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Old 18th December 2007, 03:00   #1
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Default MRF Road Racing Challenge 2007 (Rnd 2) - RD350 Race

Just got back from the MRF races that took place this past weekend at Coimbatore, this one couldnt have been any more last minute. A friend of mine called up 2 days before the event and asked me if i would race his rd350 since he wouldnt be able to make it, i thought what the heck and went for it....

Too tired to post a write up today...will do tomorrow. Bad luck caught up with me in Race1 but here are a few pics from Race 2 of the RD350 Class







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Old 18th December 2007, 10:10   #2
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Congrats Killer! I didn't know that was you! MAybe next time enter as "Killer" and we'd know exactly who you are in advance ! Great racing though!
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Old 18th December 2007, 11:27   #3
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Good going Killer, looks like still no one comes close to you in RD class.
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Old 18th December 2007, 12:56   #4
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Great going Killer, congratulations!!
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Old 18th December 2007, 13:35   #5
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Congrats mate...waiting for the writeup...
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Old 18th December 2007, 13:56   #6
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You looks like lost few kgs BTW whos bike it is.
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Old 18th December 2007, 15:02   #7
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Congrats Killer, well done!!!
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Old 18th December 2007, 15:08   #8
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Congratulations Killer. The lady pointed to by the arrow must be very proud of you.
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Old 18th December 2007, 15:10   #9
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Congrats Killer... any more pics ?
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Old 18th December 2007, 15:45   #10
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Damn does not even look like a RD 350. I am disappointed. :(
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Old 18th December 2007, 17:24   #11
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Bugger!! When did you get back to puny 2 strokes.

congratz man!!!
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Old 18th December 2007, 19:34   #12
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congrats man.....now lets put your RD on the track.
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Old 18th December 2007, 21:52   #13
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Congrats Killer, how did you find the handling of the RD with its rather old school chassis? The laptimes I see are about the same as a modified 160 4stroke.
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Old 18th December 2007, 22:19   #14
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Ya it was one hell of a weekend with absolute crazy racing on the track.

Bikers were really good and after a long time the sound of a chambered bike was music to my ears and reminded me of my bike which unfortunately got stolen about a month and a half ago.

The cars were also super fun. I did take part in the event too but had to ease off and pull out of the race due to some problems. If anybody saw the golden Baleno with white alloys---it was me.

Engine kept overheating after 3-4 laps into every race and in the 4th race the head gasket blew due to that.. Finally we figured out what the problem was... I was running on 13" tires which are the OE on the Euro-II Baleno but we forgot that the engine had been done up and it was too powerful to be using 13" tires.. The tires kept spinning and the car went nowhere.. So making the revs go waste and eventually heating up the engine and that constant rise in temperature every second was too much for the fan to cool after it came on...

Will be dealing with those problems and hope to do better next time in Chennai.. Wish me luck guys..
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Old 19th December 2007, 01:57   #15
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Thanks guys...the story

Friday morning was busy, i had just worked out the logistics for bike transport and transport for myself the day before, in fact i had just decided to go the day before period. George called me 2 days before the event and asked if i wanted to ride his RD, he wasnt able to participate for some reason. Amongst other things my biggest worry was that i had no clue what the bike was like in track form, however other friends who were participating had asked me to participate several times before and this seemed like a good opportunity as late a decision as it was. Along with working out logistics in time i made several calls to George to understand the bikes setup and things to look out for. The tires were 2 races and some old, the front disc brake was a crazy homemade contraption that George was clearly very proud of. Then there was the infamous rd350 gearbox woes, if rpm was kept in check in the first 3 gears there would be no issues George advised, else the machine had a habit of finding false neutral just when you needed some grunt. But for these misgivings the bike supposedly ran well with a decent powerband, i recalled months before when i had tested it briefly and George assured me it still ran the same.

Amongst the flurry of last minute decisions was the decision to take my wife with me too, she had never been to the track and i figured it was about time. We couldnt find tickets in time and transport to and from Coimbatore city and the the track was also a problem, so we decided to ride down on my Apache. My trusty old Apache whos racing days were over had retired to street shape and with a few last minute adjustments to make my wife comfortable, we left friday afternoon by 1:30pm.

The ride down was good fun, we took the Hosur - Salem - Coimbatore route, not a fun route now for cars but on a bike its not very hard to manage some decent average speeds. Adrian and Chris had registered me up that morning and i called them mid way through the ride down to check how things were going. I was worried that i had missed friday practice and the knowledge that i had no experience on Georges RD wasn't helping matters either. Adrian hadn't had a great practice session, issues with his brakes and a small fall had set him back a bit, others were doing well, Adrian mentioned that there would be no practice on Saturday morning and qualifying would start at 8:30am, the butterflies churned in my stomach as i hung up the phone. We arrived in Coimbatore by 8:30pm and settled in for a good nights sleep, i was going to need it.

The morning came and a good nights sleep i did not have, all groggy from lack of sleep we finished breakfast and headed to track early, scrutiny would start by 7:30am and we were late as it was. At the track we met up with the rest of the RD gang and i was introduced to the machine i was to ride. It had certainly changed a lot from the last time i saw it. Sporting clipons and rear set foot pegs now, it seemed like everything else was as Geroge described. I took a spin just outside the track to get a feel for the bike, the results were a bit worrying. The disc was clearly warped and though it stopped ok for a street setup i seriously doubted the stopping ability for track, especially with the long straight. The front forks had no action and felt dead, another worrying factor. To add to all this the weather wasnt that great either, there was a slight drizzle and there were wet patches in crucial areas on the the track. We passed scrutiny and awaited qualifying.

The pits were a bustle of activity as usual, with MRF car teams and Srilankan imports turning the heads of early spectators. There were only a few Superbike participants, Dilip Rogger, Rohit, Poncho and 2 or 3 others. I met Rajini and a few others racing in the indian 4 stroke class, those guys are just mind blowing fast. Dilip was his usual cheerful and calm self, with his talent i would have been too. Qualifying came and most of us just puttered around the track trying to get a feel for grip, no one dared to attempt a fast lap on cold tires and a wet track. I followed Harish around all through the 15 min session and passed him one lap before the chequered flag to qualify 2nd behind Chris. That was it, i would start from 2nd position for both races, it would be up to me to make the best of it.

Race 1 was scheduled for 11:30am and the morning qualifying session had given me little feel for the bike since a hot lap was never attempted. I did note a couple of corners though where the front didnt feel planted and made a mental note to take it easy in those areas. I also confirmed that the brakes weren't holding well this meant i would have to cut throttle early on the approach to corners. On the grid the lights went out and i made a good start with the front briefly floating as i short shifted into 2nd, i did the same for 3rd but by then Sanju passed me approaching C1. As expected i couldnt late brake like the others and had to back off early, i carried some speed into C1 and made a pass back for 2nd place out of C2. We headed past the kink towards the first chicane when disaster struck. As i turned into the left hander the bike simply shut off. I made a desperate attempt downshifting and trying to get it started up again but it simply refused. Sanju passed me by as did the others and i sat out on the grass at the exit of the chicane wondering what the hell had just happened. I watched the rest of the race transpire with Sanju finally taking the win, a marshall came by after the race and towed me back to the pits. I was in the dumps, all the effort seemed to have gone to waste but this was racing and i had to put it past me and look forward to Race 2 on Sunday. The bike was checked and the culprit turned out to be a loose connection with the electrics, it was fixed in 30 mins and the bike was ready for another onslaught on Sunday.

I had lots of time to kill in the meantime and hung out with my wife watching the rest of the races for the day. Rain played spoil sport with the superbike race and riders had to take it easy around the circuit with Dilip coming up first as expected followed by Rohit and Poncho in 3rd. In the afternoon the weather took a turn for the better and we enjoyed some close racing from our 4 wheel compatriots, Navaz Bathena in paritcular was just awesome starting from the back of the grid to finish 1st in her class, i had my hats off to her outstanding driving as did everyone else. My friend and photographer Mukand arrived late afternoon and went about taking pics of the event, all thanks to him for the excellent photographs.
We returned to the hotel Saturday evening with hopes for the next day, i convinced myself to not take things too seriously, i hadn't planned for this race and i certainly hadnt prepared or practiced on the bike one bit, expecting everything to go well was a huge gamble and failure was to be expected. Poncho and Mukand called and tried to lure me out for dinner but i had pretty much had it for the day, the tough day coupled with loss of sleep from the previous night forced me to hit the sack early.

Sunday morning i woke feeling much better and ready to take on the day, wifey had a harder time getting out of bed but she forced herself to get ready in time (god bless her soul). We had more time this morning as Race 2 for the RD 350 class was scheduled for 10am. Poncho and Mukand joined us for a hearty breakfast before we headed out to track. The weather was looking good, unlike the previous day the sun was out early and that for one was encouraging to see. At the track i briefly checked the bike and then moved along the pits chatting with friends, there really wasnt much else to do in the way of preparation and fixing any of the other issues with the bike would not be possible at the track. My wife and I went over to watch the first race of the day, the indian 2 stroke and 4 stroke race. The fight between Vinoth and Rajini was a treat even though Rajini was on a Group B RTR and Vinoth on a Group B Karizma. An announcement echoed, the RD350 race was next.

On the grid i felt unusually relaxed as they set us off on the formation lap, i quickly worked up to pace to get some warmth into the tires and lined up behind Chris in 2nd position. The revs built with each rider anxiously blipping their throttles in anticipation. I once again made a mental note to keep the revs low in the first 2 gears to avoid shifting issues, i told myself there would be opportunity to fight in the corners, this wasnt a drag race. The red lights came on singaling the impending start and then the heart beat rising with each blip of the throttle as the adrenalin starts to flow, its this feeling amongst others that keeps racers coming back again and again, its this feeling that makes you feel alive. The lights went off and i got away to a decent start again short shifting through the first few gears, in almost a replay of the previous day Sanju got passed me again into C1 and i managed to get by back to 2nd place out of C2. A flash of doubt couldnt help but cross my mind as i approached the first chicane on Chris tail, this time though i went through without problems following Chris down the back straight to the 2nd chicane. As we got past the chicane heading towards the hairpin right hander (bowl) I was starting to feel a little comfortable and decided to wait for a good opportunity before making any passing maneuver. At the bowl Chris turned in early blocking the inside line, i turned in much later and worked on getting good drive out. At the exit of the bowl i managed to pass Chris before the left on to the straight. It was a sweet feeling seeing the empty track ahead as i exited onto the straight, i was in the lead.
Down the straight i cut throttle early testing to see how good the brakes were, i hadnt gone down the straight that fast on the bike previously. Hard on the brakes the brake lever was fully in against the handlebar and this baby was not stopping, i was glad i had cut the gas early but also expected Chris to fly past any moment into C1, it didnt happen. I got through half the lap and on the back straight the gearbox showed its colors, shifting up from 3rd to 4th she went into false neutral. It seemed like an eternity as i frantically searched for a gear, it could have been any gear i didnt care at that point, i just wanted the damn thing to engage. I could hear a bike behind me too close for comfort, in the nick of time i got back into 3rd and held position through another set of corners. For the next laps i kept the revs down and concentrated on carrying higher corner speeds, the front end didnt like it very much but it worked coz when i glanced back after the 3rd lap i had atleast a couple of secs lead on Chris. At that point i relaxed and just worked on maintaing the lead without upping the pace. I went through false neutral again a couple of times briefly before heaving a sigh of relief as i exited onto the straight one last time with that beautiful chequered flag waving just up ahead. I couldnt believe i had pulled it off, again that familiar feeling of accomplishment filled my senses, another thing that keeps us coming back and makes this all worthwhile, i had won the race!

After that the rest of the day was always going to be good for me, Adrian was plagued with bad luck and i found him at the pits dejected that difficulties with his throttle cable had forced him out of the race. I understood the feeling, there isnt much you can tell a rider at that point, he would live to fight another day. The superbike race saw Dilip Rogger display some formidable skill, he went on to dessimate his own track record by 2 secs with a laptime of 1:07. If he had another lap at the end of the race he would have lapped both 3rd and likely 2nd place riders, such was his pace. It was again good fun to watch the srilankan imports do their thing on track, the cars were very fast and a treat to watch with the MRF cedias giving their all to the delight of the spectators. The RD350 results showed i had finished with a best time of 1:22.177, i expected as much the handling, gearbox and brake issues easily took away 5 seconds off the bikes potential pace, it didnt matter though, it was enough to win and thats what counted on the day. At the end of the day we were all just enthusiasts struggling to keep a race class going for this amazing machine, we can only hope to keep it going.

After the prize distribution for bikes wife and i hung around a little longer and left for the hotel room by late afternoon. Mukand joined us soon and we relaxed for the rest of the day discussing our experiences through the weekend while downing some good food. I wanted to leave early next morning to avoid any night riding. In the morning we left to bangalore by 11:30pm and had a fun ride back. We saw many of the FRK racing cars on their way back too so i guess they too figured driving back in the night was a bad idea. We got back to bangy by 6pm after a stop for lunch at Salem. Overall a weekend of mixed feelings but in the end it was another great experience with hopefully many more to come.

more pics to follow....
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