“Two Out Of Three Ain`t Bad”

I’m no fan of Meat Loaf (aka Meat Head) and that Mark was singing it to Alan after managing to beat him in the second and third Twinshock races made my memories of it even less favourable.

However, Mark wasn’t singing about the first race, where attempting to overtake Alan on the bumpy part of the track (between the Grandstand and World-of-Sport like camera towers) he went over the bars. However, none of us or (Frank Bough or Dickie Davies) saw the spill, unlike his crash into Kevin 3 weeks previously at Berrow .

Back to the start of the day, and my not waking up. Quick kettle boil and into the van for the dash to Tredegar. Mark and Alan were ready to go, with bikes on the trailer. Quick load up and off along the Heads-of-Valleys west towards Narberth.

Arrived at 08h30 and already thinking packing the suncream would have been a good idea, as would getting an awning for the van (they are beginning to make sense, as they work in the rain too). The ultimate would be the camper van and there were a few luxury models scattered around the field. We managed to park directly downwind of the burger van, which meant we had the smell associated with a B&Q car park for the rest of the day.

Practice was delayed as marshals were enticed with the offer of a 3 course meal from the burger van. Graham also turned up on the loan bike, as the KTM was still at Fowlers after braking down after the last trip to come and watch. He found the spanners in his hand, as after the practice sessions the Yamaha was beginning to misfire and not ideal. The old adage, of always keep the airbox on the bike once again made lots of sense as the clip on filter was again not really up to the job. It needed cleaning after every race and was far from perfect.

The new silencer I’d made from a scrap YZ250 exhaust I’d got from Hockey’s breakers seemed to do the trick.

The races were for me also 2 from 3, as I dropped it in right-handers in the 1st and 2nd race, all really silly. Really enjoyable track with a mix of tight and open corners, and I must be getting better as managed to stay in the racing action for longer and actually overtook a couple of people; great fun.

The Twinshock and Sidecar racing was also good to watch, with some good battles in both. After Mark’s fly through the bars in race 1, he managed to get past Alan in race 2 without falling off and then managed to do the same in race 3.

During the trip the previous week to Denver, I’d picked up a Go Pro HD Helmet Camera (for which there is a separate write up ). Due to changing the settings on the camera to ensure it worked whilst on my helmet during a race, I flattened the battery. Therefore got 3 laps of the second race, including my dropping the bike on the first lap. The bike performed okay, but the filter wasn’t helping and by the third race I’d given up tuning and setting the bike up.

The list of continuing mods to the MX250 includes
– refit the airbox and get the filter to seat properly
– look at the carb jetting and run some experiments
– make an exhaust mount bracket for the newly formed tail pipe. Also need to do some more work to the exhaust.

Really it needs a day on a practice track to set it up and do some testing, which will also hopefully help my riding.

Four bad starts and a Spanish funeral

The event was run by Three Counties Classic Motocross and was just off J2 of the M50, so a short journey from home. Overcast, but dry was the forecast and a walk around the track with Bob Griffiths showed how dry it was. The start was a wide, blast up the hill, with the first 180 degree bend of the top. Could be interesting.

Mark, Alan and Kevin from Tredegar were all riding and with an Evo class, there were over 130 entrants on the day, with 15 in the pre-75 under 250 class, and 25+ in the Twinshock class.

Though I’d fitted a new carb to the Yamaha during the week, and that it had then started perfectly from cold, getting it started prior to practice proved to as difficult as before. Blowing through the overflow tubes (used to do that on my DT) and general abuse failed to start it, so had to resort to dropping some petrol into the spark plug hole to fire it up.

Practice can only be described as dusty, with one right-hander involving a blind surge through a Saharan sand storm. You find when you reach an aging maturity that your memory manages to store lots of useless facts, and all I could think about was Tom Cruise in that god-awful motor racing film with a young and pert Nicole Kidman having an accident driving blind through a smoke cloud.

A break before racing saw the track being watered and being in race 2, set off down to the start looking at the dark brown slime now over a lot of the track.

Kevin was running the CZ as the Beta was on ebay, ready to go the highest bidder (and also on display). He’d made up an airbox for it but still having problems with fueling so decided to improve the existing K&N like clip on filter. This involved cutting the lining out of the crotch of a pair of MX trousers and putting then over the airbox inlet. Refinement number 2 was to use the same material over the existing gauze clip on filter, though the third option of hunting down a pair of tights for lower denier filtration didn’t happen (luckily).

Sitting on the start and the bike wasn’t going to idle and it really struggled to get off the line (yep see youtube clip), and though I could get it up with the pace it didn’t want to go and finally conked out 3/4 of the way through the first lap. A slap of the carb and some healthy kicking, saw it come back to life, but only after I’d been lapped by the first couple of riders. It might have looked like third (for a while) but it wasn’t, though given that there were 3 or 4 bikes pulled up I wasn’t exactly last.

The Twinshocks went in race 8 and a busy first bend went into 2 corner chaos as Mark tried to go over the top of a fallen rider and came a cropper. The rider on the deck got up and carried out, leaving Mark to try and start the Cappra, before setting off to chase the Kramer at the back of field. Only at the end of the race did it become clear that the guy who’d he had left tyre marks on was in fact Kevin. Meanwhile, Alan had quietly (and yes, the XL350 is quiet) gone on to score victory in the Tredegar twinshock’s “race within a race”.

Race 2 saw another poor start for me, with the Yamaha bogging down off the line. It can start alright in the field, but there is something a little strange going on with the intermittent loss of grunt. A couple of fallers meant that the race was interesting, but still didn’t manage to keep pace with my target competitor.

In the paddock

The start of the second Twinshock race saw Mark launch the bike at Alan next to him, causing it to land on another bike and pushing back the gear selector lever and shaft in the process. End of race and no gears on the Cappra meant it was going back on the trailer. Post mortem has yet to reveal the level of damage that has taken place. Kevin’s CZ was still spluttering around the track and not providing the best performance.

The third and last pre-74 race, saw yet another crap start from me even though I tried to start the bike in 1st. What is happening ? It meant I was playing catch up again, which became a lot harder after dropping the bike in front of the crowd on a slippery, watered second corner. Twisted my knee slightly in the process (which only started hurting later in the evening), but managed to finish the race. Bike still not on song and becoming a little frustrating.

End of the day

Mark then took the Yamaha out for the Twinshock race and also struggled to get it off the line. Confirmed that once it was on the power band it really shifted, but getting it there was hard work. So, just prior to the grandslam event, Kevin suggested removing the tailpipe and after arriving and the start line late, then leaving the fuel tap off, managed 4 laps. The bike was transformed and was now shifting along nicely, including pulling cleanly away from corners in 2nd. As with all these things, took the final race to suss out what was going on, but does give me a few pointers ready for the next event.

Overall a good day, with a good track, slightly spoilt by the watering in places, and some good racing. The aim being to get the Yamaha a bit more involved and to get the rider more confident in the bike.

There’s plenty of pictures of riders, provided by MXDave including this one .