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Tips Prep and Practice
Written by Manny Bernardez   
Monday, 24 March 2008

My first event of the year was going to be Normandy’s MCC Warsop Trophy Hare & Hounds only a couple of weeks away and not even ridden a bike since the Inter Centre Enduro (marshal) or done any major bike preparation since the middle of last year it was time to man the battle stations and get my arse in gear, as Simon Beken was in the same boat as me with little riding time due to injury we decided to enter Reading’s H & H but got turned away as entries had already closed, which suited me fine, I really wanted to finish preparing the YZ 125 and not ride it as is.

My list of parts to get for the YZ was relatively small still had a lot of spares that come with the bike, most of the items on the must do list were down to damage or wear, things to do were blowing out the large dent in the expansion chamber, straightening the left radiator, replacing the gearshift shaft and leaking seal, change the piston, remove the flywheel weight just out of curiosity as I never riding the YZ without it, replace both leaking fork seals and fork service, Martin at www.motoward.co.uk supplied the parts I did not have.

Simon picked up my bike on Saturday so I could work in the comfort of his heated shed, I already blown out the large dent in the exhaust chamber the day before with nothing more that a home made set of exhaust clamps, air compressor as you need to get at least 90 psi into the exhaust pipe and propane gas torch which will give out enough heat to turn the metal cherry red, got very good results considering how deep the dents were. The clutch had to be removed but no matter how much we tried to lock the centre drum the nut would not budge, heating up the nut and then with a hammer and chisel shock the nut round to break the seal, crude but affective. To lock the flywheel you can stuff some rope down the spark plug hole just before the piston is TDC. The last tip is how to straighten a twisted radiator, fill it with boiling water plug it and with it resting flat on a peace of wood get two people to stand on the end caps, the boiling water makes the radiator malleable a jig can also be made by clamping the radiator between to pieces of wood with studding drilled through and nuts with washers to act as the clapping agent. Do any of the above at your own risk.

On Sunday we headed down to fellow Witley member Patrick Will’s test track which consist of a bumpy two minute loop in some woods, this might not sound like much but the track can give you arm pump within a few laps so very good for fitness training and there’s no better place to tune up your bikes suspension settings a few clicks in either direction can be felt immediately. Simon, Elliot and I set of on some recognisance laps to find the best lines; the track is only about three meters across at its widest finding the smooth line means constant changes in direction and as with most off-road tracks smooth does not equal fast but sure is more comfortable to ride. I come in to do some suspension tweaks, the front forks were way to stiff not surprising considering the front fork air gap was a pure guess work the day before, softening the front and hardening up the rear returned some kind of balance to the bike, did a few endurance stints and was truly getting a work out (knackered). I liked the way the Yam’s engine felt more responsive without the flywheel weight on and riding in a higher gear was some what made easier, don’t know why but it did lose some of its over rev capability, maybe the extra weight forces the engine round? Anyway until I do a wet slippery Enduro it’s going to staying off. By four o’clock it was getting very cold to the point that my fingers were getting numb, we did a bike swap and rode each others bikes packed up and headed home.

Do I feel more prepared more Normandy’s event? Physically four hours is going to be hard for me to do, I think the tortoise hare scenario is going to be the best tactic.
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