BRANDS INDY ROUND 2 STOCK 1000 – a right positive set up
What a great weekend of racing at the Brands Indy circuit for Round 2 of the BSB Stock 1000 Championship. After the cold and damp squib of Donington Round 1 where #31 didn’t get to race at all, it was a welcome change to enjoy a weekend as a team making progress each session.
Having spent time considering set up from limited track time recently it was decided to opt for similar gearing to Donington but with a shorter swing arm for more precise turn in and line holding. Controlling the swing arm length is important on the R1 as it works better longer but at the Cartagena tests we had also discovered a set up shorter than the median 605mm that we had begun on.
At Brands Indy In practice session 1 & 2, the problem of wheelying was effecting the exit from Druids corner in 2nd gear and having to change into 3rd by Graham Hill was another moment that further destabilized flow. However by dropping a tooth to 42 on the rear sprocket we achieved two improvements: no gear change into 3rd at all and a longer swing arm towards 605mm reducing the wheelying effect. Into qualification this helped enormously and dropped our best time from 48.2s to 47.4s and a start position of 25th on the first grid of the weekend.
Race 1 went really well with a good start using the launch control facility in the R1 electronics package. Maintaining start position over the first few laps, Sam eventually battled and passed Tom Ward into Paddock and then pushed on to the next three riders over 2 seconds ahead down the track. He then began to take chunks of time out of them and within 5 laps had caught 21st and passed and then 20th finishing in 19th and another PB of 47.3 secs achieved on lap 21 of 24. That the fitness regime pays off in these late race situations is clear and having the motivation to close a 50m gap, a testimony to how well Sam is developing both in confidence generally and making the R1 work for him.
The post video of this race recorded by Stephen Sheppard showed how well the bike was turning and holding a tight line through Druids with less wheely effect coming out into Graham Hill. Holding 2nd down the Hill and out of the following Grahm Hill left hander was clearly working.
FACEBOOK VIDEO WORTH WATCHING: HERE
There now followed a full on discussion that evening, following feedback from Sam and looking at the sector times on how to improve the poorer sector 2 time from Druids to Surtees. With Tony Homer’s knowledge of Stock 1000 set up and Richard Adam’s (Maxton) extensive understanding of his suspension products it was a progressive decision to change an already working front end. We had reasonable rear grip but the front was very low on the stroke so the first obvious change was a harder spring set up to 10.75 from 10.5. Less preload to dial in but into the optimum working range of the fork.
It is not always a good thing to change more than one setting per set up adjustment. It can become confusing to know which has worked. Here we were discussing four. In the end we rolled the dice with a warm up session to test them on Sunday morning. Harder spring, Lowered front, Sc2 rather than SC1 tyre and more pressure into the tyre.
With strict instructions from Dad to ‘take it easy’ – stand back, I obviously know my own son here – Sam went out into warm up with a shagged rear tyre, got onto the back of Race 1, 14th placed rider and buddy Jordan Gilbert and tagged him, passed him and tagged him again for 10 laps. New PB of 47.3s, 9th fastest overall and in the Sector 1 speed trap, 4th overall and in sector 2, 2nd fastest ahead of Reid, Rutter, McConnell etc All clearly following their own Dad’s instructions! Shit.
That the bike felt good was apparent from the grin on Sam’s face back in the marquee. What a performance for early on a Sunday morning.
Into the big race with new tyres on, the proven set up was barely changed and the race itself went almost perfectly except the slight interjection of rain spots 8 laps in. A similarly successful race start kept Sam in the top 20 and with two riders tumbling at Druids he then kept 18th position holding off others in the first initial laps. There were spots of rain falling from lap 5 and it was obvious this softened Sams approach to gaining 17th in front. Once this ended he then pushed harder and in doing so his PB tumbled to an impressive 47.0s on lap 13 of 24. Eventually catching and lining up a pass on 17th (Barry Teasdale), a back marker held up Sam momentarily into Surtees. Sam suffered from this interruption which held up his surge and the race effectively ended there. The manner of the PB saw great celebration in Parc Ferme and with an ideal lap of 46.9s the whole team were proud of him.
So we achieved a big burst of success after several set backs during the Spanish test trip as well as the poor Round 1 performance at Donington. The statistics of each session speak for themselves on how Sam progressed:
P1 50.3, 32nd (Damp, drying conditions)
P2 48.2, 27th
Qualifying 47.4, 25th
Race 1 47.3, 19th
Race 2 47.0, 18th
Bearing in mind every track is new to us in the Stock 1000 Championship and with this now under our belt we feel we can remain in the top 20 regularly and start preparing Sam for next year on a more competitive set up. Plans are afoot for testing on a later generation machine this summer and with our new sponsors Intact Electrical and Valbro Scaffolding onboard, we are further developing our growing team to achieve even greater things. We miss Round 3 Oulton Park for strategic reasons and look forward to Snetterton in June.
Thanks to Julie Elphick and Phil Sansom for their support in contributing to our iFuel Campaign which really helps meet the high costs of the race fuel we need each round. Supporters can chip in via the following link with paypal or card:
It’s easy and every drop helps!
Thanks for your continuing support and following
Sam & Team
#31 Stock 1000
DONINGTON, IT IS WHAT IT IS.
Is there such a thing as a bogey circuit, pitch or ground? Certainly counting up the weird incidences we have experienced at Donington in recent years it seems to be so. From brake and engine failures and now gear selection problems Donny has had it all!
In the end we had to accept this was a round that never was. The bike and rider were in seemingly good condition and had been checked over more than once by ourselves and our new techies Tony and Iain and had performed well at both Snetterton Endurance the previous weekend and also throughout practice and qualifying at Donny..
Both of the practice sessions went without incident. The track was wet initially and without any prior set up the settings were test and trialled but provided enough response to go into P2 with more certainty. In P2 the track was drier but not completely and through the old hairpin section there were still wet patches. Being cold the wet tyres were not really affected so much until the end. With a dry line appearing and 8 minutes to go we might have slung a dry on but to use a new tyre for limited opportunity and without a fully tested set up we cut the session short.
Qualifying improved times dramatically and Sam built steadily into the mid 1:35’s with each lap time reducing. Making the cut comfortably, the dry set up was much better than the bastardised wet set up in P2 and thanks to Richard Adams at Maxton for providing both gearing, suspension and geometry suggestions to make it work better.
The race never happened. Lining up in 33rd on the grid with all to play for Sam got off the line ok but then the first change into 2nd gear provided a shock. The Gearbox shift arm had snapped clean through and the pit lane was the next port of call.
With his wits about him, Iain saw the broken component and then asked Mcams team for a spare. This was duly fitted but as time passed so did the laps. Rejoining at lap 12 was not enough to begin the second race which began 15 minutes after R1. This format is a strange choice in what is already a difficult sport. Whether it provides anyone else extra entertainment or better sport we doubt. That teams have to refuel and re tyre in 10 minutes to a new grid is asking for problems and long may it disappear.
On this occasion we had been told we could join the back of the grid by an official as Sam had seen the chequered flag in race 1. However with the BSB rule book stating that 75% of the race had to be completed we were excluded from the second line up. It is what it is.
So now the rule book stopped our competition. The weather had been forecast really bad and snowy for Monday all week. We had experienced poor power supply in the paddock for 2 days. No lights, heating or tyre warmers at regular intervals and time spent hooking the generator up to supply the priorities. Wacky races would have got better. Considering the positive changes made at Donington; new paddock tarmac, improved restaurant etc the lack of power undermined our whole experience.
Having suffered the cold for long enough, we took the decision to leave that night as it remained dry until 2am in the morning. Watching the race at home in front of the fire felt strange and it was one we would certainly have enjoyed as it was almost dry against expectations and nothing like affected by the torrent predicted.
This weekend we are back at Brands Indy. We expect plenty of visitors and supporters there and have a supportive crew lining up to help. We are also about to announce two new associate sponsors who have generously agreed to help with funding Sam this season.
We look forward to a problem free weekend but as this is motor racing can hope for a safe proper start to the season.
Thanks for continuing to support our venture, please contact Frankie on 07584035974 if you are thinking of joining us.
Big thanks to Tobias Mellows, John Nethercott and Phil Sansom for their very generous contributions to our iFuel fund which helps purchase race fuel into our tank:
Its easy to use and contribute to our funding, every little helps!
Sam Cox Racing
#31 Stock 1000
SPANISH TESTING 2018
Thinking about the 2018 season as a whole the main priority was to get Sam bedded onto the R1 as soon as possible with as much pre season tracktime to facilitate this.
Last year we began with only 3 days in Valencia but this year we pushed the boat with 10 whole days booked across a three week period. Cartagena is a great testing circuit with all the necessary twists and turns, undulations and fast left and right corners to push the rider in preparation for UK tracks. Valencia is open, bold, fast and fairly flat relating to circuits like Silverstone and Snetterton, so plenty of variation for development.
The first Cartagena test went really well. The logistics of transporting bike and kit is always nerve racking with the worry of either damage or loss. This time the only problem was a leaking oil bottle spewing all over the now condemned wet tyres. These three days at Cartagena, shared with the Army Endurance teams went without a hitch, the Yoshimura exhaust can giving unsuspecting riders a scare with its unfettered loudness. Playing with the new electronics package enabled Sam to control the strong wheelying effect of the R1s bottom end grunt but changes to the Maxton suspension throughout also helped.
Alan at Road and Race had supplied alternative ECU set ups and it was clear how easily the fuelling on the R1 could be tuned to give significantly more aggressive drive where needed. The option of flicking to softer maps when wet was also a revelation giving further confidence in the damp.
Richard at Maxton had supplied a base set up which worked really well and was hardly changed except when gearing became an issue. Initially on a 14:42 set up drive out of the hairpin Sam was still in 3rd gear so a change to 15:41 enabled a 2nd gear exit. The shorter swingarm also allowed quicker transitions through corners and chicanes. It may only have been 10mm shorter but it was easily felt.
The problem experienced throughout our Supersport seasons was front end feel. Without prompting Sam did not complain once about the front. The only changes being made were as much for development and knowledge purposes to see what would happen if……. The selection of Maxton front and rear has paid off and the support we are getting from them is terrific.
By the end of the BSB Pro test we had solved issues across the bike which left us with a working set up ready to push forward with. That the weather played with our ideas on the last day was unfortunate as with new tyres Sam was ready to push into the 1:36s laptimes having developed further confidence with the bike. In summary, this time at Cartagena couldn’t have gone much better. Sam really gelled with the R1 and he looks much better suited to the bigger machine and posted very promising times in relation to other Stock 1000 riders there.
Valencia however was somewhat different. During our tests at Cartagena we had used Justin Weale at Motomechanica, Eleche for storage and service facilities. His knowledge of the R1 helped when we needed a new seal for a drippy water pump and a Blipper fitted.
On arrival at Valencia we had a shock to discover that the test had begun the day before! We missed the Sunday but fortunately the weather had been bad so no loss of track time incurred. Our next issue was getting on track to test the new blipper set up. At first the bike performed flawlessly again. We had dialed in a new set up with the help of Justin Weale putting more load onto the front end and made small adjustments on front rebound and rear preload to get the bike adapted to the new circuit.
As we were working through suspension changes Sam returned to the pits to report the blipper would not allow changes from 2nd to 3rd gear. It seemed the gear lever was not returning adequately for the electronics to note its position. First suspect was the gearbox detent spring so a trip back to Elche was necessary for an investigation.
Upon arrival the Detent spring was still intact but the mechanism clearly stiffer than normal. Working back though the gear change linkage it transpired that the push rod eyebolt internal bearing had seized. This very rare event was the culprit in stopping the system returning after each prod of the left toe. An easy fix but well spotted by JW.
Finally the third day arrived at Valencia all ready to go but the weather had then conspired to upset our hopes again. The track was empty of riders when the first session opened as clearly, dampness is not a condition of track expected in Spain. Sam got out however to test the repaired blipper and system and all was well.
The rest of the day was spent building better laptimes, adjusting the suspension around bike movement and chatter developing at the front. All problems resolved (3 clicks of rebound – off). The third session saw lap times drop again as the new tyres fitted produced additional confidence. In hindsight the additional speed was beginning to overload the softer springs on the front. We might have kept the sessions test short (3-4 laps) to make the necessary adjustments but this sometimes breaks up rider flow. Nearing the end of the session, at turn 5, pushing harder, the forks bottomed and the shock to the tyre saw Sam sliding off.
Minor damage, torn leathers and condemned helmet. A negative way to end a great trip and testing period. Overall we have learned a great deal about the R1. Our ability to tune the suspension ourselves, get the bike working without Data and with technical support from Maxton was important. With further track time this weekend (No Limits Endurance Championship) at Snetterton we are heading to BSB Round 1 at Donington over the Easter weekend with good confidence. On our Journey through this exciting sport this is another milestone ticked off!
Thanks for all your support and good wishes.
Sam Cox Racing #31 Stock 1000
Arriving late morning at Cartagena circuit on Monday, it was good to see that the bike and kit had survived the transportation to Spain. Within an hour or so the bike was ready to go out on track as the warm sun beckoned in the 2018 season.
With some coaching to complete throughout the four days we occupied ourselves with getting to know the Army team lads again as well as re acquainting ourselves with this great twisty circuit in readiness for BSB 2018. With another 60+ BHP to play with on top of our previously useful 135, the approach we took was to bed rider and bike in before pushing on towards the end of the test. This tactic worked and we managed to proceed without incident even with really ragged tyres on the rear which certainly duplicated the conditions expected in the longer Stock 1000 races this year.
The R1 certainly performed really well. Settings provided by Maxton were hardly changed and it handled with confidence through corners with some interesting inputs from the electronics to keep it straight and level. Wheelying was an intial problem but by keeping the swing arm length longish, a bit of anti lift dialled in and rider control, Sam slowly got the better of its regular threat to stability.
Having traction control, anti lift, slide control options on the dash was tempting. The advice we followed was to use nothing and get a feel for the R1 in its natural state. On the ECU we had two optional maps accessed via the hazard switch. The alternative to full power through the rev range was a softer map giving less grunt at certain revs to assist controlled corner exit. Again it was rejected to get full feel on the R1's raw capability which is strong to say the least.
After the first two days it was clear that Sam was getting into the bike really well. His description of the difference was that he was 'in' the bike rather than 'on' it as per the R6.
This would refer to the deeper seat position, the arse bump stop we had fitted and the overall need to keep low in the saddle and grip the tank harder with the legs. The whole experience developed really positively and as the laps passed, times came down to a healthy 1.38.6s on the final day which was the second full day on the R1 in non coaching mode. This was achieved during cold track day conditions among trackday riders so bodes well for our target into the 37's on the Pro Test next week.
The suspension settings were little adjusted and the ready support available from Richard at Maxton has been extensive. With further time at Cartagena this week (4 days) we have a good block of time to push forward among faster riders who will all have their own agendas in preparation for BSB Round 1 at Donington.
It doesnt stop at Cartagena. After a weeks break in Southern Spain we head for Valencia a superb circuit that mimics the fast, open layout of Silverstone and flatness of Snetterton. The time there is further track time among International racers which should, in total, give us the best start to a new class and new season we have ever had.
Our aim this year is to be competitive in a strong BSB class. By keeping in the chase and developing our practice we hope to get ever closer to regular top ten finishes.
Funding is always an issue and we welcome sponsor contributions from Echelon again this year, other new associate sponsors who will be announced soon and the important contributions we get from our supporters. The ifuel fund is still alive and will help supply both the fuel we need to fill the tank at BSB meetings as well as supplement our funding requirements.
If you would like to contribute in this way its an easy link to follow below and payments are by paypal or card:
With many thanks in advance!
Following the promising improvements achieved in 2017, Sam Cox Racing sat down and planned the new season ahead and considered the options. The Supersport experience had been tough and at times frustrating. Achieving a consistent set up seemed to be illusive and although PB's and an amazing 10th place finish were achieved we always wished to do better and enjoy more consistent top 15 results. This is motorsport and there are no excuses as we were always responsible for what happened. Sometimes a big change is better than tinkering so we waved goodbye to Supersport and bought an R1 for Christmas!
The lure of a larger bike to help the power/weight issue (Sam is heavy for 600s) helped make the decision to enter Stock 1000 in 2018. Sam is a large and strong enough rider to grow into the R1 experience and with a calculated change to Maxton suspension we hope the two will help progress rider pace and competitiveness.
2018 is very much a transition year however. The class change is one thing, the increased power is another and going back to a Rookie year brings back all the fun of the circus in novice like learning! This year we have developed an association with Road and Race who have a great pedigree in supporting the Stock 1000 class. Knowing the R1 and what works best means we have an efficient and well tested set up to begin with. The donor 2016 R1 was road going but only had 450 careful miles onboard. The dyno set up brought an easy 200 bhp at the rear wheel. Our experience in developing the R6 enabled us to make good decisions regarding the rest of set up. Exhaust is Yoshimura with titanium throughout. Rearsets Lightech (successful on the R6). With Yamaha kit ecu and loom connected, Renthal chains and gearing and GB Racing engine protection all bolted on it didnt take long to have it ready. Simon at R&R did some great work fitting fairings and wiring up the electronics. The dash mapping system is amazing with options for traction control and anti wheely built in. The only thing we are missing with this model is the auto blipper facility, available on the more recent R1's.
The biggest decision made however has been in the choice of suspension. At the end of the 2017 season we had already gathered a whole lot of suspension data. Carefully recorded, it should have been easier getting the feel required to push on harder at the front end. It was only at Silverstone, the penultimate round, when we tried a Maxton set up in the front end that things got better. With help from Tommy and Bill Philp their spare forks were slotted in ready for a practice run on race day. It rained, there was no track time. Into the race in fully wet conditions without any set up we rolled the dice and the Maxtons performed favourably with a element of feel in the front and better grip on the Ktech rear (now fitted with a soft spring). That Sam would have finished 10th but for a last lap slide was testament to what might have been.
Maxton MD Richard has since provided a whole new package of forks and shock with data for many circuits. This is a great start to knowing unknown territory. With promise of Pit Lane and paddock support at BSB we hope to tune the feel in the bike to realise greater confidence for Sam. With the added tools of traction control and different mapping options through the dash we have the tools to both experiment more and find that sweet spot racers desire but rarely find.
Sam has also committed himself to a testing and regular fitness programme over the winter. With help from Carl Goodchild (Team Army PTI) his gym work has been rigorous and specific. The measure of its success has been seen on the Motocross circuits visited during December and January. Probably more demanding that most two wheel experiences, the gruelling course at Ashdown Forest and Apex, Worcester showed that his strength and fitness is up there for strength related saddle time.
This will be an important factor in being able to test the Stock 1000 effectively and make the most of the 10 days we have organised in Spain pre season. Cartagena (7 days) and Valencia (3 days) is an investment we have to make in the build up to meeting Stock 1000 demands.
The cost of visiting Spain is expensive and takes months of preparation and planning. This year our committment to BSB is matched with an involvement in the Army Endurance team and the No Limits National Endurance Championship. To meet these expectations the extra test schedule is vital. By making the strategic choice of using funds available at the beginning of the season our gamble is it will pay off when we want to perform at our best later in the year.
Our main sponsor Echelon Consultancy and especially their MD Matt Baxter has continued his generous interest and backing for 2018. Our relationship with F3 Group has come to a sad end and we are on the look out for other associate sponsors to bridge the gap we are facing in the summer. Keith Taylor MD at F3 Group has been terrific in directing us to an anonymous supporter and this has helped with bike build costs but we have always to consider our budget limits carefully. Meeting the tyre bill alone in 2018 will require £13K !
In this respect, we have decided not to race at Knockhill in Scotland as the circuit is appalling and we consider it less than safe - we know the local hospital too well there as do many other riders each year ! Also Oulton Park (visited twice in 2018) has never been kind to us and as we are entering a transition year it makes sense to 'cut our cloth' according to our means and avoid the techinically tricky and demanding woodland track - much as we like the people there!
The Army Endurance team have asked Sam to help form a race partnership with one of their promising riders within their squad to help challenge for the National 1000 Endurance Championship. This event is getting larger every year and provides demanding riding mixed with a team orientated challenge. As part of a continuingly developing riders CV it will certainly allow plenty of track time on the R1 so will assist the BSB season too as well as support a great bunch of serving soldiers.
We will be posting further news as the pre season develops both here and via social media.
Wish us luck as ever and join the team in 2018 for a great new season!