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.
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.
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.