Long time since I was here last time. Been busy with some sad personal problems but the racing is still there and this is my report from the latest race.
Preparation is key.
Last week end it was time for the annual rookie race at LMS, my "local" club and one of my favourite events.
One thing that have followed during my whole road racing "career" are the five P:s as in - poor preparations prevent perfect performance
I always try to be better prepared than the last time but I just don´t seem to be able to make that happen, I guess being 38 and having afull time job, three kids etc. make it harder but anyeway.
The plan was teh same coming in to this race. I wanted to be prepared and have th ebike running perfectly but as usual the weeks pass and all of a sudden the race is the same week!
The last time I rode the bike I had a problem with the engine wanting to get hot and push a lot of water out because of too much pressure in the radiator. Usually that is because the o-rings in the cylinders are broken and the cylinder pressure getting in to the cooling system. I checked both cylinders and everything was nice and dandy. As I had bought anther engine I also changed the gear box to the new one with a much better spread internal setting of the gears. Time ran out so I had to load the bike and stuff in the van and head out to Stockholm to pick my friend Teddy and his Honda RS250 up.
We had a really nice trip down to Linköping and arrived late and met up with all the other guys. We had a proper two stroke tent with one RS125R, two RS250Rs and my TZM250. In the tent next to us we had another RS125R and an Aprilia RS250 and finally Stellan with his RS250R was right across.
I wake up to bright sun and clear skies, pretty cold but still great for racing. I get my self a big cup of tea and some breakfast.
The tent is buzzing with that great anticipation and the abnting is on. My Yamaha gets a lot of slack in the Honda tent but I know why. They are just jealous of my beautyful bike. At 08:30 we roll out and warm up the engines, the great smell of two strokes fill the paddock to everyones joy!
Our first session is at 09:50 so we have a lot of time to get everything in order, I put some gas in and get ready. We all get out and after only three laps my temp gauge goes flat...hmmm. Bad sign as this was exactly what happened last time I was out on the track. I do four laps and decide to pit as I don´t want to have a seizure. When I get back in I start to check the engine. I check the o-ring again and they are just fine. I also look at the dowel pins if the are too tall. Everything looks just fine though. Next in line is the radiator cap. The idea being that it might be so worn that it opens and lets the pressure out too early hence loosing water. We find another radiator cap and it feels much stiffer. Problemed solved? I get the bike back together and wait for the second QP.
Warming the bike up.
I get out for the second session and hope for the best but after two laps it is the same story again. I pit and empty the water out of the pick up bottle. Damn. I fill the radiator up and get out for another four laps but the problem is not solved.
Time wise I do a terrible 1.06.563 wich is a whooping three seconds over my PB...terrible but I had only done twelve laps during the whole day.
When I get back in the tent I try to find another solution to the problem. I check the water pump and BINGO! When we turn the clutch it is not moving so I have no circulation in the system wich causes the temperature to rise very quickly in the top ends and the water gets out due to heat. Luckily the cylindrs and pistons look just fine.
The proble is that the impeller and the shaft is moving too much and when the bikes leans over to the left it falls out too far and looses its connection with the clutch side. Unfortunately I don´t have enough tie to remove the clutch and gearbox wich is what needs to be done to fix i properly so I make sure I have a water pump that is working when I get out for the race and hope for the best.
I am seventh out of eight and my goal is to do a decent start and latch on to the faster guys and hope my times drop drastically....
To bad I make the worst start of my career! I manage to stall the engine not just once but TWICE when the lights go out!
I am dead last...
Jack ass to the far left...
The good thing is I have to start racing and having people to chase is great. I catch up with Henrik on the Aprilia pretty quick and pass him donw the straight. Nice!
The bad thing is the temp gauge goes flat again. Now my brain is in race mode so I decide to stay out for a little longer. I catch Teddy going out on the straight and pass him in the braking - nice!
Next lap I catch Lasse on his RS125 and on the brakes but Lasse lets his brakes go and repasses me with his 125R, I am too far to the right going in to the corner so I have to let him go and loose some time. I manage to be closer to him going out on the back straight next time out and pass him with HP - I love that!
Next up is Jocke on his SV650 and I outbrake him going in to the Essess. By now I think I have made my point and decide to pit so I won´t break the engine. I manage to run a 1.05.443 so a little better.
Me catching Lasse going in to the Essess.
The evening starts with a torrenial down pour and our tent is right acrross a river apparently going across the paddock. Teddy is cooking dinner while I get banters from the other guys as I have to get the clutch and gear box out for the third time this week end. The problem is that the circlip on the impeller shaft has been forced out of it´s position and this allows the shaft to move and loose the drive. Anyway I am happy to have found the problem and get the bike back together. We watch the final QP wich is nice. The rain continues as I fall a sleep looking forward to a problem free Sunday. Boy was I wrong...
The rain has stopped during the morning hours and the paddock comes to life in a sunny state but with puddlea all over the place. More tea and more banter in the two stroke family. This is one of the best things with road racing - the great friendship and friendly atmosphere. The whole paddock is a really nice place to be just for social reasons.
At 08:30 I start the bike to see tha the water pump is working. She bursts in to life and the soudn and smell of my TZ once again reverberates in the paddock. I put it on the stand and put the gear box in neutral and release the clutch - BANG. The engine comes to a halt with a nasty noise...Something is not right in there...
I roll the bike back in th tent and realise that I will not be able to make the first session as it was clearly a gear box problem. I get the clutch and gear box out - again.
No obvious faults....hmm.
Pelle Träff comes over to help me out. The first thing we notice is that the main shaft is hard to fit in to the bearing in the engine case. I get all my gear box parts out and try another main axle. It fits smooth and runs much smoother. OK. Maybe the problem is solved. As I ahev two complete gear boxes and a lot of spare parts I decide to change the main axle. When we have the axles apart we can see that someone has done more grooves in the main axle and in doing that has dmaged the bearing surface hence the problem with fitting it in the bearing. This axle is from the engine I bought from France - more about that engine in another thread.
We change all the gears on the main and driven axles, I have to change the first gear pinion gear as well as axle so I have four axles and 24 gears all over the table....
We fit the gear box and put some screws in and think we have solved the problem. Not so. Impossible to get third gear in. Frustration is creeping in and in the coming hour I change between the two complete gearboxes with no difference. Impossible to change in to third. At thsi point I loose it and bang my fist on the tank....with a nice dent as the only result - ASS!
Pelle Träff putting the gear box in again for the XXXth time...
Finally we know that everything is correct with the gear box and gear linkage etc, at this time Lasse Svedberg has replaced Pelle Träff in the problem solving department.
I decide to have one more look inside the engine case and at this point I see tha the bearing on the driven axle has a locking plate missing and has moved out of the casing! This means tha the driven axle doesn´t align with the main axle - hence the problem with changing to third as too many gears connect when the axles are not aligned. Lasse has a lock plate and counter sunk screw. We put it all pack together - I am pretty f**king quick changing the gear box now though. I change through the gears with the bike on the stand and it works!
Crazy happy guy and cool Lasse Svedberg.
With just minutes to spare I get out on the track and everything works! The engine temp is perfect, the gear box is smooth and I am stressed but happy!
I do twelve laps and post a 1.06.870 so I end up dead last but I don´t care as the bike is working - for now.
For the race the weather fore cast says rain but it is just looming. Stellan kindly helps me out with changing my rain tyres to fresher ones. I change the final gearing going from a 40 tooth to a 42 that I usually run.
With 20 minutes to go before the race the heavens open and a frenzy of tires,men in leathers, tools, bad language erupts in the tent! Adrenaline! I actually feel comfortable in the rain and look forward to this as my chance of a good position in my mind is much better.
We go out and get three sighting laps as we haven´t had any wet laps. I latch on to Pär Cerwallius who is the fastest guy in the field. I feel great because I can follow him with ease and feel really comfortable on the bike an dwith the new tires. The only problem is that I have not put enough tape on the radiator so the temperature keeps dropping. After the third sighting lap I pit and scream for someone to help me with tape. With just four stroke riders in the pit the look at me like I am nuts. Luckily Teddy has had to pit and we try to put his tape on my radiator. I start from the pit going out on the warm up lap. The visor fogs up and teh adrenaline level is high. Great buzz. nforutnately we are only four guys starting as Teddy and Stellan decided to pit with their RS250Rs for differnet reasons. Henrik and Jocke on the Aprilia and Suzuki don´t have proper rain tyres and the rain is very intense.
The lights go out and I am last agin but at least I didn´t stall it. Pär takes the lead and I am afraid that he will get to big a gap.
On the second lap I pass Sege down the straight and on the next lap I try to pass Lasse in the braking but he once again lets go of his brakes and repasses me. I pass him going in to the Essess and see that I haven´t lost to much to Pär.
I feel so comfortable on the bike and ride with my knees down in the rain. I am so slow inthe dry that I can use the same brake and accelerate markers in the wet. I see that I am catching Pär at a very pleasing rate.
Every lap I get closer and closer to Pär and on lap six or seven I pass him going in to the Esses. I decide not to look back if he catches me and instead just try to concentrate on maintaining my pace. Apparently I quite quickly get a bit of a gap. It just feels so good and I get in to the flow and put in a string of 1.09 times with a best of 1.09.1. Considering the amount of rain I am very pleased with the time!
With only two laps to go my mind starts to wander - hey, I could win this! That woul be so great.
That was the start of a down hill end to the race. Going out of the Essess on the penultimate lap I suddenly think that I feel an unbalance from the back tire. I start thinking if I didn´t tighten the nut enough - I KNOW I did but the though is enough for me to lower my pce for half a lap while feeling if the tires is still there. Of course it is but by now Pär has caught up to me and going out on the last lap I make a wide entry to the Esses, first corner of the track, and just as I tip in I see Pärs bike in the corner of my eye. In the same spli second I loos the front. I think because I increase the steering input or maybe put some more pressure on the brkes but anyway I am on my back hitting the mud at the side of the track.
Maybe a win would have been to much of a cinderella story but I actually felt quite happy after the race. I had managed to work through a lot with the bike and my poor preparations. I am proud I din´t give in and I rode a very good race and felt so at home on the bike!
Mud instead of silver ware!
The bike crashed well this time and the suit did as well so next week I am back on track and then it is the grand finale in the National Swedish Championships with the last 250 race as a Swedish Championship so I´ll get back with two more race reports!