Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Test Day 2013: Mallory Park

Before I got to the test day, there were a few tasks to be completed. For a start, the entire engine was still stripped from Cadwell Park 2012 so we had our work cut out to reassemble and fix things along the way. Nothing had drastically been altered but we had changed the magneto gasketing for a custom made, stronger counterpart. I had managed to get away with only using one piston through 2012 so a new one was machined and used in assembly. Otherwise, no real changes - same gearbox and overall drive ratio, same top end and despite our best efforts, the same exhaust.

A DRT gearbox has been selected by using the criteria decided at the 2013 AGM but has yet to see manufacture and I am still messing around with exhaust pipes. I will just have to lean off the bike a bit more to alleviate the ground clearance issue.

I failed to start the bike at home on my own as the clutch is a real pig when it is cold and the rebuild didn't help. However, now that I could drive the Mazda Bongo, I took the bike over to Replay Scooters to be started and hopefully tested. However, it soon became clear that the six months I had experienced away from Lambrettas had resulted in me being very rusty - leading to some stupid mistakes.

At the dyno, the clutch was far too tight and a replacement cable was required so that was the first thing. The throttle cable had also found its way out of the housing leading to difficult starting and the carburettor not closing properly. A few more teething problems were found such as the HT lead routing but within an hour, we had tested the bike on power and despite reading lower than the start of 2012, it was consistent with what we had found towards the end of the season.

So we were both ready for the Mallory Park Test Day. And what a cold, cold day it turned out to be. Scruiteneering was passed with a not on loose forks and my numbers being too close together but we were both ready with plenty of time before the first session... which came and within a few laps, I felt surprisingly confident with the feel of the bike again.

I felt much stronger through Gerrard's and took people on the outside which was a confidence boost. I wasn't pushing too hard and braking for Edwina's was far off a fast pace - as was the racing line due to a well placed patch of oil. Up to Shaw's corner was good and I felt good though the whole section. Devil's elbow still saw me not on full pace but entering Gerrard's felt much more stable than it had last year with my rear suspension properly adjusted. I could feel a massive improvement over the previous year's test day.

No changes before the second session but on the last lap the bike developed an issue. I made it back to the pits and with a moment of deja vu realised that the ignition mount had let me down in a similar fashion to the previous year... and also in a similar way to Lydden Hill. However, the bike had been tested and I was confident in the setup oncemore. New parts would be required but the engine had not let me down drastically and everything was repairable before Croft.

Dad had also had an issue with his bike, the plating had chipped on his newly tuned Mugello engine and forced him out in the same race as me. We both watched the rest of the day and were impressed with everyone's performance but most notably Mike Bonett - who looked fantastic despite not feeling well. It was also nice to see the DKS pair in formation reminiscent of spectating Chris Geyton and the recently passed Jon Uffindell in 2012. Jon will be a noticeably missed character in the paddock and never forgotten.

Onto the first round of the season at Croft will see us struggle with the Easter weekend and deliveries but we are entered and I am eagerly anticipating learning the new circuit. Good luck to everyone heading up there and we will see you there.

Photos: Lee Hollick Photography 

Race Scooter: All events occurred 21st March 2013