Cadwell Again, 10th June 2012 – These Track Days are Addictive!!

So I decided that my next track day would be at a weekend so that my friends and family could come along and see what the devil I do with myself in the Wolds of Lincolnshire. So when I saw a Sunday Trackday at Cadwell on the 10th June I jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately Busabert was unable to attend on his bike but he did offer to be my Pitpal and ‘er in doors said she would come (so she’d be ‘er out doors!!) but no one else took me up on the offer, even AJ couldn’t make it!!!! The weather the week upto the day was very poor mostly wet with high winds just to spice up the mix. So there I was in the week before the Sunday checking the weather report every 10 mins (It really doesn’t get better the more you look at it) it did get a little better as we moved through the week but it was just less rain, rather than no rain!!! On the Saturday the weather was particularly foul but did clear up for the evening.  Anyway enough whinging about the weather you all want to know about my preparations and how the day went…… do you? Well I thought I better look at the carbs on the ZX as it was running quite poorly on the trip home from the last Trackday and even randomly stalled when I applied some throttle in neutral. I had been meaning to look at the pilot jet settings as I don’t think I got them 100% last time I played with them. This time instead of setting them by feel, i.e. adjusting them until the bike responds in a positive way, I thought I would reset them to the base settings then richen them up a little to compliment the freer flowing K&N filter. The base setting is one and a half turns from closed so I put another half turn on them, and to be honest I felt that it was running nicely at low revs. While I had the tank off I took the opportunity to balance the carbs as I was having a problem last Trackday with my throttle hand going dead. I also took this opportunity to connect the Kleen air system to the crankcase breather, as I have said in a previous post this is meant to have various benefits and while I feel that most of these are dubious at best any improvement for free (My favourite price) is worth it as the only possible down side could be slightly heavier oil usage.

On the night before the trackday I prepared all my tools and stuff that Busabert was going to be bringing with him and I packed my back pack with all my warm clothes and waterproofs. The irony of it all was that it was a lovely day without a drop of rain all day, there was the occasional black cloud in the morning but the afternoon was almost summer like!!!!

I was booked in to go into the Inters group but when I pulled up in the paddock I had second thoughts, there seemed to be lots more race/track bikes than usual. When I signed on I panicked and asked to go in the Novice group. They had some spaces available so they let me in. As I was running a little late I went straight into the briefing and Busabert and ‘Ere In Doors turned up. As I was in the Novice group we were out last and for the first session we were going to have to follow the instructor for three laps then we were let loose. After the first session I collared one of the instructors and asked if I could have someone go out with me, well this seemed to start World War III as the Head Instructor had a blazing row with another one of the Instructors, it really didn’t seem very professional to me. Eventually the Head Instructor finishes shouting and insulting the other Instructor and seem to remember me and says come back 15mins before the start of my session and he’ll sort someone out for me. Anyway when I came back 15mins before my session there was no sign of either of the arguers so I asked another Instructor and he agreed to take me out. He asked me what I wanted to work on and I told him it was my lines generally but specifically through the Chris’s Curve. I started the session following him with him showing me the right lines and then he waved me through so that he could watch me. Near the end of the session he shot past again to re-show me the lines. After we stopped we had a long chat about the session, basically he said that my lines were a bit ragged and I seemed to take a different line each lap, which was fair to be honest. I was still having problems with the Gooseneck as I couldn’t seem to convince myself that I could crank the bike over any more at the speed I was going to get round the tighter last bit of Chris’s to get into the Gooseneck properly. This is something that I worked on all the rest of the day and did have a modicum of success. One thing the Instructor did say was to try and nail one corner and when I was happy-ish move on to the next. I took this very literally and started working on Coppice (The first corner after the Start/Finish Straight)

‘Er in Doors was stood at the top of Gooseneck with Busabert for the last session before lunch. As I came through I muffed up coming out of Chris’s and was totally off line for the Gooseneck, the choice of tarmac or grass went through my head as I sat the bike up and had to adjust my line while braking heavily. Surprisingly I wasn’t worried as I decided to try for tarmac, the only thing I thought was “Oh God ‘er in Doors saw that, I hope she didn’t worry!!”. As ‘Er in Doors was still recovering from her surgery she couldn’t stay with us all day so Busabert ran her home over the Lunch break for me. The afternoon continued as the morning with me slowly getting a little faster around the 2:00minutes mark. I wasn’t too worried that I hadn’t improved on my previous pace as I was now regularly hanging off and it was feeling more and more natural which will let me build on it in the future. In my second to last session I enjoyed chasing down a chap on what seemed to be an old Virgin Mobile R6, I eventually caught him but couldn’t overtake even though I was generally faster than him in most of the corners, if it was proper racing I could of overtaken but it would have been too rude a manoeuvre for a trackday. For some reason, I don’t know if people just needed to get home or something but the last session there was less than half the bikes in it than before and I really got into the rhythm and with out traffic to slow me down I was consistently doing either 1:58 or 1:59 a lap which as I said with my hanging off I was well happy with. On my last flying lap of the last session as I was exiting Charlies Two I had a rear wheel slide which surprised me but I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be, to be honest I think it all happened to fast for me to register!!! Over all a very good day which I was well happy with especially when the weather was so good comparatively to the rest of the week. Anyway I have booked in on the next Bike Magazine Reclaim Our Tracks, trackday so I will see you all there on the 19th July 2012.

Issues that arose at the Trackday that need looking at:

Rear Suspension – Was this why the rear let go in Charlies two, or was I just too violent getting on the throttle too hard too early

Rear Brake – Doesn’t seem to be any power there

Rear Hugger – Bolt missing

Front Brake – Is inconsistent and seems to go off between trackdays

Front Suspension – Front end dives too much with my new late braking tactic


Rear Suspension

Trying to examine what is going on at the back, it seems to be bouncing around. The back seems to sink under acceleration and pogo around. After thinking about it, I think that the preload could do with upping a little. I put about 5mm on the preload and after a little ride out it seems better.

Rear Brake

The rear brake is a little ineffectual. I gave it a quick  strip and got the piston moving a little easier, it really needs a complete strip maybe something for the winter layoff. From the test ride it seemed to be a little better.

Rear Hugger

A quick look showed that yes there was a bolt missing, a slightly in-depth look showed that there was a big crack on the other side. This meant that I had to take off rear hugger number one. Lucky for me I had a spare hugger kicking around, hugger number two. I needed to fiddle with it a little to get it fitting without rubbing on the tyre which meant drilling a couple of mounting holes in slightly different places. The old rear hugger will be passed to Busabert to see if he can work his panel repairing magic on it.

Front Brake

I have been thinking about many different ways that I can go to get a better front brake, basically I really don’t like the initial dead movement of the lever before you get any feel from the brake. All my other bikes have lovely feel at the lever (Except the FZ but that has a note from it’s Mum) and that’s all I want. The schemes I have been considering run from new seals and pistons for the couple of pistons that are pitted to replacing all the pistons to replacing the brakes completely. The options I have been looking at for replacing the brakes ranges from fitting radial brakes with brackets, to fitting four pot standard brakes off a different model to sticking an upside down front suspension with radial brakes from a later ZX6. In the end I jumped for the different model four pot standard fit callipers. I started looking on Ebay for something suitable and ended up with some four pot Tokico callipers from a TL1000S. They turned up and were in surprisingly good condition and had obviously been looked after. I striped them both anyway and polished the pistons etc. After putting them back together with the pads that they came with, some new organic green back pads, I bunged them on the bike. After very short bleeding session they came very firm. I was chuffed to bits to note that the dead zone on the lever had all but disappeared, yes it had been all worth it!!!! A quick test ride with the brakes showed that they were everything that I really wanted except there wasn’t that sharp bite that you get with HH pads but to be honest I would be more than happy to take it on the track with the existing pads. However while I am at it I might as well get the best I can out the brakes so a set of EBC’s HH pads have been ordered. A report on their performance will follow my next Trackday.

Front Suspension

After I fitted the new linear spring that was matched to my weight I had to fit some spacers to get the correct length of the front forks. At first I had too many spacers in and the forks were just about right at their least preload, I thought this didn’t look right and left me no room to slacken off the preload if I decided I needed to so I took some of the spacers out. I think I have now taken out to many as the adjuster is only one ring from the hardest setting and I think it needs some more. I have tried it wound fully in and I think it is a little better so what I will be doing at some point is fitting some more spacers so that the perfect setting is near to half or three quarters from softest.

About The Author


Ambitious Amateur Mechanic, with a slight (OK not slight) Suzuki bias