We are Sailing….(maybe!)

I’m just sat waiting for the Isle of Man boat at Heysham, apologies that I’ve not updated the blog for ages. It’s just such a crazy time of the season.

The Oulton Park Wirral 100 meeting went “slightly averagely” for me. I got the ZX6 finished at more or less the last minute before heading to the track to run the engine in during the test day on the Friday. The test went ok, I took it easy on the motor for a couple of sessions but once it was “run in” –  ahem –  it felt strong and, against some of the BSB regulars there, I was happy enough.

Race day dawned and we managed to get three races in with the weather being changeable throughout. I’d not had the bike’s fuelling set up on the dyno. The idea was to run it at Oulton and then get the fuelling sorted once things were bedded in. It became apparent that the bike was struggling against others on the run out of the turns, losing two bike lengths out of Cascades etc. I also wanted to fit some stronger fork springs as I was finding that it was bottoming out far too easily into the slow corners. So three mediocre results followed but the purpose of the day was complete.

The SV650, kindly on loan from Howard Tipping, went great during a few test sessions of the Friday trackday and I was looking forward to getting a run on the bike for the races on Saturday. Unfortunately the bike developed a misfire in qualifying, we fitted a new set of spark plugs but didn’t manage to sort it out. A faulty ignition coil was our best guess at what the fault was, without this option trackside we parked the bike for the rest of the day, which was a shame for all concerned.

So since Oulton Park the 600 had a trip to RLR Motorsport in Shropshire for some dyno time.  Ricky Leddy managed to release another 8bhp from the superstock spec engine which pushes it up to a healthy amount of power given the type of tune. I feel happier with the bike all round after gaining some more power. I was having my doubts after my performance at Oulton on the bike.

Now my attention turned to the TT. The 600 needed all of the specific TT prep doing; huge amount of lockwiring and loctiting, plus radiator guard, tall screen, pitlane limiter etc etc. After what seemed like a thousand garage hours I emerged last night and declared it complete (although it still needs a few bits sorting once I’ve set up in the TT paddock).

You’ve probably read the stories in MCN about the new Norton which I’ve been out testing on several times over the last few weeks. The first of these tests was at Mallory and I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. Norton have designed a completely new frame for this year’s bike, they’ve also had some input from Cosworth into the engines and had a sophisticated electronic suspension supplied through Ohlins. All in all the base package of the bike is good, there have been some teething troubles, mostly electrical which isn’t unexpected.

A weather aborted test at Cadwell was followed by two more at Oulton Park (both were slightly shortened by poor weather during the morning). It isn’t possible to make predictions on how the bike will fare at the TT but all the signs are good. The stability of the bike has been the biggest improvement and the new chassis appears more than capable of coping with the additional power. Fingers crossed for a good TT.

So I rolled up here at Heysham at just before midnight in preparation for the 2am boat. The security guy rolls out his tape measure and announces that I’ve only booked 10 metres for the van/caravan, which apparently measures 12.5….oops. So into the office I go to be relieved of an additional £35 and to be told that as the boat is full they may not have room for sinners like me. I’m on first standby but could end up waiting 12hrs for the next boat – doh!!!!

Anyway once I eventually get the Isle of Man, which I’m sure will happen before the TT starts (!!) I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated on how both bikes are going.




Ian Mackman