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Racing Overseas - 2002 Updates


MV Agusta F4

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March 1, 2002 Update

Hello everyone! Welcome back for those who followed our racing exploits on the web in the past. Some of you might have seen us on Speedvision, and others still in race magazines here and abroad. As everyone knows by now, the TT was cancelled in 2001 because of the Foot & Mouth epidemic across the UK. And for anyone who was looking for us in 2000, I'm sorry we were not able to attend. We lost a major sponsor one month before the races were due to commence and were not able to secure additional sponsorship. For those your who are tuning in for the first time you might want to catch up by reading the 1998 and 1999 detailed journal first by going back a page.

For eveyone else follow just along to see what's in store for us this year!

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The MV Agusta F4

We are please to announce our partnership with MV Agusta in this years Isle of Man TT races. MV Agusta is the most successful name in motorcycle road racing and has won more championships than any other motorcycle brand. The name MV Agusta evokes memories of a bygone age where nearly every race winner, every world champion rode the same type of motorcycle - MV Augusta. No other manufacturer has equalled their record of 75 world championships, 270 Grand Prix victories and a total of 3027 victories in the various different biking disciplines.

MV took the legendary racer, Giacomo Agostini, to thirteen of his fifteen world championship titles. It's history spans a period from the 1940's to the present day. The marque did fade away during the late seventies, only to be resurrected in the mid '90's. In 1995 Claudio Castiglioni, CEO of the Cagiva Groupe, buys the rights to use the MV Agusta name and puts his top designer, Massimo Tamburini on the project. Tamburini designed the incredibly successful Ducati 916 as well as several Bimota's. Together they took on the challenge of creating this new motorcycle to re-launch the historic MV brand. Needless to say the MV Agusta F4 delivers the Italian style, beauty, attitude, and performance people have come to expect.

The Circuit

The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) is the world's most famous motorcycle event. It is raced over a 38-mile mountain circuit of ordinary roads and attracts competitors and fans from every corner of the globe. The race has been run every year since 1907 and only a handful of Americans participate in this event each year. It is arguably the most unique of all motorcycling experiences.

Preparation

Hi I'm Dwight Mitchell. For those of you that I met on the Isle in 1998 and 1999 I am not at the same place as before. Geoff & Julie Thomas the couple I usuall stay with have are about to have there second child since we met and the house has run out of bedrooms.

I will be staying at a new location this year. It's an excellent location in Douglas, located near sign post corner as you come down the mountain and back onto Glencrutchery Road. It's on Lakeside Road in the Governors Hill section of town. I will post the address and contact number very soon.

We have rented a garage from Ros and Les of Roundhay. It's the old garage of former racer Simon Beck, and it's located at the bottom of Bray Hill for those of you who might know the area.

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March 9, 2002 Update

We have completed the motorcycle and were attempting to obtain a second MV to modify for the Formula One race. Time permitting we plan on doing all the same enhancements we did to the previous version, plus installing cams, a Power Command so that we have better control of the electronic fuel management system, and porting the heads. We hope to realize between a 10 and 15 percent horsepower increase.

We are in the process of getting new t-shirts and hats made up for our supportors this year. I'll keep you informed as to there availability.

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April 1, 2002 Update

We have acquired the 2002 MV Agusta F4S and I'm happy to say it's everything that was reported. A number of signficant enhancements were made for the new model and it is much faster than the 2001 model. We hope to have the new "SPR" race version when it's released in the June or July time frame. This version will make 145hp and will be head and shoulders faster than the current versions. Unfortunately this will be after the TT, but it will come in great for the rest of the season.

This year our residence on the Isle of Man will change. The Thomas family that I normally stay with just had there second child and the house is a little full right now. The new address and phone number is below and will be valid after April 16th.

C/O LAURA HOWARD
128 Lakeside Rd
Governors Hill
Douglas
Isle of Man
Tel: 01624 613 876
Mob: 07799 776 645

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April 22, 2002 Update

We just returned from our visit to the MV Agusta headquarter in Italy. We met with the whole CRC team and went over the requirenments and preperation for TT 2002. See the news section for more information. While there, I also got a chance to ride the new 1000cc F5 model. It's a fantastic machine and I can't wait for it to come out next year.

The new t-shirts are completed and boy do they look great. The artist really did a fantastic job. Check the news section to see how the new design looks, and for information on how to obtain one.

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May 25, 2002 Update

TT 2002 came back strong and so is MV Agusta after last yearís cancellation due to the Foot & Mouth epidemic. But let me tell you, despite the 2-year break, and the death of the legendary Joey Dunlop the TT turned out to be as good as ever. Joey will be missed, but there are plenty of fast riders who know there way around the circuit. The organizers, locals, racers and fans showed up in full force to prove to the rest of the world that the TT is here to stay forever. The TT is epic and this is the first chance everyone has had to party at the place since 2000.

TT 2002 should be know as the year it rained! For those that have been following our progress you may have wonder where we've been these last few weeks. Well we arrived on may 15th to start our suspension setup and it has rained everyday since we arrived. Talk about a waste of time and money. More importantly time.

This year we have the please of racing the new MV Agusta F4. This is a fantasic motorcycle that handles beautiful on a smooth closed circut course. And we knew we would have to get the bike setup correctly if we wanted to achieve excellent results at this years TT races.

The bike ran great. We had no peformance issues, and I am totaly please with this. It had plenty of pulling power across the mountain. As far as split times go my best time was on this section because it is smooth just like regular short circuit racing. The suspension issue would have been resolved if we had more time. We had no base line to start with because the bike has never been raced at the Isle of Man like all the other motorcycles. So we started with our settings from the last TT which proved to be way off the mark.

Suspension setup is the key to going fast at the TT, not how fast your motorcycle is. Don't get me wrong the extra horsepower is great but doesn't do you any good if you can't apply it to the road. The TT course is a compromise in racing and most people don't realize just how difficult it is. Each lap is 38 miles with 220 curves. We are racing on regular streets, not smooth purpose built race tracks. The majority of the course is rough and bumpy, but the fast sections are long and smooth. We are always trying to achieve the perfect balance between the two. If you get it working well on the smooth mountain section it's horrible down below, and if you get it working on the bumps down below it's horrible on the fast mountain section.

Well today was the first day of practice and itís raining again. The rain and wind are blowing at near typhoon level for most of the day. It stops just long enough for the organizers to allow people to go out and practice. There a number of get-offs at places like Braddan Bridge, Windy Corner, Bedstead, Keppel gate, Governors Bridge, and the Nook. Even the great Ian Duffus was among one of the less fortunate. Needless to say we didnít get much accomplished as far as set up was concerned. But unlike everyone else, David Jefferies seemed unaffected by the weather and had everyone else standing in awe as he lapped at over 121mph. David had some real good "MOJO" working for him.

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May 27, 2002 Update

Monday 5:00 am
No rain for the first time in a week, but it was over cast and the track was soaked. Once again we all go out for another wet practice. The practice session proved to be worse than Saturday, with 4 get-offs at Windy Corner, 2 at Mountain Box, 2 at the Bungalow, and 2 at the 32nd Milestone. Iíd never seen so many people off on one lap, and after the first couple of crashes I decided to take it easy.

Because we were going to be overseas for 3-weeks straight I decided to break up the crew into teams. John, Mitch, Steve and Stefan would be crewing during practice week, and Clark Frank, Geoff, and Brian would work during race week. So far the crew has had an easy time of it with all the rain, but I have and excellent group of people working with me and I'm glad to have them.

Monday 6pm
The roads have finally dried out and everyone is itching to get out and do a fast lap. Everyone is curious to see if their base suspensions set ups are in the ball park. We are no exception. In fact that is all everyone is talking about. After 2 laps I bring the bike in. The initial suspension settings are way off the mark. I canít hold the throttle open in the rough sections along the bottom so I losing major time, but the bike handleís great on the smooth mountain section of the course. David Jefferies continues to hammer the rest of the field relentlessly. All the lap times are surprisingly low except his. That big guy sure goes fast. Ohlins UK was supposed to be at the event to offer suspension support. But after searching the paddock for an hour and not finding them we decided to call.

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May 28, 2002 Update

Tuesday 6pm
We talked to Ohlins UK and were advised that an emergency came up and this is why they were a no-show at the event. We ordered softer springs all around for both bikes express mail and waited for there arrival tomorrow. The day started out rainy, but eventually dried so we thought we were going to get another dry practice. Not! We made some suspension changes and just as they were starting to let the bikes out a torrential down pour came out of no where. We were not in the first batch to leave so we were saved the heart ache of riding 38 miles in the horrible rain. The ones who did go out came right back in after the first lap. We order new springs from Ohlins UK.

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May 29, 2002 Update

Wednesday 5am
I woke up to the pitter, patter of rain on my window pain. I took one look out the window and immediately went back to bed. I decided that I would be able to fully test the suspension changes we made so I going to get some sleep. Later I discovered that a handful of people actually went out in n abbreviated rain session. I thought to myself, they must be Irish. The Irish are usually unaffected by all the rain, and donít mind racing full tilt on the road, but even they were starting to complain. Another day and weíre still not able to test our changes. Are new springs didnít arrive today, but Ohlins advised us they were mailed, so perhaps tomorrow.

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May 31, 2002 Update

Friday 5am
The day dawns sunny and clear. Can you say remarkable? Out we go to test our changes. I picked up 5mph overall as an average, but I was still under my lap times at the previous TT by 9mph but we were going in the right direction as far as suspension changes go. Weíll make additional changes for the afternoon session and this should improve our time a little more. The MV is fast, turns on a dime, and handles so well. I would re-pass riders on the smooth mountain section that had passed me on the rough sections and they would look at me as if to say, didnít I just pass him. A number of people came up to me and commented on this fact. Others who know I was faster asked what issues I was having with the bike. I advised them it wasnít the bike and that we were just waiting for the softer springs we had ordered that hadnít arrived.

Friday 6pm
Well the springs finally arrived at late in the afternoon. Too late to put them on and get the bike setup for the evening session. We looked at the post mark and saw that the springs we not shipped out until Thursday. Needless to say we were very disappointed with Ohlins UK. The race was 18-hours away and there was not another practice session available for us to test out the changes. So we all said ďbetter what we know, than what we donít knowĒ and left the bike the way it was. We made further changes until there were no more to be made and I went out to give it a go. My average speed went up by another 3mph, but we all know the springs needed to be swapped if I was to go any faster. Gordon Blackey, one of the top 10 fast guys advised me to contact Maxton Engineering for my TT suspension changes. He advised me that all the top guys on the Isle used this firm. Well, we know for next year. Letís go out for a beer. The island is alive with bike and Bushyís beer tent is full of people. What every bike you can image, itís here. This is what I call sports bike heaven.

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June 1, 2002 Update

Saturday 12pm
Race day! And the world is all a buzz. Everyone is out in full force. To make matters even better the day is bright, sunny, and warm. After the horrible practice week race day brought the best weather conditions so far. This was good for the racers, but bad for the pit crews. There was a new rule imposed this year and all pit crews had to wear fire retardant clothing. The race went well for us considering the lack of practice and suspension changes. We brought the MV back to race the TT and finished 49th out of 88 entries. We gathered enough information to make a definite impact at TT 2003 and now we also have a base line for the motorcycle. The team performed the pit stops flawlessly and we were in and out under 25 seconds. David Jefferies wins the race and setís a new lap record in the process. This makes his 8th TT victories.

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June 2, 2002 Update

Sunday 12pm
Mad Sunday! Guess what? Itís raining again. Traditionally this is the day that all the motorcyclist who are visiting the island get there chance to ride the TT course. Traffic on the mountain section is one way and everyone has a great time. Well not today. 20,000 bikers were out in force but the conditions we too cold and to wet to really enjoy it. Most people ended up at there favorite drinking spot to start the days partying early.

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June 3, 2002 Update

Monday 6/3 12pm
Production 1000 race day dawns bright and sunny once again. Do wonderís every cease. We were all looking forward to another wonderful day of racing. We made some additional changes and our average race speed went up by 3mph. Which might not seem like much by when you do this over a distance of 113 miles and include a pit-stop your speeds are actually greatly improved. We still finished in about the middle of the pack or 50th out of 101 entries but we were very happy with the day and the way the bike performed. It made great power through the entire section of the course and we know that next year things will be much better. Once again David Jefferies decimates the competition by winning with a 13 second lead of the number two finisher Ian Lougher.

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June 4, 2002 Update

Tuesday 6/4 12pm
Well that ends our team review for TT 2002. This year they changed the race schedule and Iíll finally be able to enjoy more of the festival than normal. If youíve been to the TT races before, youíll know what Iím talking about. If you havenít, youíre missing out on the biggest, baddest biking party in the world. Everyone needs to experience it at least once in there lives.

Our effort were made possible with the assistance of MV Agusta Italy, Dietlemeier Motorgraphics, Vanson, Arai, Alpinestar, Dunlop, Galfer, Elf, Penske, Hindle, EBC, Factory LP Racing, and Racetech.

A special thanks goes out to Eileen, Ros, Les, Marc, Sarah, Nick Jefferies, Gordon Blackley, and all of our supporters and friends.

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