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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Team Cooranbong at 2012 PCRA Rd1 @ Wakefield

Team Cooranbong's Race Report, 2012 PCRA Rd1 @ Wakefield Park, Feb 2012

well, what a saturday! As my bike's not ready, I caught a lift with Team Cooranbong... long gone are the days of taking 8 bikes with 6 riders tothe Creek: now only Martin (Dadat - 750 T Suzi) and Rick for his second ever race on the YZF600. Graham will fly back from the UK for the Barry, and hopefully Bones also will be ok there too.

As it was raining all week incl fri night, Rick turned up with wets on to see blue skies and no Bridgestone truck to change tyres. Craig was still on his way, and I helped out doing bike scrutineering in the morning before helping get the wheels in,  so the slicks didn't get onto the bike until halfway into his first practice session, but at least he still got some laps in.

Race one saw both riders where they expected to be with no dramas, with Rick making his first ever overtaking move.
Martin's bike however had a weird problem after R1: the bike would be hard to start and would only rough idle even at full throttle. Figuring it was a fuel flooding issue as soon as we got to the airbox off it ran fine! Again, after sitting for a while the same problem would surface. Suspecting a flooding carby filling the box with petrol fumes... then both me n rick twigged at exactly the same time: Tank overpressurisation due to a non venting tank cap! Sure enough, the aftermarket screw on cap was not vented, causing engine heat to heat the tank and fuel and pressing vapours into the airbox system! In fact, while carb overflows are allowed to be set into the airbox, this may be a bad idea and a seperate overflow bottle may be a better option for racebikes?

The chap next to us asked for advice seeing it was his first ever race meeting, and I told him what I had told so many before: Stick some tape on the dash and write on it 'SLOW DOWN' to help  avoid 'red mist' crashes. Well I should have put one on rick's bike,as sure enough he got some red mist and ran off into T2 trying to overtake someone, into the mud and on his arse.

In the same race, Martin got rammed going into T4 hard enough for the other rider's handlebar to break open the ducktail on Martin's Suzi and hit him in the lower back, causing the other rider to crash and martin to run off, luckily keeping it upright.

After hosing Rick's bike down as well as hosing rick down, fixing a loose footpeg and checking the rest of the bike, he was good to go back to race 3.

After sorting rick out I helped the chap who ran into Martin's bike: his bike, a CBR600 would not start, having been on it's side. Figuring the problem to be the same, we took the airbox off and away it went! It did take a couple of minutes of restarting and stalling and restarting once the airbox was back on, to get the engine going, as I suspect there were vapours deep in the filter too. Thnks to bobby marriner bringing an electric roller starter over we were able to get it going properly, and once fixing a couple of other small problems from the crash, he was also OK to go into R3.
The action that I did get to watch was great, and while Nigel was out front easily in both the P6 and the Premodern races, the action behind was good, particularly in race 3 between the FE and the P6 bikes where Richard Easton challenged on the BikeWreckGSXR1100, Keith Higgs on the P&M1200 and Roger Quinlan on the Mori1200, with Rog taking 3rd place on the last corner dive.

Well, it's the Barry next, so I'd better pull a finger out!

Some vids off my phone. not great , but here it is...

this is the same Kat that was blown over and had it's nosecone smashed in the 2009 Oran Park 8 Hour support race Storm... 

Bobby Mariner is riding this YZF750 Premodern with help form OldGold M/Cs

Another great YZF600 Premodern: Russ's, getting 3rd in class!

Marcus on the Bimota

Higgsy's Forgotten era P&M 1200 Kwaka with Nigel piloting the ex-Doohan FZR to wins in both Premodern adn Period6 grids.

A gaggle os Suzi period 6 750s.

Roger on the ex-Crosby Moriwaki 1200

Richard Easton on the BikeWreck P6 GSXR1100

Ducky Racing's 1st outing went well: the missus got pet ducks as did hubby, except his is faster...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011 NSW P6 Formula 750 Champion!


I am very proud to announce that I am the 

Winner of the 2011 NSW Post Classic period 6 Formula750 series!

after battling it out at the last round at Broadford, by 6 points over 200!
I am very chuffed. Racing for the last 20 years, while I have certainly had some great results, it's not often that I have competed in all rounds of a series. This year's late night efforts on the back porch have proven worthwhile, and it has been a pleasure to do it on a fairly newly prepped bike with only 2 meetings to set up for the series, taking trophies in both events, then winning 2011's first F750 event with a 4-1-1 result, gaining trophies at all events entered including some in the F1 class - on the 750.

Great thanks go to Pirtek Newcastle for their help and co-sponsorship with Vanessa's Hourglass Photography, to Sienna my Darlingest daughter and Vanessa, my darling Wife for their patience and encouragement, letting me use the porch to build bikes; to Emtek Racing Accesories for the Emtek Tyre Warmers; to my mates in Team Cooranbong for their help and support; Richard Nineham particularly; Steve Butler (750gsxrT+L) , Martin, Bones Dunn, Graham and Dunno Dunn all on 750Ts; to my fellow racers, especially Rob Cole for making me work so hard both on and off the track; and to Danny Deste for his help.

The last round at Broadford:

Well, what a trip! I wanted to to it on the cheap, so off I went in Vanessa's 4wd, planning to sleep in it. Not a bad fit, just had to remember to move the tiedown straps from under the blankets next time. Broadford has some fair showers and camping areas, and it will be on the cards again next year hopefully.

Thanks to Team Cooranbong member Martin Ball who towed his trailer with both our bikes, seeing originally I was going to travel with him until the Club asked me to tow their trailer down, which then got canned anyway leaving me with no seat as Martin had by then organised Olly, his youngest son, to go along. Olly was a great help and I trust he enjoyed his first away meeting with his Dad! We won't mention the topless waitress in the pub in town shall we?!

I walked the track at 6 am with the wallabies and roos, seeing I  haven't been here for 15 years. It reminded me how steep and undulation, cambered both on and off, with blind crests and blind turns, the place is. This really adds character and ranks the track in my top 5 for sure.

A dry sunny day awaited on friday for open practice. I setlled in to find my lines while having a chat with some locals, including one chap who had prepper a forgotten era z1100 Kwaka over the last 3 years or so, punting it around a track for the first time; until he crashed at the end of the straight when his front sprocket came off and locked the chain locking the back wheel of course, resulting in a trip to hospital for observation and a return to bike prep presumably.

On saturday, after raining most of the night, we were greeted with a drizzle in the morning which had everyone either discussing tyre options or ripping wheels out only to put treads or slicks back on again later, as the drizzle eased, only to put wets back on again in a frenzy when the drizle returned! I sat it out with friday's slicks, forcing myself to be patient, seeing that while water was pooling in the pits, there seemed to be not much pooling water on the track; I also listened to the sidecars; their limited wheelspin out of corners suggested a reasonable amount of traction. I went out on slicks as did many, while a some had treads on and a few went to wets. I qualified 3rd in the F750 grid and 8th in the F1/Premodern (aka PM) grid. I was impressed, almost amazed, how much traction the track had! It has excellent drainage, unlike poor old wakefield park, which is a duckpond for a day after the rain stops; yet here while constant drizzle fell, no water pooled as it all ran off on the cambered hillside track!

The racing went well, with mostly 3rds and a 2nd place in the F750 fields: my laptimes fell and fell with each race, as did those of my coompetitors. While not too many made the trip from NSW, my nemesis Rob Cole was here on his gsxr750 and kept me at bay for all but 1 F750 race, while I made no reserves in the F1 grid gaining the upper hand in 5 races. Steve Anderson, on his gsxr750rr was a little sick and couldn't get the flow to give credit to his chances of winning the series, though any of 3 of us could have won it this weekend! Local jason light has moved from an 89 model FZR1000 to a VFR750 and riding this smooth Viffer certainly suits him as he held us all off in both F750 and the F1 class in all races, giving the more modern PM zx7rs, 750T Suzukis etc a hiding, with only Nige Taylor on the ex-Doohan FZR1000 keeping him honest in all races of the F1+Premodern events. Ah, except the ones where the FZR's spark failed; to be tracked to a faulty brainbox (the bike's, not Nige's). This was promptly remedied using one borrowed from me, but launching off the rear of the grid and being a little overenthusiastic with those 150 horses, Nige found the next weak point in the bike: the rear wheel sprocket carrier! By the end of lap 1 he had broken it and the slightly damaged swingarm had to be filed clean of damaged aluminium for the last heat!

Martin's 750T

Graham Campbell's zx7r

Wetty's zx7rrrrr

one of the Premodern / F1 races, Stu Lomax 860ccYZF_SP, me on the fz750, jason Light on the VFR750, Rob Cole on the gsxr750 and Graham on his zx7r

  Well, what a trip! I wanted to to it on the cheap, so off I went in Vanessa's 4wd, planning to sleep in it. Not a bad fit, just had to remember to move the tiedown straps from under the blankets next time. Broadford has some fair showers and camping areas, and it will be on the cards again next year hopefully.

Jason giving wetty a good run. He did in fact beat Wetty!

#94=Troy Galvin on his FZR600, #70 Roger Quinlan on his Crosby Moriwaki 1100 FE bike.
While I concentrated on being as fast, consistent and smooth as I could be for the weekend, it certainly had many memorable moments; close clean riding as I had zx7Rs crossing my path on many occasions, as can be seen on the race videos, as I flung the poor old 85 model FZ around trying to keep up with these more modern beasts! To it's credit the FZ hung in there, scraping fairings and mufflers and knees all at the same time, letting me know just how far I can lean it getting a 1m.05 flat as my PB for the weekend, wplitting me and Rob's PDs by only .1 of a second! One instance in particular tested my determination: running around Rob's 750 on the last turn, I drifted a little wide from the blind apex off camber corner coming onto the straight, finding myself right on the white line and just slipping off it onto the dirt as I approached a side access road junction where I could see the potholes and bumps coming up, knowing Rob would be just behind me ready to punce past me on the dragrace! Well, I figured if I shut the throttle a little Rob might run up my back tyre which would not be desirable for either one of us, or I could keep throttle open it will give me the best chance of riding over the bumps in a cloud of dust in 3rd gear, and it worked! Apparently Lesley, my Mum-in-law lapscoring in the tower shocked a few people with her choice of words upon seeing all this!

I put another (used) slick on the back for some of Sunday's races as the old one was slipping around now. I wore out the almost new backbrake pads diving into turns and using that disc to control wheelspin on saturday's damp corners. Of course I do wish for more speed, and have since broadford begun building an fzr1000 to take on the F1 class in 2012.

A huge applause MUST go to the officials and helpers, both of the NSW PCRA club and the locals, who braved the miserable saturday elements and the sunday sun to keep us going! Thanks!

There were so many other stories too: like watching sidecars spin around at various corners, with only a few stiches needed here and there; having a genuine GP TR500 burn down; like novice racer Lee Allen winning the F3 PM class on his first meeting wearing an orange novice vest!; listening to guys ribbing each other about who passed who; going to town and having great meals at the local pubs; getting a tour of the sidacar teams' various trasnporter camperbuses and the list goes on!

For Videos See below or see my YouTube Channel. if they do not appear below:






2011 1 hour races, Wakefield Park

Well it's that time again: off to Goulbourn; not a series pointscoring event, but certainly a fun one at that with the 1 Hour events for sharing one bike with another rider. I had invited Richard Easton to co-ride the FZ750. He was also riding a YZF750 in saturday's races in the PreModern class. Richard rode my bike on saturday afternoon and to my surprise said he wasn't sure if he wanted to race it! It was too weird apparantly, being compared with his YZF; the seating is lower, the scraping of fairings and exhaust at max lean was maybe freaking him out? Anyway, discussing this over dinner at the local workers club meant I had to line up another co-rider quicksmart, and the next morning all the planets aligned seeing that Brett Hope had crashed his ride and broken a collarbone, leaving Rob Cole without a corider as well! After a lot of ribbing of Richard about not wanting to ride this beastly FZ (with more to come to be sure) Rob jumped at the chance to ride his competition's bike! 

I opted to do the LeMans running start, and got a great start from our 1st in class and 11th on the grid qualifying position amongst a field of 1995 Premodern bikes with many A graders mixing it up.

Well blow me away I was 3rd into turn one! After settling down from the almost corner-overshooting turn 4 as some of the more modern faster bikes started passing, I got into a steady pace with my main aim not only to lead the F750 field but also to try and keep Richard's YZF750 behind us. After all it would have added extra spice to beat him after he opted to not ride my older bike! However, after some great stoushes with Stu Lomax also on a YZF750SP, and Richard, keeping him at bay for 8 laps, he gradually got past me by the end of the first half hour and I came in to hand over to Rob, who had only a few laps in the morning's practice to get used to the bike. Rob fell into his consumate fast and steady pace fairly quickly, and ended up lapping within fractions of my best laptime! Seems the bike wasn't that weird after all   :) Rick went on with co-rider Mr Slade to get 2nd outright.
Keeping abreast of Ken lindsay's CBR900R Fireblade with Glenn Hindle piloting.

By the end of the hour long race, we had moved from our 11th outright qualifier to 7th outright and 1st in the F750 class, lapping the second F750 team of Steve Anderson and Scott Cunningham. In fact we would have been 2nd in older Period 6 F1 class as well, though we were not able to enter the bike in both these classes. Rob was chuffed at our finish and took home another trophy! 

In the support races on saturday I took home 1st place also for the F750 class and 3rd in the F1 class, making the weekend's tally 3 tophies!
Rob Cole punting my bike around

Co-rider Rob Cole and my pitcrew for the weekend, Mick Collins, ex-bucket and GSX1100 FE Racer

Thanks to Thumper for use of photos. There are no Videos unfortunately due to a hardware problem no the day.
Next stop: Broadford Victoria for the year's last pointscoring event, where any one of us 3 can take the series home!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

2011Aug Eastern Creek races

Hi all. it's a bit late, but after doing this race I had to get ready for the Wakefield park 1 Hour event, so the blog had to wait. Till now.

The PCRA had it's August round at eastern Creek. I entered in both the F750 grid as well as against the Period 6 1100s on the other grid, which combined that class with the 1995 premodern bikes. Always good fun and good value.

I also got my mate Rick nineham out there on a Premodern yzf600. First race, first run on that bike: he did well, only getting lapped in the first race, then not at all, and taking about a second off his laptimes with each lap. he had a ball and I would highly recommend  such an easy to ride bike to anyone thinking to come racing for the first time. 

I hadn't changed anything on the FZ750 since last round. So any improvements had to come from my riding I guess. I qualified 4th in the 750 class with a 1m50.9 . Not anything special, and I was getting seriously blown off on all the little power straights as well as of course the main straight. While the little old fz does handle well, it is still fairly standard on the engine card, still running the original style 4-2 twin touring muffler exhaust. We aim to change that soon, and i have been sourcing parts. 
Anyway, Race 1 had us F750 bikes on the same grid as the very fast unlimited forgotten era bikes, with 160RWHP worked 1200cc bikes. I got a ripper of a start and went from the 2nd row to being 3rd into turn 2! Gradually the guys picked me off though. 

Check out the video: 

For race 2, while I had a good start, as the laps wore on I felt a familiar feeling: like running out of petrol! I knew the tank had enough in it, and i though that this must be a jinx on my head, seeing we'd already replaced the fuel pump before when it was malfunctioning! So after Vanessa tracked around to T11 to get some video footage, I got there on the second lap and .. bhhh bhhh... she came to an almost complete stop almost in front of her! I managed to bumpstart it with the last bit of rolling speed and it fired, so i rode it back into the pits with a DNF, thinking what could be worse: a DNF or having a cranky wife who had waited for an hour there to get a video of me: DNF'ing...

When I checked the fuel tank, as it turned out the brand new fuel line, which was previously hoseclapmed, had gotten quite hot and went just soft enough to let some air suck up the now not-so-tightly-hoseclapmped line and run the pump down on fuel! Easy fix, but still a DNF! This would mean starting at the back of the grid for the next F750 race!
As it happened, the 3rd and last leg of the F750 race was lost to time after some crashes in other classes delayed the day, so my results for F750 were a 4th and a DNF!

Luckily I had also entered the F1 class on the other grid, and we did get 3 legs in there. I also qualified 4th in the F1 class, which = 15th on the grid mixed amongst the 1995 Premoderns.

well, again I got a ripper of a start! I managed to pass my arch enemy, Steve Butler, and was up behind AE#2 Stuart Lomax into T2! Stuart rides a very hot YZF750, so keeping up with him certainly tickles my satisfaction bone!

I don't have this video edited yet,  but if you SUBSCRIBE to my videos on YouTube, you'll get notified when I do post it soon.
Anyhow, again gradually I got hammered, with Steve passing me. Yet, when we checked the results heet, he was noted as the 2nd rider behind me! Well, as it runs out, he was deemed  to have jumped the start when he clicked his bike into gear while the red light was on, which moved the bike a little, and the ladies in the tower don't see that he's just clicking into gear, they just see a bike moving forward under lights: that's a a jumpstart! There's a lesson fellas!
Well, between all the 3 heats of The F1 class I had managed to get a 2nd overall anyway, so my run of getting a trophy every time I ran the bike still held up, even though it was in a grid not of my primary class.
Thanks as usual to Pirtek Newcastle, Hourglass Photography and Emtek Racing.
Next round report: Wakefield park, September, PCRA 1 hr weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2011 May: 1/10th off pole, 3rd with a dud fuelpump and tragedy strikes.

My race finish is insignificant in comparison with one of member's fate.
Above - Mixing it up with the 90's PreModern bikes again, I qualified 9th and had a strong start, but was certainly outpowered by the more modern engines of often larger capacity.

Never mind, this up-entering is for fun and extra tracktime as much as competetiveness! In this class' race I got a 10th, but the main fun was to be had in my class.

ONBIKE VIDEO: In my F750 class I qualified 2nd in class, only 1/10th of a second behind pole position, had a great start, missed one corner letting Steve Anderson slip by. Then later coming onto the straight the bike hesitated badly, feeling like it was running out of petrol / power. Rob Cole slipped by. Upon further testing I found the electric fuel pump was only intermittently working and a quick remedy was made, but no opportunity was had to ride it again, as One of the chaps in another class had a heart attack while racing and on the main straight. By the time he was attended to, the Police advised us that due to the involvement of a vehicle (his racebike) at a controlled event resulting in a critical incident (he had to be revived 2 times apparently) a critical incident investigation was to be held and we would not get access to the track again until quite late if at all, so a decision was made to stop the meeting. While this was disappointing from a racing perspective, it is a great comfort to know that the chap was alive (again). As was widely discussed at the track, having a hear attack at the races is probably the 2nd best place to have one apart from being inside a hospital, as you are within walking distance of highly qualified and experienced emergency medics and a defibrulator! Much better than having an attack on teh way home while driving!

The next meeting will be either the QLD historic Championships at Morgan Park at Warwick, or the St Geroge MCC / Honda / RJ series 4 hour endurance teams event, which was a lot of fun last year.

I have started a Facebook page called retroracing.com.au which has updates and event dates, with the website itself having a simple flashpage for now, with a more interactive memebr driven forum-type setup coming soon to www.retroracing.com.au

Sunday, March 13, 2011

2011 Feb: 1st in OZ Period 6 F750 winner!

Hi all!

Off we went to Wakefield Park for the Sunday Feb 6th races with the PCRA NSW. As well as entering for the brand new Period 6 (New Era 1983-1990) Formula 750 races, I also cross entered in the 1995 Premodern Unlimited (PM) class for the extra laps. This worked out very well as we got the extra laps in during both qualifiers and when it started to rain I chose to miss the PreModern race so I could swap tyres from slicks to wets and be competetive in my class. Others were also frantically doing so all around me, in particular fellow Team Cooranbong members Graham and Martin who were on 1996 Suzi 750Ts. It was later found out that somehow Martin's rear was already missing a wheel bearing, and it was only the design of the bearing spacers which kept it all tight, relying on the hub bearing instead for support. Luckily all worked out OK and Martin had a good day. Steve Butler had a DNS for the whole day as he went home at 8am vomiting: either from heat stroke on the unusually hot 45' saturday raced there with St George, or from being worried about being beaten on the 1990 F750 Suzuki he was supposed to be riding! We'll see you next race Stevo!

The upside down forks the bike was bought with and previously raced with were swapped for conventional forks with help from Metros to make the bike eligible for the 80's Period 6 class, where only bikes originally fitted with upsidedown forks were allowed to have them. That's OK, as I set these up and tuned them for better and better handling, they turned out to get the same laptimes anyway.

In the first F750 race I fared OK, racing on the same grid as the 1200cc Forgotten Era and Alcohol fueled post Classic bikes. In the F750s Stuart Ellis, Peter Hope and Rob Cole beat me, as I found that the now quite used Dunlop rear was moving around a fair bit. Still I was only .6 seconds off Peter's fastest 1m12s lap, finishing 4th, only 1.6 seconds behind. It started raining soon, and the aforementioned mad rush for wets?intermediates?oh-my-god-what-should-we-put-on? proceeded!

So I missed the first PM race while I put treaded tyres on. There's a video of the 2nd PreModern race which as you can see started damp, though the raceline did clear up a bit. As I missed the first one I had to start at the back of the grid for this, but that was OK as this let me concentrate on getting my mind into gear ready for the F750 races to come later. Still had a good run amongst the more modern 90's bikes.

The second F750 race saw me with 1m11.0 second laps winning the F750 class! I was third outright with the Lap record holding 1260cc P&M Kwaka of Keith Higgs and the OzLaverda/Middleton methanol burning 1000cc Laverda in front of me. Rob Cole's Suzi had a DNF with an electrical gremlin on the battery line, which was just as well considering he set a blistering time of 1m 09.5! But as they say you've gotta be in it to win it!

Race 3 saw me take another .6 seconds off as the track dried more to again get 1st in class!

What an awesome day! In almost 20 years of racing I can say that will be one of the more memorable events in my mind! Almost up there with coming 2nd in the NZ TT.

Thanks again to PIRTEK NEWCASTLE, HOURGLASS PHOTOGRAPHY, Metros at Silverwater and Emtek Racing Accessories! Thanks To Rick 9Ham and Thumper500 for the pics too!
YouTube Vidoe of the mixed Premodern race: