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Posted on Thursday, March 03 @ 15:20:27 EST by administrator


Historic support races at World Super Bikes, Phillip Island, February 2016.

Our last race meeting, 4 weeks prior, was the International Challenge at the Island Classic. The Beastess was playing up in the mid range. Trev reckoned it was like a coil dropping 2 cylinders and then kicking back in. At the event we couldn't find a spark issue, so we continued with the carb settings., but we didn't get her any better over that event.

We thought that smaller pilot jets may help. So I changed the 70's for 50's, then put her back on the dyno and made main jet and needle position and mixture screw changes. She appeared close, by Wednesday morning, but it was now time to pack up and load the truck and head to the Island. She was still showing rich, but figured we'd sort the fine tuning at the track.

By the time the truck was loaded, it was about 8pm when Trev and I headed off. (Karen and Jake were coming down early Thursday morning as they were working for Computime.) Arriving just outside the side road to the track about 10pm, we sat up for a couple of hours, chewing the fat and partaking in a beer or 2. Then try to sleep.

The plan was to walk around to the credentials office, by 8am Thursday morning and pick up our passes (Karen and Jake were there by then) and then walk back to the truck and prepare to go in through the side gate at 9.15am. The main entrance wasn't going to be open until 10am and trucks were allowed in earlier to position themselves near their pit garage, before the hundreds of cars and trailers came in. We were starting to sweat, as 9.30am had come and our gate wasn't open and we wanted to get the 19 metre semi, in before the rest, so we could manoeuvre. Well about 9.50am the gate was opened and we got in and managed the slot spot just outside our pit garage.

Well in our section we were put in a garage with 2 other bikes and we had 2, so it was going to be squeezy to work on the bikes. There were a few spare garages in our section, so we moved next door and had one garage to ourselves.

Trev and I unloaded the bikes and gear and then set about running a power lead to the truck. A bit tricky, but we made up a mast and screwed it to the side of the shed and ran it about 20 metres to Trev's truck exhaust. It ended up being about 4.5 metres off the ground, so no tripping hazard and trucks could fit under it. We had to do it in stages as the pit marshall was down the other end. Once it was up, she was happy. So now we had power to the truck for the fridge, (most important!) and the air conditioner. A nice place to relax when not working on the bikes.

I did a bit of work on the bikes and fitted new crash protectors to the head, whilst Trev went to riders briefing. (I usually go to riders briefing with Trev, but knowing this Clerk of Course, I knew it would be a marathon briefing.) Then scrutineering, where they were more interested in frame numbers than other safety issues. I told them that the powder coating of the frame had pretty much filled up the frame number and what was the big deal? They said that they wanted to see that I hadn't had a log book for a certain frame and then fitted a non period frame. Anyway, that was all ok, so back to the pit garage and fit the tyre warmers, as Trev was out on Track in about an hour, at 3.15pm, for a 1/2 hour free practice.

The plan was that I would wait in pit lane and Trev would cut a couple of laps and come in and try some changes and then head out again. Twice he came in for rear suspension changes and he told me that she still had the midrange stutter. The 3rd time he came in, he thought that the engine was running rougher. He shut her down and got off. I started pushing the bike back to our pit and I thought that it was still in gear. When looking down to change gear with my hand, I noticed a lump on the side of the rear tyre. I showed Trev. No wonder he thought that the engine was running rough, as this lump was about the size of 1/2 a tennis ball and as thin as a balloon, rubbing on the chain. It could have burst any second, had he not come in. Very lucky!

The tyre had done 6 races and a qualifying, so was 3/4 worn, but I needed to take it back to the tyre man and find out why it had occurred. A blown tyre could have been disastrous, so I was ready for a bit of a confrontation with the tyre guy. He looked at it and took some photos, then took it off the rim. He explained that once in a blue moon an air bubble can get in the inside layer. The whole way around the inside of the tyre had a line around where it had delaminated and the bulge must have been the weak spot. A brand new tyre was fitted, free of charge, so I was pretty happy with the service.

We still had a 15 minute practice at 8.50am on Friday morning and so we fitted an old tyre, with the aim of keeping the new tyre for racing. Gave The Beastess the once over , fitted a 20 tooth front sprocket, to see if we could avoid the midrange hiccup and then into Cowes, to get some beer and back to the unit, for a reasonable nights sleep.

Saturday mornings practice session was only short, but before Trev went out, we decided to retard the ignition around the 4500 to 5000 rpm mark and take a couple more clicks off the low speed comp on the rear shock. The engine surge was still there, but the handling was better.

So we had from 9.15 am until 5 pm (when our qualifying was), to have a muck around with the carbs and the electricals. We leaned the needles off one notch, but she was still showing rich. Next step was to see if we had a faulty coil around the 4500 rpm mark. We did! So that was a positive. We wired in a different coil and she ran better but not right just yet. Then we swapped the 2 spark plugs that belonged to the coil and she was better. Then we went back to the lap top and down loaded the map that we used with the 1233 engine at the Australian Titles in October. She instantly sounded better around the midrange and were reasonably confident that we'd have a better set up for qualifying.

Qualifying time and Trev dropped 2 seconds. The engine was better, but now too lean on the needle and the gearing too high.

So we lifted the needle one notch and fitted the 19 tooth front sprocket and checked her over , pushed the exhausts in another 1/4" and take one click off comp and we were ready for tomorrows races.

By now we had the A team here, as Chris and Dave had arrived, and we were pretty confident of bettering the midfield grid position.

Into town and a bit of team work as Trev and Dave went to the grog shop and Chris and I picked up the Pizzas and then met back at the unit. A healthy dinner and the usual bench racing and in bed by midnight. Up at 6 am at the track by 7.30 am and ready for race one at 8.50 am.

Fired up the bike and then refitted the tyre warmers and we were set. Trev had qualified 12th, on a 3 wide grid, so he was on the 4th row. The siren went , so the plan was get Trev going and Chris and Dave would walk over to turn 4 (Honda corner) and I would jump on the scooter and buzz around to turn 1 to watch.

Trev got a good start and had passed one guy in turn 1, but coming out of turn 2, 2 had passed him, (One day we'll have more than 110 hp.), but around Stoner corner, (turn 3) Trev was reeling them in. I was thinking that we were finally getting close with the handling as she had always been a handful around the high speed bends, but Trev was holding her flat. Come turn 4, he gained some more under brakes. A strong point is the brakes and the front end and with some big balls, The Beastess is pretty impressive in this situation. From Honda corner on, the bigger powered and lighter machines pulled away. The next lap, when Trev came in sight he had lost a bit of ground on the straight, but had closed on the 3 in front, through turn 3, with a plan to smash them on the brakes into turn 4. He flew past 2 and then I lost sight. I heard on the commentary that one bike had gone down, Shit I thought. Then the commentator said it was 666. The race was red flagged and, I jumped on the scooter and headed back to our pit.

Trev had been carted to the medical centre and I went to the scrutineering bay to pick up The Beastess. Well there didn't look like a lot of damage to the bike, so I hoped it would be the same for Trev. We waited a while for the medical diagnosis of a probable broken collar bone and ribs. They decided to send him by Ambulance to Melbourne, where he stayed a couple of nights.

Well there was nothing that we could do for Trev, so we packed up some gear and watched some of the racing.The World SuperBike racing was awesome, with the first 6 so close you could throw a blanket over them,

Saturday night I shouted out the team to a restaurant, where we ate drank and sent photos to Trev. You know the sort of things that mates do! Wink

Sunday we slept in, as there was no hurry to get to the track. We cleaned the unit and then to the track, where we packed up the pit and then watched some racing.

Sunday arvo we heard from Trev, who confirmed his injuries and said he would be out of Hospital on Monday.

Tuesday arvo, Trev called in home and said that he will be giving the racing away. I suspected that may be the case. Although he is still a great racer, he is pushing 60 and at that age you don't repair as well as you once did. He was very happy with how The Beastess was handling and he is keen to help with the power development. So we'll be taking a break for a while and will rebuild and repair The Beastess and try some new engine mods. Trev's aim is to still be test rider, whilst we continue to develop, but hand over the reins to someone else. So at this point in time, I'd say that this year will be for development and we'll be aiming on bringing out the new improved Beastess at the Island Classic in January 2017.

Thanks to our Team of Karen , Jake, Dave, Chris and Little Stevie and of course Trev. Our sponsors, Ford McKernan Engineering, Pipemasters, Lilydale Sheetmetal, PowerHouse Clearances W.A, Airvolution Kustom Art, TM Performance / Shocktech and not to forget our hundreds of supporters all around the World.

Cheers, Rol.

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