Ettridge competes an MC21SP in various rounds of the
UK F400 class as and when work commitments allow!
He has run around 10 races in the last 2 years, but
is hoping to find more time this year to compete more
to F400 regulations, legal modification to Dave's
MC21SE are limited. He currently runs TYGA pipes,
an HRC jet kit, HRC ignition unit, HRC reeds, TYGA
intake rectifiers, and has enlarged the airbox intake
and removed the central web to increase its' effective
capacity. The forks have been rebuilt by MH Racing,
with new bushes, seals and heavier springs ( £238
all done), which he says is an amazing transformation!
The SP specification also means he has the benefit
of lightweight Magtek magnesium wheels (the NSR SP's
the only 250 production bike to be fitted with magnesium
wheels as standard) and a dry clutch.
getting to grips with the NSR and learning the art
of racing! Although trying to learn the sensible way
round a track by following the lines (not the speed!)
of the more experienced riders, several minor crashes
inevitably led to some professional instruction, which
in turn cropped 8 seconds off his average lap times!
At £80 ($120), Dave reckons this and the suspension
mod's (carried out after the close of the 2002 season)
are the best performance increases money can buy!
the end of the 2002 season Dave had really started
to enjoy the NSR, and at Pembry, although he'd only
competed in 3 rounds of the series (compared to his
fellow competitors' 8 rounds), he was riding much
more smoothly and even managed to beat some of the
faster riders that he hadn't even been close to previously!
a change in jobs giving him every weekend off, Dave
was keen to get racing again this season. Unfortunately
the RAF had other plans and he missed the first 3
rounds due to being stationed abroad! A training course
then coincided with round 4 but the date was subsequently
changed allowing him to make a late entry application.
It turned out that the only class with any space left
was the Open F400 where he'd be pitted against highly
modified bikes such as RS250s and TZ250s so decided
a track day setting up the jetting and suspension
would be money better spent!
venue for the track day was Rockingham, a relatively
new circuit in the UK, and one Dave had never visited
before. He booked 2 places for himself and his mechanic
(who just happens to be his brother!) so he could
get some additional external feedback on the bike.
didn't go according to plan right from the off...
I went out following the instructor - it's compulsory
- and half way round lap two the engine stuttered
during a corner. I thought it was just due to the
rich jetting so gave it a bit of welly. On the next
straight the back locked up completely. Arse!! I was
prepared though, and covering the clutch, so no scary
moment, but I was completely p*ssed off thinking I'd
jetted way too rich and couldn't possibly have seized.
pushed the bike back to the pits completely dejected.
One and a half laps for £200. Now that's expensive!!
on stripping it down, I found nothing wrong. I mean
nothing. Even pulled the heads and the barrels/pistons
were perfect. The oil pump seemed to oil, the water
pump watered, the sparks sparked. Having poked it
for an hour, and scratched all three heads (not all
mine I hasten to add) figured I may as well rebuild
it and see what happened. Went up another 10 on the
main jets to *** and *** to be
doubly sure, and poured some oil in the tank just
in case (200 ml in a full tank - dunno what ratio
that'd work out at) as the oil wasn't exactly pouring
out of the pump. None of us knew how much there should
have been coming out, but it had always worked before
and it was a Honda...
worked. No horrid noises, no coughs or farts. It ran
for the rest of the day. The plugs look tan and dry,
which surprised me, as ***'s last year were
too rich and all I've done is cut the airbox lid web
and enlarged the intake. Engine even got up to proper
temp, which indicates jetting was close... I was also
surprised that it hardly smoked, considering the oil
pump is set to max and I had premix.
engine would sometimes bog down between 6-9000. Other
times it pulled strong from 6-12000. Didn't seem to
be any pattern to it, though obviously it was only
apparent on the slower corners. It was extremely fast
from 9-12000 and I was only just out paced by the
Blades and stuff on the straights. The only thing
I can think of is fuel starvation, as I've fitted
a quick disconnect in the fuel line, which is obviously
a slightly smaller bore than the pipe. I'll buy some
more pipe and get rid of the connector for the next
the plus side, Rockingham was fun - if very technical,
but there's way too much concrete and Armco to be
completely comfortable. Especially later on in the
day when I was actually sliding the front on the exit
to one very fast left hander! Maybe GPR70's aren't
as good as I thought. I guess it shows what a fantastic
job MH racing did to my forks - couldn't think of
any changes to make throughout the day, and it felt
like I had my fingertips on the tarmac the feedback
was so good. Even my brother who's never ridden the
thing before raved about the handling, saying it felt
totally secure no matter what he did. Money well spent.
just completed a meeting recently, so an update will