FX Superbikes Round 1. Meri and I had worked together at the track several times now, so we had our routine down to a fine art. Mitch & I worked hard to get the bike ready to race, so all that Meri had to do was work hard on the track, and work hard she did! Meri placed 15th, 17th and 16th for races 1,2 & 3 in the AM-Sport 600 class, and finished 17th in the Stars of Tomorrow class. Meri’s lap times were consistent with testing, and she rode exceptionally well considering that she was still getting used to her new bike. We opted to fit a new rear tyre for racing on Sunday, so I quickly dropped in to the workshop on my way home to get it ready for Sunday morning.
FX Superbikes Round 2. This morning was a little foggy, and the forecast was for showers or a storm later in the afternoon. We only had a short warm up and no practice before racing started today. I don’t know what Meri ate for breakfast, but her competitors were on her menu for the rest of the day. Meri placed 8th, 7th and 7th outright for her races in the AM-Sport 600 class, and took first place in D grade in each of these races. Meri also finished 16th in the Stars of Tomorrow class, which is no mean feat considering how many litre bikes are in that class. Meri was exstatic to learn that she was taking home the trophy for her class today, and we were very proud of her for doing so. She had some great battles with her competitors, and worked very hard to get the result that she achieved.
Mitch & I at Racetune Moto have been around racing for many years. We have seen what makes a good team tick, and what makes a bad team fall apart. A great team ticks like clockwork, and I feel that Meri, Mitch & I had this tick over rounds 1 & 2 of the FX Superbikes Series. Our preparation, attention to detail and determination helped get the results we all were looking for. We are all on the same page, and we know that Teamwork makes the Dream Work. Not long now, and we will be racing again in sunny Queensland, we’ll keep you posted.
Track Day #1. Meri did a couple of laps on her old bike to test if we had miraculously cured the 6th to 5th gear issue at turn one, however under hard load, it would still false neutral, so back to the drawing board on that one. Meri decided to park up the old bike for the day, and continue testing with the new bike. We had ordered a new quick shifter for the new bike, however it had not arrived in time, so I had to remove the quickshifter from Meri’s old bike and fit it to the new one. The first session out with the new bike, and Meri reported that the bike was physically difficult to turn the handlebars, so I backed off the steering bearings a little to test how that feels. Then we had troubles with the steering dampener bracket rubbing on the top triple clamp and binding, this day was just not going well.
Track Day #2. Meri had asked Rob from Well Sprung to join us and assist with dialing in the suspension on the new bike. Meri had worked with Rob previously and found him to be very helpful. Rob did a great job, and we worked together to determine our next move regarding the suspension. We concluded that the springs were too hard, and required replacement. Meri finished the track day with the suspension being too hard, and it did beat her up a bit over these two days of testing.
We swapped out the springs, making approx. a 10% change on the front, and approx. 5% on the rear. We opted to only change one thing at a time, so the dampener settings were left as they were set on our last track day. We knew that they would require adjustment to suit the new springs, however we didn’t need to create extra confusion by changing too many things at once. The bike was reassembled and we headed out to the track again with Rob for a second round of testing. The bike was immediately better, the front end was compliant, turned in nicely and no longer beat Meri up over the bumps. The rear however was still a fraction firm, and this led to Meri finding limited confidence under brakes and acceleration. Back to the shop to get the springs finalised.
Our next day at the track was practise for the first round of the FX Superbikes, and we still had a lot to do. The rear spring needed changing again, we were working with the tune on our dyno, and wanted to touch a few things up before we went racing with the bike, and we had to final fit the new fairings that Meri had painted. This may not sound like much, but we had to fit this in with other customers and jobs that we already had going through the shop. We raced against time, and the bike was fully dressed with its new fairings, tyres, tune, seat and stickers late on Thursday afternoon, we were ready to go racing! Meri and I packed up the bike and our gear, and headed out to the track to set up for practise on Friday morning.
Our next blog will cover our first race meeting in the FX Superbike Series, Be sure to follow us next week.
There is a lot that goes in to getting a bike ready for racing. No matter if you start with a brand new bike, or something pre loved, you still have a lot of work ahead of you before you hit the track. Sometimes it is as simple as a service and some new tyres, however we’re a little bit more fastidious, and tend to pull the bike down in its entirety, to make sure that every part is correct.
Recently we teamed up with Meri from Meri Malena Racing, to provide support for her during her 2017 racing season. Meri has a 2010 Yamaha R6 that she had done numerous track days on, and had raced in a couple of events prior to our engagement. We went through Meri’s bike, starting with a valve clearance adjustment, engine oil & filter replacement, brake fluid flush, coolant flush, and suspension service. Her bike had developed a problem changing from 6th to 5th gear whilst setting up for turn one at Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP), which we tried to identify on our dyno, however it would not fault when we were testing it. We suspect that there is a problem with the shift fork or shift drum, and will need to disassemble the gearbox to correct this issue.
Soon after we teamed up with Meri, she purchased another bike. She stuck with Yamaha, and simply updated to a 2014 model R6, that had been previously raced. The bike was originally owned by a successful racer who had moved up to the litre class, and then was sold to another club racer. The bike had a lot of great upgrades on it, and was easy to get ready to pass scrutineering. That being said, every bit of the bike still needed to be serviced, as we were about to find out. We inspected the bike prior to Meri purchasing it, and when it was first started, it had a bit of a misfire, we assumed that it was just stale fuel, because when the bike was restarted, it ran fine. The fairings were a bit rough, but nothing that we couldn’t work with, and overall the bike was tidy.
We started with the basics as we did on Meri’s first bike, valves, coolant, oil, filter etc, and this is where the fun started. Upon re-assembly, the bike would not fire on #1 & #4 cylinders. We worked back through our steps to make sure that we hadn’t missed anything. We have done thousands of major services, and a problem like this can normally be attributed to a plug not being re inserted correctly. We made sure that all was correct, but the problem was still there. After several hours of conclusive testing, the quick shifter was to blame. It had simply developed a fault in the module, and would not function correctly on the outside cylinders. With the quick shifter removed, we were back in business.
Meri had purchased new fairings for the bike, and like any new race glass, they had to be fitted, drilled, threads installed, and modified to fit the exhaust and crash knobs on the bike. There were many hours in doing this, and luckily Mitch has extensive experience working with fiberglass, so he did a fantastic job of making it all fit. Now that the new glass was ready, Meri took it to the painters to get a custom paint job. We refitted the old glass because we had a couple of track days coming up, and we needed to get the suspension dialed in. The springs measured up a bit heavy for Meri’s weight, we set them as close as we could because we were out of time by this stage to perform a respring of the bike.
Our next blog will cover our trials & tribulations at the track, Be sure to follow us next week.