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Greatly though it went against the grain, racing had to be put on hold at
the beginning of the year due to the huge amount of work needed to get the
new web-site up and sorted. So no entries for the British Historic racing BEARS
series for which the Daytona is suited, an especial shame as the competitors
are still sorting themselves out and most of the bikes have been potentially
beatable. And the CRMC meetings have had to be ignored too, not least because
both bikes were in need of some sustained work to get them in a fit state to
compete there. The first part of the season has therefore been mainly about
getting that work done, and here at least is some good news; the Daytona having
been put back on the road for extensive testing, the gearbox is now working
beautifully after a thorough fettle and the misfire that plagued it at the
end of last year has gone.
So here is the year so far:
Thundersprint 13th May
Thundersprint has usually been the week before our Beer & Pretzels Games Weekend, but due to the Town Hall cocking the dates up the two events clashed this year. Since neither could be missed I had to be as close as possible to being in two places at once, this involved setting up and running the show in Burton all day on Saturday, socialising till midnight, then getting up at 4 a.m. to set off to Northwich. The Cub went like a rocket off the line and I was second fastest in my class after the two practice runs. By the time of the three timed runs in the afternoon the lack of sleep was catching up with me, and I just couldn't get the first bend right. The good news was that I never-the-less got the time down to just under 25 seconds, nearly half a second faster than last year, but the bad news was that everyone else improved their times too and I ended up fourth, my worst ever result. Still, once again the weather had done us proud and a good time was had, a hasty departure got us back in time to help clear up at the Town Hall.
Morini Riders Club Track Day, 15th June
This was an opportunity to try both bikes out, the Cub with different gearing and the Daytona with a modern-style silencer which meets the requirements of the noise regulations but which seemed to stop the engine revving freely. It is not restrictive, its main disadvantage should just be the considerable extra weight, but playing around with different carburettor settings was still not getting it right. The bike felt quite good on the ride up to Cadwell Park, until it started holding back just before I got to the campsite. On the track the next day it was still clearly not right.
Meanwhile, the Cub, which had been taken up in Jenny's van, was going well, albeit still with an annoying oil leak or two. With the gearing slightly lower than usual it was sitting at its maximum 8000 revs for half the main straight, it seemed quite happy but higher gearing seems a good move. Importantly, unlike last year, it didn't seize the piston.
Back to the Daytona, and checking the carbs revealed a loose main jet, and it went much better with that fixed, though still not quite at its best. On the ride home the next day it was sometimes spitting back a bit at medium throttle - on further investigation I found that one of the rubber carb mountings had split over half way round its circumference. Fitting a spare sorted that, but if the split had been developing for a while, that will have affected the carburation, so the needle positions were changed again, and a different pair of main jets were lined up for the next track session where trying the flat-out performance would be more acceptable to the local magistrates.
Festival of 1000 Bikes 7-8th July
More complicated arrangements due to clashing events - Sally needed to stay in the shop to run a Magic tournament on Saturday, and I needed to get two bikes to Mallory Park with a car and single-bike trailer. Fortunately Mallory is less than an hour away, so on Friday I splashed through the flooded roads with the Cub on the trailer, got it scrutineered and signing on done, then returned home leaving the bike and trailer in the race paddock. At 7.30 on Saturday morning I was heading back to Mallory on the Daytona, needing to be there by 8.30 without fail for entry to the race paddock which would be shut for several hours thereafter. The weather was just about dry first thing, but the forecast was for something between Noah's flood and Armageddon. Amazingly, however, there was still no rain by the time of my first session around 10 a.m. Excellent. The moment arrived to go out and have some fun, the light turned to green - and my clutch cable snapped.
A few seconds later, with the cable adjuster dropped into my pocket, the broken
cable tucked behind the headlight, and a quick push from the start-line marshal,
I was away, with several laps of clutchless gear changes confirming that the
gearbox is indeed working very nicely. The cable was repaired before the next
session, and while the bike was perhaps not at its absolute fastest, it seemed
to be holding its own, and a good time was had. After the third and last session
I rode straight up to the Morini Riders Club stand to pick up my back-pack,
re-attach the tax disc and mirror, and then ride back to the shop. With friend
Andy lined up to look after the Magic players still hard at it, Sally and I
headed for home to load the car up with food, beer and bedding, arriving back
at the circuit by
8 o'clock in plenty of time for booze, band and fireworks, with no need for an early night as the first session on Sunday was not till lunchtime.
Sunday dawned grey and overcast, but still not actively raining. I was due out just before lunch but due to one of the Past Masters taking a tumble the schedule fell behind so that all three sessions were after lunch. There was therefore no time to rebuild the top end if the need arose, happily the only problem was the clutch adjustment slackening off somewhat, a cursory investigation revealing no apparent reason. In the last two sessions I came upon a howling Honda, the traditional enemy in the 200cc class, which spurred me on to greater efforts, resulting in a satisfying chamfering of toe slider through the Esses as well as at the Hairpin, and eventual success in getting ahead. Several Morini Riders Club members were ideally placed to watch the titanic struggle, but nobody noticed...
Just after crossing the finishing line on the last session, the engine went dead and I couldn't pull the clutch in. Finding that the spark plug had unscrewed its central core - a common problem about 90 years ago but a bit strange these days - I screwed it back in place and once again got a push from a marshal to drop it straight into first gear from neutral to overcome the lack of clutch control, getting back to the paddock with more clutchless gear changes. Then it was back home with the bike on the trailer, to investigate the clutch problem, which was down to a ball bearing having broken up at the end of the clutch pushrod, easily solved. So, on the face of it, the bike is ready for Donington next month. We shall see.
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