I ended the 2018 DTRA season with a concussion and a bent Wood Rotax. The bike's rear disc looked like a beer bottle top on the floor of a bar. The brake pedal was so mangled out of shape I couldn't even remember what it was supposed to look like. My gorgeous Racefit titanium pipe remains dinted, where it's been pounded into the rear wheel spindle bolt. I haven't ridden the Rotax since, but I have raced on Mablethorpe beach, and at the Okie Dokie Race in Japan (with wins at both), plus had a practice in the Sideburn Harley hooligan, but it's been niggling me that I hadn't got the Wood Rotax back ship shape, especially as the DTRA season starts in April.
Photo: Paul France/ DTRA
I had a replacement disc made by the Disc Doctor of Sheffield, for about £80. It's identical to the original I bought from A&A Racing in California when I first bought the bike and fits to the original carrier. When I fitted the new disc I expected the brake to work, but there was no lever pressure. I've had the same old Grimeca caliper since I bought the bike, from my good friend Jason, 12 or 13 years ago. It doesn't have a bleed nipple, but it's always bleed up ok before. This time it wouldn't. Carl CFM persevered for hours after I gave up, before throwing in the towel himself. Something must have been damaged in the crash. It seemed likely it was be the Brembo master. Someone on instagram offered one and kindly sent it, but it looked more worn out than the one I was replacing. Jason then sent an alternative Brembo rear master cylinder, but it wouldn't fit my existing set-up, so I finally bit the bullet and bought a brand new one for £120. I'd also bought a banjo bolt with integral bleed nipple, from Venhill. Still, earlier today, it took 1.5 hours to get all the air out of the bastard caliper and get the brake feeling right.
Next I decided to check the valve clearances on the overhead cam Rotax engine. After removing the trapezoid cam covers, a broken inlet rocker arm stared back at me. One of the arms was broken clean in two and lodged, out of harm's way, in the roof of the head. God only knows how long this has been like this. I haven't checked the valve clearances for over half-a-season.
For once in living memory, I actually had servicable spares, and they weren't in a lock-up 28 miles away, so I could swap the rocker arm and finish checking the valve clearances. Now I need to order some more spares, to replace those cannibalised from my spare motor, from DTRA sponsor and Rotax specialist, Sportax.
Next I took off the sump, to check for flotsam from the breakage; refitted the exhaust and started it up. It sounded fit.
I love this bike. I can't wait for round 1.