My race weekend actually started on Tuesday evening..... Prior to this at the last round I had many issues with my transmission not wanting to shift / stay engaged, it happened previously and was occurring more and more often. After tearing into it trackside, I found all three shift forks were bent. A week later after trying to examine it while in the motor I decided it was best to split the cases and get a better look at the situation. I found not only the sift forks were bent but also a nick in the shift drum and some rounding on the edges of all the dogs. I promptly ordered all the parts needs and since I was spitting cases I decided to add a thinner head gasket, and switch my cam gears to the adjustable slots. So Tuesday evening I headed from NY back to CT (90 miles each way) to start the reassembly of my engine. As I headed home the rear end of my truck started to have a slight hum and progressively gotten worse and worse as I got into CT, I had just replaced the pinion seal so something else has now gone wrong. Now with my truck unable tow I still pushed on. I had previously built car motors and transmissions, yet this was still a learning experience. I had some humps but in the end after two days, 360 miles of driving back and forth, and 8hrs of sleep she was back together and running....
Thursday night with no truck I decided it would be easiest to pick up a Uhual from down the road Friday morning. That morning I headed over and picked up a GMC Sierra. I get home and pull the trailer out only to find the truck has no 7-way. I was fuming, how does a truck that has a tow hitch and 4 way not have a 7. Looking under the bumper I see that the truck is wired and the OE harness is there but Uhual removed the plug and put a plate over the hole with only their 4way. I say f it and Ill jerry rig some wires up. As I hitch up and look over my trailer I find one of my tires is flat
. Feeling defeated, I told my self if there’s a nail it I’m done and calling it a weekend. I jack it up find nothing, fill it with air, then hear the sound of air coming from the valve stem
. I head over to town fair have them swap it then head over to Uhaul. I kind of played the wtf card with the kid, he was cool about it and they ironically happen to have the OEM plugs on the wall he tells me to take it and just return it after the weekend; no charge. I get home load up and decided since all the neighbors are at work to give the bike another quick rip up and down and loaded her in the trailer....
After 4.5 long hours (normally 3.5) I arrive at NHMS.. As I unload I go to start the bike up and it is STONE dead, not even a flicker of light on the gauge cluster. I presumed a connector must have shaken loose on the journey so I pull it apart and find nothing wrong. Faucher happened to have a charger so we put it on the battery and find the battery is completely dead. After a long charge she fired right up and I was ready for practice in the morning
Saturday morning I teched and headed out for practice, with the freshly built motor I decided to take here easy with each lap and increase rpms and my throttle percentage. In my last three laps as I reached the 11.5 mark the power band just went flat and was acting as if it were bouncing off the rev limiter from 11.5-14k... I pulled in, thought about things and what couldn't be right. Originally when installed the cams I just set them in the adjustable slots without properly degreeing them (the tools were up at the track at the time). I also knew from the very few people online that have done a thinner head gaskets and cam timing on the dyno that they all generally ran +4° of ignition timing from 0-7k and then varying +/-1° after that so I put in +2° through out the entire range. I went back out and still seem to have the same issue. After talking with #29 Mike Weyant, we discussed it and we under took the task of properly adjusting the cams which with my bike is no easy task as the frame gives you no clearance to work in. So I decided to drop the motor on the spot. Not thinking the process through I decided it would be fun to leave an Exxonmobile Valdez sized spill when I forget about the oil level versus the motors angle.
After the mad scientist Mike was done with his practice / qualifying he lent me his tools and experience and we set forth to degree in the cams. We had discovered my intake cam was grossly off timing, after a long while of tooling and some math we decided it was best to go back to stock and see if the problem is rectified.
After another 4 hours (2 of which was several attempts to get the cams set in right, its a pita to get them just right). Unfortunately with all of this I missed GTO and the Dash, if I just put them back to stock at the beginning I could have made it for the both races to at least the dash, however I filed a mechanical for both. Adding insult to injury during this time the sole of my shoe ripped off lol. Around 6pm the bike was back up and running. I also took the time to do a compression test to make sure they were in proper condition, as they were all in spec / 5psi of each other.
Sunday practice; again taking it easy through each lap progressively getting on it more and more as I finally got up to 11.5k the problem was gone and she was pulling nice and hard. I could tell it wasn't 100%, as it still needs to be retuned however it was certainly race worthy. Then after that I had MTaG put on a new set of Pirelli V2s and was good to go for Race 8 MWSs.
Race 8 MW Supersport- Grid 8A
As I pulled up to pre grid the bike felt a little jerky but thought it was just me. As I did my warm up lap everything felt great and was happy to finally be racing. As I went to launch my bike things got very jerky / bucking I tried to clutch it and upshifted and as I went through turn 1 the rpms increased it dissipated. At the back of the pack coming through T4 I see a yellow flag out, the pack all slows and I presume there will be a restart so I roll off. As I come out of T12 I see the pack continuing through so I roll back on the throttle and continued the race. I actually caught up and past one or two guys.. However on the last lap I downshift into T12 and the trans gets caught up and I decided to bail into pit lane and call it quits. I had notice during the race that my peddle wasn't adjusted right and wasn't traveling as far up as it should be so when I came back in I adjusted the angle of travel and prepped for race 14
Out Lap 1:39.7
Best Lap 1:22.5
Despite my issue it makes me really happy to see a 22s because I know for a fact I was only running at 80% of my potential....
Race 14 - Grid 6A
As I pulled out of the garage I notice the same slight jerky feeling again, but I gridded and pressed on. Same issue occurred again at the start and was continuing thought the out lap. I decided it wasn't even fun anymore, I couldn't trust the bike and pitted back in before completing the first lap.
I loaded my bike up and packed up for the weekend. It has been very upsetting and frustrating, I’ve owned this bike for ten years now and it has never given me the least bit of an issue till now
I sat and thought about things and I think adding insult injury I think I now have an electrical gremlin... The bike did something similar to this many years ago when I installed too high of a wattage headlight bulbs and were causing an electrical drain. Mind you referring to previously when I arrived at the track the battery was stone dead I think I may have a stator / rectifier issue. Fortunately there’s some time between rounds so I have time to diagnose both and see, after which it will go to John at Dyno Solutions for a tune up. I may try to make it to a Tonys Track day in between also and give it a good shake down too.
Summery of the weekend:
Blown Jeep rear end
Uhaul and with no 7way connector
Trailer tire Flat
Cams off sync
One motor removal
A Valdez spill
A ripped shoe
and an electrical gremlin
And yet with all of that I still enjoyed being there with everyone this weekend
Hope to see everyone next round and with a bike at 100% and a racer at his 100%
and a special that you to #29 the Mad Scientist Mike Weyant for all his time this weekend, I owe you