Time off from racing has been spent… well, dreaming about racing. Or should I say scheming about racing. While much of my idle time has been spent with the mundane tasks of life, or staring at Youtube videos of racing and motorcycling, I´ve also managed to outline a plan for my assault on the 2010 championship. First up was re-signing my passenger Vanessa McClure. Vanessa missed a large portion of the season due to heart surgery and other commitments, but her natural skill and enthusiasm make her a good choice for next year. Doctors say she will be recovered in time to begin the 2010 season in March, and we go into the new year with that encouragement.
Secondly was the matter of the machine itself. The Windle chassis I use is an old design, but because of the slow development of sidecar racing, it´s only two to three generations old. Combined with the fact that none of the latest generation machines are in the United States, and it makes the machine only a slight underdog.
What really hold the bike back is a combination of low power and weak brakes. The 1995 Suzuki engine has some tasty race modifications, but it is an antique by racing standards, and is further hampered by it´s 750cc displacement (rules allow 1000cc engines in all classes). The cost of making this engine competitive would be more than buying a modern engine, and would result in an engine so high-strung it would surely explode before the end of 2010.
The only option is a modern engine from a road-bike. Modern 1000cc engines push over 160HP through their rear wheel, in stock trim (the closer to stock you leave it, the longer it will last). I have secured the funds to install a modern engine, and also straighten the frame, which has been bent since I flipped the bike in June of 2009.
This left the bike folded in the middle so it rode on the inside portion of it´s tires. Turning right made it squirm and wiggle, turning left put the chair in the air, but the bike actually drove well like this, since the remaining two tires were on their full contact patch.
The remaining problem is the brakes, and there´s not much to do currently. As it stands I have a tremendous amount of work to do on the body so it will accept paint. Keeping things sharp for our sponsors is important to me, and the primer grey color I ran in 2009 will simply no longer do. With time and money put into that, I won´t have any left over for brakes.
I do plan on upgrading the front brakes during the season. Our provisional schedule has as huge gap on the summer almost three months long. This will allow more than enough time for modifications. The down side to this is that the front brakes aren´t nearly as important as the rear brakes. On a sidecar, it becomes almost impossible to turn while the front brakes are being applied, and the rear brake also controls the chair-wheel brake.
It´s not all bad news though; a modern front brake will allow me to do heavy braking in a straight line, saving the rear. I have used this method all year because the small brakes overheat otherwise. Making up for low power meant heavy braking, taxing the entire machine. Having another 60hp is going to make the brakes work even harder, so I am looking forward to the upgrade!
I´ll post more images as they become available. Best wishes to all our friends and fans for a successful 2010!!!
-Team Johnny Killmore-