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Project Zip – The Saga Continues

March 11th, 2010

With 2010 upon us the racing calendar is something we’re paying close attention to. With a day of testing at Mallory in the bag we know what we need to do now and the changes we need to make. So how did it go for our intrepid riders Josh and Sam?

Friday 05 March: With an early morning start we loaded three scooters into the van, one of them being our 70cc Polini-prepped bike and the other two being 77cc bikes from last year’s BSSO championship. Two hours later after some strange navigation from the man in front (cheers Ian) we arrived at Mallory Park in Leicestershire. After a swift nut and bolt check on all three bikes we were ready for the first practice session to begin. After a gentle seizure on the drag strip at Elvington on Daisy’s last outing in 2009 we were confident that we’d found the problem and wouldn’t repeat with an early retirement, however you never know and I think that was in the back of all our minds. With a change in ignition timing and improvement in fuel flow we knew we had good power for a 70cc but would it be enough to be even close to the big bore 77s?

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With a muffled tannoy call from race control the first session began. We quickly found out that Josh was struggling with the new suspension which meant he couldn’t swing the bike into the bends as much as he wanted to. In addition it seemed that Josh wasn’t getting quite enough power at the rear wheel. Later in the day, just as he was starting to get into the swing of things, progress was cut short when a black flag was waved summoning Josh back to the paddock. It was at this point that track politics kicked in ending the session early – “WEBCAMS AREN’T ALLOWED”, exclaimed the controller pointing to our helmet cam. Just to clarify, our camera is a professional piece of equipment designed specifically so that it can be attached to a helmet and, although we’d sought permission to film at Mallory prior to the meeting, a breakdown in communications meant the staff at the circuit clearly weren’t informed.

So while Josh was back in the paddock this gave us some time to drastically change the damper settings, alter the ignition timing and re-mount the camera in an area that wasn’t as visible. Camera armed, tannoy call announcing “get ready” and Josh was out again. This time we could see that he was working the bike much harder and finding it easier to mix it with the classic scooters and the 77cc Zips. All in all he managed to get around five sessions in throughout the day all of which seemed to be interrupted for some reason. There were suspension and transmission adjustments, tyre changes and some mistakes on our side but it’s all part of the day and on looking around some of the well-known tuners seemed to be having difficulties too. The Polini Evolution 70cc kit proved to be very strong in power and reliability and with a little more work on roller settings we think we can gain some time back on the big boys, although our team aren’t racing in the same class we should still roll with them.

YOUNG GUN SAM

Sam’s first session wasn’t so much a test for the bike but more an introduction for Sam on what 2010 is going to hold for the 11 year old. With him being accustomed to geared Conti race bikes this makes riding an auto scooter very different – no gear changes and acceleration most scooter riders would die for makes his race Zip a bit of a handful. A few sessions into the day and we could see that Sam was settling down and starting to enjoy the little Piaggio. Just to make it more challenging someone decided to spray the footboards with Back to Black (no names mentioned), it looked good but made a scary bike more scary. With some consistent laps under his belt and the need for warmer weather Sam left the track at the end of the session and set off for Spain with a view to some more testing.

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Words: Chris Halliday @ Adrenalin
Photos & Videos: Paul Robinson

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