If you are attending either of these meetings, please come along and say "Hi"... :-)
As hinted in our last race review, we were hoping to announce an exciting update regarding the addition of a new race machine to our fleet.
However, with the bike (a Kawasaki ZXR400) being used to fight for the ThundersportGB Formula 400 championship, there was always an opportunity for an incident to occur whilst the bike was being used - and at the fast Craner Curves at Donington Park, the current rider lost the front end and the bike cartwheeled down the Craner Curves, shedding pieces of its bodywork along the way.
Unfortunately, this bike will no longer be joining us. But one positive from our disappointment with this is that we will have a little more time available during our final race weekend - where we will be travelling down to Thruxton for Round 14 of the NG Supertwin championship on Saturday 11th October and then travel back up to Darley Moor for their prestigious 'Stars at Darley' meeting on Sunday 12th October.
If you are attending either of these meetings, please come along and say "Hi"... :-)
At the NG Pembrey meeting a week before Darley Moor Round 6, our Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin had proved to be running well, so in the time prior to the meeting we focused on some small repairs and improvements following the Anglesey crash and front fork swap.
A small and infrequent leak had appeared from the fuel tank, so this was sent off for an expert repair; after some welding and a pressure test this was ready to be cleaned out and refit. Some fibreglass repairs to the fairing took place and we fitted some different (stronger) steering lock stops. Then an oil change and a good clean & polish meant that we were then good to go!
We travelled down to Darley Moor on the Saturday afternoon so that we could set-up before getting the scrutineering checks and signing on completed. With those successfully out of the way we ventured into Tim Poole’s caravan to watch some X-Factor before having an early night (how rock ‘n’ roll are we?!)
The only task left to complete before going onto track was noise testing - and it turned out to be a huge annoyance. When we finally got our turn to be noise tested, we registered at 104.1dB (the limit is 105dB) so were well within the limit. The problem was with the classic-bike competitors who seemed unable to stay in the orderly queue. With noise testing starting at 09:30 and with us being out on track at 10:00 we usually join the queue at 09:20, get noise tested (which usually takes 15 minutes) and then get the bike back onto tyre warmers before we venture out on track. But due to the classic-bikes continually jumping the queue this took us over 30 minutes - and that was with Lorna Carson taking matters into her own hands and making herself into a human obstacle in front of the classic bikes!
With all of the delays, when we went out onto track we gave it three laps before we upped the speed to put in a decent qualifying lap. And it seemed to work as we qualified in pole position for the Formula Darley races. In the subsequent Mini Sound of Thunder qualifying session we actually lapped faster - but so did everyone else, so we qualified 3rd in class and in 5th on the combined Sound of Thunder grid.
Upon starting our Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin for the first race, a nasty noise was heard which we believe to be a failing starter sprag clutch bearing - this is yet to be investigated… With the engine not 100% healthy we decided to play it safe and get some finishes out of the day - but we managed to still get carried away at times… Four 3rd place finishes and a fastest lap of 1’02.90 (our personal best is 1’02.42) during the day were a good reward for our efforts.
With one round remaining, we currently stand 4th in the Formula Darley championship and 5th in the Mini Sound of Thunder championship. But with double points up for grabs at the final round, the championship points are far from confirmed - but 2013 champion in both classes Brad Vicars has managed to retain both championships in 2014, so congratulations must go out to Brad!
So… We have a small repair to make prior to our final race weekend of 2014 - where we will be travelling down to Thruxton for Round 14 of the NG Supertwin championship on Saturday 11th October and then travel back up to Darley Moor for their prestigious ‘Stars at Darley’ meeting on Sunday 12th October.
But before then, we might have one more interesting update to provide… So watch this space! :-)
Videos from Darley Moor Round 6, showing onboard footage from our Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin, are now available via the Two Daves Racing YouTube channel.
Some of our more eagle-eyed followers may have noticed that the front suspension on our Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin was upgraded prior to the recent NG Pembrey race meeting. We have been building up to this switch for a while and have now finally replaced the (very capable) Maxton-converted standard ER6 forks for a set of Maxton-converted Kawasaki ZX10R forks.
For those of you considering this fork swap, here is what was on our parts list:
* 2004-2005 Kawasaki ZX10R forks and front wheel spindle
* Modified 2006-2007 Kawasaki ZX10R yokes (note: 2008-2010 ZX10R bolt straight in)
* Kawasaki ZX10R/ZX6R front mudguard
* 2004-2007 Kawasaki ZX10R Tokico calipers (or 2009< Kawasaki ZX6R/ZX14R Nissin calipers)
* 50mm Clip-on handlebars
* New brake pads & brake lines
* 54mm Steering damper clamp (if needed)
* and any other bolts/spacers/etc that you also wish to replace at this time
We chose the 2004-2005 ZX10R forks for several reasons: they were the same length as the ER forks they were replacing, they used a 20mm spindle and they used 300mm brake discs - meaning that our existing ER6 wheels would fit with only different wheel spacers being required. After a revalve and respring by Maxton suspension, along with a full service, the ZX10R forks were ready for action. The 2006-2007 ZX10R yokes bolt straight into the ER6 chassis, but prior to fitment our top yoke was milled to remove the ignition key ring and the lower yoke was milled to allow our 'Ram Air' scoop to still get plenty of cool fresh air.
The Tokico brake calipers found on the 2004-2007 ZX10Rs were well-documented to have plenty of power but lacked in feel - for this reason we decided to opt for the common conversion of fitting 2009< ZX6R/ZX14R Nissin calipers. SBS Sintered race pads were chosen as they will work well in both wet and dry conditions. 2008< Honda Fireblade monoblock calipers were also considered as they are also a straight swap onto these forks, but the Nissin calipers appeared at the right time so we opted for those.
With all of the new parts bolted on, we think that a visual improvement was most certainly made. When we arrived at Pembrey, the standard Maxton-suspension settings worked well. After making some preload and compression damping adjustments over the weekend at Pembrey, it was instantly possible to feel the changes that were made, which is nice! But the real back-to-back test to see whether a real improvement has been made will only come this weekend at Darley Moor Round 6 - as we have ridden 500+ laps around Darley Moor on this bike (yes, it really is that many!) - so any improvements, or otherwise, should be clearly apparent.
More news will follow shortly... :-)
After four weeks of recovery time for our rider, it was time for Rounds 12 & 13 of the NG Supertwin championship in Pembrey, South Wales. With our Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin repaired and ready to go, we set off on the long journey down from Northwich... 6 hours later, we arrived!
We last visited Pembrey in 1998, so the Saturday practice session was an opportunity to learn our braking points and racing lines. After 7 laps, we put in a best lap of 1’11.3 which still had plenty of room for improvement.
Wanting to stay out of trouble in the Saturday ‘Qualifying’ race, we took a cautious approach around the first corner but through the race we fought our way up into 2nd place, had a good race with Peter Gibson and reduced our lap time down to 1’06.4.
With the collarbone injury draining the rider by half race distance, the focus for the Saturday ‘Final’ race was to get a solid finish in. Another reduction in lap time to 1’05.9 and some consistent laps meant that we were able to finish in 2nd place behind Stephen Sweetman.
After a good night sleep, we started the Sunday ‘Qualifying’ race full of energy and led the race for 5 corners of the first lap before Stephen Sweetman took the lead from us. We managed to stick with Stephen until lap 6, when he passed Sound of Thunder rider Ryan Fawkes and extended his lead. A solid 2nd place finish and a best lap of 1’06.1 was encouraging for the upcoming ‘Final’ race.
The Sunday ‘Final’ race was the last race of the weekend, but the weather was dry and the sunshine was still around! We exited the first corner of the first lap in 2nd place - and that was where we finished 10 laps later. After the first flying lap, we completed the remaining 9 laps in the 1’06 second bracket; which showed that despite the recovering collarbone, we were still able to lap consistently. With another 40 championship points added to our tally, the championship standings now appear as follows.
As we were injured at the Anglesey round, the celebration of our NG Supertwin championship victory was delayed until after the Sunday ‘Final’ race. Despite the rider never having sprayed bubbly before, he still managed to successfully soak everyone!
A sticky 4.5 hour drive back (less traffic this time!) meant a late finish and the Monday off work. With the bike prepared for Darley Moor Round 6 this coming weekend, the 2014 season is slowly coming to a close…
David Carson Jnr,