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Going Racing

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by storm42, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Well, it’s not that they’re forced to run slicks in the wet!

    The class is supposed to run street tread tyres. But of course most use a race compound. What Ralph means is they can’t use dedicated wet full race type tyres, but they’re still better than any street tyre as they are race compound.
     
  2. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    If you ride fast enough in the dry, it is similar to riding in the wet. All that happens in the wet, is your bike tells you sooner to go more carefully. If you get too heavy handed in either situation, the result is the same. With normal road tyres on most race circuits, you will get enough grip to go fairly fast, even in the rain. When I race, there is a part of my brain which remains hard wired to the contact patch of my rear tyre and I never do anything silly with the front brake. A bit depends on the weight distribution of your bike. If it is 50-50, you might have a problem.
     
  3. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Slicks on a classic bike are bullshit. If you cannot stay upright with road tyres, you should not be racing. Slicks might be better on very big circuits with large sweeping bends where they would get hot enough to work properly. But that is not the sort of circuit which suits a classic bike.
     
  4. cliffa

    cliffa

    Joined:
    May 26, 2013
    Ah gotcha, however would it not be safer to to allow the tyre which has least chance of letting go in the wet?
     
  5. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Well yes, but then you could argue the same about grip in the dry and allow slicks. And you’d have to have wet and dry wheels and tyre warmers and etc.

    The point of British Historic Racing is A) to keep it historic (ish) and B) to keep it affordable (both of those being relative statements).

    On top of that, modern road based race tyres for classic bikes are better than the out and out race tyres from back in the day. So the base level of grip is still very high.
     
  6. storm42

    storm42 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    I don't have a problem with not being able to use wets. The van is full enough without having to carry spare wheels, the normal race tires grip well enough in the wet and everybody is in the same canoe.

    As it turn out the supermonos were not in my race so no problems being lapped by them. However, I was lapped in my race by Mike Kemp on a Atlas 750, his best lap was 1:11.3 with an average speed of 46.21 MPH. By contrast 15 year old Scarlett Robinson's fastest lap in the novice race was 1:09.93 at 47.12 MPHon a 390 KTM with full wets. This place is a joke for the bigger bikes.

    I only used 2 gears after setting off and in the wet I could have done with a gear in between 2nd and 3rd, I do have some sprockets with me but if it drys out 3rd will be OK for all the lap.

    I didn't bother doing the Novice or the over 50s race as it really is not fun at all.

    I am out today in about half an hour and as it has stopped raining and I need a Signature on my Licence I am going out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  7. pommie john

    pommie john

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    FWIW I was there at the CRMC meeting years ago when we voted to ban wets. It was just more expense for everyone, needing an extra set of wheels and tyres.

    However, these days I don't know of any 18" wets that are made, so it's a bit of a moot point. There's a better selection of tyres available for scooter racing than for classic bikes with 18" wheels.
     
  8. storm42

    storm42 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    I would have voted that way too, if it is the same for everyone, there is no disadvantage to not being allowed wets.
     
  9. storm42

    storm42 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    The delay on Saturday meant that my second Woodlands oils championship race was put back to Sunday, which was good.

    This pic shows why there was a delay.

    3SWater.jpg

    Anyway, race two, a bit better as it had stopped raining. The track was still wet but much better than Saturday, the track is still Micky mouse but as I needed the signature I went out.

    I got stuck behind a Yam FZ750 for most of the race but as it went on I started to feel the front gripping and got past on the next to last lap and went 5 seconds faster, I should have gone earlier, I don't think it would have made any difference to my result but I may have learned more about the track, and also I probably wouldn't have been lapped by the winner.

    By the afternoon the track had all but dried and although the race was split into two, because of a red flag, I started to enjoy myself. I still think it is a Micky mouse track for bigger bikes and I still didn't get beyond 3rd gear but I dropped another 10 seconds off my lap time. I think my best lap was 1:08 which was within 3 seconds of the winner so whilst I was not going to be bothering any lap records I was happy enough.

    The next race was towards the end of the day and it was starting to rain again. The track was dryish at the start but the rain came down a bit harder towards the end, but as the races had been shortened to 5 laps to get through the program it wasn't too bad, anyway there was only one other in my class and not many from other classes so it was easy points.

    I was stuck behind the FZ again and when it started to rain I thought I would get him again but I was dive bombed by a smaller bike into the hair pin and although I could have got him back coming out of the hairpin I thought sod it, he wasn't in my class and I figured It was better to leave the place with the bike in one piece as I am at Gedinne in a couple of weeks.

    In my class I got 5th, 3rd, 3rd and 2nd, the main guys had some bad luck and Tony Jimenez who is leading the Woodland oils championship was the cause of the red flag in one race and I believe he has a broken ankle. I think he was hit by another rider at the hairpin which I thought was the worst corner on the track. That is also where the slightly out of control rider passed me in the last race.

    I think because some of the leaders in the Woodland oils either didn't attend, or went home early, I am now in second place in the championship.

    Just Cadwell park in September left now, providing Gedinne goes well.
     
  10. SteveA

    SteveA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011

    When I was running a GSXR750 in track days I bought a set of Pirelli 'intermediates' as an option to the pseudo slick Pirelli Supercorsa for wet days. Great on a wet track for the first session, superb grip, almost knee down, I rode them on a drying track in a second session and shredded them in 20 minutes, 120 rwhp ripped great chunks out of them.

    Full wets would have been shredded in 10 minutes of the first session. All at £300 a pair in mid 2000s money! Now that is absolutely ludicrous.

    The current classic race tyres are way better in the wet than anything I ever rode in the 1970s!
     
  11. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    What do you do when you arrive at a race meeting with your lovely old race bike with smart tyres and tyre warmers, then get out in a race and some whiskery old bastard makes you look silly. In Australia, there are some guys whom you could put on a kiddie's tricycle and they would beat you.
     
  12. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    I use Bridgestone Battlax tyres. They make the T1 compound Dunlop Triangulars I used in the 60s and 79s look ridiculous. But learning to ride with those hard old tyres taught me how not to crash. So that if I ever get on a race circuit with the young guys, I am immediately much faster. The last few times I have raced were after a break of about twenty years. I won a couple at Mount Gambier and was well up with the leaders at Winton. It takes me 5 laps to get up to 90% of race speed at meetings. I simply don't need tyres that good. A lot depends on how your bike handles rather than how sticky the tyres are. My bike never gets into extreme angles of lean. It sort of turns under itself.
     
  13. cliffa

    cliffa

    Joined:
    May 26, 2013
    Point taken. I'm not a racer so I can see all the reason's not to use them, but if you have inches of standing water like that pic above what happens, do the organizers cancel the race, wait for it to soak away or let you make your own decision whether to race or not and what tyres to go out on?

    Cheers,

    cliffa.
     
  14. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    If you watch the videos of the British Superbikes, you will see a procession of several bikes, all on the same race line at the same extreme angle of lean. Every now and then one loses grip and crashes. In that situation, you are fully committed and dependent on horsepower and grip. If you race a Commando, you usually have not got either of those two requirements. So you need to do something different. Back in the old days, racing was more off-putting than riding a road bike. Commandos are old bikes, not moderns. Transferring modern technology to a Commando is a hopeless task. When Peter Williams beat the TZ750 Yamahas, that said something. The bikes are two different concepts, you don't use them in the same way when racing. I avoid large race circuits.
     
  15. SteveA

    SteveA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011

    Tyre warmers also banned! And really not needed with classic tyres. Riding modern race/track tyres without warmers is something I did once, it hurt!
     
  16. storm42

    storm42 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Most of the guys in the BHR are whiskery old bastards and they are mostly in front of me, in fact there are a couple of 15 year olds on 390cc KTMs that are often in front of me and if you look at the lap times of the scooter riders, I would be in the lower half of their races at a lot of tracks here. Never felt silly though. :D
     
  17. SteveA

    SteveA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    We are not professionals with the budget and team of mechanics to change wheels all day. Most of us only have one set of wheels/tyres so no decision to make.

    Some prefer a particular brand of tyre in different conditions, but that may be a one off decision for the weekend rather than a race by race swap out.

    So we pretty much race if it is deamed safe by the organizers, who mainly have experienced racers in their team. You get a formation and or warm up lap to take a look. Up to you too decide at any point if you should sit it out. But that is always true.

    I pulled in from one race much to the surprise of those with me, but when I pointed out I had been on the grass in the same place twice (or was it thrice?) and couldn't be sure why and wanted to sit and think it through they understood, flogging on won't always sort things (it was a bad choice of corner entry line and I was able to improve for the next race).

    I have ridden Lydden with BHR when we had a 3 to 4 inch pool of water in the dip on the way into Chessoms, covered more than half teh track....some rode around it, but that screwed your line for a large section of the track, following a normal line took you inside them and making a lot of spray and confusing anyone following seemed to work well in itself and had you on a better line for the next section!

    As Ralph said, he wasn't having fun but wanted signatures! That would make you go out. A lot of us are motivated by the fact we paid our money and won't get any back from races we sit out. There is always something you can learn, if only when to quit and go back to the paddock. Once the lights go out, if you are going forward you will stay there, if you are going backward it is time to rethink the value of it. If it is gaining you useful experience you might stick at it. Make your own decisions. One thing for sure, if you are a ragged rider you will be forced to concentrate and ride more smoothly to stay upright! If you are smooth enough you will probably finish higher up than you might in better conditions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  18. SteveA

    SteveA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011

    Not forgetting whiskery old bastard Mervyn Stafford on a pre war 250 Rudge who laps most places faster than a lot of '70s/'80s 750s.
     
  19. storm42

    storm42 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Ha, that top pic was the shallow end, check out the deep end on the grid.

    deepend.jpg

    They cannot race in that and if it hadn't cleared then I guess the meeting would have to be cancelled and that is the organisers decision not the riders.

    The marshals (and some of the riders) did a brilliant job of getting the track ready to race on, they got rid of all that standing water and although the track was still wet with a few puddles, it was manageable. It comes down to the fact that everybody is in the same boat when it comes to tires on the classics, and yes the lap times are slower than they would be if wets were allowed, but from a riders point of view, just as much fun. Still don't like that track though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
    cliffa likes this.
  20. storm42

    storm42 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Good post Steve.

    My decision to miss the two races was because I didn't like the track and the wet did not help in any way, still didn't like it in the one dryish race I got. I don't mind the wet so much, as an ex London courier, if you didn't ride in the wet then you didn't eat, so I have had plenty of wet weather experience, and although I still have a lot to learn, with a fully paid for Gedinne coming up I decided to play safe.
     

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