Enduring memories

Thursday, 18th November

Well, as I sit here in my shed looking at the rain, I’m reminiscing on what racing has done for me in the past seven years. For 2004, I didn’t race. As may be obvious from the complete lack of anything written on these pages. And it must be said, that I missed it. My garage is currently empty, but there’s a good reason for this. My second daughter was born on 31st May, and so I’ve been wanting to spend as much time at home as possible. Yes, I’ve missed the racing, but that’s easily remedied, should I want to. The passage of time means that if I miss my children growing up, I’d never get that time again. I can’t remember who said it, but in many ways it’s better to regret something you did than something you didn’t do. So, if in 30 years time I’m wittering on, saying things like “I wish I’d spent less time with my children as they were growing up” you have every right to tell me “I told you so…”

The memories are coming flooding back to me… That first race at Lydden, back in August 1997. The first trophy at Pembrey. Big accidents at Oulton Park and Castle Combe. Making water rockets in the garages at Brands. Making friends that will last a lifetime. Losing friends in their pursuit of the same goals as myself. Crashing a mountain bike at Oulton Park. The amazing feast of sausages at Croix (and the lack of toilet facilities). The complete support shown for me by The Lovely Faye. I couldn’t have done it without you. Other notable mentions? Scotty, of course. My partner in crime and caramel desserts. James – who taught me so much about myself that I didn’t know. Roger, for his generosity – a perfect gentleman. Sol, Mark, Phil, oh, the list is endless. My life is better for knowing you all.

But, you want to know the best thing?

Really? The very best thing?

I’m doing it all again next year. Scotty, Sol and myself have decided on a last hurrah, and gone and bought the GSX-R that I’ve raced at Jurby for the past few years for a crack at the KRC endurance series.

Welcome to chapter 3…

Sunday, 27th November

I’ve never liked dyno testing. Firstly, it’s quite scary. Watching a bike on full noise spinning a heavy roller at 150mph is worrying. There’s a huge amount of energy being dissipated in a small area, and if something went wrong, it could all get horribly messy. Also, I’ve always come away from the dyno wondering exactly what it is that I’ve achieved for my £100.

However, this weekend was different. Firstly, I was going to the test session with Sol. So if the dyno turned out to be in a small shed, he could do the stuff in the shed and I’d wait outside. Secondly, as part of our sponsorship for next year, the marvellous Mark Dent of DynaPro is giving us as much free dyno time as we need. Mark is an engineering genius of the highest order. He builds 150bhp RG500s for fun. If it needs new pipes, he designs and builds them. If it needs water injection the same applies. And when he needed a dyno, he built one. Seriously, go and look at the link above, and tell me it’s not a fabulous piece of kit? Anyhow, we turned up, made tea, wheeled the bike onto the dyno and sat around drinking the tea.

After a bit of faffing fitting a new generator rotor it was time for the first run. The bike sounded rough as a badgers arse at low revs, popping and banging, running on three. It was crap. My heart sank. After a bit of fiddling and diagnosis, it transpired that plug #1 wasn’t firing at all. So, we shot off in Marks Evo 6 to get some new ones. Fitted them. No change. Mark then remembered that Suzuki ignitions are very sensitive about the polarity on the coils being correct. So we swapped them around. Now it was #4 pot that wouldn’t fire. At least we were heading in the right direction. A bit more fiddling, and we got a reasonably clean run. 138bhp, which was more than we expected, but at low revs it was still running rough. The next couple of hours were spent fiddling around with race kit CDIs and stuff, culminating in ripping out the entire wiring loom, and replacing it with a Yoshimura kit loom and CDI.

142bhp. At the wheel. On CV carbs. At 12,000rpm. Job done.

There’s still a million and one little jobs to do before we go anywhere near a track, like splicing the tacho into the Yosh loom, making up quick release brackets for the seat unit, fitting a shorter swinging arm etc. But, we’ve got a 142bhp engine, without having to rev it any more than stock, and that makes me very happy indeed.