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post #1 of 4 Old 05-27-2008, 9:29 AM Thread Starter
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Local race report

Hey Guys,
I try to write a race report after each round. I enjoy reading what other riders take away from a raceday myself so I like to share as well. And seeing it from the rider's point of view might help other people make the jump to track riding - I regularly wish I'd gotten it into ten years earlier than I did. I usually post it to some mates and a local mailing list but I thought I'd throw it up here as well since it's pretty quiet :-)

Some background:
The series I'm racing this season is for C&D Grade riders on very varied machines with very few rules. Basically any bike up to 1300cc is eligible. The entry list for last Sunday included a TZ350, GPZ900R, a 1045cc Z1, 125 GP bikes, ZX6R, some 600RR's, SP1, R1's, a 916 and a pair of new 1098 Ducatis. The singles and twins are run as a Thunderbikes series within the C&D Grade series. I'm not sure how the rider grading system works these days but I think C Grade is basically anybody outside about 5% of the local track records - or something like that. If you start consistently pulling faster times then you get pushed to B Grade and are no longer eligible for the series. It's aimed more at guys and girls that race purely for fun rather than bankruptcy :-)

After putting next to no effort into preparing the bike since the first round I actually had a very enjoyable day yesterday. I'd burned myself out working on my daughter's car so rather than fitting new tyres I had a Pirelli Corsa on a 1000RR front wheel I got from the US. I bought it (from a Fireblades.org member) as a 700-mile original fitment tyre and I figured it'd be a more than sufficient match to the rear Pirelli slick I've been running since April last year (almost 1000 race/trackday kilometers on it). I polished the caliper pistons (the pads are from April '07 as well) and popped the 1000RR wheel in with the 929 rotors. I discovered a split in the brake reservoir line which explains how all the moisture and air got in there causing the lever to come into the bar at the last round. I repaired that and bled fresh fluid through which was a major improvement. I even did the rear while I was at it and the crap that came out of there was disgusting. I think it had several primitive life forms living it :-)

When we arrived the circuit was totally fogged in but it cleared by about 0930 and the track was drying out very quickly after a solid night of rain. Temperature was 22C maximum for the day so probably only around 18C or so in the morning. A track layout -
Google Earth 31°39'52.02"S 115°47'22.86"E

We gridded for the first practise and waited a while before being sent back to the pits which was annoying. I was told that a sidecar had dumped oil approaching the crest of the hill on the long straight although it was along the inside of the track. But they'd gone through some puddles so the oil was floating on the water waiting for somebody to come through and splash it across the track. I don't blame them for wanting to clean such a mess up.

First practise I was surprised by the front tyre. I haven't had a treaded tyre on any of my bikes for some years now so it took me a few laps to get a feel for what it was doing. Most of the track was fine but the bike just refused to go around the left hander without pushing really wide no much how far I hung off. I concentrated on getting it to work through there via a few different lines and entry speeds without finding anything that worked and with only five flying laps there wasn't a lot of time for experimentation.
Back in the pits I checked the tyre temps and pressures. Temps were good across the tyres and they looked like they were working okay but were only 28psi hot so I upped them to 35 to try to get it tipping in better.
The second session it did turn better but still wouldn't hold a line through the left hander so I decided the tyre must just take a long time to come up to temp. I tried a different line up the Esses to maximise the time spent on the left side and dragged the brake into the left hander to work the tyre first rather than simply laying it on its cold left hand side and finally started seeing some improvement.

The rain had stayed away but finally showed up while we were waiting on the dummy grid and it was the on-and-off drizzle that I love and that seems to annoy everybody else :-)
I was gridded in eleventh, right of centre on row three but I had the advantage of a vacant place immediately ahead of me so I could nail the throttle with no hesitation about hitting a stalled bike. Plans of a very hard warm-up lap went out the window due to the circuit being under a yellow flag because of a ute and quad bike parked in the Basin. From the grid I got an awesome launch to hit turn one in third but I left a sliver of a gap that Gavin (SP1) came through so we came around side by side until I had to yield at the top of the Esses but with every expectation of trying to stay with him. When you're trying to get past him he makes that bike six feet wide but when you're trying to keep him behind you it seems to be just six _inches_ wide. Exiting the left hander, the red flags were out and my immediate thought was that there'd been a grid crash. Thankfully (only because it meant nobody was injured) we discovered the marshalls were still in the Basin! Why they even brought us to the dummy grid let alone sent us out on the track I have no idea. To actually start the race though was simply ludicrous with marshalls and vehicles occupying the run-off of a 200kph braking area.

Back at the pits I cursed because the odds were definately against me getting such a great launch again. Even worse, while we waited the rain eased up!
Another annoyance was that somebody with the same timing system had put their transmitter about four meters _before_ the start line so my receiver couldn't record my first laps since it was triggered before I'd even gridded up. It also made it impossible to determine if the receiver would be triggered by the same beam the club uses which would mean I wouldn't even need to use my own transmitter on race days.

Luckily we got a little more drizzle during the repeat warm-up lap :-)
This time when the lights went out I launched even more strongly and again hit turn one in third but this time I had the extra couple of metres I needed over Gavin to keep him behind me. Steve (1098S) and Matt (1098) were already pulling away and Travis (600RR) got around Gavin into the left hander. Travis then tried to go under me into Skyline but luckily thought better of it with inches to spare. The 1098s were out of sight when we reached the Basin where Travis dived under me hard on the brakes. He proceeded to chase the 1098s but even he was losing three seconds a lap to them. I just got my head down and rode as hard as I could and waited to be swamped. On the third lap when nobody else had come past I found a moment to check the laptimer and saw 1:10.62! If I was going that slow I assumed there must be a traffic jam behind tripping each other up trying to pass me. I tried even harder, dropping another half second on each lap and managed to hold onto fourth place. I was stunned to see that Steve B (916) was eight seconds behind me but behind him was the jam of another seven bikes that were covered by 2.5 seconds. I pulled a 69.35 and my fastest dry lap of the day was only 3.5 seconds quicker at 65.8 so it really wasn't wet enough to explain the gap between us. I can only guess that my launch allowed me to get a break over Steve B, Gavin, Paul (F1), Andrew (600RR) and the rest and they spent the rest of the race battling each other - to my advantage :-)

Got the first race videos up last night. Will try to get the rest up during the week.

Race two had me gridded in fourth on the inside of the front row - my favorite position. Just a matter of hugging the curb and you don't have any worries about anybody slamming into you into turn one and (at Wanneroo at least) your brake lever is protected from the pack. I did a good hard warm-up to get the fork oil, brakes and tyres warm and got a nice launch with small wheelies in first and second. Hit turn one in second with Gavin glued to my tail and Steve outside me but the two 1098s simply went around us and headed off. Andrew got past Gavin into the Basin and then just managed to drag past me before we braked at the bottom of the hill with Steve B and Gavin side by side behind us through turn seven. I tried to stay with Andrew through lap two but he pulled away cleanly. Steve managed to break away from Gavin and got back onto my tail at the bottom of the hill on lap three. Stuart (R1) got through Gavin and Steve by turn one and came around the outside of the left hander on lap three dropping me to fifth. Steve came up alongside me as we crested the hill but the yellow flag was now out for Rob (Z1) (who'd crashed out of turn seven on lap one - just visible on the rear camera) so he didn't pass me. Rob's was the saddest moment of the day tossing his immaculate Z1 into the sand. That bike is way too nice to be on a racetrack. He was fine but the bike wasn't happy at all. Gavin came past Steve into turn one very deep on the brakes and stayed glued to me throught the lap. Without the yellow flag he would've been through me on the brakes into seven. The last lap he was crawling all over me but the yellow flag saved me again and he just couldn't quite drag me to the line crossing just 0.05 of a second behind me. Steve was passed by Travis coming down the hill still under the yellow flag but I don't think anybody else noticed so Steve was only credited with eighth.

Race three was after a long wait of a couple of hours during which I started running down on energy and developed a headache. Some asprin and a bit of rest was about all I could do but I was definately feeling better when it finally came time. I didn't push the warm-up as hard as I would've liked but gridded in fifth feeling pretty relaxed. Not a bad launch. Steve popped the front up and had to shut it down so Matt hit turn one in front by about fifteen metres. Andrew came from third across the front so I dived to his right and got into the turn ahead of him as Steve came around chasing Matt. Andrew kept the pressure on me all the way around turn one on the outside without giving me an inch until I had to give him the line up the Esses. Gavin was glued to me of course. For reasons I don't recall I dropped into Skyline way too early and, to avoid jumping the curb I had to stand it up and then slam it down again hard to avoid running out wide which dug the right peg in very hard and allowed Andrew to get a good break on me and letting Gavin get up the inside into the Basin with Stuart coming past over the crest of the hill. Lap two Travis got onto my tail into the Basin and managed to outbrake me at the bottom of the hill. I held off Paul until he dived under me into the Basin on lap three. I had a clear horsepower advantage over Paul once we got over 200kph but I was way short on ability to chase him down everywhere else. The amount of opposite lock I was needing to get out of turns one, six and seven due to my rear tyre probably didn't help either. Unfortunately my rear camera shut itself down on lap two so I have no footage of Steve B reeling me in over the next five laps (sorry Steve, we'll have to do it all again next time) until he got around the outside of the left hander and held me out through Skyline on the last lap. I'd like to be able to say I chased him to the end but he pulled away fairly easily :-)

So all up I had a very enjoyable day and came home thoroughly exhausted - as it should be :-)

Round three is only three weeks away (June 15th) again at Wanneroo long circuit. Hopefully I can spend some time tweaking the bike before then and give more of the gang a tougher time.


"I won't forget that ride for a while. Maybe you're right. Living fast might be worth the final crash. Maybe that's the secret you fliers know." - Flight of the Intruder

Last edited by bladeracer; 05-29-2008 at 11:44 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 05-29-2008, 11:31 PM
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Re: Local race report

cool writeup... nice videos too... really got me in the mood for the trackday this weekend... thanks for taking the time to post
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post #3 of 4 Old 05-29-2008, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Local race report

Thank you for taking the time to read it all :-)
Hopefully some other racers might try posting as well so the rest of us can enjoy their weekends :-)

"I won't forget that ride for a while. Maybe you're right. Living fast might be worth the final crash. Maybe that's the secret you fliers know." - Flight of the Intruder
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post #4 of 4 Old 06-16-2008, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Local race report

Round Two report:
I finally managed to do some work on the bike before this round.
2mm larger throttle bodies off a 954.
Full-titanium Akrapovic race system (from Fireblades member) wrapped to keep radiated heat out of the engine.
Removed stator, rotor, regulator, starter motor and made replacement engine cover - saved 8kg.
Fitted oil pressure, coolant temp and voltage gauges and made a dash to carry them as well as the instrument cluster and lap timer.
Removed everything related to riding on the road - left switchgear, mirror and headlight supports and such.
Removed PAIR system and made cover plates.

Planned to do the MCRC tuning day on Saturday to sort the fuel injection and log a whole day of air/fuel ratios on the Dynajet Wideband Commander so I could make a new map on saturday night before the race day.
Was also going to run identical 180 and 190 Corsa rear tyres in alternating sessions to determine which size I prefer.
The Wideband Commander is arriving Tuesday (along with brake pads) so that idea went out the window :-)
The tyres arrived this morning so that idea went as well :-)
I'd ordered a thermal blanket to go over the motor to keep heat out of the airbox and fuel tank but that arrived Friday arvo just too late to fit.
I got the magnesium rear wheel ready to go finally but forgot it runs a Ducati sprocket which I hadn't ordered - doh! Since my tyres hadn't arrived it hardly mattered anyway though.
I decided to do the tuning day on my old rear slick (since I fully expected to be flat out trying to get the bike to run on the bigger throttle bodies anyway) and would throw in a mate's 1000RR Corsa-shod rear wheel on Saturday night for the race day.

Saturday was fine and amazingly the bike ran okay on the bigger throttle bodies. Very rich of course but it pulled through to redline hard with no stumbles. Opening the throttle from closed was horrendous which was much more of a problem on Sunday and a sharp step in the power around 9000rpm or so was spinning the rear up. With the headers wrapped the temperature never went above 93C even when sitting on the grid with no thermo fan so I'm very impressed with that as well.
I'd worked out the rear tyre had done eight race days, two tuning afternoons and two private track days before the weekend started - roughly 1000kms and 65 heat cycles. But I was doing regular 67's without trying at all while sorting the bike so I decided it'd do just fine for Sunday's short circuit races since the forecast was just a few morning showers - we ended up having over an inch of rain! It meant we could go back to the place we were staying in Caramar and not have to mess with the bike at all. Of course, Saturday also put more than another 200kms on the tyre :-)

I did seven sessions and didn't get any kind of rythem happening until the final two.
I was concentrating on what the throttle response was like initially and then trying get comfortable with the gearing which was thrown out by the things I'd changed. I was getting more power, the engine was spinning up faster and I was accelerating quicker so my gearing wasn't even close. I eventually settled on third for turns one, two and seven and short-shifting fourth exiting turn two and holding it all the way around the Basin onto the straight as third was spinning way too much out of the Basin due to the tyre.
Saturday was also a time to test the longevity of the battery but I had no trouble at all over the fifteen-minute sessions. With the charger on after each session it was never under 12.5V when I came in so the fifteen-minute charging periods were sufficient to top the battery back up with exactly what I'd drawn out of it.

I knocked the bike over in the morning and shattered the screen so I decided not to run the camera without anything protecting the lens from sand. Sunday I didn't run it either because it would've been flooded with rain and the footage was unlikely to be much good anyway.

Sunday was fine at 0600 but the rain started at 0700. Rose has been crook since Thursday night and spent Saturday at Caramar in bed in front of a fire so she dropped me at the circuit and went back to rest up some more before coming back after lunch.
First practise was very wet, too wet to be able to see where the puddles were, but I was doing 11's which was going to be just fine since most of the normal C&D Graders hadn't showed up. Steve Bekkers was riding very, very well in the rain and was clearly going to be the guy to beat - and I wasn't even going to try :-)
He'd brought a mate along for his first race day and he also was riding well on another Duc.
The field was so small that even coming last I'd pick up a good haul of points so I wasn't concerned with trying to catch anybody else, just staying upright and enjoying the rain :-)
The 929 was wheelspinning everywhere. The front straight I was spinning through third and fourth and having to grab fifth when I ran out of tacho - and was still spinning until I grabbed the brakes for turn one :-)
I had to concentrate because my front Corsa allowed me to enter the turns a whole lot harder than the rear tyre could cope with so it was odd knowing I could brake a lot harder than I actually was. The rear was just floating around on the water especially at the top of the Esses, the Skyline hairpin and the right hander coming down the hill. Coming across the grid markings through turn seven I'd feel a little squirm from the front then a big slide as the rear crossed them which unsettled the bike more after each one so by the time I was getting the power on again the bike was already very loose and was kicking out badly. The left kink out of turn one had a big puddle that I couldn't see through my wet visor so I was running a very wide line through there which then messed up the top of the Esses. Not having a screen made it harder than usual to see in the wet but If I was following somebody I could see the wave as they went through it. There was the usual river running across the track exiting the left hander but it didn't cause me any problems because we weren't really on the power as we would've been on a full circuit. There was a smaller river just after the hairpin but also a big puddle right at the apex of the right hander coming down the hill which slid me very wide a few times. Second practise was similar to the first although perhaps not quite as wet.

Race one was the heaviest rain of the day. There were seven of us gridded and I was in sixth, left of centre, row two. Ambient temp was around 12C with no chance of getting any heat into the tyres. I grabbed a handful of brake coming into turn seven to get some heat into the discs but the front locked immediately so I could see the race was going to be difficult.
When the light went out my first thought was "You're in neutral you idiot!" because the bike didn't even move but I quickly realised it was just spinning. Steve had a lot of spin as well and Travis got to turn one in front from fourth on the grid. I was still deciding what line I should take into one when Travis locked the front as he turned in, went down hard on his right shoulder and slid into the sand. Unhurt but it was the end of his day unfortunately. Steve took off running consistant 11's with Bob Humphreys chasing him. Jack Coyle came past me leaving only Steve's mate Gavin Sullivan behind me. Knowing he was on wets I could only hope to hold him up which was pretty unlikely :-)
Bob crashed heavily at the top of the Esses on lap two but was unhurt. Gav Carlini was a couple of seconds ahead and I was determined to catch him. Every lap I was thrown from the seat out of turn seven but I was going to catch him regardless. On lap three I got bucked coming down the hill and Gavin Sullivan got past me. When I braked for turn one the front locked immediately and my right foot instinctively slammed the ground to hold the bike up. I was skating with the bike trying to drift left and my foot trying to stay with it. I was trying to get the front to steer but it was totally gone and I could only hope to hold it upright until the tyre got enough traction to catch back up to the speed of the bike. After forever I decided it clearly wasn't coming back and was preparing to join Travis in the sand when the bars finally solidified and I could use a little brake, lift my foot and turn it just before the edge of the track. Back into it I cackled for the whole rest of the race :-)
Gavin made the rookie mistake of passing under the yellows and was relegated two places after a very good ride. Steve though was outstanding and took a very deserved win nine seconds ahead of Jack Coyle. One more lap would've seen Steve lap both Gavins and myself!
I don't know what I've done to my leg but overnight it has stiffened up and the calf muscle is very painful if I try to lower or raise my foot. Walking is just a shuffle today but hopefully it's nothing serious.

Race two was wet but more a drizzle than the pouring rain of race one and we were down to a grid of five with Gavin Sullivan starting from the pit lane for being late :-) When the light went I was spinning again and spent the whole race doing very consistent flat 8's while Steve was doing 2's and 3's so I spent the race on my own just riding for the points and having some fun in the rain. Gavin Sullivan came past on lap three due to having to start after the rest of us. Steve took another good win although he had more of a battle and his lead this time was only five seconds over Jack and Gav.

Race three was dry - 18C! - and Steve and the Gavins had fitted slicks again. Jack didn't show this time so we were down to the four of us. When the light went out everybody else seemed to stand still and I was first to turn one but Gavin came around me and took off determined to pull a gap over Steve. While I brought up the rear Steve got ahead of Gav but Gav got down to 56's and slowly pulled him back to beat Steve by a second.

Was a very good weekend for me and a lot of fun. The Juniors were great fun to watch as usual.
I have a few more things to tweak before round four at Collie on July 13th. Hopefully there'll be a practise before then so I can make a new injection map.


"I won't forget that ride for a while. Maybe you're right. Living fast might be worth the final crash. Maybe that's the secret you fliers know." - Flight of the Intruder
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