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SA-Dakar 2011: Team Honda Europe scrutineering report from Buenos Aires

After a long day at administrative checks and the final technical scrutineering of the motorcycles, assistance vehicles and the truck, the team needs to send out a quarter master to find a suitable restaurant for New Year's Eve. This party will conclude a couple of labour-intensive days just past and should refresh energy levels in all team members. The slight problem being that restaurants require full advance payment at noon on Dec 30th, just as the full team is also required to show up at administrative checks and vehicle scrutineering.

Two men have been working all day fitting the some seventy front and rear tires with foam fillings. In the absence of major concerns about the physical condition of the riders before the event, team physiotherapist Luuc Botter put his manual expertise to good use, manipulating the foam. Between the outer tire and foam, a generous quantity of lubricant is inserted. Luuc Botter and his assistant Benno Roosen never handled a more slippery job in their career. Reason for all this is to avoid friction developing excess heat between the foam fillings and outer tyres. While the motorcycles run at full speed under full load without any air pressure, flexing of the tyre constantly moves the foam around. Less lucky riders than the Honda team have experienced blowouts, in fact explosions of a tyre, due to insufficient lubrication. Mirjam Pol, Quinn Cody, Alexey Naumov and Vadim Pritulyak need not to worry.

Unfortunately, the team has to part with our Polish friend Kristof Jarmuz, who will not be able to start for private reasons not related to the sport or the team. All hope that he will join Team Honda Europe again next year in the 2012 Dakar.

The Honda Europe technicians had their first field day in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 29. And Bueno! it was indeed, for both Russian competitor Alexey Naumov and American rider Quinn Cody took their meticulously prepared motorcycles around for the final tests before scrutineering on December 30. Both riders came back in with big smiles and only requests for minor adjustments. Even though it was to be expected that months of meticulous motorcycle engineering would result in well-performing machines, this final approval by the riders themselves is a big reward for the builders. Dutch veteran rider Mirjam Pol spent a lot of time today helping out the team with her detailed knowledge of logistics and procedures of the 2011 Dakar Rally. She has had her test rides during the development of the motorcycles in Vorden, The Netherlands and in Tunisia.

While Alexey had also been able to previously test the Dutch suspension setup in Tunisia, Quinn took no chances and brought his own front and rear suspension from the USA. Being able to predict the changes in attitude that the motorcycle will show at the flick of a screwdriver, is all-important. Quinn basically uses the same type of suspension character that has brought him success, even an all-out victory, in the 2010 Baja 1000. The new element for him is weight distribution, for some 13 kilograms (18 litres) of fuel is stored behind and below. Some of this weight must remain at the rear until the main front tank is at the same level. Riders are used to having the center of gravity more upfront due to the 13 litre fuel tank above the single-cylinder 450 cc engine. Once off-road, Quinn expects to make only few final adjustments to the shock absorbers in order for them to deliver full racing performance.

Another final adjustment to the American rider's bike today, is on the carburetor. The aim is to fine-tune the fuel flow in conjunction with the cylinder Field day in Buenos Aires This newsletter provides updates of the Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile, January 1st trough 16th, 2011 head that Quinn chose. He prefers original Honda parts over any specialty equipment, shopping for the combination that best suits his racing style. In this case, the pilot jet is enlarged to give slightly more fuel when the throttle is up to one-quarter open. The needle is also changed, actually giving a leaner mixture across the rev-range. The same is true for the main jet. Should one think that Quinn is saving fuel by running a leaner mixture, the actual intention is better performance. It just happens that the special engine character benefits from these choices.

2010/12/31 | 16:14 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HONDA












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