Here are some photos from the recent Loose Cannon track day at Darley Moor, taken by the official photographer...
Just 9 days after we were out on track at Three Sisters, we headed back to the familiar surroundings of Darley Moor for a track day organised by Loose Cannon. The day was very well organised and with only 20 riders in each group we never felt crowded out on track.
Before we ventured out onto the circuit, we were warned that the track was very "green" as it hadn't been used yet in 2020. This turned out to be more true than usual, as we discovered that there was actually vegetation growing on the track! Fortunately we were blessed with a bright and dry day, so after the first sessions, the track was back to its former glory. Perhaps more shocking was the revelation that 'on demand' hot water is now available in the toilets... :-)
Having completed over 2000 laps of the Darley Moor circuit in the past 25 years, we didn't set any particular goals for the day other than to spend more time getting comfortable riding a bike.
At the previous test day, we performed some testing with tyre pressures - and we decided to continue that testing during the track day and to monitor the effects on tyre wear. We started the day with 29psi (hot) in the front tyre and 28psi (hot) in the rear tyre. Throughout the day we took part in 6 sessions and rode a minimum of 10 flying laps in each session - so we got some decent mileage in.
In the first session we were behind the 'pace bike' for three laps before being let loose. We used this time to assess the track conditions and slowly build our pace. We were not particularly committing to corner entry or exit at this point, but it was nice to be back on track.
In the second and third sessions we built speed and made some suspension adjustments and started lapping in low 1'00 laps. Our choice of gearing meant that we were hitting the rev limiter in 5th gear on approach to back esses. We also noticed that near the end of a long run the brake lever started to feel a little bit spongy, so we will change the brake fluid before our next outing - as well as fit some new brake pads.
During the lunch break we decided to drop one tooth on the rear sprocket and also changed the tyre pressures to 32psi (hot) front and 26psi (hot) rear. The change of gearing meant that we no longer hit the rev limiter towards back esses.
During the session we caught up with James Ford and followed him into the back esses. Unfortunately, just in front of him a Honda CB500 had hit a bollard and it bounced onto the track. We saw the debris late and didn't realise what it was (or what else lay ahead), so when James Ford picked it up and ran across the grass - on his brand spanking new and extremely pretty 2020 Yamaha R6 - we did the same. Unfortunately for us, we clipped a bollard ourselves which caused some minor damage to both bike and rider. You can see the onboard footage in the video below.
For the remaining two sessions we played around with using different gears through different sections of the track. Most of the variants that we tried were ineffective, but we may just have found a few tips to carry across to our race meetings. Here is an onboard lap from later in the day.
It was a really good day overall and it was great to see some familiar faces (current racers, ex-racers and circuit staff) once again.
Before our next outing - a No Limits race meeting at Oulton Park on 14th-15th August - we plan to make some further machine changes. Once we do, we'll let you know! :-)
Here are some photos from the recent ACU test day at Three Sisters, taken by the official photographer...
Following our recent track day at Oulton Park we headed to the Three Sisters circuit for some cheap track time (£39 for a two-hour session). When we started racing in the 1990s we spent a lot of time at Three Sisters, but we hadn't visited the circuit since 2012 - since then the circuit had been resurfaced and was looking very tidy.
We arrived at the circuit around 10:30 which was well in advance of our 12:00-14:00 'open pit lane' session and gave us plenty of time to put the Kawasaki Supersport machine on tyre warmers and then have a chat with fellow racers Ian Robinson and Paul Daley.
When 12:00 arrived we headed straight out on track and did an initial run of 5 or 6 laps. On the 600cc bike, it felt like we were riding around a car park - with the bike unable to properly stretch its legs. Only 2nd and 3rd gears were used all day and our hands were already aching due to gripping the bike so tightly!
Through the day we continued to do short runs - a total of 11 runs and 65 laps during the two-hour session. With each run we got looser and more comfortable on the bike and were cirulating around the 1-minute mark. Once the lap times had stabilised, we started to play with the suspension adjustments on the Supersport machine - something we've not really had an opportunity to do as it has mainly been ridden at race events. Regardless of the adjustments, our lap times remained similar but we could identify and articulate what changes they made to the 'feeling' of the Supersport bike - we now need to work on using that information to try and reduce lap times in the future.
Fellow Northwich rider Tim Poole was also in attendance at the test day and during one of our runs we were able to follow him for a short while. Following an unfortunate crash in 2009, Tim suffered a leg injury which has since restricted his movement whilst riding - but as can be seen in the video below, he's now looking very comfortable once again. Tim is planning to compete in the 2021 Southern 100 Pre-TT Classic and 2021 Classic TT races on the machine he is riding in the video.
Following a final set of suspension changes, we headed out for our final run of the day to see whether we could put in a clean lap. Prior to this test, our Personal Best lap time around Three Sisters was a 1'00.6 lap in 1998. In the earlier runs we had logged a best of a 1'00.04 - so we desperately wanted to put in a sub-minute lap as the cherry on top of what had already been a very useful and successful day of testing. We left the pit, found a clear lap and registered a lap time of 59.76 - our first ever lap of Three Sisters under a minute, as shown in the video below. A nice little personal victory for the day! :-)
Our next outing is just over a week away, at a Darley Moor track day on Monday 20th July. We are hopeful that we can get some dry sessions during that track day so that we can compare acceleration data before/after the engine tuning performed by MSS Performance.
David Carson Jnr,