Valdosta 2012 part 2

Loading up the trailer with only one bike seemed like a cakewalk compared to Bonneville – at least until we decided to take the turbo GSXR used bike.  It seemed to be the best place to try and sell the bike, since we hadn’t had much luck at home.  We sure can use the money, so in it goes. 

Now there were two different motors to contend with.  The one in the bike had a concrete cooling system and all of the rest still had water in them. All the hoses, radiator, brackets and such went into a box, along with a gallon of coolant. 

The loading went relatively well as we had just done it a month earlier.  After a final inspection, we were under way. 

Nick did most of the driving and I managed to sleep through Atlanta again.  We are going to have to do something to smooth out that back seat. 

Arriving at Adel at 3 a.m., we got a little sleep and then decided to fill the truck and ourselves up before heading out to the track.  An experiment with a previously unknown (to me) hot sauce produced a pleasant burn I was hoping wouldn’t come back to haunt me later on. 

2012_12_31_Valdosta_sunset

We pulled into the track at 8 a.m. in anticipation of the gates being open at 9 like the posting promised.  Well, another slight inaccuracy on the internet.  Imagine that.  We got a chance to catch up with Keith Lynn and Roger Gordon of Pro Comp/Funnybike fame and killed another hour and a half until they decided to let us in.  Once into the pits we had a large expanse of unoccupied pavement ahead of us.  A perfect time to take advantage of it to get the best pit spot that wouldn’t be in the way of the large semis of the pros.  Pulling into the first spot, we were told that we couldn’t stay there because it was equipped with a plug-in for RVs.  Backing up and moving across the lane, we were told we weren’t long enough to fully use the parking spot, another RV thing I guess.  Moving down the aisle to the appropriate spot, lengthwise, we were then told those were reserved, even with a lack of signs.  The fourth time had to be the charm.  Moving most of the way back up the pits towards the gate, we pulled into what was sure to be acceptable.  Well, I guess not, as a guy came trotting up and told us this was reserved also.  I asked for how many bikes/teams and he said ten.  I looked the markings between his rig and ours and there were eleven spots.  The matter was resolved and we were firmly ensconced in place.  Having spent the better part of an hour touring the pits with the truck and the trailer, we decided to unload enough stuff to make sure it looked like we were moved in.  Trash cans and crime scene tape was the order of the afternoon. 

2012_12_31_Valdosta_busyday

It was about this time that the first bikes were going down the track.  We hadn’t figured that we would run on Thursday, keeping with our last year’s schedule of Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It was beautiful out and thoughts began to run through our minds.  Hell, we might as well give it a go, but I wanted to be sure we would have a chance to get in four runs or more to make the $100 time card worth it.  I was assured they wouldn’t be closing the track until 6, which would give us plenty of time if we hustled up.  Unloading, wheelie bars on, mix up some fuel, tire pressures and off to tech we go.  After getting our run sticker, we headed to staging.

(the last part of the day, added 2/14/13)

With a motor combination that combined some information from the salt flats,  a little taller gearing, and decent weather conditions, we were rewarded with a 9.137 @ 146mph.  Not a bad opening effort.  The motor looked happy and the miles per hour were decent, considering the elapsed time.  We left basically the same combination in the bike,  except adding two more degrees of ignition timing,  and went back out to let Nick shake the first round rust off, as it had been almost three months since we last made a run down a dragstrip and the environment is considerably different than Bonneville.  A little more aggressive launch on Nick’s part and the numbers all picked up.  The biggest surprise was the 153mph speed on the top end.  This was a full 6mph faster than we had seen in the quarter mile.  The motor liked to be tugged on by the taller gearing and air density comparable to the June air at Byron didn’t hurt either.

Well, changing the oil and seeing the plugs looked way safe, we opted for another try, putting another two degrees of timing in the motor.  Two degrees may not seem like much, but when you haven’t found out how much is too much, it can be a cause for edginess.  This run got us a 9.00 @ 153.65mph, again a very surprising mile per hour for a 750.  The 60 foot times (also known as the “short times”) were not as good as we had seen at Byron earlier in the year (1.39 versus 1.29 seconds) so out comes the clutch box and changes were then made to the weight used on the clutch-closing arms. The hope was to raise the rpms the clutch closed at to make a more aggressive launch.  Well, taking a little over 2 grams off per arm (there are 5 arms), the rpms the clutch started to close went up 2500 rpms.  This was encouraging, but alas, the ignition had a pickup coil overheat and fall off in the burnout, thus ending our day as it was approaching 6 o’clock and the track was closing.  These ignitions can have issues from the power being left on or the heat from use not being dissipated properly through the backing plate.  Since this was the ignition we had the rotor fall off on at Bonneville, and the original unit on the bike, including the 2007-2009 Bonneville turbo expeditions, I wrote it off as age-related.

That was it for the day.  We still had a crowd around the bike even with the sparse turnout on that day.  For not planning to make any runs on Thursday it was pretty successful in the mile an hour department.  Loading everything up and closing the trailer it was time to get some dinner and rest up after the trip down.  Adel Georgia wasn’t the metropolis of food choices, but we found a nice little Mexican restaurant and I figured to spin the gastronomic roulette wheel once again, especially since I had the whole night to recover from any misadventures.  A totally unfounded concern as it turned out.  Getting back to the hotel we were informed that we would lose our water in fifteen minutes due to a broken water main and we needed to fill pitchers if we wanted to get a drink.  After spending the day thrashing, I was looking forward to a shower, but it was not to be until morning.

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