Monday, 17 October 2011

Getting Ready for the Cambrian

I had meant to post this up before the Cambrian Rally (15th/16th October) but didn't quite finish it but thought i'd post it anyway.

In the interests of improving on my performance from the Hafren Rally, what have I done to better prepare myself for the Cambrian Rally, only three days away.

First off was the obvious stuff, give the bike a good clean after the weekend's laning trip and strip off the race numbers from the Hafren. This also helps in checking the bike over for faults and thankfully there are very few.

The stretched silencer mounting strap has been replaced by a nice new one complete with new rubber, that sounds quite simple but it took me two hours to get it to fit right and required a bit of modification!

The full size and therefore extra prone to breaking, number plate was to be replaced by a smaller and flexible plate. Unfortunately it turned up in the post on Saturday, the day after I left!

Whilst not strictly legal, it's far better than some of the so called number plates I spotted on the Hafren, a bit of yellow self adhesive vinyl on the rear mudguard with digits written in black marker pen was one I saw. Other competitors simply took theirs off, despite the requirement for bikes to be "road legal".

One problem I had at the Hafren was blisters on my hands, so in an attempt to prevent this I replaced the rubber grips with Progrip foam ones, these were tested on Sunday and were a marked improvement.

Remarkably the chain was not in need of adjusting after the race and only required a very small amount after the weekend's outing. It was duly sorted and re-lubed.

The carburetor is still set up for the CCM race "silencer" (oh no it's not) that the bike came fitted with and although I have re-fitted the standard silencer to ensure I comply with the 94db enduro noise limit, I have not attempted to change the settings as last time I did, this resulted in the engine running too lean and seizing on me. This required a replacement engine so I'm loathe to go there again!

That being said the bike runs OK even if the throttle response is a bit "soft" as its over-fueled at wider throttle openings. I have considered changing the carburetor needle position to improve pick up but with no time to really test it out before the Cambrian, I have decided to leave well alone.

Ever since I have had the bike the front suspension has felt a bit harsh so I have experimented with the rebound damping by softening it up a little, this did seem to have an effect but I'll be the first to admit I am no expert on suspension setting.

I think I will be treating the bike to a proper professional suspension set up over the winter as well as attempting to get the carburetor settings sorted, possibly by running the bike on a dynometer.... oh err this is all getting a bit serious!

I had thought that if I get hooked by the Rallying (I am already) I might consider a new bike for next year but to be honest I'm really pleased with the CCM especially as I have done nothing to it prior to racing, so it will be interesting to see how it goes after some professional fettling! Plus there is the minor problem of finding the money!

One minor problem I had at the Hafren was knowing what the time was to ensure I was ready at the right time for starts etc. I have in the past used an old sports watch strapped round the handlebars but just before the rally the battery died and the strap snapped, well I suppose it was about 15 years old! Trying to find my watch under moto cross jersey and body armour jacket was a pain, so a trip to Argos and a shiny new Casio (actually the same model of watch) was obtained, a bit of a result as it had been reduced from £19.99 to only £8.99.

And of course the vital preparation, some new Mad Cow Racing Stickers for the bike! It is still wearing silver stickers on the polished aluminium swing arm but these are not very visible, so some new black ones were obtained. Unfortunately with all the rush to get the preparation done, this got pushed to the bottom of the "to do list" and didn't get done!

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