Saturday, May 26, 2007

Flatrack Results

Well, despite all of my hype about the hop ups, and trick engine coatings and such on Billy Hofmeister's XLR flat track bike, the initial outing was a bit of a letdown. Last minute assembly often has a way turning around and biting you, and that was the case last weekend. You can veiw my original post on the motor here: Flat Track and Old Iron

The scene was Raceway Park right here in Shakopee. It is a 1/4 mile asphalt oval with not a lot of banking. A little different type of track than what you normally see flat track bikes raced on.

Apparently Billy picked up the tank from the painter Friday morning, and in the last minute flurry, the fuel line was overlooked. When the petcock was opened to start the bike for the first time (which occurred at the track) fuel ran directly onto the ground. Oops. After borrowing a piece of gas line and installing it, the bike started (it is push start only, with no kick starter) and ran pretty good in the pits. But it soon started to puke gas out the overflow hose. My educated guess is that some debris from the inside of the tank caused the float needle to hang up. Its been my experience that any tank that has recently been a body shop probably has unwanted foreign matter in it just dying to cause problems. I like to use a large capacity fuel filter in situations like this, even on race bikes.

Billy wisely ended up having someone else run the XL, despite the overflowing carb (wisely in not riding it himself, not in running it with the carb overflowing), just to get a few "break in" laps on it. Of course with it flooding out as it was, the results were less than spectacular. In fact, with my shop's name on the tank, it bordered on the embarrassing. Of course my wife Jane and I, our grandson Max, and our son Joe and his girlfriend Kristen were all sitting in the stands and thus knew nothing of why the bike ran so poorly. All we knew was that there was a problem. About that time I was pretty happy that I had not pulled the magneto when I installed the top end, because I would have been wondering if I had gotten it in a tooth off.

A bright spot was Billy's performance on his other bike, a Rotax powered machine. Billy came out and put on quite a show! In both his heat race, and the feature, Billy was in the lead before the end of the first lap and increased his lead on the nearest competitors with every corner. To say that he dominated would be an understatement. Billy's performance was all the more impressive when you realize that he is in his late 50's.

The next outing for the bike will be toward the end of next month at the same track. Hopefully by then a few of the bugs will be worked out on the XL and maybe with a little luck it will have been dyno tuned. That's the good thing about racing. Even after a disappointing performance you always have the next race to look forward to.

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