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Testing in Ledenon - I got to go on my first European holiday, and that Mike Edwards threw me down the road - here is his version of events:
 

 

Ledenon was my first opportunity to get out on Gordon and test his metal. He had been totally disassembled and rebuilt from the ground up; his engine was in effect brand new from the tuners and needed running in.

I could have stayed in the UK for testing but simply because of the sheer amount of work I had to do with him it would have meant booking several separate test days and the weather was likely to be grim. Going to somewhere like Ledenon although you can't guarantee the weather, you can get up to 4 or 5 continuous days on the run.

Photo by Mariska Grob

Photo by Mariska Grob.

With four days the first day was all about running him in, 30 mins at 2,000rpm then 30 mins at 4,000 and finally 20-30 minutes up to 6,000 rpm.

That took most of the day due to the fact I regularly took time out to adjust and tweak bits and bobs throughout the day between sessions whilst Gordon had the required 'cooling down' time.

It was a relief not to have to go quickly as the wind was appalling, gusting and blowing all day, there were several crashes in each session, the majority of which were due to the wind.

As there was a lot of 'guess work' on Gordon with suspension settings, gearing, carburetion etc it was sometime one step forward and two steps back with the development.

Once he was run in and I started to open him up to maximum throttle is was obviously clear he was quick but the handling was 'strange' to say the least.

Just at the most important part of the corner as you ease off the brakes and drop it in to the turn - the bike would judder and felt bloody awful.

To make matters worse the rear spring was miles too soft and the forks too hard, it was dawning on me that Gordon was certainly no minimono, and that I had my work cut out for sure.

After a few more sessions I changed the rear spring from a 8kg to a 9.5kg one, this improved the rear squatting problem, but the front was hard and running wide on the exit of the turn.

Just as I thought things were coming together the wind caught me out on turn two and down I went.

Gordon was badly damaged breaking his front wheel, sub frame, fairing, seat, master cylinder, exhaust and a host of other bits and bobs.


Photo by Mariska Grob

This took the rest of the third day to sort out repairing the parts that I had not got replacements for and changing over other parts, nightmare.

I have to give a big thank you to Libor and Martin Kamenicky from the Czech Jawa team as with the 'family style' of supermono racing they helped me with the repairs.

Also Ben, a Dutch SZR owner very kindly lent me his spare front wheel, and by the end of the day, Gordon was ready to get back on track.

 

For the final day I wanted to do just a few sessions to double check what settings worked and make sure I had a base setting ready for Brands on the 14th of April.

I thought by the end I was somewhere near where I wanted to be, not totally perfect but with so much development done, I do feel he is now at least 'raceable'.

We will just have to see how Brands will go.

 


Photo by Mariska Grob