Friday 28 October 2016

Fun With Fibre Glass

Well it's all been busy here at Black Dub HQ, and for a change it's not involved spanners and oil, but fibre glass.

I picked up a GSXR fairing off 'the bay of e', but it was in quite a sorry state, hence why I got it for £35.

The seat unit was ok, it just needed a few holes filling and new ones drilling to mount it onto the Mini Twin. The top fairing was a bit bashed about, so just needed a few cracks filling and making pretty, but the belly pan was in a bit of a mess.

When I collected it the guy said he didn't know which model Gixxer it came off as it was fitted to a Kawasaki when he got it.

As such whoever had fitted it had cut the belly pan down the middle and loped the rear end off it.

Now to be suitable for racing, the belly pan has to hold the contents of the sump, in the event of it leaking, so a lot of work had to be done to make it water tight again.

Luckily my Dad is a trained boat fitter, so what he doesn't know about fibre glassing isn't worth knowing.

As a kid my Dad was repairing a boat he had bought, so I remember many a day helping him mixing resin and laying fibre glass. This is also where my love of the smell of fibre glass came from.

So with the knowledge I had I set about fixing the fairing.

Ideally I would've had a mould to work from, but no such luck, so had to build it free hand.

After purchasing an industrial size amount of matting and resin, a hefty £15, I started to work out how I was going to tackle this.

Firstly I made 3 pieces of fibre glass sheet by laying the matting on a piece of glass, so I would have a nice flat side. So the resin doesn't stick to a mould, you should use a special polish, I found Mr Sheen works just as well.

The sheets turned out fine, but I realised that attaching them to the fairing would be a pain, so it was back to the drawing board. After a chat with my Dad I realised I could cut one big piece of matting, attach it to the fairing and then use my glass mould technique to make the sides and the bottom of the belly pan.

So over 3 evenings I managed to mould the two sides and the bottom in one piece. This just left the end piece. Luckily I hadn't thrown out the 3 bits I had made earlier, and one of these, when cut to shape, fitted perfectly. It was then just a case of attaching this to the belly pan, which was simple enough.

With it all dried, and as one piece I offered it up to the bike, and with minimal fettling, it fitted great.

There is a lot of making good needed, but that's ok body filler is quite cheap.

Overall I'm really pleased with the way it has turned out. It's not great but does the job, and once painted, you'll never notice it.

Now it's just a case of fabricating some brackets to hold it on, and job's a good 'un.

So it's back to the garage for me.


Saturday 8 October 2016

Thruxton 8th October

Hi all

Well this must be a record for me, an update on the same day I raced. Oh the joy of racing at a circuit 10 minutes from my house.

I thought I was for an early start today as the entry form said that scruitineering was from 0700 to 0800 race day. Luckily on the final instructions I found out that I could get all this done, and sign on the day before between 5 and 7pm, happy days, a lay in.

So I loaded the van and set off for the circuit yesterday evening shortly before 5. I was back home, tucked up, before 6, result.

This morning we awoke to a dry but chilly day and set off for the circuit. By 8am we were ready to go, so just waited around until first practice just after 9.

This is where things started to go down hill.

I haven't raced at Thruxton for 20 years, and although it still goes the same way, I'd forgotten how flat and barren short circuits are. No trees, lamposts, buildings to judge anything by, so it was a real wake up call and took some getting used to.

The bike went well, but didn't feel too stable and after practice had a good look over her.

Nothing had come loose, there was nothing missing and no leaks, so all was good there.

I paid particular attention to the front end, but could find nothing untoward apart from the headrace bearings which needed a slight tightening, which I put down to bedding in.

During the first race the steering got worse, so decided to pull in rather than trying to ride around the problem.

Upon inspection I could find nothing wrong so set off to get some expert advice.

Luckily I found Will from JHS Racing, who specialise in tuning SV's, the guys I got my crank from. He set the suspension up as best he could but said that what I had wasn't really up to the job.

I went out in the second race and to start with she felt a lot better, but as the race went on and the suspension worked harder the oil in the forks and shock absorber, got warmer and thinner, so the problems started to reappear.So again I pulled in rather than risk a coming off.

So despite not finishing either race the day was somewhat of a success as it was really a shakedown to see if the bike was ok, and by and large, she was. All the work I did on the engine seems to have been ok and she held up well, but sadly the bolt on suspension needs some more work. Still I would rather find out now than at the beginning of next season, as at least I have the Winter to get the suspension looked at, in readiness for next year.

So rest assured I have already started one of my famous lists, but luckily, it's not too long, for now.

As you can see she looks pretty good, not a great colour match for the tank and fairing, but the rest looks pretty neat, and was certainly not the worst looking bike at the meeting.

Luckily I was given number 42, the number I was given by North Gloucester, as it was then, over 20 years ago.

Sadly that is my season over now. I can't believe how fast it has gone, but it has been a short one for me this year, especially with Killalane being cancelled.

But all being well, I will be back out next year, as still have my passion for racing, so hopefully the long cold Winter months spent in the garage will fly by and I will be up and ready for next year.

I will keep you up to date with whats happening in between now and next season, so please keep checking in for updates.

Until next time, stay safe