Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Preparing a vehicle for Bonneville.

. . . First thing to do is get hold of the S.C.T.A.  ( Year Book.
The latest issue (it's an annual updated reference) is 2016 Rules & Records Dry Lake Speed Trials.
  Whatever the vehicle being prepared, due to regular additions to rules and regulations I advise that anyone get hold of the latest issue and not a yester-year copy.
  Most styles of vehicle may participate so long as they are, for example, not jet powered.
There are other exclusions as advised by the organisers so it is best to check first before applying.
Erosion of the salt surface at Bonneville over the years due to near-by potash mining is causing the level to drop significantly and some parts of the Speed Week courses are very near to bedrock.
How much longer Bonneville will last is anyone's guess !
That's one good reason to take the opportunity while it's there.

For me the opportunity is a motorcycle,   a 250cc classic style machine that's being built specifically for this mission.    I am very lucky indeed to have the support of a great Team and especially Team-Captain Richard and Team-mate Chris who have done the lion's share of the work on the frame and rolling chassis.    Our friend Ron in Ramsey has applied methodical precision to the methanol engine build and it is a 'masterclass' every time I have seen him at work on the engine he has built for me to race.

Richard and Chris doing the magic !

Team-Captain Richard is invaluable in bringing an experienced eye and knowledge to frame design using donated parts and an angle grinder to taper, cut and weld an ugly-duckling Enfield frame into something bespoke and tailored to speed trials.   Team-mate Chris is an amazingly talented engineer and fabricator and the quality of his components in my opinion match the best of the professionals like Harris Performance UK.
  Both have spent months now tolerating my ineptitude at mechanical stuff and persevering with construction to the highest standard feasible and I am please to see an impressive motorbike slowly appear in the garage      . . . despite my best efforts to assist !

My bike happens to be a 'special-build' but it is quite acceptable to race a standard production machine at the salt-flats.   One only has to be careful to comply to rules . . .
SOME rules include -
Removing rear-view mirrors,   they are not needed.
Removing pillion foot pegs.
Fitting a rear wheel brake is only option, there must be no front brake !
Wheels need to have a minimum diameter of 15 inches.
All axels must be steel alloy or titanium.
Steering dampener is required.
And,   no guns allowed on the salt during the Event !

These are just a few of the rules.   Due to pre-event inspection, and close inspection after a record run is achieved rules must be followed carefully to prevent penalty or disqualification.

Here's the bike so far,   looking good but far from ready !

250cc classical racer

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Three Parts to being prepared for Bonnevillle (or any motorcycle event)

 . . . there are three components to getting prepared for a motorcycle Event, in this case it being Bonneville Speed Week 2016.

1 - Personal preparation.

2 - Vehicle Preparation.

3 - Event Preparation.

It is a good idea to segregate the three into separate 'folders' and in doing so it makes things clearer and simpler avoiding confusion and possible failures.
   Basically, compartmentalise and then List !    it's what I used to do on a daily basis as part of my job when I was particularly busy and the consequence of missing something could have been serious causing upset and hurt to a client.    Further more, using red and green pens along with standard black means  I can monitor at a glance what has been done and what needs to be done.

Personal preparation is probably the easiest (technically speaking) to arrange.    Important for Speed Week is to be physically fit, bike fit and   . . . lose some weight to allow the bike the opportunity to go a bit faster.   It's that E = MC squared thing again !

The conventional wisdom is to go on a diet,  eat less and take green coffee tablets or what ever happens to be the fashionable supplement at the time.   This may get you started and some weight loss will be attained, however, my target is to lose 14 lb (7 kilos ) and I am half way there now in just over six weeks losing 1 lb a week.  It's now getting tougher, so we are past the 'conventional diet' stage which is unsistainable in the longer term and my weight loss programme will now change to an Atkins-style of lower carb, minimal sugar, steady exercise format where I will have a low-carb high protein breakfast,   some mixed nuts and dried fruit at lunch, and a small-portion hot diner with plenty vegetables but less starchy component.     Low fat diets are NOT the way to lose weight, significantly reducing sugar consumption and balancing out insulin release is much more helpful.

    Another element of physical preparation is being bike-fit (off-road track biking) and yoga for balance and co-ordination.   I am now attending a bikers yoga class once a week and feeling the benefits already.    If it works for the TT riders, it will do for me !
Walking, swimming, weight training and static cycling are all done on rotation to maintain a higher level of calorific burn-up in order to improve physical fitness whilst burning a few more calories and in doing so, maintain a slight calorific deficit,    . . . this loses weight in the form of stored fat.

   And if I slip-up in a moment of weakness and have a starchy snack,   no worries,   so long as it's at the weekend only and not regular, I will forgive myself.

Here's what I had yesterday, Frazzles, 2 packets, they were yummy but no more till next week end.

 . . .frazzleicious !