The God of Speed seems to have it decreed that I will not go very, very fast in a straight line for a considerable distance any time soon. I’ve been trying to make it to the Maxton Mile for two years now. Something always happened to prevent me from going. Now, the Maxton Mile is no more, they moved the entire operation elsewhere. I would have to go about 600 miles to Wilmington, OH to get my linear acceleration on.
ECTA‘s very first race at the Ohio Mile is slated for the weekend of Aril 28-29, 2012.
Then the entire idea of turning laps at Miller near Salt Lake City, UT brought another item on my Bucket List back into focus: Bonneville. Should I not waste the gas money in my anorexic racing budget on something a little more in line with my dream, the actual item on my Bucket List? Pulling a Burt Munro on the Salt. Not that I would have a chance to set any sort of record in any eligible class, or even come close. The only things Burt Munro and I have in common: I am old, I am spending my life savings, and I, too, wrench a little on my own stuff.
It would be victory enough to go and do it and come home to blog about it without having to conclude a paragraph with the words: “…and that’s how I wrecked my shit”.
To hell with setting records, I just want that elusive 200-mph sticker to slap on my bike! That would be enough for this girl! Not that I could do it anyway, not realistically. I haven’t the money to upgrade my bike to get past a theoretical 196. Even if I starved myself for a month… but there’s always the fantasy of the stars aligning just right and a decent tail wind to propel me towards my dreams…
The World of Speed week at the Bonneville Salt Flats is held September 8-11, 2012.
First off, the design is not mine. The winged biker chica with her silk scarf flying, riding what looks to be some vintage goodness with comfy highway pegs is DianeT’s design. Diane is one of the core group of ladies at the We Ride women’s motorcycle forum. I blogged about how I came to host the board not too long ago. I just added the wording and tweaked it into “oval sticker” format.
I wanted to give something back to the ladies who are supporting me in my desire to race motorcycles. They cheer me on, support me, and pick me up off my sorry ass when I fall. They, as my husband, won’t take no for an answer. They let me rant and rave. They are an awesome group of ladies who all have something to give, in their own way, to the motorcycling community. They make me proud to call myself a biker chick.
I will slap this baby on my S1000RR as is proper for a racer to do with her sponsor stickers and hope that I won’t disappoint.
This one’s for you!
As if the pressure wasn’t enough, now it seems that I’m going to have an audience of a bunch of tweeps “making a weekend out of it”. This is not the sort of tweet-up I’d ever expect to attend. I thought they were kidding. Apparently not. Now, I’m going to have to make sure they don’t ride 91 miles just to see me choke. *wipes sweat from brow*
I’ll make some gearing changes, practice my race starts, and lose 6 pounds to gain a pony or so on the top end, but beyond that I promise nothing. Other than maybe a good time at the end of the evening when I finally get to drink a few brewskis because all the racing is done. I’ll drink to celebrate or to drown my sorrow, either way… it’s gonna be good! \m/
Bored at work (and feeling guilty about not using my time more wisely), I click my way through my usual haunts on the Internet. You know, the daily menu: Twitter, motorcycle forums, motorcycle sites, looking at engineering porn and so forth. I am supposed to be researching gearing changes for my inaugural LSR race at the Laurinburg-Maxton airfield better known as the Maxton Mile. I’m not in a “theoretical top speed attainable by a known mass within a certain distance figuring varying friction and drag coefficients” kind of mood. I also need to write today’s blog entry, I’m not in a writing kind of mood either.
Then something happens via link shared with me by my girl Marianne (@MsXXFastRR). I watch the awesome drifting video she wanted me to watch and after it is over I click through the “related videos” chain and happen upon a video of a WERA C Superstock Novice race at Barber Motorsports Park, which I would consider my home track! Yeah, yeah, yeah… Road Atlanta should be… who cares! I’ll move to Alabama if that’s what it takes to make it official. Seriously, though: Barber, although technically challenging with all its elevation changes and off-camber goodness and downhill decreasing radius fun and straights so short it doesn’t really pay to upshift or move back center on the bike, if you’re a lazy bum like me out on a Sunday ride, has got to be the most beautiful creation ever to come along in the way of mankind’s effort to pave the planet. And the thing has a rhythm that just speaks to me. Riding Barber’s 2.38-mile track is like moving your body to the music of a sensual Latin ballroom dance number, the Samba perhaps. You know your program, but you get to interpret it as the music moves you. Unless, you’re competition dancing… Yes, I used to dabble in the dance sport in my teenage years, that is why I am so flabbergasted that I can’t get my hips positioned right to stick my knee out farther. It’s a personal insult. Now, where was I?
At any rate, I watched this video and timed their lap and I couldn’t believe it. I watched it a few more times, checked my math, checked the class, then jumped out of my office chair, heart racing and hands sweaty. No freaking way! My nerves went into maximum overdrive, my electrical circuits overloading and my fingertips starting to tingle. I snatched my iPad off my desk, and jumped down the stairs in two hops, busted through the magnetically sealed door, while slapping the green release button mounted on the wall to my right. Leaped across the outbound lane, through the gate in the chain link fence, sprinted across yet another access road, took another set of stairs in two bounds and fell into the security trailer’s door with my knock. My partner was on the phone and I practically yelled at him: “T, put the damn phone down and look at this!” and I started to explain in the gasping staccato of disbelief. I don’t even want to know what I will do if I ever found out I had won the lottery. My heart would probably explode and I’d drop dead right there on the spot. Have fun spending my hard-won cash… Anyway, he listens and tries to follow, I barely notice in my excitement that he tells the person on the other end of his phone conversation that he’s gonna have to call right back. After he confirms that I am not completely off my rocker I simply tell him in an overly excited voice: “Dude, Imma gonna go racin’!!!” and with that I disappear back through his door. I try to call Mr. Slow. No answer! Shit! That’s right. He’s sleeping… damn! All excited, with the pressure built up and no place to vent. Crap! For the rest of the evening I can’t concentrate, I can’t focus, and I’m good for nothing but to try and seek distraction.
T comes over later and tells me (yet again) that he doesn’t want me to race. That he’s “gonna have to buy me a car to stop all that nonsense”. He’s such a sweety. What is he thinking? Buy me a car? I’d race that mofo, too. Once you get a taste of speed, bogging it down in the granny lane just isn’t an option anymore. I’m a junkie and I’m all for stepping up my tolerance to my chosen drug of choice. =D
I check the WERA schedule, although I had promised myself I wouldn’t look at it until after my LSR meet, so I wouldn’t bum myself out. I am able to run in five of the 13 races scheduled without having to take vacation. I can’t afford to take vacation to entertain my silly notions, since there is time to be spent on being with family. That is more important, since I don’t have a whole lot of family left that I actually care a great deal about and those few people are very dear to my heart and will always take precedence in my life.
What exactly did I find out? I’m not one to kiss and tell…
Just kidding. I can’t keep my cakehole shut to save my ass on re-cross, I would be a criminal defense attorney’s nightmare. I did it. I’m proud of it, too. Was an excellent execution of the almost perfect crime! Yeah. Suffice it to say: I have a decent enough chance to not come in DFL (you figure it out ;)), there is but a trace of a chance to be lapped (which would just make me so embarrassed that I would consider cutting across the grass and taking the back gate out rather than using pit road like a normal person), and I might just have a shot of hanging and scoring myself some double-digit brownie points. 🙂 However, the chance of a DNS (Did Not Start) are still astronomical, because of life and (bad) luck and (annoying) bills.
I must forget that I found out about this. It doesn’t do my nerves any good. I don’t follow racing (watching sports is boring), I don’t try and look into too much detail, because I have to combat my tendency to become scared and tuck tail and run because I always am my worst critic, judge myself way too harshly, am never good enough, can barely ever reach my own set of standards and am deathly afraid of looking like an ass in public. It also doesn’t do my ego any good, I’m way too competitive. I have to concentrate on what I am doing, not what others are doing or are capable of. That is why keeping myself oblivious is part of my strategy. And I haven’t learned the lesson yet. Every time I try something new I freak myself out with details of minor importance and concentrate on my silly overblown fears and I stress myself out, just to find out (after the fact) that it wasn’t but a thing and I did quite better than I had expected. Yet, here I am.
I am going to race this season. Even if it is just that one race weekend to get rid of my provisional status. My WERA membership application is filled out, the paperwork is done. All I need to do is pay my $110 and get my competition number for the Pirate. But since the racing license is only good for one year, this has to wait until I have a definite date figured out for my first official race. I would love for it to be at Barber, but that would mean waiting until September. We shall see.
2011 WERA Southeast Region Schedule
- 2/5-6 Talladega Gran Prix Raceway, Talladega, AL (run counter-clockwise, WERA Riders School available)
- 3/18-20 Roebling Road Raceway, Faulkville, GA (combined with National)
- 4/16-17 Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, TN (WERA Riders School available)
- 5/7-8 Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds, AL (WERA Riders School available)
- 5/21-22 Jennings GP, Jennings, FL (WERA Riders School available)
- 6/4-5 Roebling Road Raceway, Faulkville, GA (WERA Riders School available)
- 6/11-12 Talladega Gran Prix Raceway, Talladega, AL (run counter-clockwise, WERA Riders School available)
- 6/24-26 Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA (WERA Riders School available)
- 7/23-24 Roebling Road Raceway, Faulkville, GA (WERA Riders School available)
- 8/4-7 WERA Cycle Jam at VIR, Alton, VA
- 8/20-21 Talladega Gran Prix Raceway, Talladega, AL (run counter-clockwise, WERA Riders School available)
- 9/9-11 Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds, AL (combined with National)
- 9/24-25 Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, TN (WERA Riders School available)
- I’m Done With ‘NO!’ (missbusa.wordpress.com)
- Best Accomplishment in 2010 (missbusa.wordpress.com)
- I Am So Backordered! (missbusa.wordpress.com)
I just checked if the ECTA had their 2011 schedule posted yet. Indeed. It’s up. I’ve been waiting for this and have checked their web site for news once a week or so. Again, my crappy, dead-end, “you-don’t-have-a-future-here” job interferes hugely with my racing endeavors. I need to find a gig where I am my own boss, seriously. I feel like I’m wasting my talents and brainpower on these people who couldn’t care less about me when it doesn’t also suit their fancy. When I told my supervisor last year that I needed my June vacation confirmed, which I had put on the calendar in January, the answer I was treated with? “I have no control over this. The boss doesn’t approve these requests this far in advance.”
“If I don’t get this approved, I will lose $2000, because the deadline for canceling and getting a full refund is 30 days. The school is two weeks from now!”
“Well, then I guess you’re out of 2 grand.”
I looked at her incredulously: “No, I’ll quit before you make me miss this. I do have a life, contrary to popular belief.”
The vacation was approved (at the last minute), was covered, and I did get to go to the Kevin Schwantz school and keep my job. But this goes to show how much these people care. My husband has to put in for his vacation in January. His is then approved. I have to wait for him to finish, before I can request mine. Then, for the rest of the time we sit around, waiting and hoping that these sorry asses give us the word. Who can plan like this?!? The person who makes the rules (or bends them to her will) is approving her own vacations. Imagine THAT!
Back to the ECTA’s 2011 schedule:
April 2-3 (Hot Rod Magazine Top Speed Challenge)
- May 14-15
June 25-26 September 24-25 (Motorcycle Top Speed Shootout)
- October 29-30
Great. I get two shots at trying to set an official record. Better get my top game on and start hitting the gym and the math books. There is muscles to be built, weight to be lost and power-to-weight and gear ratios to be calculated. Theoretical top speed under varying conditions. I’m going to have to dust off my propeller hat. There is wrenching to be done, and to know what must be tweaked I need to know what is theoretically possible and what needs changing to give me the best shot at this.
What the hell is she going on about now?!? Breaking 200 miles per hour on the Mile, that’s what’s going on. Without sponsors (who can contribute monetarily) and on an anorexic budget. This is so improbable that it reminds me of a scene from 300: “Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty… for tonight we dine in hell!” Which is fitting, since I do like my hot sauce.
Why doesn’t she just take vacation? The family is going to Germany to celebrate Papa’s 80th birthday in December. And that I will not miss! Racing be damned! Papa is more important, even if it does hurt a little to miss 3 out of 5 meets.
I am tired of mundane life interfering with my damn plans. I missed the last meet because of those jerks at Blue Moon Cycle, I missed my first WERA race because life had other plans for the money in my racing fund. I will NOT take NO for an ANSWER! I’m done with interference!
I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now. I will be posting on this blog once a day for all of 2011.
I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.
If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.
Em Alicia aka Miss Busa
I’ve just stumbled across this, and I will be catching up with the inspirational stuff they have posted on the Challenge pages. Probably only going to stick to it when I have no ideas or am having too hard of a time with my own planned topics. But I think this will be good for me and the Team PLD Racing endeavor, especially when I’m dealing with self-doubts, setbacks, naysayers, lack of motivation, life stealing my tire money or other such BS the mundane likes to throw at you to make you want to give up.
Wish me perseverance, luck I can’t do anything with.
Miss Busa’s How-To:
Installing a Tether Kill Switch
2010 BMW S1000RR
RND: Research & Delirium
I’ve googled myself to death trying figure out what type of switch I needed for the S1000RR and how to hook it up. A tension headache, one 800mg Ibuprofen, and a nap later I was still pretty much clueless. What little information I could dig up was conflicting and not very useful. Heck with it, I can figure this thing out myself. The biggest pain was trying to ascertain whether the S1000RR utilized a “normally closed” or “normally open” switch for the engine kill. Blech. Apparently nobody knew. The one reference I found on a certain S1000RR forum turned out to be wrong. Not that I gave much credibility to the thread, since it sucked and was no help to the people who wanted to know and were wanting to install a tether kill on their Double-R. The more I googled the more confusing it became. I finally found a reference on Pingel’s website that paired the words “normally open” and “magneto ignition” and “normally closed” and “battery ignition”. Magneto? I didn’t really know what exactly that was, but I’ve heard the term before in reference to old junk. So “normally closed” is what I put my money on. Off to buy a switch. My bike was in the shop, so I couldn’t look at it and couldn’t recall the information needed from memory. I really liked the PMR setup. The kill switch housing replaced part of the brake master cylinder bracket and it came with optional switch options. An extra switch? Always good for likely future upgrades. But I couldn’t recall if the S1000RR had a Nissin setup or not, so I decided to err on the safe side and bought an MPS switch, which was only half of an inch wide and fit 7/8-inch bars. It later turned out that I didn’t have the ½ inch to spare to cram that sucker onto the bar. Damn. I should have gone with my initial instinct. Oh well. Anybody want to buy a brand new MPS switch? Hit me up. ☺
Pingel has decent looking switches up for grabs, however I definitely don’t have room for them on my clip-ons and the panel-mounted option just didn’t fit the bill for me. I wear one-piece leathers. I have nowhere really to clip the tether other than making a wristband which will also keep the lanyard out of my way. I stole the wrist strap idea from the Pingel site, so kudos to them. ☺) I didn’t want a setup that would reach across bike or body parts. The Pingel switches to me look more to be made for cruisers or Harleys, not that I would have had the room for the bar-mounted ones anyway. I really wanted something a little more subtle and sporty.
Those are the only three viable options that I came up with in my research. There are other choices out there, but I dismissed them for various — now forgotten — reasons. I’m sure some of them were due to looks, design, price, or workmanship. I’m picky when it comes to my bike. I get the best I can afford and I want the stuff to last. The Pingel switches probably would outlast my bike. 😉
Slapped On The Wrist!
Yes, I could have just bought Pingel’s ready-made one, but I wanted to save some money and it would be kind of cool to make my own. I had most of the stuff already lying around from various other projects. I went to Joann’s to get a parachute buckle. 1-inch wide red canvas strapping, black retro-reflective iron-on ribbon, a 1-inch metal D-ring, the purchased $2 buckle and a sewing machine did the trick. I opted for white thread to do a little “contrast stitching”, but I should have just used red because my sewing skill leaves room for improvement… lots of wide-open room.
My difficulty finding a tether kill switch and trying to figure out how to install it stems largely from a lack of sufficient knowledge of electrical circuits, switches, basic wiring, and how ignition systems work. I had to beef up on long-forgotten high school physics subjects and educate myself in the application of the fine art of soldering wire joints. Basic Electrical Wiring 101 with a little something thrown in about relays, switching and simple circuitry.
Armed with a multimeter, Torx screwdrivers in various sizes, a clipboard, pen and my BlackBerry I got up close and personal with the Pirate. I took the engine switch/mode selector control pod apart and had a peek inside to figure out which one of the wires is the one the tether kill switch gets spliced into. This should also confirm whether or not the S1000RR employs a “normally closed” or “normally open” circuit. I had read somewhere that a good way to distinguish one from the other is by the number of wires that come out of the engine stop switch: two wires means “normally closed” and three wires is a sign of a “normally open” switch. I took the thing apart. I was presented with five wires hanging out of a keyed plug and a small PCB sporting three push buttons. Five wires? Great. I should have known. Why was I even thinking this could be as easy as following the one coming out of the stop engine button to note its color for later reference? I looked at the circuit board closely. I could definitely make out the paths of the circuitry. The pins on the plug are numbered. I also saw tiny numbers printed on the PCB. That made things a lot easier. The keyed plug also helped with keeping the orientation of things aligned correctly. It was time to draw a wiring diagram. After having studied the thing for a while it dawned on me that there is a place left for an option. A very faint cutout line on the switch’s front housing, an indentation on the PCB for an additional button with all the necessary circuitry in place, and three open slots in the keyed harness plug. Noting that, the whole mess became a little less confusing. Four functions, namely: Mode, Engine Stop, Engine Run, and Engine Start; one common connection to them all; it adds up to five wires. This started to actually make sense.
The multimeter proved useless, since the probes are too thick to fit into the harness plug and the entire circuit board is encased in some sort of clear plastic — to weatherproof the whole affair, I’m sure. So I ran my findings by Mr. Slow, but he refused to get involved, claiming lack of knowledge on the subject. I mulled it over in my head off and on for a few hours and then ended up sleeping on it.
I need a method to test my findings nondestructively. I don’t want to cut into a $1500 wiring harness on a hunch. I need some way to connect the male end with the female plug in isolation to engage in a little simulated wire snipping. Test leads. I could make myself little test leads to jump the pins. The female end is easy, but the pins on the male side need insulation to keep them electrically isolated from each other. After scrounging around for supplies I come up empty, naturally. I had, not too long ago, relocated my “computer graveyard” from its home in a closet to the neighborhood dumpster. It never fails. Hang on to the shite for years, not finding use for a single thing and as soon as you throw the crap out to make room for new junk you end up needing something from the pile.
I didn’t know what those “test leads” were actually called, so googling the subject proved to be coma-inducing, but eventually I hit on the name of the thing and once you can name it, you can find it in 0.0289 seconds. They are called jumper wires. They are used in robotics and prototyping to easily and quickly connect header pins on breadboard setups. They’re cheaper to buy than to make unless you have the stuff already lying around. I still would just buy them… trying to get those little fragile crimp pins onto the stripped end of a teeny wire sucks! I scored a pack of 10 6” male-to-female ones for about $4.
A Kick in the CANBus
With five jumpers in five different colors I set out to validate my thoughts on the kill switch subject. I dismantle the control pod once more, this time it only takes me a few minutes. I pull the plug out of its socket and use my spiffy wiring diagram to jumper the pins. After double-checking my work, I turn the ignition on and the RR begins its initialization. The RPM needle executes its customary sweep through the entire range of the dial, all LCD segments are displayed at once and all LED lights come on and blink off. The DTC and ABS indicators remain lit and blinking, as is expected. After the POST is complete, I put the transmission into Neutral and push the Engine Start button, the bike comes to life. No faults are tripped. All is as it should be. I pull the black wire that connects Pin 4. The engine dies instantly, just like it would if you had put the kickstand down while in gear. Still, no faults are thrown. I turn the ignition off and back on and try to start the bike again. Nothing. That too, is as it should be. I reinsert the wire to Pin 4, start the bike and press the Mode Selector button repeatedly to scroll through the four DTC modes. Again, all functions as expected.
Just for giggles, I yank Pin 5’s jumper wire out and nothing happens, the Pirate keeps on idling sedately. Pin 5 is the other half of the engine stop switch circuitry. Pin 4 is the connection that is common to all of the functions. Pin 5 is the wire I would have cut with a shaky, clammy hand had I have been on the bomb squad, sweating bullets with three seconds left on the ticker. Aren’t you glad I’m not on the bomb squad? I am. I am also glad that I took my time with this one and did it right. On the Hayabusa I would have spliced a wrongly cut wire back together. On the Beemer, the fear of the almighty CANBus and its renowned bitchiness saved me from myself.
The Pirate Is A Dead
This is a walkthrough of installing the PMR Stealth Kill Switch Combo. If you have another bar-mounted switch the install should be fairly similar.
- Remove the two-part housing of the right-side control pod. There is a small Torx-7 screw on the bottom part of the control pod’s housing, use firm, steady pressure and a precision screwdriver to remove it. Pull the front of the housing down and towards the front of the bike, until the plastic hinge on top separates and the two halves are free of each other.
- Unplug the harness plug from the top portion of the housing and place it out of the way.
- Use a Torx-27 socket or screwdriver to remove the two bracket bolts that secure the front brake lever assembly. Hold the assembly with one hand while you switch out the OEM bracket with the PMR switch housing and use the supplied #5 Allen bolts to fasten it to the bar. Don’t torque the bolts down just yet you still need to be able to move the assembly around a little.
- Route the wires of the tether kill switch to your liking and determine where you are going to splice them into the OEM harness.
- Once the position of your splice has been determined, cut the rubber tubing that protects the wires from the elements and from chafing. I used hubby’s nail scissors from his grooming kit, which are extremely pointy and razor sharp (shhhhhh! Don’t tell Mr. Slow.) Be careful not to nick the wires’ insulation. Once separated, cut a horizontal slit into the sleeve. This makes it easier to pull it out of the way and will also accommodate the added thickness of the bundle due to the newly spliced-in wires.
- Pull, then push-roll the tubing out of the way to expose the wires where you will splice in your tether kill. Give yourself plenty of space to work here.
- Snip the black wire with the blue stripe. That’s the common. IMPORTANT: If the colors of your harness wires do not match mine, you’ll have to find the wire that is connected to Pin 4.
- Strip about ½” of insulation off the ends of the four wires.
- Slip heat shrink tubing over the wires before you twist them together. I used 3/32” diameter tubing for the v-joint and 1/8” diameter for the straight joint. This way you won’t have to bend any wires and they’ll lie nice and flat against the harness bundle. It doesn’t matter which of the wires get paired, as long as you make the circuit whole again.
- Twist the wires together then solder the connections.
- Position the heat shrink over your solder joints and use a heat gun to shrink them down. Be careful where you point that thing, you don’t want to melt any of the S1000RR’s tasty bits, such as your brake or throttle lines.
[Alternatively, you can use crimp-style butt connectors, solder or crimp in quick disconnects, or use gel-filled 2-wire IDC (Insulation Displacement Connectors) butt splices but they will make your harness bulky and unless you can hide them somewhere, extremely visible.]
- To test your work crank up your bike. If it doesn’t start recheck your connections. Pull the plug out of the tether kill switch and your bike should die. If it doesn’t, in my best guesstimation I can’t help but assume that you screwed up somewhere… big time. I’m washing my hands of that one right now. *nods then turns and walks off quickly* “Gotta go!”
- Carefully pull the protective sleeving back into place. You might have to slit it some more to accommodate the new wires without bunching.
- Use electrical tape to wrap the spliced area tightly. It’s best to do it at a 45-degree angle and keep the stuff taught as you wrap the bundle.
- Follow up with friction tape to keep the electrical tape in place and from gumming up the works first time it gets hot and dusty. I also secured the ends with smallish cable ties to prevent them from unraveling.
- Go for a test ride. Don’t skip this step, it is VERY important to the entire process. It bears repeating: Go for a damn ride!
My work here is done.