Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Art of Speed

News of Chris Carr's record busting last week (367.382mph) caused me to wonder just how far this art can be refined. One of the biggest restricting factors in the battle for two wheeled LSR domination is the very tight space the power unit has to fit in - 28x18 inches by the rules. Power is what's needed, if you reckon on power requirements climbing at the cube of the speed increase sought you won't be far off. So for a 10% increase in speed we need a 33% (1.1 cubed = 1.33) increase in power - this rather crude formula assumes "all other things remaining equal", well of course they don't, developing more power will no doubt require a heavier motor, stronger frame etc etc and a few too many pancakes for breakfast could ruin things. In '56 a streamliner 650 managed a staggering 214mph with an estimated 80bhp on tap (another dirt track rider). Chris's speed last week is near as damn it 71.53% faster than Johnny Allen's 214.17mph - so: 1.7153 cubed X 80 bhp = 403.75 bhp. BUB racing have managed to get 500 horsepower out of this tiny compartment. It is considered desirable to run a "big bang" motor and take advantage of the power pulses, I guess traction is a massive issue given the single tyre footprint and the loose surface. I couldn't resist the photos (robbed from BUB Racing's website). 3000cc, turbocharged, four cam, 16 valve, methanol-gulping V4 producing 500bhp @ 8500rpm - AND - 400ft/lb of torque !
Some how the tidy shot of the component parts makes the engineering look very clinical and lifeless in contrast to the shot of the beast assembled and plumbed in - imagine the racket. MORE SALT !

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Land Speed Heroes

How time flies. BMF Tail End September show at Peterborough this weekend.Managed to get over there today to catch some ace Flat Track action..
As it happens Chris Carr wasn't racing today - BUT - he will be Sunday 11th October. Quite some legend in the world of oval racing and one time motorcycle land speed record holder (350.8 mph), Chris is a keen follower and supporter of the UK flat track scene. Come to Peterborough 8th October and enjoy philosophical chat about English beer and how to make your bike go sideways faster than anyone else.
Just found this pic in the archives, Chris Carr #4 at Scunthorpe last year, #54 Peter Boast in hot pursuit with #76 John Lee planning his attack ! MORE LEFT TURNS !

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Fine Tuning

CB engine rebuilt, new cam chain, valve timing set, clearances at 2 thou, ignition timing spot on. Fuel on, tad of choke, ignition on, kick - fires first swing, marvelous. After initial warm up run of five minutes we cut the ignition and went over the engine looking for leaks and loose bits. Satisfied all's well I took the bike for a blast up the road - at 1/2 throttle it all went horribly wrong - EXACTLY the same misfire as before !?&@?!!$£?@%!. Back to the carbs then. These are 18mm round slide Kehins. Basically at tick over you've got a pilot jet and mixture control to adjust, from tick over to 1/4 throttle the mixture is determined by the shape/size of the cut-away at the bottom of the slide, from 1/4 up to 3/4 throttle the tapered jet needle and the needle jet it slides in control the mixture, from 3/4 to full throttle you're running on the main jet. All these stages are adjustable, plus float height adjustment is critical. Add to this you've more than one of these instruments to synch and you have a rough idea of what's required - PATIENCE. Lets forget about atmospheric humidity, temperature, altitude, pressure etc. The carb parts on the bench are: throttle stop screw, pilot mixture screw, float valve seat, float valve needle, pilot jet, assorted main jets #88,85 & 83, jet needle, needle jet, emulsion tube/jet holder. The mini pocket microscope (50 X mag) is handy for reading jet numbers and identifying wear. Unfortunately ALL of the above parts are subject to wear and, in the science of fuel/air mixing, this wear is ruinous. Off to stock up Yorkshire Gold supplies and try and find some decent Turkish cigarettes. MORE VARIABLES !

Friday, 4 September 2009

Bubble & Squeak Part 5

Pink Fur Apple potatoes, Epargne pears, pork chops, rosemary and garlic all from the garden at Diplo Hall. Olive oil from Italy, pepper delivered by No 1 nephew from Zanzibar, salt from Essex. Marvelous. MORE HOME GROWN !

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Bubble & Squeak Part 4

There's a very clever little formula for calculating the weight of a live pig by simply taking a few vital dimensions. Whilst I was in Scotland Mrs Diplo got the tape measure out and reported that the little critters had reached the target 85 kilos a little earlier than expected. When I took them to Joseph Morris for dispatch last week they had such a delightful journey that I actually had to wake them up to get 'em out the trailer " we're here boys ...". I returned to pick them up last evening - all 270 lbs plus 26 lbs of snorkers worth. The van handled very well and by 18.00 hrs the freezers were bursting at the seams. Immediate rations of a few snorkers and some chops are in the fridge along with about 6 lbs of bacon curing in wooden boxes packed with patent Diplo curing mix. We're going to try half on a short cure/short mature so we can get stuck in in a couple of weeks, the other half is going for an 8 week cure and four month maturing stint. MORE RETURN JOURNEYS !

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Water With That Sir ?

Driving West from Marybank we follow a single track, dead-end road for nearly twenty miles up Strathconan. At a fork in the valley after six or seven miles, the road forces us Westward and we're now driving along the River Meig. The metaled road eventually peters out at Scardroy at the head of Loch Beannacharain. To get this far we've driven through some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable - and that's just the bits we could see through the rain. At one point the Meig is joined by a gorge-like valley from the North, Gleann Meinich. Tales of violent, gruesome clearances ring true, evidence of abandoned homesteads and livelihoods are all around and the place is really quite sinister.
The chapel here hasn't seen company for a while. Torrents of water spilling off the tops give up their hold on the ravines and become spectacular waterfalls because of the sheer volume. This particular chap (shot from 1/2 mile away) is about half way down the 1500 foot sheer cliff face of Creag Dhubh. From Scardroy the old East/West drovers road is very clearly evident. If you study a map you'll see it forging across the Glencarron Forest, faithfully following the Meig to its source. The pass/watershed is only about five or six miles east of the A890 at Achnashellach and from here a few miles to Loch Carron and the West coast. This great historic thoroughfare has been reclassified from byway to bridleway, rendering it unusable for the truck. Looks like we'll have to return another day and walk what has to be one of the most interesting coast to coast hikes. MORE DROVING !