Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Back on the pegs

The #ioracing hiatus is coming to an end this weekend when I'll take to the track once again at Sweet Lamb Adventure Rally Bike Academy's Sprint series round 2 on Sunday.

I'll be dusting off the bike and all the kit, and heading to one of the world's finest off-road complexes just outside Llangurig on the trusty KTM EXC 300.

I haven't raced since the Freestyle Hafren Rally in 2015, and in all honesty have hardly touched the bike in that time. In the last few months I have managed to get round to doing some maintenance, though, so the bike is race ready.

I'll have the #ioracing helmet camera rolling as usual, so keep your eyes peeled for all the action next week.

I'm excited to get back on the bike, although the first few laps on Sunday will doubtless be spent re-familiarising myself with the bike and race conditions!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Winter maintenance update

Well it was a busy weekend on the spanners for me, tinkering with the EXC 300.

I managed to complete everything on my list, with the exception of a new problem I found with the brake light. For some reason, it's not lighting up under braking. Since it's an LED light and both brakes aren't triggering it, it may be that there's a problem with the microswitch at the front brake lever, because the light is working otherwise.

Anyway, here's a list of all the issues rectified this weekend. Now that these are all done, I've dropped her off at good old ET James for an MOT so she can get back on the road soon.
  • Replaced gearbox oil
  • Fixed the side stand
  • Removed hand guards
  • Installed new grips
  • Fixed the lights
  • Found the electrical short and fixed it
  • Serviced the electric start
  • Charged the battery
  • Replaced the gear lever
  • Replaced the fork protector stickers
  • Sorted out the rear mudguard fixings
  • Strengthened the clutch perch
  • Re-seated one of the fork seals
  • Fixed a footpeg retaining clip
  • Replaced the lower shock bearing
  • Installed a new number plate
  • Flushed the carburettor to stop a fuel leak
  • Replaced the chain split link clip
  • Installed a new set of rear brake pads
  • Gave her a good wash!
The lower shock bearing was a bit of a pain to fit - as usual with bearings, getting the old ones out isn't too difficult, but getting the new ones in without damaging them can be tricky without decent access. One side was OK to get the pivot bearing in (the brake side) and the seal, but the chain side was annoying because both the chain and chain guide got in the way when it came to knocking in the seal evenly. In the end, I whipped the chain off the sprocket and out of the way, and removed the chain guide so I could get at it properly. Job done!

Oh and one more thing - never, ever buy cheap ratchet straps. They are an investment, buy the good ones, otherwise it's very much a case of buy cheap, buy twice, and you may even have a damaged bike to contend with too. I was lucky this time; I got to the shop after a particularly bumpy trip up the A470 (it's being resurfaced) to find my bike firmly wedged across the bottom of the trailer, having gauged the wall with the throttle cable adjuster. Luckily no damage was done this time, but some new, heavy duty straps are on their way for next time.



A video posted by Ioan Whittick (@ioanwhittick) on

Monday, 23 January 2017

2017 update - Dakar rally fever

Well it's been a while, but I'm finally getting round to sorting out my trusty little EXC 300. She needs a bit of love before she's ready to hit the trails properly once again.

With any luck, over the next couple of weeks, I will be sorting out all of the following niggles:
  • Replace gearbox oil
  • Fix the side stand (the whole thing fell off and now all I have left is the stand itself)
  • New grips
  • Fix the lights
  • Find the electrical short and fix it
  • Service the electric start
  • Charge the battery
  • Replace the gear lever
  • Replace the fork protector stickers
  • Sort out the rear mudguard fixings
  • Strengthen the clutch perch
  • Re-seat one of the fork seals
  • Fix footpeg mounts
  • Sort out the shock bearing
You may be wondering where all this is leading?

I've made no secret of my love for rally racing; when the Dakar Rally arrives every year, I am completely hooked and I can't help but wonder when it will be that I make the start line. Cryptic as that may sound, those of you who have already put 2 and 2 together (and not made 5) will know that I want to pursue roadbook rally racing.

In practical terms, what that means is that I will need to swap my beloved 300 for what's likely to be a 4T rally bike.

More news coming soon...

P.S. don't get me started on KTM side stands!

Monday, 14 November 2016

2017

A year has passed since my last competitive race at the Freestyle Hafren Rally 2015.

I have to admit, I do miss my racing. I love the sport and I continue to follow it closely and try to be involved where I can, but for now, plans to return to racing are in their infancy.

I had bimble a couple of months ago and although I hadn't been on the bike in a while, I felt as though I hadn't lost anything. My bike fitness may or may not be up to scratch for an event at the moment, but I felt reasonably confident on the bike and bike fitness can be solved with some training.

As I said, I'd like to return this year, so keep your eyes peeled for the Io Racing steed at some point in 2017.

P.S. that'll be after I've had a chance to give my trusty EXC 300 the TLC she deserves! Time to fix all the niggling issues on my list.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

For sale: Rally parts

I have my large Acerbis 15L clear tank for sale (bought in 2015 £330) which is in fantastic condition having only done one event (Baja GB 2015) and also a GZ multiswitch (bought in 2015 £165) which is boxed and brand new (never used).

The Acerbis tank is great, it fits with radiator braces and it's simple to fit. It doesn't add much to the profile of the bike and handling wise it plants the front end a little more and feels good. Baja GB was the first time I'd ridden with it and I finished 2nd overall.

It would definitely fit a 2012 KTM EXC 300 2-stroke, but would also fit other models - please confirm with Acerbis for fitting guidelines before buying.

The Acerbis tank is now listed on ebay here.

The GZ multiswitch is really nice to use, and it's got mounting holes for the standard KTM light switch on top - really useful. One switch to control your roadbook and ICO and your lights/horn/kill switch on top. I used one at Pikes Peak Navigation rally 2015 and it was brilliant (along with an ICO and F2R RB750 roadbook).

The GZ multiswitch is now listed on ebay here.

If you are interested, please get in touch and make me an offer via email at info@ioracing.co.uk.






Tuesday, 1 March 2016

2016: A year off

I have loved every minute of my racing over the last couple of years, there's no doubt about it. I've made huge progress as far as my riding is concerned and I've made a lot of friends in the process. I'm extremely grateful for the support I've received from friends, fellow riders and supporters alike. I've won races (and prize money!), had TV interviews and even gained the support of sponsors along the way.

I've shared my racing woes and triumphs through the form of race reports, photos and of course the ioTube videos which proved to be very popular. I hope you've enjoyed keeping up with everything on IoRacing and that I've given something useful back to the off-road motorcycle racing community.

For now though, I have decided to take a year off from racing.

Please continue to ride safely and enjoy yourselves, and feel free to contribute to ioracing.co.uk if you feel like sharing race reports or any racing-related thoughts. You can of course always get in touch with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or email - see the "get in touch" area on the right hand side of any page on ioracing.co.uk.

See you soon!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Winter bike maintenance

You know the drill, it's generally pretty quiet in the racing calendar over winter, so the downtime is a good opportunity for some much needed bike maintenance.

I spent some of the weekend finding out what needs to be done:
  • Air filter needs cleaning
  • Spark plug needs cleaning
  • Gearbox oil needs changing
  • Electric start needs a service
  • One of the fork seals needs re-seating
  • The gear lever needs replacing
  • The clutch perch needs fixing
  • The side-stand washer/spacer needs replacing
  • Throttle grips need replacing
  • There's an electrical fault that needs fixing
  • Battery needs charging
  • Rear mudguard sub-frame mounts need drilling out and tapping
  • Frame needs painting in some places
  • Lower shock bearing needs replacing
  • Suspension needs a service
  • Needs new tyres and mousses
  • Needs new chain
  • Needs new brake pads front and rear
  • Ideally needs a new piston as it's now at 180 hours (it had a full rebuild at 120) 
  • The whole bike needs a good thorough strip-down, clean and re-greasing
Then I set to work on a couple of those - I've already recharged the battery and serviced the electric start. More soon when I get a chance to work on it!