Team Report: Koedam Racing Team/2003 Season Review

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Another year is about to end and what a year it was!
We like to take a look back to the high- and (though very few) low lights of this race season.
Apart from our results one thing that immediately comes to mind is the excellent good weather conditions that we were blessed with. As one knows, this is a main ingredient for a successful drag race event. The only exception was the “Veidec Internationals” at Mantorp Park in Sweden, which came to a sudden halt just before the final rounds because the rain set in just a few hours too soon.

This year we attended a record number of 9 events.
Allow me to give a brief summary of our race schedule.
Speedfreaks (Santa Pod Raceway / England) May 9-11:
Season opener / qualified #1 / won the event / the bike already displayed its real potential.
Main Event (Santa Pod Raceway / England) May 24-26:
1st round of the FIM-European Championship / qualified #1 / won the event / reset personal best to a 6.23.
Fast & Furious (Drachten / Holland) June 14 &15:
Entered as a demo to this eight mile track / reset the all time national record to a 4.18sec @185mph (295km/h).
Nitronationals (Alastaro /Finland) July 4-6:
2nd round of the FIM-European Championship / qualified #1 / stranded in the semi-finals with a broken primary drive belt.
Drachten Internationals (Drachten / Holland) July 11-13:
Spectacular runs again / no track records this time.
Veidec Internationals (Mantorp Park / Sweden ) July 24-27:
3rd round of the FIM-European championship / qualified #1 with a new track record of 6.29 “right off the trailer”, despite an early click off.
Though we went till the finals, a winner was never decided because rain set in just before the final rounds.
Drag Challenge (Gardermoen / Norway) August 1-3:
4th round of the FIM-European Championship / qualified #1 / dived into the “teens” for the first time / reset personal & track records / won the event.
Nitrolympics (Hockenheim / Germany) August 22-24:
5th round of the FIM-European Championship / qualified #1 / won the event / reset the track record / clinched the European Top Fuel Bike Championship title with still one more round to go.
European Finals (Santa Pod Raceway / England) September 5-7:
6th and final round of the FIM-European Championship / qualified #1 / reset personal-, track- & European records (both ET and speed) / became the fastest & quickest bike outside the USA / stranded in the semi finals when a con rod let go in a big ball of fire.

This year were pleased with a grown interest for our renamed Top Fuel Bike class. It resulted in a record number of entrees by no less then twelve top fuel bikes at some events. Despite this strong field we clinched the FIM-Championship title for the 3rd time and we did so with a record lead of 313 points over 159 points for the championship runner-up.

From the media side we can inform you that the both the FIM and the FIA European Championship rounds were broadcasted by again an increased number of satellite TV stations.

These images were broadcasted all over Europe and as far as the Middle East and the USA, however unfortunately not yet shown on the Dutch national TV. We understand that they are trying to work out a deal for next year.

A few words from the technical side.
Part of our performance gains has to be credited to the new Mickey Thompson tire. As another first Top Fuel Bike team in Europe we started using this all new tire which was developed specially for Top Fuel motorcycles. Our efforts paid off. We improved our 60 ft times and added more consistency.

On the down side we had three “small” technical problems that plagued us now and then during the season. These items therefore are the major things on which we will be focused during this winter break. In the first place we broke the primary drive belt twice at critical points in an race. We are converting the primary drive from a 8mm to a 14mm pitch belt. This will give us a much stronger and more reliable primary drive.

Another technical aspect that didn’t work flawlessly each time was the clutch release bearing system. This system is undergoing a redesign as well.

The most important thing that led to a lot of extra maintenance work during the season was caused by the new material cylinder liners that we experimented with. Though the liners itself worked fine, this could not be said for the piston rings. The liners were simply too tough for any type of rings. The rings couldn’t seal as they should do. We experienced more “blow by” than normal, causing loss of power and oil dilution which leaded to a lot more maintenance of the bearing shelves and the piston rings. At the last event this led to our “infamous” spectacular engine explosion when we blew the complete bottom end to pieces. A new bottom end is already in the make.

On the positive side we know the reasons for these three “troublemakers”. But more important, we also know how to fix them. Therefore we are more than confident that we can solve these problems and expect that we can create a reliable and consistent bike for next year.

Our record 6.04 sec @ 235mph run was performed without pushing the engine to its limits (still low on nitro %). Because of the aforementioned “blow by” of the piston rings we were loosing more power on each run. Giving the fact that we will be able to solve this, we are confident that we should be able to improve these numbers next year (of course given good track- & weather conditions).For the near future we are also investigating the possibilities to take the bike over to the USA again for a number of races. This could be a combined deal with a few other European Top Fuel bike teams.

All the results that we reached this year would not have been possible without the input from all the team members.

On top of all the awards that we received this season we are very proud that our crew chief was elected as “Crewchief of the Year” in Holland and yours humble is also very honored to be nominated by the Santa Pod Racers Club for the “James Edgar Memorial Award” (to be presented to a crewchief for his outstanding performance).

Koedam Racing once again likes to express that all would not be possible without the help from the following companies and thanks them for their support. At the same time we are looking forward to another (possibly an even more spectacular) race season in 2004!

Zodiac International / Mijdrecht / Holland………..Performance products for Harley Davidson
Torco International Corp. / Santa Fe Springs / U.S.A…….…………………Torco Racing Oils
Nimbus Motorsports / Baiton / G.B……………………..……..European Torco oils distributor
Dakota-Industry / Ettlingen / Germany……………………..…….Dakota fashion & team wear
Arai Helmet (Europe) B.V. / Hoevelaken / Holland…………………………..Helmet Products
Flexion b.v. / Roermond / Holland…………………….…….Gates distributor & service center
Goodridge Benelux B.V. / Delft / Holland.…….………….…Fuel / brake / oil lines & fittings
Goedhals Machinefabriek / Amersfoort / Holland………..……………….…Gears specialists
Jan Smit’s Power Parts / Wormerveer / Holland….Workshop facilities & Dynatek distributor
Jan Roelofs Race Service / Valkenswaard / Holland..……………Cylinder head preparations
Motorparadijs / Eindhoven / Holland………………..……………………Workshop facilities
Roestvrijstaal Montfoort / Montfoort / Holland…….……………Non ferro metals specialists

A final word goes out to Marco & Stefan Ruf of Dakota Industry. This year was the final year from our three year contract.

We are proud that we were part of the Dakota Team and like to say a special thank you for your support over these years.

Marius van der Zijden / Koedam Racing Holland

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