ASSEN VISIT HELPED CLEAR THE AIR BUT DONNY PROVIDED SAME OLD DAMP EXPERIENCE
Visiting Assen has always been a pleasure. The country that is Holland, the people and the circuit itself are all top class. We always seem to have a good time there. This year was no different.
Following our grim season, where it seems that luck and also the weather in some respects, has conspired to undermine our effort and willpower, this weekend was much needed. Getting on the podium in 3rd for both races in the BeNeCup, essentially the Dutch and Belguim Superstock class, was great.
Our previous three rounds at BSB had been terrible. Thruxton was bearable but results were secondary to getting over the line, Cadwell was developing well until a last second slide off in the final race at the hairpin, two corners from home. The following period of reflection took some time to clear but with Oulton Park missed and the bike to rebuild our spirits gradually lifted with the prospect of a visit to the Cathedral of Speed.
We left early in the week for two days of testing on Monday and Tuesday but yet again the weather there reduced our track time to less than 30 minutes! Each time we went to track it rained just enough to make the dry set up questionable. With other issues regarding noise limits where we got black flagged twice, the test was pretty useless to our preparation. We did however meet the two ADSS endurance boys Craig and Chris who not only helped us out with a legal exhaust can but provided some great banter over the next few days of prep in the paddock.
The weather finally turned good for the weekend and we managed to get some great dry laps on Friday in qualification practice. Against the BeNeCup class we expected to be at the front but there is always one or two handy locals to show us the way around and our initial laptimes brought us home in 3rd. The time was slower than last year but we expected to improve over the round.
The second qualification went almost the same. Same time but a growing confidence with the bike and with a major change in gearing and chassis set up, a better feel to cornering.
The first race saw an improved time and a final finish of 3rd and a podium result. After a good start Sam tried to hang on to the front two riders, Tom Ward and a Belguim guy Claessen. Exiting the complex onto the back straight he experienced a full on high side but skillfully saved the potential crash after landing back in the saddle. The gap in front then opened up and he completed the rest of the race in 3rd.
In the second race on Sunday, with our sponsors Echelon visiting, we managed another 3rd place finish so all in all a positive weekend which we all really enjoyed. Heading back to the UK the following day, our rider worse for wear after a night out in Gronigen, the bike all together, felt like we had cleared the negativities out of the season before.
Donington next but the decision to go was made last minute mainly because the weather looked questionable in part and the bike was needed at a sponsor conference shortly after. That we went was probably a reasonable decision as we did get some useful tracktime but, as usual, the intermittent rain showers played havoc with tyre selection and times.
By the final race on Sunday we had achieved some set up data ready for a dry race but the showers came and went and screwed plans. Going to the grid on a wet front and dry rear was half the right set up. The track was damp and drying. It could have rained again but stayed dry long enough to enable those riders with dry/dry on their rims make the most of the sketchy conditions and push on to some decent times.
However, in the meantime, our race ended prematurely with a developing vibration coming from the front end. With the wet wheel in use at the front we had not tested it all weekend. We should have gone out in warm up but elected to play safe with the wet and cold conditions. This decision bit us on the arse as, on inspection, one of the front brake discs was found to be running less concentrically than true. Another new situation!
This weekend we are finishing this difficult season at Brands GP circuit Round 12. The weather could be typically wet but we need to break through our hesitation in competing in these conditions. Our sponsors Echelon have been great in supporting us this year as have Intact Electrical (Gav and Richard) and Southern & Country Roofing (Kelvin). We hope to see them all there.
The SCR team will be looking forward to seeing this season out in good spirits together with supporters and sponsors who have provided the encouragement we needed when things have gotten grim this season. That we are still moving forward in a positive frame of mind ready to compete the best we can is great!
Sam Cox & Team
#31 Stock 1000
Southern & Country Roofing
DRC Race Leathers
NO RACE AT SNETTERTON DUE TO WEATHER, TRACK AND EARLY EXIT
We follow the rules, we put in lots of effort and have a great team but, boy, is this sport tough and unremitting when you get on the wrong side of it.
Our preparation had included a full wheel and chassis check at Motoliners following the hefty off at Brands GP and a full bike check and service with the help of Maxton suspension who also serviced the fork internals, found to have squished shim stacks and a dented fork bush.
Our team was cut down by an unexpected health problem experienced by Tony Homer the weekend before. Follow medical care he is now in recovery and a very lucky man. Iain Rowatt and Paul Cook ably filled the gap and the team was completed with Lora, Becci and Frankie working the grid and marquee hospitality. We had our amazing support sorted and were ready for track.
Practice on Friday went ok with progress made and time lost from P1 to P2. Cautiously bedding in bike and rider after the rebuild enabled the team to ensure everything stayed straight and true. Suspension set up was drastically changed by raising the front and dropping the rear into P2. Corner turn had been ok but keeping the bike on line through the corner wasn’t so good.
With such a light timetable and only one Qualifying session throughout Saturday the team had a relaxed build up. Weather began sunny and dry but the forecast showed possible showers ahead predicted around our Q session slot. So it was 5 minutes before pitlane opened for us a massive deluge hit the circuit swamping the track – wet tyres were fitted pronto!
After a 5 minute delay several bikes ventured out on track on a cautious sighting lap. Within a minute 4 or 5 bikes had gone down, Sam included, and the problem was identified as contamination from previous touring car events. The session was cancelled until the end of the day.
With every chance to cancel our slot earlier – as lunch was next – a sensible decision might have been to wait until after lunch so the track could dry out and we could adjust but this is hindsight and our luck was again damned.
Sam had highsided on minimal throttle whilst exiting redgate corner. Brand new wets, pressures bang on (we checked) and adopting a cautious approach led to another smack on the deck. WTF! We couldn’t believe it.
Sam slammed onto his already sore hip again and minor bike damage was limited to the usual bar, peg and fairing panel but the shock to rider and team was palpable.
Never mind, we had the later postponed qualy session to plan for and that was 4 hours away. With bike patched up and checked qualification in the dry saw 5 successful laps with more time lost. The new set up proved a massive step forward (Maxton advice again). With 10 minutes left Sam headed back out on track to push harder and lose more time for a better grid position.
Yep, you guessed it, now it was the time for the bike to misbehave. Inexplicably some kind of whole engine cut out now showed its head before the session ended. This effectively ended our attempt to move up the grid.
Overnight we took advice from various quarters and went over every item we could find. Tilt switch, loom, plug caps, earth connections etc all received close inspection and on Sunday morning the bike went to the dyno to see if it was ready again.
At 12000 rpm it was clear a fault remained and kicked in and cut the power off completely. It was checked several times and each time it did the same. Back to the marquee for another inspection as we had 1 hour to find the problem before the Sunday warm up session at 9.50am.
We tried several more ideas and sent Sam out to test the bike in warm up. He got as far as the second hairpin corner when it cut out completely.
Another strip down, another closer inspection of every connection and possible reason for such complete loss of power. Fortunately we had a replacement right hand switch gear unit. Replacing that as well as other items produced a thumbs up back on the dyno. Great news as we then had a few hours to go over the bike ready for the race. The team spirit lifted and the sun came out. Our sponsors and other followers arrived and it seemed we might get some racing in after all.
Sadly this time Sam got as far as turn 4. Milo Ward high sided his bike into Agostini corner and set up a train of bikes either going down or taking evasive action. One of these riders swept across in front of Sam’s inside corner line and clipped his front wheel taking him down. More front end damage occurred as the Echelon Suzuki slid along the tarmac into another bike.
We had a long discussion afterwards about our continuing bad luck, the effect it was having on all our efforts to continue racing and what we could do in the circumstances. Basically our crashing is eating away at resources and the seasons tally of 7 offs is larger than the last two seasons worth put together. It’s a bitch of a season is what it is! Crashing is part of racing but when the last three had all been no fault offs it gets harder to bear.
Tough times bring forward tough people and #31Coxxy is made of sterner stuff than many. Our next round is Thruxton. A track that we have enjoyed over the years and one that was lost to us last year when we blew an engine on the R1.
We have to try and put this record to bed. It is not what we want to give in to. As difficult as it has become, a restorative weekend racing is all we seek and providing we can repair the GSXR in time we are planning to give it a go.
Our season may be shorter than we thought as each crash brings with it repair bills and this eats into race funds dramatically. At present we will probably have to drop 2 of the remaining rounds unless we can find support from another source.
Costs of racing are high. A typical Stock 1000 season runs to 30K for running costs before you have a set up machine. A new Stock 1000 spec bike will set you back £23K or there about. Crashing can range from total write off to mild slides ie £20K down to £100 for repairs and this needs to be factored into any race budget.
Weather is looking OK for the weekend ahead. We are simply hoping for a straight forward weekend of racing without the dramas experienced so far.
Please wish us more luck, it will be about time!
Thanks for your support, please show the love via the donate button below!
Sam & Team
#31 Stock 1000
SNETTERTON NEXT AND HOPE RIDES HIGH FOR BETTER LUCK!
The last round at Brands GP saw the team experience really poor luck where a total brake failure saw Coxxy catalpulted over the barrier at Druids, skittling marshalls as he flew past. Thankfully seriously unscathed.
That we were making good progress and had but one thing in our armoury fail is no excuse for inadequate technical performance leading to a premature and painful end of road. But on this occasion it really was plain bad luck.
There is no direction for blame. Just pick ourselves up, have a break from the Round 5 fairground of Knockhill (thankfully missed) and emptiness of the WSB Paddock at Donington (expensive and minimal riding). With a fun filled weekend at Brands with Bemsee this weekend, Coxxy has enjoyed spinning many more laps on another R6 and Kawasaki 300 just for the fun of it. No issues and home with a racing smile.
Without Coxxy Senior he had to make all decisions by himself at this busy Club round plus the help of Homer as batman. Each time he raced he made progress getting quicker and higher up the pack during subsequent 6 lap races……… and won a 2nd place in the Senior 300 when the Junior lightweight pack mistakedly pulled up one lap prematurely – take any advantage where we are!
Fixing the GSXR however has been a painstaking process. Front wheel was totally smashed and replaced, front end including forks, yokes and Chassis have all been tested and found bent at Maidstone Motoliners. Thanks to Tom and team there for their engineering skill. The straightening process involves a partial bike strip down so that has all been put back together for the first time this season. Hopefully in the right place!
Fairing damage is a pain in the arse as invariably decals need replacing as well as GRP, filling and spray coat patched up. With time in hand all has been made good even though the nose fairing was seriously mullered. The braking system has been checked good by Ian Edwards at Mode Performance (thanks for the new Brembo discs and pads) and a final visit to Maxton tomorrow morning to ensure the internal shim stack survived damage in the forks and we should be good to go.
Instead of going straight to Snetterton and Round 6 BSB without any GSXR track time we have elected to complete a run out at Cadwell this Wednesday. Hopefully we can relax and put the bike through its paces proving its wellness before P1 arrives on schedule on Friday morning at Snet. This will also gain us a base set up for when we travel there for Round 8 mid August.
Hopefully Round 6 will go better for us. There is no double header race on Saturday only one qualifying session and the full race format on Sunday. Look out for our progress on Tsl timing and support us if you can via our IFuel Campaign which helps to keep our wheels spinning, especially during these tricky periods in the season.
Thanks for following our story
Sam & Team
#31 Stock 1000
BRANDS HATCH GP PUTS A BRAKE ON PROGRESS
Getting ready for the big weekend at Brands involved plenty of effort from the whole team. From bike prep beforehand to set up on Thursday, our family based outfit has grown steadily in number to involve more and more members. We now have Frankie and Becci on the pit wall for pitboarding. At least two of three techies (Tony, Iain and Paul) help out in the marquee checking and servicing the bike whilst Sam & I get to the bottom of set up from his feedback and adjustments. Richard Adams at Maxton is on call to supply additional advice if we are in need; we have other contacts in other teams who are there if we need spare parts, advice or general banter.
Our check list system has caught a number of issues before they happen and normally we are fully confident the bike is safe and ready to ride each time it goes out on track. So far this season we have not encountered any mechanical breakdowns; chains have not snapped, nothing falling off or coming undone except a few fairing fastenings. The Suzuki GSXR Engine is still producing good power as tested on the DynoJet dyno this weekend.
Unfortunately in racing the bike and its systems are only really truly tested in actual race conditions. Heat piles up. Vibrations reach extreme levels and anything loose or unreliable will soon show its head. We have to be ever alert.
Our weekend came to a halt during Race 1 of 2 on Saturday. Having fully fuelled the bike, new tyres, new brake pads and another set of wheels ready and waiting for the quick changeover Race 2, we were ready. Our P1 & P2 had gone ok. Times had come down but at the end of P1 we had an overflow of hot water spewing out the expansion bottle. No problem. Residual water in the bottle was over topped up with normal expansion flow upon pit return and when it got full it blew out the vent hole looking a lot worse than it really was. We lost 9 minutes of track time though.
After a full check of the rad, tubes, water level and pump flow it was straight to the dyno for a full power run with a close eye on temperature. All was well and we were ready to continue into P2 and Qualy. These both went well and we made excellent progress in set up and time to qualify 28th.
The Race 1 video footage shows Sam in 25th coming up to Druids corner on lap 7 , braking and just starting to tip in. At this point he sat up, went straight on, across the gravel trap and into the barrier. As the bike entered he rose up out of the seat onto his toes, launched out of the seat, narrowly missing the marshalls assembled there and did a full somersault onto the bank below the viewing area before rolling majestically back down to finish at the feet of the stunned marshalls. The watching crowd, momentarily stunned, began to applaud as Coxxy got to his shaken feet supported by medics.
A period in the Med Centre identified no major breakages except a very sore left knee which may have be ligament orientated. The update this week (June 20th) is that it has already improved and walking is now possible with only one crutch!
A massive, massive piece of bad luck and a huge scare for us all. In qualifying, times had dropped again to a healthy 1.30.3s. Slightly slower than last years PB of 1.29.5s. Set up felt good. By softening the rear spring set and stiffening the front the bike was producing good grip and performing better and better with further laps.
The after race investigation soon began and it was quickly apparent that a serious problem with the braking system was the cause. We had prepped the brakes with new Master Cylinder seals, span adjuster and fresh fluid. The calipers are cleaned every outing and on this occasion a new set of pads was fitted for the two back to back races.
The only negative was not being able to get Brembo Z04 pads. These are usually available at the circuit but on this occasion all stock was gone. We had previously used alternative products (SBS and now Bendix) which, although faster wearing and a different feel were able to perform well.
Upon inspection the right caliper was ok. The pads had worn but not so much that they couldn’t have lasted the second race. On the left side one pad (outer) had worn more that the right calipers but the remaining inside pad had no material left at all. In fact it had delaminated. See comparison pics.
This ultra rare event happened at the slowest corner on the circuit. Anywhere else except perhaps Graham Hill where run off is a grassy bank, could have been more serious due to speed levels involved.
At this stage we are working with Brembo to establish the technical state of our brake system via pressure testing but in the immediate period before the failure they were operating ok if less effective than in Qualy.
Until we have the full result of this investigation we need to find out what failed. Was it caliper or pad orientated? Did we have a Pad which was inadequate for racing? Seemingly not as the other side was working. Was the caliper sticking and producing excessive heat?
The full story may never come out but we are hopeful Brembo can help us in the next week or two to get back up and running.
UPDATE 26/6/2019: The whole system was tested and found to be working. No sticking pistons or leaks, nothing significant of any kind. Brembo have kindly donated some Brembo Race discs and pads to our next Round at Snetterton. Thanks to Ian Edwards at Mode Performance for the goodwill.
Thanks to the great support we enjoyed at this round from our terrific sponsors Echelon and their guests, Gavin and Richard from Intact Electrical as well as Kelvin Hoare from Southern & Country for help in fixing the bike.
Barry Ellett as ever was there to help with set up and support, Chalkies decals had done a super wrap for the bike and Maxton gave us time to get set up better. The DRC Race leathers fully protected Sam in his heart stopping leap over the air barrier at Druids.
We are now planning our next round at Snetterton in July. Knockhill we miss as it has never served us well with such a long way to drive, sub standard amenties and a tight and tricky track layout. Just our opinion.
As ever we are reliant on all the support we can get from sponsors, supporters and followers. We have opportunities for donations to our cause via the following iFuel donation link below. Any level of support is welcome and the process is very easy via Card or Paypal.
Thanks for following our story, hope to update soon on the repairs and recovery.
Sam Cox & Team
#31 Stock 1000
AMAZING RESULT AT DONINGTON AFTER PRESSURE IN QUALIFICATION
Donington is one of our favourite circuits. BSB had decided to change the options and use the National rather than full GP layout. This cut out the dreaded Melbourne loop and Goddards, both tricky slow corners that often cause riders problems.
Our preparation had been full on and both rider and bike were in fine fettle. Practice sessions went positively and with our gearing selection and suspension set up not far off where we finished at the weekend.
The real action began in qualification. From P2 Sam had suggested a little more turn in would be helpful to improve entry and exit from corners. Changes duly applied did there job, a little too well! On the first lap entry to the blind Coppice corner was far quicker than previous and the bike clipped the rumble strip kerb sufficient to lose front grip. The bike ploughed into the gravel with minimal damage but a long way back to the pits.
With an alert recovery of rider and bike the team met Sam in scrutineering. He had already stopped at the marquee, changed his leathers and run to the scrutineers to watch the bike get very quick attention from the pit crew. With two minutes left of qualification he hit the track and put in an amazing lap sufficient to post a qualification position. At this point we could have gone home!
Starting in P36 for race 1 in the afternoon was not where we want to be but once the double header race was underway it was obvious Sam was going to make up places and he quickly got up to 29th in the early laps of 21 and by the end had battled up to a finish position of 25th. A real team effort of recovery!
The double header race scenario is tricky to all teams allowing 10 minutes to refuel and retread the bike ready for another 21 lapper. The changeover went well and Sam lined up in 25th on the grid ready for Race 2 and another roll of the dice.
Race 2 went really well and with further fast laps in Sam posted his best time of the weekend on lap 15 at 1.09.3s ( a full 0.7s faster than in race 1) and finished a remarkable 21st.
Saturday was a good days work where the team pulled off a remarkable comeback to get to the grid in time to post a meaningful lap with a messy bike – there was no time to clean tyres or complete a full check. The result of 21st was a real achievement for all especially the rider.
Sundays weather offered rain unfortunately. The bike and rider were ready to roll and with the new colour scheme looked great. Our sponsors Echelon were in attendance and as Race 3 got underway the rain held off but not enough to warrant anything other than wet tyres. All went well until lap 13 when Sam lost the rear end at McCleans corner ending up in the gravel again. A small highside which was frustrating for all as he had worked hard to maintain his place around the 20th mark. Some good TV coverage though! 13 riders experienced a DNF so we were in good company!
The last two weeks have seen lots of work going into the bike and organization for Brands Hatch GP this weekend. The bike has received a full strip down with fairing repairs, replacement parts and a general clean up ready for the big round that is Brands. Thanks to Iain Rowatt and Sam himself for the time given to helping out the very senior mechanic, Coxxy Senior!
We have launched several promotions this month for supporters to purchase and contribute to:
Our new T Shirts are available in the paddock and on our website under the Merchandise page. Our SCR Club 100 Custom scooter promotion has had a great response from supporters and this promotion continues via the following link. The offer is to win a Custom Vespa Scooter of your own design ready for the road, just like our own team machine!
SCR CLUB 100 CUSTOM SCOOTER LINK
As ever we have many different people and companies to thank in getting back to the track:
Our team have been great in pulling together and keeping the ball rolling: Frankie, Becky, Iain and Paul gave us fantastic help throughout the weekend at Donington.
Our sponsors Echelon including Matt, Sarah and Dominic make a big difference in attending race rounds providing positivity and real commercial support.
We are also really pleased that Intact Electrical have also agreed to continue their support in the 2019 season, thanks to Gavin and Richard for their interest and backing again.
DRC Leathers provided fantastic protection in the new Race suit and are backing Sam for the season by keeping the kit in great condition.
Road & Race in Verwood have provided a supply of race discounted parts that have enabled savings in preparing the bike for this coming round.
Supporters and followers can also help from a distance. Our budget is always tight and every donation to the team will help provide the best support we can give Sam on track.
By donating to the IFUEL campaign supporters can help the team purchase the expensive race fuel we are obliged to use through the BSB rules. The above link takes you straight to our SCR IFuel page where every £10 will get us another 3 litres! or 3 laps of Brands GP!
Wish us luck at Brands GP. The weather is due to be kind to us we hope but I wouldn’t bet on that right now! Thanks for the great support we continue to recieve from our sponsors, followers and supporters.
Sam & Team
#31 Stock 1000
BSB ROUND 2 OULTON PARK tested the Team but we survived in one piece with lots learned
We realised that to turn up with no testing at Oulton on a new bike with potential weather issues was going to be tough. Last year we elected to sit out Oulton because the Yamaha R1 was already a wheelying beast and didn’t need a circuit that was renowned for the same problem exacerbating the status quo.
We really needed more tracktime this round and Practice was all we had, 2 x 25min sessions. Or so we thought. Luck left us in P1 and P2, due to red flags and broken sessions, qualification was looking a tough nut to crack. The total rider field was 48 with only 40 places on the grid but our times in P2, although 4 seconds faster than P1, were dangerously close to the cut off and still two seconds off PB level.
Our initial set up from P1 was heavily tweaked at the front due to insufficient support and excessive diving into corners. The whole bike was set too loose and pilot briefing summed up our frustrations:
“I really didn’t know where to start in my feedback. There were so many issues to report! The main problem was the usual at Oulton, wheelying! Diving at the front was improved with spring changes and damping all round but we desperately needed track time to improve the handling and drive. We always knew it was going to be tricky.
Thankfully having lost another two seconds in P2 we rose above the cut line but it was going to be close.”
Qualification is normally organised around a scrub tyre on the rear for 10 mins, into pit lane and change to a new rear for the last 10. This time previous events necessitated a different approach. Get out, stay out unless there is anything really bad in set up. Having increased support at the front further, adjusted the electronic control of throttle response in wheelying and tweaked the geometry further Sams first few laps looked promising. Lap times dropped into the 1.41s but further was required. As other teams slipped on new rubber SCR#31 slipped down the timesheet to below the cut off in 41st!
Still struggling to get better handling it was do or die time. With the SCR Pitboard showing L1 or one lap to go, Sam began the final push in 41st position but on the rear wheel of Craig Neve, a 1.40s level rider. Hanging on to every gear change, braking marker and turn kept Coxxy in full race flow. Forget the GSXR issues , just stay close to Neve!
Coming over the line felt like a victory flag! Sams time posted a new overall PB at Oulton. 1.40.7s with an improved position to 33rd.
The team were ecstatic in the final push and celebrated in Parc Ferme. When the going gets tough and all that……..Sam had delivered an amazing performance against difficult odds.
We hoped this had set us up for a good show on Race day Monday morning. With the team putting in further bike checks and tweaks overnight in readiness for warm up at a very early 8.45am start, we were definitely moving forward.
However, overnight rain visited and by the morning the circuit was damp but expected to dry. Yet more unfortunately another incident screwed warm up – a security vehicle had managed to dump oil on the circuit surface overnight and the two hours spent clearing it up spelt trouble for many teams.
Then it rained more just for good measure, ffs! Moving to a fully wet set up seemed the right decision with just over an hour to go to the main race at 10.45am. That we got the bike ready with seconds to spare was due to great teamwork from Paul Cook, Tony Homer and the rest of the team. Front and rear suspension springs changed, tyres, electronics adjusted and bodywork swapped out. Getting to the grid and lining up in 33rd was an achievement!
Of course with wet tyres onboard and a soft spring set up, ideal for wet conditions, we remained nervous as Sam had never ridden the GSXR in the wet before. What a baptism! That he went ahead, stayed on, finished no lower whilst still struggling due to wet tyres which were now slipping about on the dry lines appearing, rounded off a difficult weekend.
The bike could have been set harder at the front allowing faster corner entry but this is all hindsight and to gamble the other way may have resulted in far worse. This is racing. Hard enough when conditions are at least consistent but with curve balls flying about our final state was one of reassured if measured achievement.
Next round is Donington in two weekends time. We have more and more data on the bike now, further excellent support from Maxton Suspension and a growing association with the JDR team who we have been getting to know in the paddock through mutual technical assistance and general banter!
All our ducks will soon be in a row soon enough, our plates spinning and all the hard work we are putting in will result in more strong performances further up the grid.
Thanks for your continuing support!
Sam Cox & Team
OULTON PREP ENSURES BEST POSSIBLE SUPPORT FOR #31 COXXY
Last season SCR and #31 experienced too many mechanical and other related issues that impacted on track time and therefore overall performance. Small missed issues developed into critical failures not the least the gearchange input arm snapping on the first round grid at Donington! Such unexpected events teach you that motorbikes need constant checking and inspecting throughout the period of each round, before and after. These Stock 100 class road based production machines are being stressed and strained out of their maximum comfort zones and problems will occur.
All teams experience issues, in fact it seems there is not a BSB team that isn’t dealing with one thing or another. From suspension set up to gearing, swing arm length, pressure choice and a multitude of other factors. Every item on the bike has to be fully functional, set up correctly for optimum performance and rider comfort and safety. Would it surprise you to know we have suffered a crash in the past due to a sticky rear brake!
So far this year we have more or less managed to escape the worst threats and have already nipped in the bud developing problems with set up, loosening nuts, screws or fastenings. Presently we are focused on Quickshifter action. It has produced a number of rough gear changes down the box from 6 > 5 > 4 > 3rd gears. The Quickshifter has an exacting job to do and must be set really precisely to achieve the pause in engine power to smoothly allow clutchless transition through the box.
The electronic dwell time enacted by the Quickshifter is measured in milliseconds. Using the Yoshimura software connected through the ECU enables adjustment. Yoshimura Empro isn’t the neatest and most user friendly software but it does the basics well and in an understandable fashion. The range currently set is between 24 and 60 milliseconds depending on gearchange and engine revs. That’s on average 40 milliseconds or 0.04seconds which isn’t much! Hence the importance of set up via the mechanical components to make this happen systematically and efficiently.
The gear shift lever, controlled by the riders boot can be out a few degrees of position and cause accurate shift issues. Knowing if it is too close, far, stiff or loose is another investigation in the waiting. Testing in Spain showed up a few problems and the stock shifter was questioned for replacement but different conversations with other riders suggest the Suzuki version does the job well. Just this one area of the bike, also related to chain tension, gearing and rider use is a matrix of issues to sort. Getting it right means the bike is easier to control and race.
The brakes on the GSXR have so far performed better than last years Yamaha R1 which were poor. The GSXR master cylinder produces the force and stopping power even on OEM discs to give the rider confidence. The fluid used in the brake lines is Brembo’s best race version which has a high wet boiling point. This minimizes cavitation, a phenomenon where increased pressure from heat vaporizes small gas cavities in the fluid causing spongyiness at the lever. As the race goes on in hot conditions it gets worse and brakes fade out to the bar. Not good.
The Suzuki has very sensitive wheel speed sensors front and back. The gap between the sensor end and the wheel speed sensor disc must be between 0.5 and 1.0mm. Too big a gap it wont read the speed accurately and the traction control wont work. Too close and the sensor can get damaged and the same follows, drive failure.
Our checking system therefore has to be better to identify any problems before they raise their head. We have got to know the Suzuki well however, our testing period has taught us a lot. We have three techies working on the bike. Each has designated jobs to do via a new info board system. We have team briefings to ensure we all know what is happening. Our technical checklist has been extended this year to suit the GSXR – it has 38 bike related items on it. We run through it an hour, 30 minutes and 10 minutes to go (leaving for the pitlane). We have Torque settings for every critical nut and bolt. Every time we complete work on the bike we cross check it with each other. On top of all this we note any small changes in fluid, leaks, performance changes and comfort factors that the rider experiences each time he returns from the circuit. The rider provides a full briefing to us all at this time which can indicate issues to investigate and resolve.
Our relationship with Maxton suspension provides good information to help tune the bike on track. Richard Adams works with other top teams and riders so is a great source of confidence in getting the bike to drive smoothly and directionally out of and into corners. Every track session is met with changes and adjustments. Spring size, Preload and settings on Compression and Rebound. So far we have achieved reasonable set ups by Race day.
This week the bike was dynoed at Paul Curran Performance in Birmingham to check power, quickshifter performance and fuelling. Overall it seemed ok and with a few minor tweaks to fuelling on throttle pick up (enrichment) the drive characteristics should be smoother for the rider. Paul works with Josh Elliott and Billy McConnell, leading and top ten riders in the Superbike Championship, both on Suzukis. Experience here could help avoid other developing issues in GSXRs that are being pushed even harder than ours.
Keeping the show moving relies on funding of course. Our team promotion has got off to a good start (PM for details). Our iFuel Campaign still helps provide the team with the expensive race fuel we must use in the Stock 1000 series. Use the following link to help the team fuel the #31 tank, it really helps!
Wish us luck at Oulton. It’s a tricky and technical circuit never visited on a 1000 before so will be exacting even though we only have the single race on Bank Holiday Monday at 11am
Sam and Team SCR
This First BSB round was always going to be a real challenge due to the format of a double header race on Saturday, a very large grid of 52 riders, the propect of having to fight to qualify and the new imposed rear tyre rule which few teams had tested.
However, the weather for once made track time much more certain at Silverstone than in previous years. The short National circuit of only 6 corners also made the potential for set up problems slightly less.
At the earlier test there, SCR had achieved a good base set up which turned out not too far from where we ended on Sunday. We eventually tuned the suspension, aided by Richard Adams at Maxton, by softening the front a little more from 10 KN springs to 9.75 and lowered the back to put more load on the spinning rear. Gearing also lengthened from 15: 43 to 16: 42 as did the swing arm length and these adjustments also helped stabilize the dreaded wheely effect as well as keep the bike from drifting wide.
P1 on Friday went relatively smoothly and without incident but with a slight concern about the quickshifter performance. By P2 however, our attention was driven towards the engine struggling and seemingly running out of fuel. By topping the tank it ran again smoothly but towards the session end was chuffing more.
An inspection revealed the foam that is required in the tank had separated into bits and these had found their way around the cartridge filter reducing the flow but not quite choking the supply. A clear-out sufficed and better quality foam is needed to solve this perennial issue.
In P1 Sam had registered a 56.8 equalling his PB from last year and from the test best but in P2 the above fuel issues drifted lap times to 56.9. Our position on the grid was around the 38/52 mark, the cut off was set at 40 so we were sweating for qualifying!
As it happened Sam made the cut and smashed his PB in qualifying by achieving an amazing 56.4s lap even though the electronic cut out, from the quickshifter issue, was again rearing its head. In our small group A of 26 for qualification he finished 16th/26 but overall, from the combined results of two groups, he started 34th on the grid for race 1.
In R1 Sam made a great start, avoided the multiple crashes around him and pushed up the grid 10 places by the end. A great first result of the season!
Next was the double header format Race 2. Two back to back races, ten minutes apart with smaller teams struggling to get the bikes fuelled and re-tyred in time. Anything can go wrong when rushing occurs which doesn't help with safety for the riders.
It's interesting that in Race 2 the number of riders crashing was ridiculously high at 9 bikes going down, ironically followed by a rider's briefing the following morning to talk about safety when the double-header is at the instigation of the organisers!
The other imposition is the unknown new Pirelli rear tyre. It's not known whether it is an unbadged SC2, 1 or 0 and seems to have been created just for Stock 1000 itself due to the problems encountered in 2018. Last year the rear tyres had degraded badly at Silverstone. The publicity must have been really negative for Pirelli. Rightly so. This year in an attempt to avoid any repeat, the rear tyres seemed like SC1s but teams have to inflate, via the rules, to a minimum of 24Psi. The threat of removal from any race grid with lower tyre pressure was enforced at least once over the weekend.
In Race 2 Sam was one of those riders to slide off. Not due to any Rear grip loss but a miscalculation going into Becketts and clipping Joe Sheldon Shaw’s rear wheel causing them both to crash. Joe went to hospital and suffered a damaged coccyx but was walking wounded by Sunday. Apologies all round and heartfelt wishes for recovery were in order.
Warm up sessions on Sunday morning are strange events for SCR #31. Usually used to test a new set up before the big Sunday race, at Silverstone we had rolled the dice and changed gearing as well as raised the rear a little to achieve better exit drive. With scrub tyres still onboard from the short Race 2 experience, Sam tagged on to faster riders for several laps and saw his PB broken with a 56.2s. The team were very excited and congratulatory and Race 3 now looked promising.
With a whole bike check over, a full tank of fuel and minor suspension tweaks (more front preload) Race 3 now beckoned. Our main sponsors Echelon had arrived and it was a lovely morning in the sun, watching some great BSB Superbike races and prepping the bike again.
Starting in 26th on the grid with new tyres on and a very warm track, the conditions were definitely hotter by 15+ degrees than the earlier morning session. The rear tyre pressure was set at 24 Psi, we would have preferred lower as it was definitely going to blow up. The race got underway and within 3 laps a red flag situation occurred and it was back to pitlane for a restart of only 18 laps. Sam later commented that he had made a good start (the Suzuki seems good off the line) and was into a front group of faster riders before the red flag occurred.
In the re run the Rear was not gripping so much, it was sliding excessively making drive harder on exit. A change in Traction setting may have contributed but the main culprit was pressure, which by then must have reached 27psi. Too hard? Who knows, this is Round 1!
Final position was a healthy 22nd over the line from an original field of 52 riders. A very satisfactory return for our efforts within a very strong field.
Next Round is Oulton Park where we arrive without a test or Stock 1000 experience so may treat it as a test for ourselves and remain chilled, if that is ever possible at BSB!
Big thanks to our sponsors Echelon Consultancy, Richard Adams at Maxton suspension and DRC Leathers for the great race suit. The SCR Team that worked hard all weekend to make it happen: Frankie, Tony, Becci and Iain!
Our team relies on all the support it can attract, we have a number of different promotions in the pipeline to enable us to keep the team racing. Some supporters will soon be invited to these promotions but if you want to help us move forward consider our iFuel campaign which can be found via the DONATE link below, it is easy to contribute !
These funds help us purchase the very expensive race fuel we are obliged to buy in the BSB Stock 1000 series, it costs over £3.50 a litre and we usually need 80 litres a round!!!
There are also lots of benefits for those donating which supporters can enjoy.
Thanks for your continuing interest and support
Sam #31Coxxy and Team
SPANISH TESTING WAS A VALUABLE LONG HAUL
Last year our test schedule had provided useful set up and track experience to get the new R1 experience underway. This year with a brand new GSXR 1000 to test it was again an essential excursion for us to get some almost guaranteed laps in the sunny climes of Southern Spain. The weather in Britain justified our approach as, while we at times sweltered in full sunny days, the UK experienced cold and wet periods as only the UK can in Feb/March.
The first period of testing at Cartagena was in association with Team Army and it was great to meet up with old racing friends from the past three years. With some coaching along the way and support where we could, these three initial days were busy and productive.
Our first task was to run the GSXR in. With stock oil onboard and a completely different feel for the rider, having a relaxed ‘feel your way into’ approach suited both bike and initial set up. With Maxton suspension installed again we knew we could tune the bike with confidence. it wasn’t long before the initial base set up was usefully adjusted but the problem of a too high seat unit became an issue. The choice of the CRC version as part of a whole fairing set hadn’t been recognised as problematic but Sam soon noted its high over-the-handle bar position.
In these situations, without a workshop and some deft cutting and glass fibre work, it was difficult to make the necessary adjustments work. Electing to wait for the break between tests, #31 soldiered on and made the most of the sessions available. Initial feel was of a punchy throttle response but less invasive wheely effect. Times weren’t great at first due to our 90% limit but with further adjustments to suspension we began to make progress as we softened off both front and rear settings to gain further grip and feel.
“ I knew we had time to dial in the feel of the bike and my first issue was how high I sat over the tank. Getting used to the GSXR from the R1, which I seemed to suit almost straight away, was going to take time. Without the experience necessary, it takes many sessions to ensure we are working the bike safely and for performance. I wouldn’t say I gelled straight away due to the seat position being 30mm too high but we got enough laps to get the ball rolling”
After the initial test at Cartagena Sam flew home leaving mechanic Dad to tackle the seat issue, service the bike and prep for Cartagena 2 - the pro test for BSB Stock 1000 riders. A visit to Justin Weale in Elche at his motomecanica workshop provided useful answers. A customer had partially broken a Carbon King seat unit and once purchased it was soon repaired, resprayed and mounted successfully on a new alloy support bolted onto the rear subframe. This resulted in a 30mm lower seat than the CRC version and with a tank extension fitted, the rider would now be more planted into the bike.
The second test at Cartagena got off to a good start with the better riding position achieved. Times came down and with spring changes front and rear, further tweaks on suspension settings, we began to move forwards. Cartagena track was not providing a great deal of grip probably due to the dust there and so we focused on the rear which had also developed a pulsing on full throttle and a breaking edge holding up proceedings. By the second morning we had dropped the rear spring rate down to a 9.5 and immediately things felt better and after lunch pace increased overall.
As session four got underway and on the second lap, Sam approached the downhill entry hairpin at full pace, hitting his braking mark normally, but up ahead a Novice Racer was dragging himself into the sharp left corner with gear selection issues. With a fast approaching bike behind, less able to judge this increased closing speed, the distance between soon became zero. On full brakes, rear wheel in the air, Sam was unable to pull the GSXR up in time. Attempting to go behind the almost stationary bike resulted in clipping its rear wheel and catapulting Sam into the gravel followed by the bike.
This collision resulted in a trip to the local hospital due to Sam’s concussion but thankfully no broken bones. The option to ride the next and final day was assessed and after a full morning of patching up the bike and borrowing spares from other teams and riders we were able to fashion a few useful laps together to test the bikes general rideability.
Once the team had flown home again it was another few days at JW’s for mechanic Dad to check the bike over, order spares from the UK and tidy it up again ready for test 3 at Valencia in a weeks time. After checking the bike over the forks were straight, wheels buckled (very), throttle crushed and bodywork requiring several hours of TLC. Once sorted our focus for Valencia became getting back on track, testing the electronics further through changes to engine braking and throttle response and finding a useful set up for the first test at Silverstone on April 9th.
Valencia is vastly different to Cartagena. Better surface, smooth and flowing. Set up required is completely different as we found out. Front end needed less support and was softened off from 10.5 to 9.5 springs and the rear needed bolstering from 9.5 to 10.5, complete reversal. Added rear support enabled harder and more controlled full gas without the pulsing felt at first tests. Front end still had an inherent chatter vibration which may be crash related. Riding through this Sam eventually PB’d taking off a full half second with further practice on the new set up offering more improvement. All of this after that heavy crash!
Having tried different electronic maps it was also possible to find better drive on the throttle and have one selected for use at Silverstone. All in all we learned a great deal with the bike now needing a full chassis check including forks, wheels and yokes. The vibration needs to be eradicated fully and early indications are it may well be in the yokes and bearings or fork internals.
More info to come over next few days as we get to the bottom of our mysterious vibe!
Sam Cox Racing
#31 Stock 1000
2019 SEASON STARTS BRRRRAUP !
At last, following a successful meeting with our main sponsor Echelon Consultancy in December we have pulled together an exciting plan for the 2019 Stock 1000 season.
With Echelon backing we have already moved to purchase and develop a Stock 1000 ride with a brand new Suzuki GSXR 1000 from Crescent Motorcycles in Verwood, Dorset. This has already arrived at the Road & Race performance workshop nearby, ready for the strip and rebuild.
Alan Cook and Simon Green (R&R) will this week begin the build which should take no more than 4 days, so hopefully we will have something to show in the next week or so. Selected performance parts to build the bike to Stock 1000 spec are:
Yoshimura ECU and Loom
Yoshimura Exhaust system
GBR Race protection
Brembo HPK Race discs and pads
Ohlins steering damper
2D Data Logging
Decisions about which 1000cc bike have dominated our thinking since the middle of last season. With budget in mind and concerns about costs involved in running a BMW or Aprilia (both good performers) the main choices became the Suzuki, ZX10 or remain with the current Yamaha R1. The ZX10 has a great reputation but access to the 2019 spec bike was not guaranteed in time and unfortunately the purchase of the older model with inherent set up issues (upon advice) to deal with set this option back.
The already tested 2016 R1 was a promising choice as an entry option to the Stock 1000 series. With a friendly electronics package - easily operated - it had an overall attraction for us last year even considering known braking and wheelying issues. However, without breaking the class rules, ensuring the R1 delivered an even better performance proved difficult in 2018. Braking became troublesome in hot conditions, wheelying a constant thorn to full throttle operation. And then there was the engine failure! The new R1 might have resolved some of these issues but with so much on the new R1 having to be stripped off before track use it hardly makes sense with the 16K price tag.
Suzuki offers an attractive race scheme providing a register able bike and discounted parts. This deal amounts to a saving of over 30% off RRP to any BSB Race team. To start the season with a brand new machine, added to top spec bolt on race parts is an obvious draw and it is this option that has won our minds. Last years Stock 1000 results show that the GSXR, in the right hands, is a competitive bike and always featured in top 5 if not pole or podium positions. This can only get better after its first season of competition.
Our pre testing period has also been confirmed with the following dates in Spain and the UK:
Cartagena 28th Feb – 2nd March
Cartagena 8th – 10th March
Valencia 19th – 21st March
Silverstone 9th March
10 days of testing seems a lot but with the potential interruptions for weather and ongoing issues (always worth considering in motorcycle racing!) this may only be enough if it all proceeds smoothly.
Last season we suffered too many mechanical problems as well as braking and geometry issues. This year our Paddock team will develop a greater stringency in checking and examining components in a far more detailed and analytical way. Of the stoppages last season over half of them could have been avoided with better performance of components and earlier identification of impending failure. Having learned from these mistakes we hope to give Sam the best chance on the best ride we can reasonably afford.
Our knowledge of suspension set up has grown immeasurably since we knew very little in 2006! With the very tunable Maxton kit onboard last year we made great progress in getting the bike working earlier in each round, solving issues throughout P1 and 2. With greater inherent geometrical stability in the Suzuki chassis (it has an appreciably longer wheelbase than the Yamaha) we already start in a better position than the beginning of 2018.
Sam is also more sensitive to suspension changes and their affect on the feel characteristics of the bike. His own feedback has developed and he is more confident in asking for dramatic adjustments during sessions. This quality of input, matched with technical support from Richard Adams at Maxton will be a key asset in tuning for better pace.
One fantastic step forward for Sam and the team is the highly prized addition of a BSB rider mentor. Without naming names now (but soon) Sam will benefit in 2019 from the advice of a seasoned and experienced professional racer – one of the nicest guys in the paddock too!
Watch this space for more season start up news!
Sam Cox Racing