Oakley Motorcycle Club

JOHN HANNAFORD'S YR5 SHAKEDOWN WEEKEND.

YR5 Shakedown day at Snetterton, Sunday 13th March

The bike was finally ready to go to Snetterton with about 12 hours to spare, the last few jobs seemed to take an absolute age to get sorted. The last of these was the fuel tap, and whilst we did get it working, I had my suspicions it would bite us in the ass at some point.
Sunday 13th March was MSV Track Day, and the weather was dry, not too windy, and damn cold.
I was glad we had taken the 6m x 3m Gazebo with us, and as soon as it was up we felt the benefit of being sheltered from that wind.
We had taken three bikes with us, Jemma Grayson’s Gixer 600 and my Triumph 675R along with the Yamaha YR5 350 (2-stroke for those of you not in the know, and this is the model that preceded the RD series).
Jemma was doing her first track day. She has only been riding for 2 years and only passed her test last July. She had only ridden the Gixer about 10 short rides, and not ridden it since last November.
Since then I have lowered it by 40mm, re-positioned her gear shift, fitted short racing levers, an electronic gear position indicator and heated grips, so she was a little nervous to say the least.
Jemma had booked an Academy Day with MSV which meant she had a mentor with her all day. Her instructor was a really lovely guy, and gave Jemma lots of positive feedback on her ability. So much so that she clocked 147mph up the pit straight towards the end of the day.
My first session was on the Triumph, as Jemma wanted me to lead her around the circuit for the first session, and didn’t want to use the Yamaha in case of any issues with it.
We got the Yamaha ready for the second session, and I lined up with all the R1’s and 1000cc power bikes, with the Yamaha smoking out the pit lane.
I set off leaving a blue smoke screen and quickly got up through all five gears. It felt so weird after the 675R, the brakes are um, interesting, after being used to twin ABS single finger braking! The TLS had new shoes in and still needs setting up properly, but with the bike only weighing around 140kgs I didn’t encounter too much trouble.
After completing about 3 laps I suddenly noticed it was getting harder to change gear, my foot seemed to be slipping off the lever, which made me think that I must have an oil leak. But looking down I could see the screw had worked loose on the peg and I was in danger of losing it on the circuit.
Time to make a quick exit, so approaching Agostini’s I pulled off the circuit and made my way back to the pit to hand it over to Tony, my mechanic. Whilst he was sorting that out I jumped on the 675R and went out for a few more laps to complete that session.
With the gear change lever sorted I went out in the third session and started to push a bit harder. The bike really handles quite well (it always did when I raced it in the production class in 75.76 & 77) but I‘ve always had a fairing on whatever I have raced before, so being on a naked was weird.
Anyway, I soon found the limit of the bike on the left hander at Agostini’s. I had purposely left the centre stand on the bike as we still have to work out how to support the bike in the paddock without it, and this grounded itself at Ago’s – oops, don’t want it lifting off do we, so I backed off a little.
Right handers weren’t so much of a problem, and I was able to overtake several people around the outside of Coram, one of which was Jemma and her instructor – sorry Jemma  that showed me that the bike was very stable and predictable.
Back in the pit and time to check the bike over again to see if there was anything else about to fall off, and check the tyres.
I am using Avon AM22 & 23 on the bike, and this is a first also. Back in the day I was using Dunlop KR76 and TT100 tyres on the bike, with the KR76 being a triangular front, and this combination worked really well, but the front made it feel like you were falling off a wall when you tipped it in, it really tipped over quickly.
The Avons felt really nice at all lean angles, giving you bucket loads of confidence, and the compounds seem to be working well, with no appreciable tearing – yet 
In the first session after lunch I had to retire early on the Yamaha due to fuel starvation. This was the bite in the bum I had been expecting, and it was clear that there was no fuel getting to the L/H carb at all.
To fix this I would have to strip down the fuel tap, and I didn’t fancy doing that as it meant draining the fuel tank in the paddock – nah don’t fancy that at all. That’s a job for back in the workshop. So we parked it up and I went out on the Triumph for the remainder of the day to get as much track time as possible.
The Yamaha had proved it was good, apart from the fuel problem, so I think we are in good shape for the first race of the season at Pembrey on Easter weekend.
I have booked the bike in for a Dyno session to sort out the jetting, and there are couple of other jobs that need doing, like the front brake, and fitting a shark fin to the swing arm, but I’ve got 10 days….loads of time!
Cheers
JH