So here we are with only 6 days to go till we get on the ferry for the 04 TT races. This year we are better prepared than ever.
We have 3 bikes almost ready; last years GSXR 1000 F1 bike has now had its frame sorted. We had all sorts of handling problems with this bike last year. It has 178 rear wheel HP, but the rider, Dave Castle, said last year it was a battle to ride it fast. We had a crack in the frame, near the shock mount, that required welding whilst we were there at last year’s races, but even swapping all the suspension over from the GSXR 750 didn’t sort the handling. It seemed that no matter what we did, the bike was a B*stard to ride fast, yet on short circuits the bike was awesome. We stripped the bike when we came back and sent it to Spondon Engineering in Derby to have the frame checked out. Spondon used to manufacture race frames and they know their stuff. They diagnosed the problem as a bent frame and they were surprised that the bike had actually completed 6 laps at race pace of the TT circuit. They said the bike must be a real pig to ride, to which I replied, that’s what the rider said…..
Anyway, they cut off the headstock, straightened and strengthened the frame and welded the headstock back on straight. Pictures have been posted in the gixxer.com TT forum. The previous owner to me must have crashed the bike more than I thought, to have got the frame so far out. Spondon also sorted the quick release wheel mechanism with a new strengthened Spondon special swingarm. They also diagnosed the old swingarm to be one of the early “bendy like a banana” ones. So the bike is now back together, just waiting on the new Micron serpent exhaust system and the progressive throttle to arrive from crescent, then it can be dyno'd again before we go.
We are very confident the GSR 1000 F1 bike will handle this year. It has enough horsepower to compete against the factory teams, so we are aiming for a top 10 finish. We also have a GSXR 1000 K3 for the production race. The rules this year are tighter than ever for the production race. There is virtually no engine tuning allowed, no power commanders can be used, the bike must remain as standard apart from a race fairing, suspension changes (new rear shock and fork internals only), twin brake lines and race pads and race rearsets. Other than that the bike must be as stock. The organisers have promised to be more rigorous this year on checking bikes meet the rules, as last year several competitors were known to be cheating with different exhausts, brake discs, tuned engines etc, which is not really in the spirit of the races.
The GSXR 600 is the same bike that we competed on last year. We know it goes well round the island based on last years results. The bike will be raced in the 600 production race and the junior TT, however as we will be using a production spec bike in the Junior race against tuned 600’s we know we are up against it from the start. Unfortunately our budget did not allow us to buy another 600 bike to tune and race in the junior race. Like most things in life, being successful in racing depends on how much money you have to throw at the project. Ideally we would have more bikes, more spares, more tyres etc, but we are still on a limited budget as a privateer team, but are competing against the factory teams and their paid riders. Still, we will be in there giving them a run for their money.
This year we are running the two GSXR 1000 bikes in a black colour scheme, with red trim, courtesy of our new main sponsor, who are an accountancy firm in the UK called Lishman Sidwell Campbell and Price. The GSXR 600 is staying in last years blue colour scheme. Gixxer.com logos will appear on all 3 bikes and I will post some pictures of the bikes once the bodywork has been put back on.
Thanks again for everyone that has supported the team, especially all those that bought raffle tickets and made donations. A special thanks to one of our sponsors, Dean at Galfer brakes, for again supplying brake lines and pads for the bikes. Our rider Dave was a bit sceptical of using Galfer brakes last year, mainly because they were new to the UK and he had no experience of using them. However, after the first practice session he said the brakes were just awesome for what was essentially a stock set-up using standard calipers, standard master cylinder and standard discs, but with Galfer pads and lines. When we were discussing this years races, Dave’s first comment was to make sure we could use the Galfer brake pads again, so a big thanks to dean, plus congratulations to him on the birth of his new baby, a future AMA champion he tells me.
I will endeavour to post a diary like last year of the daily events of the team, plus pics to keep all you guys informed.
Thanks again and wish us luck