Shake Down Test At Oulton Park

Wednesday saw my first outing on the new R6 and well that didn’t go so well. First things first, I didn’t come off, so at least that’s one thing.
First off I was later than intending to get to the track and had to park up a distance away from the garage spot I got, not a disaster but always puts you a bit on the back foot. Swapped the tyres for the wets, do the briefing and get ready for the noise test. Hit the start button and the slow sound of “I am a flat battery” fills my ears. Bugger. The cold snap and stop/starty of bits and bobs I have done to the Yamaha have taken it’s toll. It’s a pain to get to, so many clips, and I don’t have my boaster pack with me. I get it charging and nab a spare battery with the the connectors the wrong way round, but a session is gone. No great shakes, it was wet anyway.
The bike is back together and running for the second session and bang on 98dB with the baffle in (despite being not a proper test I am still happy enough with that). I get out a bit late, only intending on doing a couple of laps to warm the oils in the suspension. As I head out it’s all a bit alien. After years on the Gixxer this feels odd. Low at the back, no room at all, almost sit up and beg riding position. Open it up and… Holy hell what is this?!?!?! The back is all over the place, the front has a delay on its action and then tries to catch up at an alarming rate. I knew it would be different but this is quiet frankly terrifying. Straight back to the pits, trying to stay out of everyone’s way to see the very helpful In Front Motorcycle guys. It was so bad that the No Limits guy came to check if I was out in the right group as the marshals where about to black flag me.
A quick diagnoise and the thought’s is the back is too low. The lad I bought it off was quiet short, so but my more lardy 14 1/2 stone weight on a too softer spring and the possibility that he removed the 5mm spacer to lower the back end and everything is just so out of setting it’s not working. The IFM guy rings Richard, the main man at Maxton, who are just down the road to check if they have a new spring and to see if it’s a short stroke or something odd in there. The information comes back and as people go out for their 3rd session the shock is coming out and I am off to Frodsham to find Maxton. 20 mins later and a wallet £66 lighter I was back off to Oulton Park with my new spring set to my weight and reset to default settings and a range of spacers to use, and the standard 5mm one back in place.

Back at the track and IFM set to work putting the bike back together, setting the sags and the like. Time to get my gear on and get out.
Out the pit, it feels a bit “odd” head out and… it’s still evil and bad tempered, even trying to spit me off in at pit exit. It’s like there is a delay between me asking for turn in and it actually turning in, and then it does it ALL at once. So it’s straight back in. This time the culprit looks like the steering damper. A loosen off, a addition of a washer and I get to go out with the novices for a lap to see how things are. Again, the same. Not as bad but still terrifying. Back in and it’s time to remove the steering damper totally and try and go around the car park. A few up and rounds and I am still getting a big delay in input response. It won’t even stay true. IFM are now scratching their heads a bit, and I must admit I get the feeling I have bought at lemon.
With the steering damper doing nothing I go out for another go, this time I grit in and do 2 laps to see if I can more information to relay back. It’s better in faster corners and horrible in slow ones. I leave an ear plug out so I can hear people coming and hop out the way, but still get in a few peoples way, sorry fellas.

I come in and I get asked if I can get out of the fast group and go in the inters for the final session of the day. I am only too glad and in all honesty I was going to ask myself to go in the Novices or Inters until I get it sorted.

The next thing on the list is the headstock racer bearings. Maybe they are over tightened or damaged. The front tyre is also a bit under pressure, which is due to be binned at the end of the day for Metzeler’s new RRs which we are required to run from Oulton onwards in Street Stocks, which may have added to the feeling, but I know it’s not just an under inflated tyre, but it won’t help. With only 20 mins to go I head out with a bit more loosing off the front and upping the pressure in the tyres is all I have time for.

Out on the final session of the day and I get a bit more feel. It’s still evil. Properly, properly evil I decide to do a few laps and just as I am thinking about coming in someone comes off at Island and that’s it for the session and my day.

So in short. I have some major issues to sort. I have the bike booked in with Phil at Spring Court in Rochdale to give his all seeing eye a look over of it and some new racer bearings while he’s at it and a shiny MOT. I have to still seal up the lowers which I had fixed only to find the headers touch, so I have to cut and give a bit of a bulge to. Fit some numbers boards and numbers and then we are good to go…. I mean, it’s not even close yet the 9th :-S

Huge thanks to everyone at InFront Motorcycles you saved a grown man from crying and a Yamaha from being set on fire in a hedge somewhere.

Sorry to all those I got in the way of. I was trying to get out and stay out of the way.

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