4. Cambrian Rally
Back down to earth Starters 123 Result DNF
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