Shit. There are only 80-something days until the 2016 Isle of Man TT. I’ve never been so hyped about an event yet so brimmed with understandable trepidation. Anyway, it’s all good: my homework should meet the required grades (studying onboards mixed with a few trips to the island), further preparation is going smoothly and the team has been working their botties off.
JHS Racing has been tuning/racing/working on SV650s since time began. Some say James was developing an SV in a shed nearby while Adam and Eve banged. The team has also been present at the TT and Manx Grand Prix since 2009, so have a thorough understanding of what’s involved– which is good, as I don’t. I had a rough idea of custom prerequisites but it’s only the last few months of being saturated in the processes that the sheer graft has become evident
Kawasaki’s ER6 has been the weapon of choice since the Supertwins’ inception, primarily owing to Ryan Farquhar’s knack of churning out endless quantities of 100bhp happy shoppers to anyone with the readies. Granted, they have a palpable advantage when we’re talking peak power figures, although I don’t think the Suzuki has been given the chance to prove itself. With a recognised front-runner in my team-mate, Jack, who finished 7th in last year’s Lightweight TT, and ceaseless winter development, I know the bike will be good enough. Not that I’ll be troubling the podium hunters but I need every ounce of help available.
Peak power has never been an issue. Maintaining that peak power while offering midrange punch on corner exit has been. Rules state that engines must retain their original bore and stroke figures, so that means no displacement tweaking. Alternator and ECU aside, everything else is free to be abused and tinkered with. We’ve got newly designed pistons, cranks, weight-matched rods, reworked cylinder heads and a completely revised titanium exhaust. They’ve experimented with nearly every imaginable engine configuration, airbox size and throttle bodies, but James now reckons modified stock throttle bodies are the way forward. After a brief and tortuous trial with ram air that didn’t got to plan, the technology has diminished but overall speed has been amplified.
As you can see, chassis regs are also fairly relaxed and only the main frame has to remain relatively untouched. A complete GSX-R600 front-end bolts straight onto the 650’s headstock with minor work. The stock swingarm is a tad spindly (the kind of item you could buy from Argos) and offers far too much flex for the demands of the Mountain Course, hence the factory-looking 90’s GSX-R swingarm. By reducing rake and raising the swingarm pivot, we shouldn’t experience any of the previous ground clearance issues. For a bike that was originally designed to appease newbies, commuters and couriers, it handles beautifully – as good as any supersports bike I’ve ridden.
There were various offers of tyre deals and financial support for the team, but I don’t fancy risking safety for monetary reward. We’ve just had confirmation that we’ll be running Metzeler rubber and the new Racetec RRs, which is a massive confidence boost. From my understanding, these are specially designed to cope with sustained high-speed torture and boast a harder centre compound. Other mods currently underway include a tank transformation. In order to maximise the new four lap race, the standard tank (which must remain) has been cut, blown out and butchered to reach a 20 litre capacity.
Thanks for all the messages of support. More updates in the coming weeks.