Team Report Koedam Racing
Issue #3 2005: Nitro Nationals
FIM / UEM Championship round #2: Alastaro
Finland July 1-3
Our first race of the year (see our “Main
Event” coverage) was not exactly as we hoped for.
We were plagued by sealing problems of the piston
rings which we blamed on a mistake made in the cylinder finishing process.
After the event we decided to refinish the cylinder
bores and temporarily step back to an “old” spare set of pistons.
The plan was to squeeze in an extra test session at our country’s first
race of the year : “The Drachten Nationals”.
Unfortunately it was raining quite a lot during
that event and all we could do was to fire the engine a couple of times without
being able of running it on the track.
All seemed to be O.K. and we were forced to wait
for the next event, which was past weekend’s second European championship
round in Alastaro / Finland.
This time however we came as much prepared as possible with plenty of piston
rings and a new set of spare JE pistons that were delivered right in time as
The pistons once again were of good quality and more then enough within the
Like last year the long journey of the bike and
equipment to Finland was arranged by our sponsor Zodiac.
The weather outlook for the weekend promised
plenty of sunshine and the entry list for our class looked very strong. All
ingredients were present for a good race weekend.
It looked like we were ready to release the “1000
hevosvoimaa” (Finnish for 1000HP).
Photo: Ivan Sansom
Early Friday afternoon we made our first qualifying
With a soft tune up we managed a 6.85 sec @ 344km/h.
All looked well until we picked up the bike on the return lane. Lots of oil
in the catch tank that had escaped from the engine!
The following investigation showed also a deformed
oil pan, clearly indicating that there was something not good.
We had to take the engine apart. What we discovered
was a set of scuffed pistons and a number of broken piston rings. This could
be caused by detonation.
We skipped Friday’s second qualifying session to prepare the bike for
In went a new set of pistons, a new set (different
type) rings, we repaired the oil pan (thanks Gunnar!) and made some changes
to the tune-up.
When we fired the bike on Saturday everything seemed to be a OK again.
However during the burn-out of our the following
qualifying run, it threw some oil on the track and we were shut down by the
Back in the pits again we found out a small leak at the oil pan which we had
What was even worse was that the oil pan was
even more deformed (due to excessive crankcase pressures) then the day before
and this time already in the burnout!
To our disbelieve a leak down test strangely enough showed no real big deals!
Not at all happy with this we started to take
the engine apart again.
We discovered that the new set of pistons were
again severely scuffed and though not broken, the rings were badly damaged as
At that time we didn’t had a clear answer
to the cause of our problem. The only thing we knew was that if we continued
like this, there would be a reasonable change that the bike would be throwing
oil on the track and possibly in front of our own rear tire. A situation you
definitely don’t want on a 1000 HP 230mph+ dragbike! Because safety comes
first, both for our self and for our fellow riders, we made the difficult decision
to stop here.
We really hope the Finnish spectators will understand
Because our competion also had different kind
of (either technical or traction) troubles, our pour and only 6,85 sec qualifying
run remained the # 1 spot.
As mentioned we didn’t take part on Sunday’s
eliminations and therefore didn’t catch any elimination round points.
Despite it all we climbed from the #5 to the #2 spot in the championship points
In order to find the reason for our problems
we talked with a number of people including some top fuel car teams.
At this moment it looks like we have a detonation
problem. On a static leak down test everything looks OK, but during detonation
the piston rings are “floating” and don’t actually seal. This
causes the blow-by, giant crankcase pressures and washing away off the oil film
from the cylinders.
It looks like that we have found out the hard
way that our over the winter cylinder head modifications made it so much more
effective. This will call for some drastic tune-up changes.
We try to do our best to get the bike ready before
the MPM internationals at Drachten in a week and half from now for some necessary
testing before we go to Swedish & Norwegian rounds of the European Championship.
See you at the races!
Marius van der Zijden / Koedam Racing Holland