Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Down the Strip with My Valk

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I'm customising the Valk over the winter and will be asking John to make a stainless 2" 6 into 6 exhaust, and rejetting the carbs appropriately, so I wanted to get some idea of how fast she is at the moment. She is fast, in the tradition of Honda, as with my 83 V65, the earliest are the fastest. On an Autobahn very similar to the M5, with a gradient to help at the start, she reached just under 145 mph on the clock, pulling redline 6500 in top.
Bill's dyno van is a bit crowded if you put a huge bike in it, and he's not very keen on doing them which is fair enough, so I decided to go 1/4 mile Sprinting at Westonzoyland airfield this Sunday, 2nd October, in our Indian Summer. Much more fun.
We'd been earlier this year to watch and had a good time. Also Cornish Terry had challenged me (or did I challenge him?) on his mystery Sporty, reputed to turn high 11's. He pleaded poverty on the day, understandable, £100 was well spent for me as an occasional treat but it's the end of the season.
Tractor v Turbine will have to be another time.
It was a beautiful sunny day and I pottered over from Porlock on the Valk, miles of double white lines and Jemimah's with horse boxes. Why don't they have two horses, one at home, and one where they need it?
Mark drove over with the gear, cold water and his dog's play ring, which Scrumpy promptly nicked.

We set up camp and the Valk attracted polite bemused interest. I told people it was in the Light Goods Class. The sun shone and I treated us to two teas for £3. Naughty, but merely a fly in a day full of ointment, sat in our garden chairs waiting for the Church six miles away to finish Sunday Service.
Gaffered taped the glass up and was delighted to be running under "M".

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Filled in enough forms to buy a house and was scrutineered politely and successfully. Slipped into my borrowed PowerRanger outfit and gold label motocross helmet,(thanks to Tim and Baldric) and had a quick riders meeting and a walk up the strip.
Interesting flora.
My scrutineer's sticker was yellow, and on the top of the timing van there were three flags, red, yellow and blue, one run per group of bikes in rotation.
Apparently it was poorly attended, due to other events and the cost of transport across a wide expanse of the South West at the end of the racing season. I was told this, and many other things, in a very kindly way by the 60 year veteran of sprinting, Henry Body of the beautiful Douglas'.

PowerRanged up, I get in a short queue in the left hand lane near my Fan Club (you know who you are), feeling totally calm and pleasantly focused. A light breeze keeps me cool in Baldy's open helmet, the jaw guard purses my cheeks like I'm sucking a lemon. I count the bikes in the queue to see what's in the other lane, but I'm not racing against it...
Unlike drag racing, in sprinting you race the clock, breaking the beam on green when you want, but you are still aware of the bike in the next lane, only if because you'd like to make sure they are staying there.
I eschew a burn out, taking on board the sound sounding advice that I should just concentrate on getting to the other end without crashing and burning.

And we're off!

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Drop the clutch at 4000 and fuck me it's time to change into second and the back wheel is still spinning as I shift clutchlessly at 7000 and then the vague sideways drifting motion that I have been feeling resumes as the bike snakes elegantly up the concrete, weeds running for cover.
I have just put sintered HH pads in the back, and I stand on them gingerly and haul on the front after I cross the finish line and the end of the run off area gets closer. Very quickly.
The speedo was reading just under 105 as I crossed the line and that was confirmed on the hand written sheets churned out by the lady in the start caravan. 101 mph @ 13.48 sec.
There's something randomly satisfying about breaking 100mph terminal speed on your first run and I basked in the moment.
Anyway, I didn't crash and burn, and posed like I thought Stoner might on a cruiser as I passed the Ambulance and nodded at the rosy cheeked fat bloke with the chequered flag on the way back. Hardcore sprinters/dragsters boomed and roared up the strip, the sky was blue and I had a big grin on my face.

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My resident experts

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decide that traction is the problem, wheelspin up to about 70 mph, looked and sounded impressive, apparently, but costing me vital milliseconds. I had deflated the rear from 42 psi on the road to 25, so I went down again to 20 but left the burnout alone for the time being.
The second run was faster and slower simultaneously 96.3 mph @ 13.02, a common bizarrality that no-one there could explain.
Still spinning all the way through first and got a bit sideways after shifting into second, which is probably where I lost speed.

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For the third run I dropped the start revs from 4000 to 2500 and was rewarded with the best run so far, 100.8 mph @ 12.79. That's approaching what Honda got when they first advertised the Valk 15 years ago, presumably ridden by someone with more than two runs experience.
Well chuffed.



The fourth run, the last before lunch, was right there too, 101.8 mph @ 13.05.
Over a cheeseburger, it was decided to go down to 12 psi and warm the tyre up with a burnout.
I really didn't want to damage the tyre and have to trailer the bike home, so I marked the rim and tyre to make sure there was no creep on the wheel.
OK, so, my first legal burnout in front of about 100 people, most of them highly experienced sprinters. On a 780 lb shaft drive bike.

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Put 4000 on in first and pulled on the front brake, gingerly letting the clutch out.

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No lurch, just the smell of burning Bridgestone for about 10 seconds, up to the line, much better traction and 104.6 mph @ 12.58, quickly followed by a 104.4 mph @ 12.64. That was particular fun because I was up against a very natty naked GSX1300.
I did a few seconds extra burnout and then crept forward for a false start, but kept pretty close to him until about 70 and then he pulled away.

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I had originally thought that eight runs would be enough and that was confirmed when I had a brain freeze on the last run, inexplicably changing up just before the finish line and screwing up a good time.
I'd spoken to a few of my very friendly co sprinters during the day, and they all had that "looking for another 0.1 of a second off" look in their eyes. It's tempting, but I have a plan for this baby which does not involve titanium this and kryptonite that, alluring though it may be. Well, maybe a pair of turbos, but that's my limit. Very low boost.
Like most things, the last few percentage points of improvement are incredibly hard to get without spending a lot of time and $$$. I realised that I had probably reached about it in terms of the Valk's potential in standard form. A 200 sticky bike tyre or Darksiding might have helped a bit.
When I come back next year, the plan is to have a 6 into 6 exhaust and larger jets in the six carbs, which Americans would have me believe will give me 10% more power. It will be interesting to see how that translates on the track. Should she be 10% faster?

There was a subplot to the day, as there always seems to be with females, regarding a lost and found camera and Facebook. Thank you to everybody for their help.
It was a very British day out and I loved it.





HONDA VALKYRIE F6C, MADE IN THE USA, 1996/7 STANDARD MODEL.


RUN TERMINAL SPEED mph TIME secs
TYRE HOT/COLD
TYRE PRESSURE PSI
START RPM 000's
1 101.1 13.48
C
25
4
2 96.3 13.02
C
20
4
3 100.8 12.79
C
20
2.5
4 101.8 13.05
C
20
2.5
5 104.6 12.58
H
12
4
6 104.4 12.64
H
12
4
7 100.6 13.02
H
12
2.5
8 100.4 12.66
H
12
4




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