Prepping the V2 for any round is normally a 2 to 3 day affair with oil and filter changes, water system clean and flush a high priority. The regular checks made by the team during racing rounds keep an eye on nuts and bolts for torque and tightness across various components; brakes, pegs and levers etc. At Snetterton FP1 passed successfully with the target time towards 1.57 achieved without drama.
Into race one on Saturday following a good qualification result of 6th and a time of 1.56.4s we felt confident the bike had been thoroughly checked with no apparent loose items. With the race start achieved smoothly Sam settled into 7th behind John McGuinness. After 4 laps he had slowly reeled John in and made a successful pass into 6th position. The first sign of issues was a missed gear on lap 6 of 10 losing drive into the hairpin and JM grabbing the pass back. Somehow the gearchange toe peg had rolled itself off. First the rubber and then the sleeve over the remaining 4mm bolt. How this occurred we cannot fathom other than the possibility of it touching down on the track and literally winding itself off.
Prior to the race the checks had revealed a possible problem on the same toe peg. It didn’t feel tight enough so we took it apart, loctited it and re tightened. This was an hour before launch out of the marquee. Questions now raised: was one hour sufficient for the blue Loctite to set fully? Was the Loctite out of date and no longer 100% serviceable? The design of these Litetech Rearset toepegs is not functionally fail safe in their design. With a rubber cover over a sleeve over the too small bolt, getting them tightened can only be achieved with pipe grips and a 4mm allen key. No spanner flats or allen head available to hold and resist the bolt torque which does have an allen head. But again, the design is weak as it only has a 4mm bolt holding the toepeg in place. After the incident it was this 4mm bolt that was left for Sam to attempt the prodding action of gearshifts up and down and by the end of the race it was spinning in its bolt hole and slightly bent with all the excess force it received from the rider.
Unfortunately, having had a completely failing set of rearsets previously from a French manufacturer, AVDB (sent back for a full refund) our confidence in these matters has already been undermined. Litetech need to redesign these expensive rearsets so that it is possible to get to both sides of the bolted components – whilst they are on the bike. Making it easier to keep checked and safe. Litetech need to ensure that bolts on the toepegs are actually 5mm and not 4mm, strong enough for purpose. Further, components should have flats for spanners or allen heads built in so that levels of safe torque can be achieved. Strangely the AVDB toe peg has these features even though the rest of the functionality is shit too!
On our first outing with Litetech rearsets, several rounds ago, the left side main bearings supporting the lever arm failed on track causing a false neutral and crash at Barn corner, Cadwell park. Its worrying that these race components, never cheap to purchase, are liable to such failure. Elsewhere, racers will testify to chains snapping, brake pads delaminating, exhausts splitting etc etc. The quality of the engineering on these Italian and Japanese bikes and associated parts are not good enough to rule out failure in use. This is worrying for any form of racing let alone when one only has 2 wheels to the ground. Constant checking is the basic requirement to keep racers safe and we are going to have to increase our vigilance to ensure we test and investigate even more.
In the second race on Sunday progress was held up with a grid line failure in the brakes. A simple enough thing to put right but the 3 minute warning alarm went off and we could only complete in pitlane which is where Sam had to start the race. Another start from the back cost SCR further championship points as despite his hard push from the back one solitary point was a poor return for so much effort over the round.
Quickly following on from Snetterton our next outing this weekend at Silverstone national circuit is going to be special. Through contacts developed over the last few years we have been lucky enough to see Sam offered a round on a BSB spec BMW superbike run by the NPR race team. Thanks to a generous offer by Matt Flowers (Ducati Championship competitor) Sam is finally able to achieve a lifetime ambition in competing at the top level. After so long in the saddle from the age of 13, a myriad of classes and bikes have passed by the years: RS 125, RS250, RVF 400, SV650, 675R, Supersport 675R, Supersport R6, R1, GSXR 1000, V2 and now a BSB BMW. In between there have been endurance rounds with Spank Endurance team, Army Endurance teams, trips to compete in the Dutch Championships at Assen and many tests in Spain. What a journey, what fun along the way but also some seriously testing moments with crashes causing broken bones and sore muscles. Not everyman’s cup of tea but for us it has carried us through the years and provided challenges and interest which would be hard to match in any other sport. Racing is a lifestyle and if you know you know. Wish Sam good luck in this, his thoroughly deserved opportunity. The result will not matter but the opportunity to take part will be remembered as a major milestone.
Many thanks to the following for their help and support at Snetterton and over the coming rounds left to complete in this testing first full season in the Ducati Championship:
Matt Baxter and Lisa Stevenson, Echelon Consultancy, main SCR sponsors
Jay & Steve, Acorn Plating, assoc SCR sponsors and SCR team members
Iain Shackell, personal assoc SCR sponsor
Rick Hackett, JHP Racing, Ducati technical and logistical support
Glyn Davies, Engine development and support
Jay Dexter, DRC Race leathers
Paul Cook, team member
We still need your support to complete the season, so if you would like to make a small donation using this easy process (card or paypal) please feel free to click on the DONATE button below:
Thanks for the support
Sam & Team SCR
Donington was looked forward to as our first outing there at the beginning of the season proved positive, rain dodging and points scoring. On this occasion the National circuit provided the challenge, no Melbourne Loop or Goddards – hooray. Or so we thought.
FP1 went initially well. 10 laps without incident brought the bike to pitlane for a tweak and rolling down to track seemed normal. There now began a debacle of technical and engineering issues lasting 36 hours!
First thing we noticed was dash lights flashing up indicating malfunction. As Sam limped back to the paddock our first decision was to go to Motorapido to get the bike analysed on their system. It showed up a fault on the forward right hand cylinder fuelling. Back in the awning we decided to check plug, lead and coil. All seemed fine except routing of the lead which was easily put right. The plug was replaced with new except the paddock spares guys inadvertently gave us the wrong plug. Assuming all was well we made the mistake of taking it out of the box and putting straight into the head. Mr Paddock spares had actually given us a 9BYSD rather than a 9YBSA. 8mm longer than required.
Obviously we should have checked more but in retrospect only one outcome was likely and so the piston connected with the plug on start up. Figuring the plug needed to be replaced again our efforts to strip down and remove it got to the stage where the plug came out 2/3rds of the way and then tightened. Clearly the end had been distorted if not belled over.
As time developed even qualifying started to look doubtful. That night the engine head removal began even though we had no experience or head gasket to finish the job. It was fraught with worry but there was no choice. And until 3am we worked, finally putting it back together with some help from Peter Hassler and others. In the morning upon start up it was clear, although it started it was running rough. Further investigation revealed airmap sensors back to front in the nightime melee.
Unfortunately on warming through there appeared bubbles in the rad, the oil had water in it and the gasket needed further tightening (we had no Ducati specialist tool). Into Saturday, missing warm up, we worked to flush the previous oil, tighten the head bolts further and finish the job. At last all seemed clear and the engine sounded fine again.
With no qualy time recorded it was a back of the grid start for #3 but it seemed we had achieved something getting there. The warm up and first lap proved our hopes somewhat dashed. The bike would not rev beyond 8k rpm and had little power. Retiring after one lap we felt despondence but did not give up.
Back for another investigation we further checked the bike over, every connection, lead and tube. Under the tank the airbox revealed the power loss cause. The injectors were back to front and the fuel line supplying to them slightly kinked. An easy fix and ultimately the end of our travails. Warm up on sunday morning went well, back to 100%. Phew.
The following late afternoon race two from the back started in a fast and furious fashion. With bike and rider back on song, Sam , starting from 34th was soon up to 15th position during lap 2 and pushing hard to gain points in this 15 lap sprint. Unfortunately a crash involving friend Richard Spencer Fleet at McCleans corner, where he fractured his leg, brought proceedings to a halt. On the restart Sam began as before far to the rear. With less laps to complete the push for points was a hard task but nonetheless he made it all the way to 15thagain, pushing for 12th over the line but getting stuffed due to a hard pass bogging the engine at the esses. At least the bike was running once more going into Cadwell but power level was still suspect. One incredible point gained in the Championship and the end of a really exhausting and tough weekend.
Following the rebuild it was clear we needed the engine accurately retiming. As luck (for once) would have it Glyn Davies was able to take the bike off us straight away, retime it properly and return it at Cadwell.
Cadwell was a mixed weekend where the engine was clearly stronger and the throttle sharper but the weather decided to threaten us with dampness and showers. After a reasonable practice, qualy and first race on Saturday we achieved another 8th position with no issues resulting. This felt like a return to normal - if there is such a thing in racing - and preparation for the 2nd race proceeded into Sunday afternoon.
Our preparation for race 2 didn’t go to plan. Following an off track issue Sam sat on the grid not relishing the chance to push in the damp conditions. In the race the wet tyres were wearing on the drying line and his ‘head’ wasn’t fully focussed to stay with the pace. Finishing 13th was disappointing but overall a safe and sensible result in the circumstances we are now having to push through. With all the problems we have experienced it was enough to bring the bike back home together and a good handful of points over the weekend was a reasonable return for our major efforts to resolve the ignition plug induced problems. It often takes another weekend of track time to erase the negatives out of these situations so now, as we head to Snetterton and Silverstone we have achieved that and are feeling good about snetterton and silverstone rounds 5 & 6 DTOC.
Many thanks to all that have helped us through this difficult period:
Peter Hassler, advice and spare parts
Tony and Andy, late night working and technical help
Jay and Steve, team support and spannering
Marty for great support all weekend at Cadwell
Richard Spencer Fleet, support and technical help
Continued thanks to
Sam and Team
#3 Ducati Tri Options Championship
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BRANDS GP, damp, but a very successful outing overall
Similar to the previous round at Donington, Round 2 at Brands GP circuit last weekend proved worryingly wet on the met charts. A complex low sat over the UK and as it spun its wet wares so our chances of dry riding revolved in unison. Our fear of the wet is unfounded really, just that we have had no experience on the Ducati V2 to build experience, set up and confidence. This weekend was going to test our resolve to overcome this.
P1 on Friday presented a nice sunny, hot track. The GP circuit is more like three circuits put together. The Indy section, a well known, fast flowing circuit with Paddock and Graham Hill corners a perennial risk to the unwary. Along the Cooper straight to a left at Surtees, uphill, short and awkward onto the long downhill straight into Hawthorn is a balls out stretch for the brave. Into the woods, the fast flowing corners over the back; Westfield, Sheenes and Stirling provide a twisty entry to the now faster Clearways and finish straight. Two point six miles completed in little over ninety seconds. One might question how these riders do this?
Sam completed six laps before returning to pit lane for a tweak on the front. Rider feel was that it wasn’t dealing with transition or bumps too well, becoming unsettled through corners and on exit. Applying the general rule that it was either too stiff or too loose, a decision had to be made to resolve the issue. Being unsettled means the forks are not adjusting quick enough to bumps and movements from the track, therefore opening the damping should help the front absorb this unwanted instability. Compression and rebound were adjusted accordingly with a 20% change softer and it worked. Compared to Donington, Brands is a less smooth track overall so this would appear to tally with the data comparison between the two.
The rear had previously been stepping out at Donington but that was resolved there by dropping the back end down more. At Brands we had left it unchanged and it seemed to be working well enough with no comments from the pilot. With so many corners that are broad in their type and layout, the GP circuit set up is always going to be a compromise. Big changes from a base setting might improve one issue on one corner but it might be expected to upset other sections where set up was initially fine. Surtees was the target for Sam to attack more as it has a massive knock on effect to lap time. Losing time here can lead to a ripple effect through to Hawthorn and eventually Clearways. Knowing slowest sector times is where biggest improvements can be made.
P1 ended with a reasonable time of 1.33.4 on scrub tyres and eighth on the grid into qualification later that day. With new tyres onboard we could expect another second lost and hopefully into the top five. In qualification rider traffic was the main problem throughout. Getting a clear lap and building a flying lap seemed impossible but the final result at 1.32.8 was enough to start race one in eighth. Bike and set up seemed ok although we agreed to add a tooth on the rear sprocket to help corner drive and acceleration. Further measurement recorded rear rider height and a minor shock length adjustment set the bike up ready for R1 on Saturday.
Now the weather played its part in offering a fully wet warm up session on Saturday morning. Never an attractive proposition but this circuit had lain dry for some time over the heatwave. Now we would be first out on it during a dank, damp morning in the mist of the Brands high plateau. Only ten minutes long it may well have been an hour, it seemed like the most edgy, tense crawl around the GP circuit with riders taking it really easy but some still succumbing with several big crashes to the depths of Paddock and Graham Hill. The set up was soft and feedback from Coxxy gave us good info to get it better for any resulting wet session later in R1 or R2 on Sunday. The weather looked further unsettled with big showers predicted, some with thunder and lightning around them.
Race one, later on Saturday, was actually dry and with an eighth position start on the grid we hoped to finish towards the top five. Sam got a good initial lap and was with the front pack for the first two laps but then there was a gradual stretching of the pack as Josh Day pushed on at the front and chasing protagonists tried to keep pace. With Walker, McGuinness and Jones riding really well just ahead we settled for another eighth position finish with a seventh fastest lap resulting in us moving one place forward for Sunday’s race and grid line up.
Sadly, during the Superbike session, a serious accident occurred whereby Brad Jones crashed and was taken to hospital via air ambulance and has since been kept in an induced coma following head injuries. All of SCR have hopes and wishes for his recovery continue.
This incident affected the whole BSB schedule and by Sunday a rewrite had occurred losing us the morning warm up and our second race time changed from 5pm to 11am. This put us plumb into the damp and rainy period of the morning where the track was wet from 7am but by 10am showed signs of drying. Other classes were out on track before us and their times indicated that tyre choice was going to be something of a gamble. Going full wet felt the right decision but our plan B meant a quick dash to the pit lane so we could get out first and see the circuit straight away, giving us the chance to change before pit lane closed and the grid formed. The plan mostly worked and the rear was quickly changed after one sighting lap, except the front couldn’t be swapped as it was still in the awning. At this point we proceeded to the grid and got there just in time after another sighting lap. There would have been no time to get that dry in anyway. We think ?!
Sam made a great start off the line and was pushing for sixth into druids corner. In the following melee Pinson and Jones went down on lap two. This put us into sixth with a resurgent Michael Tustin enjoying his dry/dry set up as were the front three. Walker, McGuinness and Best had all gambled on dry/dry too, and they were right!
Our wet front went ok but the softer suspension set up was beginning to unsettle into corners holding up lap times as Sam pushed harder to gain 4th. The dry line on track was firmly established with Sam just behind in fifth, a great result was had over the finish line. During the latter stages both championship leader Josh Day, and David Shoubridge starting in pole and second respectively had been passed (they were wet/wet) so our points haul over the weekend rose to nineteen and seventh place in the Championship. We sit contentedly behind Mr McGuinness in 6th.
This steady and consistent start to the season is both positive and welcome. Our teamwork is paying off and with the help of our sponsors, Echelon and Acorn Plating, it is beginning to help with results. Next up is Donington National in two weeks time. We are working hard to provide the best opportunity on the bike for Sam and he is putting in some extra sessions riding in other disciplines. Everything is moving forward to get all our ducks lined up for that hopeful podium result in 2021. If we can push successfully for more support to see out the season, who knows?
Wish us luck and thanks for following our story
Sam and team
#DRC Race Leathers
#JHP Racing Ducati Coventry
#Kais Suspension services
Frankie Ridley Fink
The first round of the BSB 2021 season which tied up with the World Superbike Championship at Donington circuit came and went without major incident two weekends ago. Brilliant layout, fast, flowing and horribly slippy in the damp and wet – a regular feature of this elevated, East Midlands Airport locale. Matched with a fairly horrific weather forecast even the deeply cynical could be forgiven for the expectation that this may be a tricky, problematic expedition.
But, hooray, it went pretty swimmingly – some water around but not on our sessions thank goodness. It may seem that we don’t like the wet but at Donny we don’t like the wet for the many sliding heroes we frequently witness at Macleans, Coppice, Old hairpin and Redgate corners – well actually add Goddards and Melbourne to that (almost the whole circuit then).
We rode our luck and enjoyed a dry track for all of our sessions. This meant we could focus on developing the limited suspension data we had from last year.
Our budget isn’t big enough to have made use of the BSB test day offered there earlier in June but having attended this place so many times – Sam #3 first rode a bike on track here aged 13 – it’s like home in some way. It has some excellent sections which suit the brave, smooth rider. Getting on the gas hard up through Old Hairpin to Mcleans corner is….. well, a real gas to the senses. Watching WSBK bikes sprint down Craner curves, throttle pinned, leant over right then left, then hard on brakes, is a racing spiritually beautiful thing. What motorbikes were clearly designed to do in the hands of such gifted pilots.
Our first visit to the circuit on Friday practice went well. The plan was to stay out all session, get plenty of laps in and return data laden so we could analyse and tweak accordingly. And so it transpired. The pace was not to full potential but the very first laps on the GP circuit on the V2 built more good track time and proved the bike was behaving itself although suspension needed adjustment. Electronics worked!
Two main issues came out of this first practice and into the second qualifying session later in the day. Getting on the gas hard up through Swantz was not possible. The rear kept stepping out and losing traction. This had been a factor during our experience in October 2020. Quizically on our data sheet we had noted ‘ Rear stepping out – sag? Preload?’ meaning was she too hard in the rear and not loading the tyre enough? The scrubs were still in quite good condition when viewed in the awning later. Smooth and unragged. Great for tyre duration but another sign the tyre was not working hard enough, not biting or gripping the circuit surface providing drive forward.
The Ducati V2 chassis is eminently stable and rideable. The power plant has more than enough grunt to break the rear away if not set ideally. Not a bike that can easily highside the rider (except in the wet and low gear corner exits), it still deserves throttle respect for the unwary. In this situation we needed to put more load down onto the rear to increase friction and grip. The 9.5Kn spring was correct for rider weight but if too much preload was present the squatting down on the throttle would not be enough to transfer load through the chassis’ pivot. We made the adjustment and during qualification some improvement was felt but not enough to show on the tyre surface. When the tyre is really working the degradation is clear, on this occasion it was still bone smooth.
Qualification achieved a solid 8th place with less than 0.5s between us and 4th. The first race also went well with a great finish in 8th. After so much worry about the weather, pre season woes and little constructive testing apart from eradicating all the electronic failures this felt like something of a victory. At last!
Further feedback from the rider and chassis measurement indicated more adjustment was required. Lack of confidence with rear grip was costing drive out of corners and instability on hard gas. By measuring the sag at the rear it was apparent that we were at the bottom of the useable range. Andy at Kais suspension more or less confirmed our ideas were in the right direction and, with more data shared with Josh Day (Championship winner 2020), our sag and shock length were both changed significantly going into the second race.
With no Sunday morning warm up to test the settings we had rolled the dice and were also rewarded with a dry track – again! There was rain around and up to an hour before the grid assembled it was trickling out of the sky, threatening the party. But with some warmth and sun it was soon dry again. The run to the grid was manic, so much equipment to shift and without scooters being allowed, (thanks wsbk/BSB) a real cart horse pull at the trot. As soon as the bike arrived on grid, following two sighting laps (one with a ride through), we were good to go.
Electing to use the 4th tyre as another new rear probably saved us places as did the new set up. The changes were on point, giving the drive required, losing another half second a lap, gaining a place from the 9th position start. Overall, two solid finishes without incident and points in the bag. From where we were a few weeks ago this was a good place to be. A good weekend at Donny, now theres a rarity!
Our next issue is to sort a down on response engine. It is running fine but initial reaction to full throttle could be sharper and stronger. Our budget has been so tight that the regular cam and valve timing is overdue. Going into Brands GP in two weeks time means this is now an essential service and race item. Ideally a full engine refresh would be best but, again, budget constraints mean we have to complete another two rounds and hope she can hang on in reliability. Then we will have to assess whole season costs to come and hope we can also fund rounds 5 – 8.
Thanks for all the help and support we have received to make this season start possible:
Matt and Lisa at Echelon Consultancy who we hope to see at Brands GP, Jay and Steve at Acorn Plating for their help in getting the bike decked in new graphics, assisting with bike prep and the wonderful cup cakes beautifully bedecked with SCR, Acorn Plating and Ducati colourings!
Tony Homer worked on the bike all weekend and a new arrival Denise, (Tony’s nurse) mucked in with teas and supper as well as showing an adept approach to the check list.
Despite Rick Hackett being mega busy, the bike is going into JHP Ducati Coventry for its essential timing service so we hope to be more competitive at the big circuit which is Brands GP on the weekend of July 24/25th July.
Thanks for your continuing support and please feel free to donate any small amount via our race ifuel fund below:
Sam Cox & Team
Since our test at Brands Hatch Indy circuit the SCR team have been getting the bike, kit and truck ready for the season start at Donington. Here we will be supporting the WSBK schedule. The BSB Round one at Oulton park was not on the Ducati Tri Options programme nor is the next one at Knockhill (such a shame!).
Donington has always been a favourite circuit and we have set some good times there. The flowing, fast sections suits #31’s style and I believe he still holds the Triumph record there from T3 days. The biggest contributor to any issues we have had there is usually brakes and their performance. The circuit layout demands heavy braking at many corners: Old hairpin, Esses, Melbourne loop and Redgate. Heat and resulting braking fade is the destructor of braking power and this derives from the heat building up over a race period. Making sure we get the best stopping power requires Brembo Z04’s pads, fresh Brembo fluid and a super clean race disc set up.
Having raced at Donington last year we have set up data ready to use but since the Brands test our outlook on suspension has altered somewhat. The rear shock spring choice for Brands started at 9KN but after two sessions changing to 9.5KN provided more stability coming out of clearways and better drive. In fact the set up at Brands ended on a no stress feel and times were good. Gearing is actually exactly the same at 14 : 41. This would give straight line stability with the longer swingarm length and, with softer rear preload, plenty of squat and grip – hopefully!
The weather forecast at this moment looks potentially good but there is the chance of heavy showers due to the combination of Atlantic low and high pressure. Wet racing is never great but we enjoyed (for a time) a promising wet endurance race in 2019 at Donington where lots of laps provided good practice and performance.
NEW ASSOCIATE SPONSORS
The big news going into this first round and looking ahead to the whole season is the support of a new associate sponsors. ‘Friends of a friend’ stuff got word that our budget is really tight this year. Jay and Steve, via their company Acorn Plating Ltd, has had involvement in Triumph Triple Challenge days and are still avid race people. We greatly appreciate their support of our team as it will ensure we can compete to at least round 4 covering some of the costs and outlay required. Jay and Steve will definitely be a welcome sight in the paddock providing BSB Covid rules allow the attendance of supporters and the public. At Donington it looks like the whole paddock is accessible so spectating will be at last be allowed. The Covid related restrictions still apply however and the paddock has all sorts of rules to keep us away from our Globally based competitors!
In relation to the DTOC competition this year our hopes are for more top 5 finishes. In the shortened 2020 season we were nibbling away at this and achieved a 5th position at Oulton park where a 4th was possible but for some electronic interference on the quickshifter. At Donington we finished 6th twice but on another day it might have been 4th‘s too. The season’s championship position of 6th was a great first season achievement against some really stiff front end performances from Josh and Levi Day with strong performance from Pinson, Best and Shoubridge.
In 2021 our attention turns to the arrival of the ‘Stalker’ in the Ducati Tri Options class. Chris Walker, like John McGuinness is back on two wheels so it will be really interesting to join track with this BSB legend. So many times we remember watching Chris in our own early days at BSB (2012). He must be around 60kg so we will be giving away 20kg in weight; our game must be hot to keep pace with this pocket rocket!
Setting up and checking the bike over is now complete and ready for the journey to Donny. Airfilter, clutch, chain, brakes and hydraulics are all sorted with the same gearing as the last test so no changes for calibration to complete. Suspension is always critical but this year we have a base set up to start with and with notes from the 2020 races another tweak will hopefully settle a twitchy rear end and a front adjustment will keep the bike in the corner longer. With only 0.8s a lap short of last years winner (Josh Day) Sam is not far off the front but this year the big change is we compete on the full GP circuit. With the Melbourne Loop and Goddards added to the national layout both these corners are not favourites due to their precarious exit areas being high side territory so caution doesnt favour the brave here. Last lap lunges can be too much for watching team members here!
Our season continues to be supported by a range of people and businesses who have provided us the start we need in 2012:
Echelon Consultancy, Matt Baxter and Lisa Stevenson remain avid supporters of SCR in the DTOC again this year. Sadly missing out on our favourite annual trips to Assen in 2020, due to covid, they will be in attendance at most rounds this year as main sponsor guests.
Steve & Jay, Acorn Plating. Stepping in to help SCR recently, Steve and Jay are keen BSB followers and love a day out racing. They are attending Donington over the weekend and will be VIP guests of SCR, great to have them onboard!
DRC Leathers, Jay Dexter. Jay and team have provided a superb race suit for the 2021 season (see pics). Their repairs and service has always been first class and we thoroughly recommend them for a tailor made product that is smart and protective.
Rick Hackett, JHP Ducati Coventry . Rick & team have been brilliant in offering on hand technical support to SCR. We have had several issues with the electronics on the V2 but hRick's ability to identify issues and provide recommendations is unsurpassed, his attention to detail on a tricky exotic bike like the Ducati V2 has really helped us keep on track.
The SCR team remain the same with the exceptional loss of Iain Rowatt from 2020 (team vacancy exists), the only other change is our race number has changed from '31' to '3', that a lots of places right there!
Sam Cox, Rider, Athlete
Graham Cox, Goffer/gaffa
Frankie Ridley Fink, Wardroom attendant, Pitlane time keeper
Tony Homer, Technician and head psychologist
Wish us luck!
Sam & Team
#3 Ducati Tri Options Championship
Our second outing of the season following the Oulton Park difficulties brought us to Cadwell park with No Limits racing. Investigations on the V2 had shown a completely shagged out battery and another unknown problem presenting itself: a weeping petrol tank.
JHP Racing at Ducati Coventry had fitted us out with brand new Lightech rearsets and during the process of checking the bike smelt petrol which was leaking from around the bracket attached to the underside of the fuel tank. Apparently a common problem whenever 959’s and now a V2 have had front end related damage. The bracket is deformed and then cracks right next to the spotwelds holding it on.
Without further support from JHP we wouldn’t have been racing at Cadwell. They donated a spare petrol tank to make the weekend happen, supplied a new battery and dynoed the bike ready for track. All seemed well.
The weather wasn’t entirely kind to us with a mix of showers and sun all weekend. Needing to get some laps in, Friday morning practice sessions were attempted to test the bike. This is where the previous electronics problem revealed itself again. After a few laps the dash began flickering. Although the bike was running its condition was getting progressively worse so we re-examined connections closely to prove it was probably a loom connection issue going into the dash unit.
As it happened Richard Spencer Fleet was sharing our awning for the weekend and had experienced a gear sensor issue so was already at JHP in Coventry getting it fixed. Whilst he was there we asked for him to pick up a spare dash if there was one. Once this was returned and plugged in the problem was finally sorted – there were no further issues.
Saturday morning brought qualification but the track was wet. Opting to sit out and start from the back of the grid anyway the first race passed off without any issues. In the first race, Sam made a great start and moving through the field without issues Sam made it up to 13th ready for the second race of the weekend.
Again the weather scuppered our plans later in the day, more rain left a space on the grid where #31 should have been but the number of DNF’s proved that conditions were tricky.
On Sunday another mechanical issue raised its head in the last race of the weekend. Expecting to hit the front and get a decent dry race, Sam didn’t come round on the first lap. Fearing the worst, doom and gloom permeated our thoughts – what a shit weekend! Fortunately there was no crash but a locking up back brake. The push rod lock nut had worked loose and lengthened itself thus unable to let off the pressure which resulted in a severely restricted back wheel. Feeling all momentum seeping away Sam had pulled over at the top of the circuit and thoughtfully called us from a marshalls post to report all was ok.
Goodness! The start of the season has seen a rash of issues all presenting themselves neatly one after another. Since the weekend at Cadwell however we have had the fuel tank bracket welded correctly, bought a new dash, reset the back brake, replaced the clutch set, oil filter and oil and checked over the bike ready for the next outing at Brands.
The outing to Brands now took on an air of hopeful expectation for some clean, unrestricted laps in preparation for the forthcoming BSB season. Ducati UK had organised a Ducati only track day for punters and set aside a special group just for the Tri Options riders. Thankfully the weather was fair throughout the day with a dry and relatively quiet track. Perfect. Would the bike behave itself?
Garaging up with Seb Bulpin we ended up having a successful day. First day of 7 so far planned without any bike related issues and the sun shining all round. With scrub tyres onboard our lap times were promising and good enough in respect of no previous set up data for the Indy layout. Nevertheless we developed the suspension, ran the bike accordingly and got down to a competitive time at the end. Throw some new tyres into the mix and the resulting time would have been a low 48s.
Thanks must go to Rick Hackett (Ducati Coventry) for further help getting the replacement parts in time, lending us the tank (plus repairing ours) and dash to resolve the issues and always being on hand for advice and help. Many of the Ducati owners at Brands knew both Rick and his Dad, John, from their own racing history so we are glad to be associated with such a top class team.
June is fairly quiet on the track front for SCR. We travel to Donington for the first round in the Tri Options Championship at the end of the month for the WSB round there. Our main issue now is raising funds to actually afford to race in 2021. We have the bike sorted again, the equipment to race her and the transport to provide a good base in the paddock but our race funds are lower this year than before.
We have sufficient funds to complete the first 3 rounds but after that we are unsure of our ability to find the £1500 per round to compete. Cutting corners usually creates more problems and we are already stretching our budget to keep the bike in first class condition and test her effectively.
We must find more support if possible to complete the season. In the past we have enjoyed support from known contacts and their companies and this has seen us through to run the team and keep wheels turning. After Covid we are aware that things are difficult across the economy and that racing can appear a luxury for some. With this in mind we are looking to raise funds from our own, any new sponsors and any sources presented us. If supporters have any ideas or can help please get in touch.
Last year we demonstrated the ability to compete to near podium levels and this year we are working to get back on the podium and push for further top 5 finishes in 2021. Wish us luck and get in touch if you would like to get involved?
OULTON TEST was a test!
Due to Covid our initial season test to Spain in February 2021 had been cancelled. The BSB Championship dates were also being pushed back so that we do not start racing in the Ducati Tri Options until the beginning of July. Strange days and frustrating for the whole team including our sponsors Echelon Consultancy, all itching to get back to the circuits.
With our eyes on a stretched budget we had also decided to not attend any of the very expensive BSB Tests in April and May. These four separate dates have now become pricey days out at £400 entry plus tyres making each excursion a 1K outing. Fine if the track time is good but in the past they have amounted to sitting in the van or garages waiting for either the temperature of track to rise or rain to stop. In the event the first test passed with good weather at Silverstone but there was not much for us to learn there anyway – also the teams were made to use the dreaded ‘special’ Pirelli tyres again and we had good data from 2020 already.
At the Snetterton 2nd BSB test this week the weather again played a big part in cancelling the show with only 2 dry sessions out of 7 so we missed that pleasure as well as the 10 hours driving the truck to get there and back. As it happened we spent the time repairing items on the team vessel ready for some dry use in the summer months.
On to our first track test at Oulton Park recently. We arrived late afternoon and set up the awning. (The bike had been checked over already at Ducati Coventry JHP having all the error codes removed from the ECU and the engine was running normally. The software checks were necessary due to the many electronic items being replaced and repaired since the big crash at Brands in October.)
In the morning with everything looking good, including the weather forecast (or so it seemed) we hoped for some tracktime to shake off the Covid induced cobwebs. Session one on Friday didn’t amount to much as it was wet and cold and we skipped it in favour of the drying conditions. Session 2 out of 7 looked a safer bet. The bike was warmed through as usual, all nuts and bolts checked including pressures and full race checklist. New rearsets had been fitted and despite there being geometry issues with chassis fitment they seemed to work well. On further immediate adjustment to suit the rider position (lower than estimation) it wasn’t possible to select 2nd gear or go up the box either. We have subsequently entered into an Ebay dispute with the manufacturer of these and got a full refund!
Back to the paddock to find that these new rearsets either struck the chassis to the rear of the pushrod or wouldn’t set to the correct rider position because of their faulty geometry. With last years (Spider) set reinstalled our third attempt at tracktime looked promising. However, after one sighting lap #31 came straight back into the pitlane reporting that the dash had gone all ‘White’ but the bike was still running except the quickshifter. Agreeing to run manually and keeping the engine running we finally got some laps in albeit at a tentative pace as the circuit was still not fully dry.
On return to the paddock another inspection revealed the beginning of a day long problem which was never fully solved. The bike seemed dead on the ignition but after disconnecting and reconnecting the battery it came alive again. It also started. Our analysis continued and we considered that either the dash was faulty, there was an electronic breakdown somewhere or a loose connection.
There now followed a frustrating day. Each time we tried to ride the bike around the paddock or to track it resulted in the same response. Partial dash operation and a dead period where there was no electrics at all. We spent hours on Saturday inspecting fuses, connections and the loom. In the end we decided to leave for home as by Saturday afternoon the heavens had opened more than once too. Not a great experience but at least these issues had been discovered before it really mattered in our preparation for BSB.
Once at Ducati Coventry JHP Racing in the week, Rick Hackett had a cursory look over the bike before plugging into the Ducati software. His inclination was to replace the battery (why didn’t WE think of that!). Of course it fired into life and seemed OK again – yet to be fully checked for errors or dyno but a good sign. WHY didn’t we consider the battery? With reason it had been starting the bike fine and was charged prior to leaving for the circuit but Ducatis are known to develop battery problems when left over winter. Ours however was removed from the bike in November and left in storage ready for use. We had checked it once more via voltmeter and there was no reason to suspect impending failure. Batteries can develop faults on their own volition at any time and as we write we hope that was the problem. A £70 battery is ten times cheaper that a new V2 dash!
Our next outing is at Cadwell this coming weekend (15/16th May). A full No Limits race meeting over three days where hopefully we can resolve these issues and get rolling again. We have also a day booked at Brands Hatch on May 26th where many of the Ducati Tri Options bikes are expected to test.
With all our experience coming together with last years Ducati V2 based rider development and data collection we will definitely be in a good position to push for front positions in the Ducati Tri Options Championship. Josh Day will still take some beating as well as Pinson, Best and Chris Walker – yes the Stalker has entered the Championship in 2021 and was running well at Snetterton although he has some work to do make the top 3! It will make for a really interesting mix of talent and great racing.
Thanks for your interest and support, look out for our latest news here and on our facebook page: Sam Cox Racing. If you are interested in getting involved or supporting the team get in touch 07904439270.
Sam Cox & Team SCR