Going into this season, I knew the first couple months would be a bear. Not just from jumping onto a 1000, or sorting a vast variety of electronic settings I had never dealt with before, or trying to set personal bests and win races at tracks all over the country, but mainly because of buying a brand new-model bike. It's a racer's kryptonite. You avoid it at all costs. Let the other guy figure it out and get the bike in the second year.
But the new R1 looked so good. She was a devil in a red dress. I couldn't avoid taking my eyes off her. All cautions were thrown to the wind when Rossi stood alongside and the Yamaha marketing machine worked their magic to proclaim how this was the best bike ever – and it would change our lives, forever. How could one resist?
Of course there are bugs and glitches to sort with a new bike, potential recalls to weather, magic suspension numbers to find – nevermind part availability – the biggest hurdle of all. But hey, we have great connections. That'll all sort itself out. Don't worry about it.
We started off well enough, grabbing one of the first Ohlins GP shocks available thanks to connections. The fork kits were scarce, so we elected to go with K-Tech, a well-known brand endorsed by our resident suspension master, Thermosman. DDS, pressurized system. Should be good. Suspension, check.
Engine would be stock, at least from the get-go. I must say tearing apart the bike and leaving the engine in the frame felt weird. It felt wrong. But we did it, directing our focus instead on the rest of the bike, coming to the conclusion that power wouldn't be an issue early on. Suspension and electronics however, would.
I was a bit of a guinea pig for new parts. Battery dimensions, brake pad dimensions, magnesium wheel power coating tolerances. Excuse me? Brake lever part numbers, countershaft sprocket spline dimensions. The info just wasn't all out there and we had the bike before others did, so naturally there has been some trial and error with fitting up parts.
As I type, we've now spent the better part of the past two weekends at the track without a properly running bike. Whether a part that hasn't yet arrived, one that didn't fit, or most recently – fireworks shooting out the back of the Yoshimura exhaust, while sorting through what appears to be electrical issues – we have been planted right in the middle of new-bike hell.
The agenda for our most recent tests have ranged from gearing, to spring rates combinations – to just learning the electronics on a more intimate level – all of which has been delayed. It's racing. It happens, but still. And don't get me wrong, the first race weekend went well. Fast lap times on a new bike, strong results. We didn't yet have these problems. But I have some lofty goals I want to accomplish this season and with two missed weekends so far to help get there, it's putting things squarely behind the eight ball.
Nevertheless, we've come a long way and are continuing to plug along this road. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, if only a faint glimmer at the moment ..Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 | POSTED AT: 5:31 AM
FILED UNDER: General
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- You're currently reading "The Longest Road," an entry on Witchkraft Racing.
- Published: 06.2.15 / 5am
- Category: General