It’s a pity my DigiDash logger messed me about at the weekend, the quicker laps I’ve got on video have no data to go with them and on Sunday I’ve got data but no video. I really find it much more helpful looking at the data on a video rather than just in the ETB analysis software.
What I do know is that I wasn’t going fast enough on Sunday although interestingly my fastest lap was my last when I was chasing down Rew Chapple in his Striker to lap him. The positives from the weekend were that both I and the car came home unscathed and I did actually improve my lap time by over 2.5 seconds from my last visit there which is actually quite a lot. My quickest laps were on a par with Dan and James which is definitely progress as I wasn’t even coming close last season.
One ongoing problem is the gearshift. Using the paddles is a real PITA especially on a multisession day like testing or a trackday causing some pain but also missed gears towards the end of the day. It seems it’s just that the Kawasaki box isn’t as slick as the others. Since the problem was identified early last season the intention has been to change it for a small stick shift like Colin’s fitted, I wanted to delay it though until after I’d got IVA out of the way as the paddles are exempt from the radius rules being behind the steering wheel. So I’ve spoken to Brian and let him know I want one of the levers although I realise that he’s pretty chokka right now trying to get Rob’s car sorted. While I’m waiting I can work out how I’m going to bracket the gearbox end of the cable, I can do this on the old engine that’s still sitting in the engine stand.
Another plan was to sort out a spare engine for the season – this one has done me proud but they do get a hard life even with me driving and it won’t last forever. One option was to buy a bike and break it myself thus increasing my chances of getting a good engine but having ordered a replacement regulator/rectifier from Mal Curnin at Yorkshire Engines he reckons ZX10R engines are only going for £750-800, including the 2008 motors.
There’s clearly a power hike between the 07 and 08 motors across the board and I’d already been considering upgrading to an 08 over next winter. There seems no reason to switch from Kawasaki – Gary Goodyear with his 08 ZX10 seemed to have similar straight line speed to Paul Rogers’ Suzuki powered Contour and the Hondas don’t seem to be making more power, both the Honda and the Suzuki are more expensive than the Kawasaki. A couple of email exchanges with the RGB Kawasaki expert (Tony Gaunt) confirmed that the engine mounts and sump are the same on the 08 engine as on mine which makes the decision a bit of a no brainer. I’ll need a new loom and airbox of course so there will be quite a bit of work involved. It seems my manifold will fit but may not be optimal performance wise. Tony also has a spare 06 engine he says I can scrounge in case mine dies before I’m ready for the upgrade.
I then started tackling the engine bay end of the gear shift – this cable will of course be coming into the engine bay from a different direction so needs a new bracket for the cable outer. I plan to revert to the original shorter splined lever which should be fine with the new mechanism. I decided on a 5mm aluminium plate mounted on the alternator cover bolts with a couple of turned bobbins to stand it off and keep a bit more ‘meat’ on the mounting lugs. I then had to construct some bits of aluminium angle off this to mount the cable at the correct angle. After a couple of different attempts I was fairly happy – being able to weld aluminium would have made the job a lot easier but this should work fine. Having the old engine on a stand made it much easier fabricating the bracketry and getting the alignment correct.
The gear lever arrived from Brian on Tuesday, a steel mount with bolts and rivnuts, a laser cut pivot plate and the turned gear knob. After a bit of experimentation I worked out where I wanted the lever and got it fitted on the chassis tube. I’ll need to move the dash a bit but that’s a minor issue.
With the gearbox bracket completed I removed the passenger side bulkhead panel to work out a cable route and measure up. I’d planned to run it immediately above the fuel tank but trying it with my spare cable this means fairly close proximity to the exhaust manifold, it also put quite a sharp bend to take the cable down over the alternator cover. Routing it just over the manifold heat shield and the rad hose worked well, it does mean it then has to curve again to line up with the gear lever but it’s a pretty smooth curve and should be alright.
Before heading off on hols I rang Cable-Tec to order a cable. The guy there said they do normal cables or high temperature ones. I asked if they were much more expensive and he said yes, they were but he’d work out a price. Turns out the increase was from £31 to £33! So that should be waiting to be fitted when I get home from a week’s R&R in Fuerteventura.