Wednesday, April 12, 2006

motorbikes and other cool stuff

well i reckon :-)

seein as Dirk has been waxing lyrical about lovely motorcycles i thought i would too.

well seein as i've had a few beers and am feeling loquacious, i'm just gonna spout crap and you all can skip to the next post, which hopefully will be more interesting, seeing as i'm gonna be on the boat for a 4 day weekend.

this subaru impreza is fun. lotsa fun. ran into the guy from fleet management who got it for me today. he asked me what i thought. i said i loved it. best company vehicle yet. he's driving around that toymota avalon piece of shit i inherited. he loves it. he thought that the seats in the impreza were too hard, and the ride was too harsh. well no wonder he loves the avalon. bleah!

anyway, this car loves to rev. it was a worry during the running in period, but now all is good. what do you call this type of engine? is it a horizonally opposed flat 4? it's got two piss-tins sticking out either side. injection system on top, exhaust below.

which reminds me of a dumb joke. what's the fastest and most powerful vehicle in the world?
a dunny truck. 40 piss-tins, and flies!

anyway it loves to sing. more than any car i've driven. only not as much as a motorcycle.

most bikes i've ridden, with the exception of a harley sportster i rode once, gearshift upside down and on the wrong side, love to rev. the harley was fun, but didn't really do it for me. our current toy, a 2001 suzuki gsxr1000 howls. nothing sounds quite the same as a 4 into 1 on a ujm.

the local navy base used to host the 1/8th mile drags occasionally. i believe it was only 1/8th mile because the insurance was cheaper. i went out with a coupla mates. all the cars were lined up, back from the start line, on the airstrip, all the way back to the grass. being the disorganised ferals that we were at the time, all the bikes, including those who, like me, weren't entered. were congregated in a big mess off to one side.

on of my mates, who was riding a kawasaki gpz1100r (fuel injected, went good too) asked if was gonna enter. nah, just watching, i'm cool, thanks.
"i'll lend you the 20 bucks entry" he sez
"nah, she'll be right".

then the first two bikes did their run. dunno what they were, two 4 cylinderr ujm's, howling their way up the airstrip, sending a shiver down my spin and electrifying my soul.

i ran back to my mate, borrowed the $20, went and had someone write a number on the fairing of my kawasaki gpz900r with white shoe polish, and waited for my turn. i get the instructions from the dudes at the start, i don't do a burnout, there's no point, and next to me lines up this harley with the longest set of wheelie bars, they looked to me to be longer than the bike. a big fat NOS bottle in a bracket next to the rear wheel, and they started it with one of those, um, starter thingies. (hand held, not rollers, straight onto the side of the engine). "shit!" i'm thinking of a rodney rude song "and it was over, before it began...".

anyway, the lights go off and i'm off like a rat up a drainpipe. i'm so fucking nervous i didn't even think about putting my feet on the pegs until i went to change gears and my feet were still hanging out in the breeze. i hit third, finally with both feet on the pegs and closed my visor (which i'd also forgotten about) just as i crosssed the finish line. i figured i could take either the first or second turn to get off the runway, so i wound out third, and a bit of fourth as well, up around 200ish, which isn't too exciting for serious drag people, but i thought it was fun. never saw the harley though. maybe he didn't turn on his NOS, buggered if i know. me mate said i left him at the start and accelerated away.

you had to nominate a time that you reckoned you wouldn't beat, so they could stage the start, you had to beat the other guy, but not beat your time, and they staggered the start so if both of you ran exactly your nominated time, you'd finish together. the next race i was up against this guy i knew. he usually ran around with his volkswagen, but today was on his lime-green single cylinder ducati. it was a 350 or something like that. he's sitting there on the start line, bike throbbing, i kid you not, as it idled, the drum-braked front wheel shuddered forwards and back. bom bom bom as the bike got longer and shorter on each stroke.

the lights for him went, and i'm sitting there waiting for mine. after what seemed like an eternity, and i reckon he was halfway up the 1/8th mile, they let me go. i remembered to put my feet on the pegs just after i changed into second gear this time, i was closing on him at the end as i hit third, doin maybe 150-160, and he got me at the end. then i remembered to close my visor. i figured what the hell, lets wind out fourth and fifth.

still managed to brake for the second taxiway thingy, and cruised back for what seemed like an eternity, to the waiting line on the tarmac where you got your results. i thought i'd be cool and take off my helmet as i cruised back, like some of the others were doin, but with a 16 inch front wheel, between 60-85kph, you're kinda takin' a risk of the death wobbles if you take your hands off the bars. so i didn't. next pass i did it at 120kph, before it slowed down and started wobbling :-) 2 weeks later, a better front tyre and new steering head bearings.

turned out the dude on the ducati had beaten his nominated time, i was through for a third shot!

i watched a couple of my mates do a few runs before it way my turn again. my mate on the gpz1100r did the coolest start. he had his right foot on the peg and left foot on the deck, dropped the clutch, and i reckon his back wheel stepped out nearly a foot, smoking, brought it back in and shot off like a pensioner on pay check day. (ok ok i know, but i already used rat up a drainpipe). then another mate had a run on his gsx1100. we were racing these in the post classic racing, in the "forgotten era" class, anything up to 1980. he has a great run, but his day is over, the clutch basket has exploded, bits all through the engine! doh! (before we road race next we spend a couple of hundred dollars on clutch baskets each.)

this time i'm lined up against a gpz1100r like my mates. i remember to put my visor down (well most of the way) and put my feet up quick. it's my best start yet. i spin on the start a bit, and take off, it feels fucking awesome. the dude on the gpz1100r has the horsepower though, he's in front, but as i go up through the gears i'm pulling him in, closer, closer, closer, just kick 3rd and cross the line, but he's got me by a coupla metres.

oh well, this time i was out. the dude was under his nominated time and beat me. i think i did 8.2 or 8.3 seconds. dunno how quick the quickest was. lots more though :-) hell it was fun. our sponsors (the local motorcycle wreckers hehehe) were there with their race bike and a katana. the race bike didn't have a starter motor, but rather than run and push it, like we were doing with my mate, the one riding the katana would shift his arse in the seat, put his foot on the honda 4's tailpipe, and push him up to speed. we tried it with my mates gsx1100 (cause it looked really cool) and i nearly fell off. doh!

drag racing is hell fun. although, track days are better :-D

(geez, i do spin a lot of shit when i'm drunk....)

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