It’s carb fiddling and plastic cutting for our mate Brooksie with his FZR600 ‘homage’ racer!
Paul Brookes on cutting and shutting his racing homage!
Hello again! First off, I hope you liked my first article a few issues ago, where this aging racer has decided to relive times way-back-when! To recap, I won the 1989 British Supersport Championship on a Yamaha FZR600 and want to build a – well – ’homage’ I suppose is the best thing to call it. It’s going to be fairly faithful to the original but have some upgraded/better parts. So, what’s occurring this month? Well, the tiny lithium-ion battery worked a treat once it was charged. I figured I’d give the old girl a go, so I changed the plugs for some new ones and tried starting the engine. I made sure the carbs were full and blow me if the little old thing started second touch of the button! Blimey, I didn’t expect that at all but was made up. Okay, so it ran a bit lumpy but it was still with the standard carb settings, so that can be sorted. To that end a Dynojet kit was ordered for the carbs and when it arrived I set about fitting that. Well, what a trip down memory lane that was: it’d been about 28 years since I last fitted one of these and going the right way about it had long since been erased from my tiny brain. So after a chat with Ashley Law again to ensure I didn’t screw it up (ahem), the job was done. While the carbs were off, I got around to fitting the heat-shield cloth. This had been purchased at ’Normous Newark auto jumble (brilliant place to go if you’re after owt like old parts) at a bargain £7 and had been sat around for a while. I made a template out of an old tea-towel I had lying around. I made this a real good fit as – when fitted – it keeps the hot air from the engine diluting the colder air from the ’Hoover-pipes’ that I’m gonna fit through the plastic ’dummy’ fuel tank. These give more of a ram-air affect, as the original
ones that go through the frame are tiny and don’t really do a lot. Back when I was racing, these made a big difference to power, as when a motor gets too hot it loses power. Feeding good cold air to the carbs helps no end. Other teams and riders soon copied these – just think back to Team Grant (Mick) who ran James Whitham on a Suzuki GSX-R750. If I recall, his 1991 machine had two huge ’hoover’ scoops/pipes going from the top of the screen! Me? I had already used these on a FZ750 that I had raced in superbikes two years before my supersport title win. It works! As for the new bike, I thought I would thin out the wiring harness. It was just a case of taking the road stuff off, which meant the lights, indicators, flasher relay, clocks, horn and radiator fan were removed. When sorted, the amount of wire and other bits that you have spare is surprisingly lots. All saves weight! I got all the bodywork back from the paint shop, but then found a single race seat on ebay for £70. This was going to save weight and be in one piece rather than the five pieces I had with all the original bits. This was in Germany and was with me within a week so I then forwarded it to the paint shop for painting. I realised that this was going to have to require me making or altering the sub-frame to make it fit. Thankfully I had some alloy strips lying around and a new rivet-nut gun that I had bought a while back as I knew I would use it one day! Now was its time. We can never have enough tools, can we? Fitting the fairing turned out to be a bit of a pain: not that it was wrong in any way. It was the fault of the exhaust. The headers were a lot wider at the bottom where it met up with the collector-box. So the fairing lowers needed a fettle with an angle grinder and heat shield cloth applying on the inside and the job was a good ’un! The top nose fairing was gonna need a bit of a Brookie fettling of course. The Hoover-pipes that I had purchased, again from ebay, were just a bit too big in diameter. Looking at the pics I think it’s the holes in the fairing that are not round. So marked out with a sharpie and out with the round file: bingo! Next up was the bit I had been dreading. I needed to drill a pair of 2in holes in the dummy tank. This is where my OCD was going to kick in. Anyway I measured it out, taped it up and re-measured a few more times and set about with the Milwaukee and a 2in hole cutter. When it was done it looked mega: factory, even. I’m well chuffed with it and looks a lot neater than the race bike was.
Bertie put me on to Steve Smith at Avon Tyres. These were the tyres of choice back in the late 80s/90s and I won loads of club races and won the British championship with these sticky little beauties. So with AM22/AM23 fitted I have no worries at all now about any knee down action that’s coming my way. The bike was strapped in the van and taken to Swinton Performance Centre for a run on the dyno. This went well: no oil or water leaks, just needs fine tuning on a race track now. I’ve got a couple of things to do before all that though. The thing I am really going to struggle to find now are the Astralite wheels. The bike was run under Team Astralite Yamaha, but these have long since disappeared from the little unit on Penistone Road, Sheffield. The same unit is Crown Paints now and I still visit once a week as I’m still a painter and decorator, how weird is that? So if someone has an old pair from for an FZR lying around and is willing to sell them then get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org. So next month the old girl will be having her throttle cables stretched around the best race track in the world: yup, that’s right: Cadwell Park!
Brookie on his FZR in his championship year.
...some things had been forgotten!
Bodywork looked lovely.
Attacking the wiring loom.
...saw this lot chopped off!
Removing what’s not essential...
Time to make the holes in the tank.
Bodywork snags pipes!
Maybe a larger hole?
It’s a tad too snug!
Heat protection needed.
More needs to come off!
This used to work in the 80s/90s!