu, but I've found a spot. This also gives me some more flexibility in regard to tail sections, so in order to lower the seat height further, I am going to give the tyga tail a try. It's been painted and cleared, and is just awaiting some seat foam. Next race weekend is a week from today. Wish me luck that I get it out on the track for awhile! Setting the DVR for the weekend -- motoGP, WSBK, and AMA....