You would have to say the main focus of the Hampton Downs Summer Classic weekend for VRNZ was the Eldee and the opportunity, with Bill Swallow being out here from the U.K., for him to ride the Eldee Velocette for the first time post the Junior Manx Classic race at the IOM TT in August 2014. Some significant engine modifications have been done since then including the new cams (which Nick Thompson described in his journal of the event). They were given a careful going over and we were keen to relate back Bill’s new engine lap times this year to Chris Swallow’s lap timesheets last year with the old engine running on methanol which had been such a great success. Hampton Downs is a fast circuit so Chris’ quick times last year were the basis for encouraging us to consider competing in last year’s 250cc ‘Phil Read’ Classic TT trophy. The new Nick Thompson Eldee-2 engine of course is running on petrol which is altogether a more challenging prospect to tune as a small engine.
That done Bill has never wavered in his compliments on the steering handling and stopping capability of the bike albeit that it is probably overweight from where it could be and should be. But engine-wise, nice, Bill was pleased about that.
Our timesheet comparison is that Chris and I think there might of been three or four seconds difference in the fastest or average lap times between the two. So indications are we are on the right track. But once again at this fast circuit we have seen that there is what Nick calls “an iron claw” that grips the bike in terms of the falling just short of the power that we want it to have to fulfil its competitive potential at the Isle of Man Classic. The feedback we’ve had from the dyno;
- The revs climb and good power comes in at about 5–5,500 rpm then
- the power climbs up to 27-28 hp at 7–7,500 and then plateaus.
Of course we are looking forward to the power climbing into the low to mid 30s ultimately. It looks as though our next engine development move is going to be addressing the “Squish band”, the shape of the Piston and the combustion chamber and thereby modify the squish angle and the turbulence caused by the squish effect to promote turbulence that generates the most thorough fuel/air mixing. This contributes to achieving the most efficient combustion, precisely what is required to yield the utmost performance from a small engine. So that is Nick’s next move on the engine development project.
A good weekend was had by the VRNZ crew at Hampton Downs. Of course second rung was the other Velocettes being the MOV and the MKVIII KTT (which had its first race outing since 2012) and all went very well there, with Phil Price riding the MOV and Chris Swallow and Phil sharing the KTT. Chris courageously mixing it up with all-comers in the 350 class—his balance and smoother riding style challenged most and saw him finish in the middle of the field on the only girder fork bike. Phil was able to clear a path out to the front of the field in the Vintage class aboard the illustrious 350 KTT Velo, the ever formidable competitor, reprising the successes of British racers 70-odd years ago, the KTT left the Pre-war 500s in its wake. So a really good weekend, a really good feeling in the camp. Bill and Chris of course had good rides on the impressive Glynn Robinson Ducatis as well, Pantars. An excellent weekend all round so, back to the workshop we go.
Phil Price riding a girder fork 1930s Velocette MOV approaches the hairpin in a Hampton Downs Summer Classic 250 Clubman’s race. The MOV were renowned in the day for their innovative “dustbin” fairing.Finally a big thank you to the all the Marshalls and NZCMRR admin volunteers at Hampton Downs over the weekend. Thanks to all Clubmen and women that staged and managed VRNZ’s first Classic Motorcycle Racing event of the 2015 calendar, and a special thank you to Neville Wooderson for his hospitality and support in the VRNZ / Sports Motorcycles Ducati pits.—VRNZ