4. Cam­brian Rally

Back down to earth Starters 123 Re­sult DNF

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Features -

Now three events into my year of UK ral­lies my con­fi­dence was not only grow­ing in my rid­ing, but also in the bike. De­spite hours of abuse and flat-out rid­ing, the lit­tle AJP had not missed a beat and with a to­tal of just un­der 3000 rac­ing miles on the en­gine since 2014 I was start­ing to think it was in­de­struc­tible! I wanted to build on the mo­men­tum of my Ryedale re­sult and so did Moly and AJP im­porter Craig Whit­ney. A new high-per­for­mance RBF 400 lithium-ion bat­tery, that slashes the weight com­pared to stan­dard, was sup­plied by Floreat En­er­gies (www. floreat-en­er­gies.co.uk), and AJP in Por­tu­gal were also en­cour­aged by the re­sults and sent over a new high-pres­sure fuel pump and higher spec in­jec­tors in an ef­fort to im­prove per­for­mance.

Feel­ing con­fi­dent I set off at the start of day one, but within five miles I

knew some­thing was amiss. An ini­tial throt­tle hes­i­ta­tion turned into a se­ri­ous mis­fire be­fore I fi­nally ground to a halt nine miles into the stage and right in the mid­dle of nowhere. As my ri­vals flooded past me, many stop­ping to see if they could help, I tried in vain to iden­tify the prob­lem. Even­tu­ally a mar­shall ar­rived who tried to get things work­ing be­fore ad­mit­ting de­feat and tow­ing me back to the pad­dock. With my time slot to com­plete each lap out of the win­dow, it was game over.

Af­ter hours of fault-find­ing, ex­pert AJP me­chanic Rowan Jef­fery got to the bot­tom of the prob­lem. The new fuel pump had failed and sep­a­rated where the pipe meets the pump it­self, mean­ing that there wasn’t enough pres­sure to push fuel through the in­jec­tors. With that prob­lem solved I man­aged to get out for a un­timed lap to en­sure the bike was OK, but in do­ing so iden­ti­fied another prob­lem. One of the cylin­der head bolts had bro­ken, the only one that in­cor­po­rated an oil gallery, mean­ing with each mile more and more oil was es­cap­ing up through the thread and over the en­gine. Us­ing high-grade sil­i­cone to seal it and fab­ri­cat­ing a bracket to keep pres­sure on the top of the bolt, I went to sleep not know­ing what day two of the race would bring. Un­for­tu­nately it ended in a re­tire­ment af­ter the open­ing lap where the bike was sim­ply los­ing too much oil to con­tinue.

As a 250, the AJP strug­gled on the Baja’s faster, open sec­tions, but it made up for it over the rough stuff Me­chanic Rowan Jef­fery gets to grips with a fault in the AJP’S fuel sys­tem Fly­ing through Welsh mud, mo­ments later Michael would be fly­ing down a c

‘I at­tacked the hill like my life de­pended on it... I might’ve even used a few of my ri­vals’ bikes for

ex­tra grip’

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