Originally Posted by kyns
Thanks for the bump Kyns!
Sorry I've been away for a little while, had a lot of family stuff to deal with over the summer, and as I'm sure you are all aware, the delay in getting the prototype engine running meant that any plans for Dakar 2014 had to be put on hold while we reconsidered the whole project...
Fortunately, all John's theory and calculations, and Martin's dexterity in the workshop means not only did the engine go together first time, it also started on the button and ran sweetly, even using the stock 690cc fuel map... yes, none of us could quite believe how well everything fell in to place - and it was confirmed by Donna (from Torque Racing) who took the engine in her 690 race bike up the road for a quick spin through the gears, everything working as it should (albeit with more vibration that we would have liked, but that is due to the prototype using a welded up and unbalanced crank - the production 450cc kit will have a custom billet machined crank as part of the specification)...
So with less than 3 months until the European bikes all head to South America where does that leave Team Rally-Raid/Torque Racing?
The short answer is we will now concentrate on developing the LC4-50 Race bike, essentially 12 months later than we had originally planned, and are now looking to enter a two-bike team in the Dakar 2015.
John is about to pull the trigger on the production run of pistons, and once we have the complete production 450cc kit (essentially a new crank, rod and piston) around the end of November, it will be built into a dedicated race/rally-lite bike for me to test and campaign during the first few months of 2013.
Together with some general testing, it is certainly my intention to campaign the 450cc bike in a few UK rally events to give it a proper shakedown (including the ongoing development of the front and rear TracTive suspension system John mentions above)... meanwhile, John and I have also been discussing me riding the LC4-50 bike down to Tunisia for the Tuareg Rallye in March 2013 (this most likely to be it's first International competitive outing), then riding it back home to the UK again - just to prove the reliability of the engine, and that the whole bike can handle Dakar style distances...
We then hope to have a very competitive package available for a second rider who would like to enter Dakar 2015 - it will include bike rental, transport, all spares and service assistance - to coincide with the entries opening in May. As such, the whole team will then race at least one more International Rally during 2014, to ensure the whole team works together prior to shipping everything to South America later that year... There is every possibility that this 2nd bike will be (initially) US based, in partnership with Rally-Raid Products' North American distributors KTM-Twins, offering further sponsorship and publicity opportunities.
I myself will be heading off the USA in a few weeks time to get some Desert riding in, and meet up with a few friends and contacts and hopefully get some firm commitments together for the 2014 season and Dakar 2015.
Wish me luck!