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Ian Porter Racing

 

Brands Hatch 1/11/01

 

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Track Day Practise

It basically took me about 1hr & 45 minutes to get to Brands from Streatham in London which is normally a 45 minute journey due to severe traffic. I missed the first session as a result but that gave me plenty of time to get ready for the second session. Due to this extra time of arriving late and missing the first session I had more time to check the bike as you do after
many years of experience.....I say no more. 

In my check it came to light that the split pin and accompanying link was missing. The protruding half of the split link assembly was relatively tight but never the less this could have been a disaster. As I say " from experience" check your bike before going out each time, it takes less than a few minutes but could save your life.

It was time to give the R1 a bit of an outing and check out what the fuss is all about ( R1 power ). The tyre was a very used pair that came with the bike and it's day's were numbered before I even started. Problem was I brought the compressor and tyre changing tools but forgot to bring the living tyre itself. This is the type of thing you do at the beginning of each season until you settle back in, so I guess the new 2002 season has started early for me.

Anyway the sessions rolled and were frequently stopped so I only got a string of about 10 laps at most at any given time but that was all the tyre could take anyway. During the early morning, Sean another Go Star key player arrived to give me jibe, assistance and generally bollock me if he thought I was not trying or doing a good job. His time will come as he will be beginning a racing career in 2003 after a 2002 preparation season. Let the fat lady sing
please.

The suspension was set with a hard spring by the previous owner as I guess aggressive throttle pilots prefer hard springs but it wrecks tyres and I believe the previous owner only managed 15 laps a pair. This has to go and after speaking to Kais suspension about this they confirmed what I thought and the spring is on the strong side and not their recommended for a 12 stone 8lb when naked type of chap. 

The spring details can be found etched on the spring coils itself that Kais can interpret as a spring weight. As the tyre was well gone it gave me some practise on how the bike feels when drifting out of a corner and in the later stages it drifted on the way into druids just at the point when I got of the brake and onto the gas. I am not a slide artist as I prefer the smooth approach and hence the experience was a bit new on a 140bhp beast. It especially liked to slide at the very bottom of paddock hill bend.

At one stage before the tyre went to pieces I got on the gas hard coming out of clearways in third and the beast reared up and the front crossed before landing with a slight head shake. The previous owner fitted a steering damper which damps according to how quickly movement is detected. It's not a good technical description but basically the damper allows the steering to be turned without too much effort if the turning force is gradual but stiffens the damping if the steering head turning force is violent, similar to a seat belt in a car. 

His advise on stiffening  the steering damper was spot on, as when it landed the damping snapped the wheel straight in line from a crossed up position. Next to my previous tuned ZXR400 that I used for a number of years this is by far the fastest thing I have ever ridden in my life. It's real fun and more exploration is required to understand and ride it better. 

Already I'm thinking I can't go back to a slower bike, the way the bike rushes to the next corner.....speed is everything and the king is speed, long live speed, long live the king.

Go Star Racing 2001
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e-mail ian@gostar-racing.com