The first race of the 2012 season was at the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit on the 1st April. For those of you not familiar with the circuit, it is 0.96 mile, fast, smooth and very popular with laid back cyclists. It does have a long and fast hairpin bend which can be taken more or less flat out, but it does scrub off speed for us multi-track riders.
For the race, I fitted Greenspeed Scorchers and my new Ackermann compensation, with four wheel steering, equal front and back. My road tests of the four wheel equal steering were not perfect, as the handling was poor on bumpy surfaces at speed. However I found that I had forgotten to tighten some of the lower wishbone mounting screws. So I thought I would give it a try.
I also made some aerodynamic changes to Quattro with an extended tail and a more relaxed tail angle, reduced from about 20deg to 16deg. Both additions were a bit of a bodge but I thought they may prove a point.
Relaxed Tail Angle
Add On Tail
The race went OK and I managed a 24.6mph (39.6kph) average speed in the hour race. Steve won in the Beano as usual with an average speed of 34.7mph (55.9kph). There were comments after the race that I was making a lot of tyre noise, which I put down to the large volume and high pressure in my Scorchers. Back at work the next day, I was looking over Quattro when I noticed a strange texture on the front tyres.
Front Tyre Texture
Checking the tracking on the bench with Quattro on its side seemed to suggest that it was OK; this was using the method I had always employed, with two steel tubes, resting on the rims. To double check all was OK, I decided to buy a couple of laser spirit levels.
Laser Spirit Level
Resting On Wheel
The lasers told a different story. With Quattro on the ground, both front and rear wheels were about 0.37deg each toe out, 0.74deg for the pair. Rider weight and applying power seemed to have little effect, which keeps things simple.