Monday, 12 June 2017

Greenfield Dirt Track

The weekend of June 10th and 11th Greenfield Dirt Track hosted round 3 and 4 
of the 2017 DTRA series. As this is my first year competing this was my
first visit to the track. I have to say its a very impressive set up, they have all the right
equipment to deal with all weather situations.

We arrived friday evening and set up camp for the weekend, its always a good vibe
at the DTRA and this weekend was no different. Good to catch up with the others
that arrived friday.

We woke up saturday morning to rain bouncing off the roof of 
our van, the joys of living in the UK. The organisers decided to hold up the meeting for 
a couple of hours in the hope the rain stopped. This turned out to be the case and
by midday we were on the track for practice.

The track on Saturday at the Greenfield facility was totally different to every other track I've been too this year. Racing in the Thunderbike class it took me a few laps to get used to the feel of the surface, I was happy with my pace but with the line between death and glory being so fine I made a handful
of mistakes which effected my results. My heat results were 7-6-5 which were good enough
for me to make my first Thunderbike final in 11th. Starting from the back row i wasn't 
expecting too much, I wanted to get involved and run the pace of the other guys in the final.
I was happy with my pace in the final running in 10th but one mistake dropped me back from the
pack unable to make any more passes.

(don't have any racing photos yet unfortunately)

Saturday evening they ran the Pro, Hooligan, and mini bike classes. It was really good to be able 
to watch the pro's go at it, taking a lot of tips on corner entry and exit.

Woke up Sunday morning feeling really good, the weather was good with just a bit of wind which 
helped taking away the dust.

With a bit of bike prep it was ready for another days racing.

The track for the second days racing was a change from the previous day with the addition of 
the infield section, with a right hander and jump. I wasn't too sure how the bike would
deal with being in the air but I thought with my background of racing motocross I'd be able to 
deal with it.

Photo-Tom Bing

With the new section of the track added I felt very happy with pace and comfortable with the jump.

Photo-Tom Bing

First heat race in the Thunderbike class I managed to get the holeshot from a second row start. Manage to keep the lead for 4 laps with Geoff hot on my heals.

Photo-Tom Bing

Unfortunately I made a small mistake and he got past me which i was gutted about but stoked to get
second in the heat race. 

Going into the second heat I felt really good, myself, Mike Hill and Geoff Cain all had back row 
start positions.
Photo-Sami Graystone

Photo-Sami Graystone

I decided my best option was to drive around the outside heading in the first turn, by the second lap I
had worked my way up to third position feeling good. Then the bike cut out, I was gutted. It turned out that due to me sending the jump every lap the bracket which held the coil in place had snapped,
resulting with the spark plug lead pulling out and the engine dying. 

With my best track side fix, a mixture of zip-ties and gaffe tape I managed to secure the coil to the frame.

Heading into the final heat I knew I had to get a good result if I wanted to get into the 
final, as the previous DNF would really effect my scores. I had a front row start in the last heat which was giving me the best possible chance. I managed to get another holeshot and set my mind to setting a good pace and not making mistakes.

Photo-Tom Bing

Photo-Sami Graystone

I managed to hold on to the lead for all six laps and got the win, this was my first heat win in the DTRA so I was stoked. It also meant that I had qualified for my second final.

In the final I had a mid row start qualifying 7th. I got a good drop and drove up the inside of couple riders into the first corner.

Photo-Tom Bing

Making a couple passes through the race I worked up to Forth chasing hard for third.

Photo-Tom Bing

Unfortunately I ran out of time and had to settle for forth, I was pretty bummed with my result coming off the track but after a minute I realised what a good weekend I'd had and what massive improvements I'd made since the first round two months ago.

A final thought goes out to all the guys at the DTRA that make these events happen and to the track crew that have such a wonderful facility.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Flat Track progress

Since the first round of the DTRA at Rye House in April 
I've managed to get two practice sessions at Stoke Speedway, while at Rye House I really didn't feeling confident on the track. Being around other riders made me feel nervous incase I made a mistake which would endanger them. I don't want to be THAT guy who would cause a crash from going out of control, so getting out on the track at Stoke Speedway has been really helpful in improving my riding and building my confidence with the bike and riding hard on a speedway track. 

The second session there I started to pick my speed up and feel confident.

After getting to do lots of laps on a Speedway track I was really looking forward 
to racing at Round 2 at Peterborough. 

Sami and I made the road trip from South Wales up to Peterborough friday afternoon ready for the weekend of racing. We had a really good camp set up amongst the other riders, there is a really good vibe at DTRA races which is refreshing coming from other forms of motorsport.

Heading out onto the track for a heat race.

The first heat race really didn't go the way I want it to, struggled with line selection 
and getting up to pace. Second and third heats went a lot better with 4th in both, good starts and getting on the pace with a couple good battles along the way. I was really disappointed
not to make the main in the Thunderbike class as that was my target for this round.

Bike all cleaned after Round 2, I've decided to strip the thing down and
make it my own.
Look out for the bike at Round 3

Keep an eye out for 170 at the next round!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

FTH Leather products

We've had a few top notch products created by local leather worker Fred. These leather
products are made using the best quality leather available.
The detail in these pieces are incredible.

Go to our online store to treat yourself to one of these or all of them!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Dirt Track 2017

First round of the DTRA has just happened,we had an awesome day and got to catch up with a lot of friends.

Need to get some proper numbers made.

Felt pretty good heading out for practice having ridden the bike a couple times on the beach over winter

Unfortunately a speedway track is completely different animal, my performance wasn't where i thought or wanted it to be.

Photo:James Boddy

Took me until the third race get into the flow of things and get my speed up to somewhere decent, after coming to blows with the wall. Looking forward to the next round month to make up for such a poor showing. Will be getting a lot of laps on a speedway track before the next round.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

April 1st

April 1st we will be realising a new line of products.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Operation Tank

A few years ago I came across this tank at a swap meet and had to have it, even though it had a few dings in it and some filer, that didn't really matter. But I had no use for it, so I put it on a shelf in the lockup, leaving it there to wait for the right time. And that time is now.
I've always liked the shape the wessel tank has and the flow it gives a bike. After getting this new frame into its roller state I threw the tank on to see how it sat.
But how it sat was way too low on the frame. For me it didn't follow the lines from the bars to the seat, so it was time to cut the tank up and make it how I wanted it.
First up was to cut the original tunnel out. Once I'd done that I could see there was a bit of rust internally, so I took a bit of time to clean all of that out, and as the tunnel was apart I knocked the dents out for the inside too.
That tunnel was in a bit of a sorry state so I decide to make a new one, picking up some fresh steel so I could bend the sheet. I didn't have a bender or rollers for doing this job so I did what I could.
I used a piece of round tube I had that's the same diameter as the top tube of the frame, and clamped that to my work bench over the top of the steel. With a bit of force I managed to bend it round for the new tunnel.
Now I had a nice new tunnel I needed to sort out what height I wanted to sit the tank at.
I decided on something of a mid height, which seemed to fill the gap from handlebar to seat real nice.
With moving the tank higher away from the tunnel it also left a good size gap at the front. So I made a nice little template of the gap,
Cut it out of steel,
Then bent it up in the vice to match the shape of the tank.
I then got that all welded in nicely to fill the gap.
I'd been thinking about different ways on mounting the fuel tank, as I wanted to do something to hide the mounts so they didn't distract from the shape of it.
I decided to run the mounts through the frame straight into the tunnel of the tank, and started this off by making two threaded bosses to weld onto the tunnel.
Next up was to make two bosses to run through the frame, with one end counterbored to allow an Allen Key bolt to hide inside.
I drilled two holes in the top tube for the counterbored bosses to be fitted into,
Leaving the top side of the bosses protruding from the frame so the threaded bosses in the tunnel have a square edge to bolt down on when securing the tank.
With the bosses tightened down I next drilled two holes in the tunnel to fit over them.
To give the tunnel extra support when the tank is full of fuel I made a secondary tunnel that will sit at the top of each boss and also weld this secondary tunnel to the original one. This will help to prevent the tunnel flexing.
When the tunnel was in place I was able to put the shell of the tank over the tunnel and cut off the excess steel.
When I had the tank securely in place I was really happy with the positioning.
I'd already decided to do a bit of metal work on top of the tank, again trying to push my abilities. My idea was to run an S shaped bead from the fuel cap down the lower part of it. I started by making the shape out of welding rod to give me a vision of what I could achieve.
I went for 8mm round bar to make the shape as I wanted it to be an impact kind of feature. Again not having any professional bending equipment at the lockup I used what I had lying around to bend the steel rod for the top arch.
I noticed one of the spare chucks for my lathe is roughly the same diameter as the arch on the original shape I'd mocked up, so using one of my bigger G-clamps holding the rod to the chuck I was able to get the shape I wanted.
After a fair bit of bending and hammering I finally got to this stage.
Once I got to there I decided to smooth out only one side of the rod on the outside edge, leaving the inside of the rod visible.
I decided I wanted to use the weld to create a smooth transition from the tank to the top of the rod.
Using my MIG welder I went about filling the area. I was excited about this process at first but, honestly, I soon regretted it was a very time consuming process of welding and grinding, followed by more welding and grinding.
There are still a few small holes in the weld that I have used to fill the area though, so I'll use filler for these spots before going to paint.
To finish the tank off I decide to buy a new fuel cap and engrave it with my clothing company logo.
Now I've finished the tank, my next job on the list is to mount the rear fender and make a sissy bar. Hopefully this won't take too long so check back soon for the next update.