I promised Vintage Bob that I'd do a full write up, but got busy, so late, but here goes...
As you know, I've been doing this roundy round thing for a while. It's fun, and a lot harder than it looks. Isn't that how all racing is?
I started out behind the 8 ball. As some may know, I was having issues with the bike not wanting to run. As a matter of fact, 2 weeks ago I raced, but sucked so bad, I didn't bother with a report. Well, the report is: I beat myself. I had to push start the bike and once running, jack around with the carb until it'd start up and run without a push. Serious pain. It was popping like crazy and generally running like crap.
I tore into it last weekend to try to find the source of the problem, and discovered that I not only had a carb issue, but I also had big problems on the head. While I was in there, I decided to check the valve clearance, since they are getting a bit long in the tooth. The Kibblewhite intakes I had installed just a short time ago (55 hours) were at a measured .003".
So that's when I discovered the cam holder bolt that had stripped and removed the threads from the head. Also broke a second one of those bolts taking it apart. YIKES! I was able to tap and helicoil the one hole, and was able to back the broken part of the other bolt out without issue. Very lucky..
So, after putting it all back together, I rechecked my clearances just to make sure that the bolt issues weren't the cause of those measurements. Still .003". I had 1.195 shims in, so I replaced them with 1.185 and remeasured. Dead on. In Spec! lovely. Exhaust side was still close enough for a couple more races, so I left those alone. No need to fix what isn't broken.
Put it all back together, and still the bike runs like the valves are super tight. Damn...
Went back to my very deep well of knowledge (here) and thanks to Pezkynz determined that the floating valve on my carb slide was wrong side up. Oooops.. They get really lean when that happens. I swapped it and she ran perfect. Started real easy, and idles like a dream. So I immediately put everything back together and set about cleaning.
So.. now on to Saturday. I get off work at 7:30am, and rush home to get as much sleep as I can. I have to roll out by 2:15pm to make it on time to get a good spot in the pits.
I tossed and turned until 11 am. Not good. But, 3 hours is enough if that's all you get. So.. 2 pm I wake up and get loaded. Signed up at the track 45 minutes later.. We get our pick on the line in the heat races based on the order we sign up. I was first.
The practice sessions went as I had expected, slick and all over the place. I really need to learn how to get the bike to turn on slick tracks. (@ $165 per, tires will have to wait until spring)
So, I line up for my heat on the inside. I was determined to get a good start this time. I know I can do it. My reaction time is still pretty good for my advanced age.
The green lit and I dumped the clutch! To mine, and everyone elses amazement, I was first into the first turn. I was smiling so big!! That is a hell of a feeling. But, since I have tires that saw there best days for traction in the late 1990's, I started going backward pretty fast. I need to pay less attention to my cameras and more attention to my bike setup between practice sessions.. Oh well, live and learn.
So I dropped anchor and just tried to figure out the track.
It was slick in spots, and super soft in others. We had gotten 3 inches of rain earlier in the week..
So, after that abysmal performance in my heat (last place), I decided a tire pressure adjustment was about the only thing I'd be able to do to make the bike better.
So, come time for the main, 14th one of the night, I got to start on the far outside. In the slickest part of the track. I should have opted for a back row start where there was some traction. I was pretty well dead sideways off the line. Not good.. But at least this time I was able to stick with the guy in front of me the whole race. Definitely an improvement. I think I was faster than he, however, when the racing line is so tight, it's hard to pass.. If you can't get under them, you don't have a chance. Passing on the outside never works.
The points leader in our class had a little engine issue and dropped out a few laps before the end, so I at least didn't finish dead last.
I felt more comfortable on the bike, and felt like I was making progress. This being only my 4th race on this bike, and only my 8th or 9th flat track race ever, I feel like I'm progressing quickly.
Hopefully with a good set of tires next season, and some changes in the bike to maximize the power to the ground, I may have something to work with.
My goal is to be able to finish the races within the same straightaway as the leader. And with a little luck and good starts, perhaps even win a few.
Anyhow, if anyone is still awake, take a peek at the helmet cam video's I posted on youtube..