Thursday, October 24, 2013

Food for Thought

I watched the documentary on Aryton Senna a few weeks ago, and found myself drawing a parallel of his racing career with that of Marc Marquez, the giant young talent in Moto GP. This thought struck me while watching the Australian GP.
Senna had a mantra that if he was to race, he raced to win! During his career he crossed swords with Alain Prost the 'French Professor'. It came to a head when Senna won pole at the Japanese GP and the authorities changed pole to the dirty side of the track, which was the opposite side to the previous year when Frost held pole.

During the documentary it was obvious that the head of the governing body, a french man, favoured Prost, much to Senna's disgust. Senna made the statement "If at the start I am at the corner first, I will not give track position to Prost" the inevitable happened and they both crashed out of the race.

Senna asked the question at the inquiry to the incident " How was it over many years, it was he who was always in the wrong and everyone else appeared to be angels"
                                                                  Aryton Senna

Watching the programme, you could not help feeling he was unfairly victimized.

Marquez, a Rookie in Moto GP rode with sensational flare, throughout 2013 requiring only eight points more than Lorenzo to take the title in Australia.

He had already been given three penalty points for so called dangerous riding, another would mean starting from the back of the grid. He was alleged to have caused the crash of Pedrosa in Aragon by hitting the traction control unit on Predrosa's bike, caused by slight contact during an overtaking manoeuvre. Marquez was off the track when Pedrosa was high sided, by giving his bike a fist full, expecting the traction control to do his riding and too his surprise...didn't.

Like the judgements made against Senna it was stated " If it had been anyone else, it would have been viewed as a racing incident, but seeing that Marc had already two penalty points for so called rough-shod riding an example had to be made".
No penalty points for Lorenzo's antics in Sepang.

Then we arrive at the Aussie GP. The tyre manufacturer had supplied tyres " not fit for purpose" they were well below the acceptable standard! The organisers therefore ruled that after ten laps, all riders had to pit and change to their second bike.

Pedrosa pitted after 9 laps, Lorenzo after 10 laps and Marquez, for what ever reason after 11 laps. His tyres were still on the pace even though worn, but he was black flagged for breaking the new rules.

At the Aussie GP there was only 35,000 spectators, the championship all but sown- up. But after this 'Black Flag' only 18 points separated Marquez and Lorenzo, with 50 points up for grabs in the last two GP's, thereby probably ensuring a full house in Japan.

Marc Marquez
As Senna stated " When he started racing there was no politics, you raced to win and the first to cross the line was the winner".
Not so today, both car and motorcycle sport is manipulated by the controlling bodies and the media. It is done to keep spectators and viewers interested if possible till the last race of the season.
Go for it Marc and win the 2013 championship. You well and truly have earned the right to be world champion!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Oulton Park Cheshire - Test Day

After due consideration and deliberation we decided that young Mitch Kay would race an F3 MV Agusta in club events next year. We already had an F3 imported direct from Italy, which had sat in the garage for 6 months awaiting the time and energy to go through the ordeal of obtaining Road Legal documents (Log Book). This is the machine that will have its expensive suit of clothes removed and replica fibreglass fitted.

To make sure the machine would be suitable, a track day was booked for Wednesday 25th September. Good value for money as we are allowed up to 8 x 20 minute sessions on the track.
The only two modifications were carried out, one was to fit an Arrow silencer which might have spoilt somewhat the looks of the bike, but it had to be done to meet noise levels.

MV Agusta please note: why manufacture a road/race machine with a label glued to the headstock stating 106 D.B at 7000 RPM?  Most British, and for that matter, most continental tracks have maximum noise levels of 102 or 105 Db with some as low as 95 Db

In any event when tested with the Arrow silencer the bike registered 101 Db
Our other pre-track problem was to overcome the horrendous midrange fuelling. 
We installed a power commander module set the unit on the dyno which seemed to vastly improve the situation.  So off to adventures anew.

If we built bikes as accurate as the weather forecast, we would have gone out of business 20 years ago. The forecast was light drizzle until 8am then glorious sunshine. The reality being at 9am for 2 hours continuous heavy rain. I think MV's are rain magnets!

However Mitch went out in the rain to do a few sighting laps to learn the track but with standing water, we learnt nothing about handling the bike. So to Plan 'B', walk across the park to the cafe for breakfast and waited for the rain to stop.  About 12 noon the track started to dry, so Mitch went out and did a 20 minute session reporting back to base. He started the bike, pulled wheelies over every bump, but when the wheel lifted, the bike violently shook its head. No steering damper was fitted by the factory, so an after market item will have to be found. 

After doing a couple more sessions, Mitch was really impressed with the torque of the engine. Also, the faster he went the better the bike seemed to handle. The power commander had also sorted the major fuelling problems. It was stated the F3 was or could be a very competitive racing motorcycle, some praise from a R6 Yamaha fanatic.

We all look forward to the 2014 racing season, so in the meantime, take care.

Black Eagle Racing Team.