Over the winter and during lockdown Mick and Dave tackled many jobs on Storm including replacing a damaged sprag in the gearbox, making a new flat undertray for the fairing and also making a distinctive front mudguard to further improve the aerodynamics based on recommendations from our friends at UWTSD. New recruit Simon Campbell joined us as soon as virus restrictions allowed, and the bike paid a visit to Mark Harrison at Horsepower Factory UK to check a few things over. Finally ARP Bolts stepped up as sponsor for our fasteners for the new engine which Mick is building. Thanks to Nigel Atkinson from ARP UK for arranging this.
A test day quickly revealed that one of the sprags was in back to front (oops, hard to tell apparently) so our first proper outing of 2021 was the Springspeed Nationals, which usually takes place in April but had been postponed until May due to the obvious. Dale Leeks of Warpspeed Racing and Leeks Landscapes had put up £200 contingency to the funnybike class winner at the event in lieu of entering the meeting as his bike was not ready, so we were doubly enthusiastic to win and take his money!
A few days before the event, Race Engine Technology magazine published an article by renowned American Tuner Shane Tecklenburg about a 4 cylinder compound turbo, EFI, methanol drag car he had been tuning. In the article Shane describes how he had been struggling to control the turbo speeds on the dyno (sound familiar) until he realised that the low pressure wastegate should be linked not to the inlet manifold, but to the pipe exiting the low pressure turbo. According to Shane, this simple change made the compound system much easier to control, so Mick immediately copied it, as we had been struggling with this same issue for some time.
We opted to try the test day immediately prior to the event on Friday 21st May, but it rained and no runs were made. Saturday was forecast by the Met Office to be dry all day, but it wasn’t to be. Between the showers and with “educated guess” settings in the boost controller we did get one test launch. The Pod crew sprayed the start area of the track for us with traction compound and the bike launched surprisingly hard, close to our best ever 60′ according to our datalog and making 45psi boost at the hit. Unfortunately we received a red light and no time, possibly due to full staging before Stu Crane in the other lane (who went on to knock a whopping 3 tenths off his PB, congrats Stu!) had pre-staged.
Encouraged by the limited data gathered we elected to make no changes at all overnight, but due to yet more rain it was not until the following afternoon that we could try again. Releasing the anti-lag button for the burnout the bike engine coughed back, but seemed to be ok apart from a very low idle. On the launch though a misfire was immediately apparent, so the bike was nursed to a 7.9 quarter. Soon after it rained again and the meeting was brought to a close.
3 days of effort for one and a bit runs doesn’t sound like much, but you have to accept some rainy days to enjoy the sunshine. Mick and Dave are now looking at the cause of the engine cough ans subsequent misfire, but a leakdown and compression test showed no damage to the engine so we are looking forward to the Festival of Power Unlocked on 25th-27th June. If the new wastegate strategy works as well as we hope, it could be a game changer for us.