Life doesn’t al­ways go to plan. The same goes for project bikes.

Fast Bikes - - PROJECT -

It has been no mi­nor un­der­tak­ing, this project. I am avoid­ing adding up my per­sonal out­lay thus far, which would be far greater but for the gen­eros­ity of parts that have been gifted, loaned or given for the cause. Not to men­tion the time that Phoenix Yamaha of Trow­bridge has gen­er­ously gifted me through­out the sea­son to get the TZR250 2MA up to­gether and ready for its first track out­ing as I en­ter the test­ing phase.

Over the past seven months a com­bined ef­fort has taken this 30-year-old smoker out of the back of Fast Bikes’ work­shop where it has been in boxes for five years. The plan to build, test, then race this bike in the fi­nal round of the Yamaha Past Mas­ters (YPM) se­ries at Snet­ter­ton has moved steadily along. Now with the first track out­ing at Cas­tle Combe booked and ap­proach­ing fast there were just a few things left to do.

Firstly was the ra­di­a­tor; the OE one was the first thing to go into the ‘bin-it’ box. It was rusty, piss­ing wa­ter and be­yond re­pair. Hav­ing looked around the pad­dock the re­place­ment of choice was a far thicker rad than OE, alu­minium and de­signed for quad use. I had it mod­i­fied for fit­ting by lo­cal en­gi­neer­ing heroes His­cocks of Trow­bridge, as op­posed to ca­ble ties as seems to have been the YPM so­lu­tion.

I just needed a hose to be made up from the top of the rad through to the engine. Again this could be mod­i­fied but Samco of­fered the so­lu­tion of a be­spoke hose. I was never turn­ing that of­fer down, famed for be­ing durable, pres­sure and heat re­sis­tant, and of the qual­ity that sees them through­out race pad­docks of all dis­ci­plines. ‘Fit and For­get’ Samco say, and if you have any rea­son to need one re­placed they have a life­time guar­an­tee.

I had no idea how much work went into prep­ping a hose. Firstly Samco engi­neers had to make sense of my child­ishly scrawled de­signs with a CAD draw­ing. This was then given to their engi­neers who built a mould, which then al­lowed them to start adding the nu­mer­ous lay­ers and lin­ers that deal with the in­ter­nal pres­sure and heat, be­fore adding the ex­ter­nal sil­i­cone outer layer. Have I lost you? I hope not, as its worth de­tail­ing the in­tri­ca­cies of de­sign and build to de­ter any­one us­ing any­thing that’s not specif­i­cally built for pur­pose. Prop­erly de­signed hoses are not ‘cheap’, but when they are this good and guar­an­teed, that’s worth the ad­di­tional.

So the hose ar­rived and it was sod’s law that that very day Wayne Philips, my man at Phoenix Yamaha, had lit­er­ally just sent me a pic­ture of a hose that

he had fash­ioned to link the rad to the engine. I took the hose to him, he fit­ted it, dropped the tank back on and we were done. The TZR stormed into life on the first kick and we were ready, it was time to get up to Cas­tle Combe for the first real test. I could not have been more ex­cited.

While these fin­ish­ing touches were be­ing made at Phoenix I was col­lect­ing the es­sen­tials for track rid­ing and rac­ing. Pad­dock stands, fuel cans filled with a 30:1 mix of un­leaded and YPM pre­ferred Cas­trol 747 race oil. I also had BikeTek tyre warm­ers with me, though was not re­ally plan­ning to use them.

The TZR’s engine was go­ing to need some run­ning in, thus the plan was to stick at 5,000 revs for a cou­ple of laps, in and check. Out again at 6,000 revs, in and check, and thus build it up to make sure that all was run­ning smoothly. Thus I had booked to run in the new riders to track group at Cas­tle Combe; I didn’t need to be out with the swift boys and would give the new­bies a very real tar­get.

Phoenix dropped the bike to me at Fast Bikes tow­ers, ready for me to load into the van and get to Combe the next day. At this point you can prob­a­bly tell from the lack of images of me sweep­ing ma­jes­ti­cally around Quarry that all did not go well. It started well enough: I was there in plenty of time, had the ap­pro­pri­ate ‘ap­pre­ci­a­tion’ from my fel­low track riders for my steed and got through noise test­ing with some ease, get­ting a tick in the box mean­ing it was un­der 100db.

Re­turn­ing from the noise test I thought I would go round the car park a few times, you know – just to bed her in and warm her up a bit. At the fur­thest point I could have been from the van she cut out, wouldn’t kick and I was be­side my­self. I gave her a minute or so and kicked her into life, added some throt­tle and no, bogged out again. The walk of shame came next, push­ing the bike back to the van to in­ves­ti­gate. A quick call to Wayne and we worked it out – the vac­uum hose from the fuel tap had come loose from the engine, fuel was not flow­ing and thus she was cut­ting out. A quick mod­i­fi­ca­tion with the use of ca­ble ties cre­at­ing a vac­uum again and the TZR was alive once more.

With my first ses­sion due to start I warmed up the TZR, the blue smoke drift­ing across the pad­dock to the joy of most, breath­ing in the nos­tal­gia laced fumes. Slowly I made my way to the col­lec­tion point and one last check over no­ticed the damp patch emerg­ing be­low me.

Oil-in­fused fuel was pour­ing out of the bot­tom of the bike. I turned off the fuel tap yet it con­tin­ued. Reach­ing for the bat-phone it be­came ob­vi­ous it was a carb’ is­sue with the prob­a­bil­ity be­ing that the floats were stick­ing. I tapped them to try and free the floats to no avail.

Soon the bike was back in the van and I was head­ing back to Phoenix. They are pretty easy to work on, these TZRs, removal of the tank and air-box and we are at the carbs to find them full of gunk pre­sum­ably from the tank that was now full of fuel.

The Carbs were cleaned and re­turned to po­si­tion and the prob­lem per­sisted, new nee­dle valves were needed. It had been so long since fuel had passed through them as soon as it did they just failed.

Or­dered from Fowlers Parts, they ar­rived the fol­low­ing day with fresh O-rings for the carbs and, yay, the leak­ing has stopped. Wiz­ard Wayne has her fir­ing all over again. So there is one more track day be­tween now and the race week­end. Wish me luck for this one, I am cut­ting this so very, very fine…

Judge­ment day.

We’re sure you could fit a few more wires in there.

Ready for round two! Let’s ’av it!

The boys from Phoenix Yamaha have had their work cut out.

...putting all the right curves in all the right places.

And there goes the ozone.

They cus­tom-built this hose for Char­lie...

SAMCO came to the res­cue in the cool­ing depart­ment.

How do they work, again?

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