Picked up Frankencane (The CBR400 with 600 engine) from Hampton Downs after marshalling at the Barry Sheene Memorial last weekend. I was umming and awwing about doing the final round on her. The mis-fire, stuffed tyres and fairing rubbing against the oil cooler had me doubting. Final straw was misplacing the key and then the girlfriend telling me the tow-mobile was being used that weekend for a horse show. I’d resigned myself to a dreadful weekend doing chores in Te Love.
Friday, well after 7pm whilst at friends house contemplating a whisky or two, the girlfriend tells me that her horse show isn’t on until Sunday. Of course she’s told me this already and it’s my own fault cos I never listen to her properly. Women! Frantic texting to Clive Banks and Skunk and one late entry on a mate’s ex-missus’ bike that happens to be in my garage is placed. Car hastily packed with leathers, helmet, tools and other junk. New gel battery in the RG150 and the rev counter now works….yay. Steal a couple of litres of gogo juice from girlfriends lawn mower supply. The bike fires up 2nd kick. Oil light stays on. Drat…2 stroke is low and I can’t get any out in the wop wops at night. There’s no way in hell I’m driving 2 hours to Taupo without a test ride (albeit in the pitch dark on a racebike). A cup full of “top cook salad and cooking oil” and I’m away. The smell makes me hungry and the bike no longer has a huge flat spot (new battery reed valves or summit). Load bike on trailer and do tie downs. 1am and I hit the sack. 1.30am and I remember to plug in the transponder charger.
Saturday 5:30am – Shower, decaf, grab transponder and I’m away. BP in Tokoroa has 98 and 2 stroke oil..yay. Sign in, unloading bike, changing leathers etc all done in a blur. The more Im rushing, the more I’m stuffing things up. Fuel is spilt all over the bike and then I over-fill the 2 stroke bottle resulting in oil all over rear brake disk and tyre. Great. I realise on the dummy grid that I’ve not checked the tyre pressure. Before I know it I’m on the track. Almost 2 years since I’ve been at Taupo and I have a huuuuge grin.
Qualifying - Hmm…black shiny bits everywhere…..hmm…they seem grippy. Short track with funny cone chicane. I follow some bikes for a warm up lap. Bike feels kinda squidgy….like when you ride full wets on a bone dry track. Brakes are excellent. She won’t run properly under 8K RPM and is hesitant to rev to the red line. When the power does kick in…it’s pretty fast. NICE! Follow bikes for another lap to try remembering the track and by lap 3 I go for a decent qualifying lap. Seem to be passing lots of bikes which is good. 11th on the grid (4th in SS150) with a 1.311. Taupo is a fun track on a wee bike.
Rear tyre is DAMN HOT. I put it up from 22 to to 28psi. The front is barely warm. It goes from 14psi (DOH!) to 26psi. I’m barely getting 5th gear but don’t have other sprockets.
Race 1 - Ok start….but the lighter kids (a.k.a. everyone else) and the 250′s all get in front of me. Not confident on brakes on this bike so I lose a lot of places into turn 1. Group of 3 bikes in front of me having a dice so I take chase. Lap 2 and bike pretty much cuts out through turn 3. I’m about to put my hand up and it splutters into life again. Hmm. I’m catching the group ahead on the brakes and through the faster corners but they gain about 3 bike lengths through the chicane. Front end is sliding a bit on fast corners towards end. This is fun. Stupid bike keeps spluttering at 3rd gear left handers turn 3 and turn 6. Finish 11th with a 1.278.
I go see Graeme Billington who pretty much takes the carb apart in next to no time and he reckons the float level is way too high. Beardy nice geezer called Mike offers me a spark plug (cos I’m too stupid to have one spare for my 2 stroke) but Billy advises just changing one thing at a time. The rear is still DAMN HOT. Front goes to 28psi and I put 30psi in rear. Mike reckons on a dry track that a large fellow like moi should run a 120 rear on the bike.
Race 2 - Better start. The bike seems better. She’s cutting out a bit, but nowhere near as bad. Seems to be getting worse as the race goes on. Couple of 2 wheel slides….would be scary on a big bike. I take it a bit easier as she aint my bike. Doing quite well but I have a big woopse in lap 5 forgetting I’m running race shift through turn 6. Least I didn’t highside. Zane passes me and I can’t close the gap. Finish 12th with a 1.274 in lap 3.
Hmm…bike still cutting out a bit. I stick a LOT more fuel in and turn the tap from “reserve” to “on”. Tyres up to 30/32 psi.
Race 3 - Much more revs….great start. Up the inside. Someone right in front goes proper sideways into turn one….somehow they stay on and carnage does not ensue. I’m in the middle of another 4 bikes (Rogan, Zane, Jamie, AAron) and it’s a bit mental. Turn 6 on lap 2 and the bike starts cutting out again. 3 of the lads ahead go into the cone chicane and I honestly don’t know how they squeezed through at the last minute. Fun. Anways….the rest of the race the bike runs worse and worse and I just nurse her home. Finish 10th with a 1.279 on lap 2.
Stupid call not changing the plug for race 3 the bike was awful. Possibly jets but I reckon simply a spark plug or ignition lead as it wouldn’t rev past 11.5K on the dummy grid (under zero load) before race 3 . Rear tyre is pretty poked as I’m a fat pie. The right gearing, cutting-out sorted, ROAD shift and a 120 rear tyre and I think she’ll be a cracking little bike.
I’m kinda hooked, maybe I should buy the RG150. Still….why buy your own cow when you can jump over the fence and milk someone elses?