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18th October 2010: The first 3 speed heavy duty auto transmissions are now available from Tim Blakemore Racing.
Specially commissioned and proven by Tim and Nova Transmissions.

This is the only Kawasaki ZZR1400 (ZX14) purpose built gearbox available for Drag Racing World-wide. Using the highest grade materials - Ultra Heat treated and complete with Superfinish (R) Ratios are: 1st 17-41 2.412:1 2nd 22-37 1.682:1 3rd 23-27 1.174:1

Massively strong 3 speed gearbox manufactured bt Nova Transmissions to Tim Blakemore's specification. Photo by Turnertech

For more information visit the Nova Racing Transmissions web site here.



Tim Blakemore back to the 6's!!

The final round of the year for Funny Bike took place at the Extreme Performance bike weekend Santa Pod raceway on Oct 9th - 10th and the last chance to get some good track time before the end of the season. Amazingly the weather was with us for a change so it was down to work to make good use of that tarmac. We went with the new combination of clutch plates but, as we didn't want to change too many things at once, left the springs and weights alone and see what happened. Result! the bike wouldn't pull a burnout which meant the new plates were holding up. However, there was now too much clutch which bogged the motor and needed backing out.
That sorted we went back out to try again! It was better but stalled again in the burnout, we re-fired and Tim took his weight completely off the bike, this was just enough to light the tyre pulling a good clean burnout. Confident now that it should at least launch we went for a pass. The bike launched good and straight with Tim coming off the throttle at 1000ft. Amazingly Tim's first full pass on the ZZR1400 recorded a 6.76 which is a new PB for Tim. For the number crunchers out there here's the ticket: 60ft - 1.1287, 330ft - 2.8782, 4.30 at the 1/8th @ 171.5 mph 5.56 at 1000ft @ 193.7 mph, down to 173mph at the 1/4. (Photo courtesy Blacket photography)Despite shutting off Tim Blakemore runs a new PB at Santa Pod
After much celebration it was back to work and see if we could do it again. Tim had come out of the run early as he felt the motor was sounding a bit harsh which was a good call! As we have had our fair share of melting motors in the past and this can be somewhat economically trying to say the least!
The engine was sound and our new Nova 3 speed transmission still looked unused! So after a few check and tweaks we went out again.
Aside from replacing the plates we decided to leave the clutch settings the same this time around and go for a full pass. This time around the launch wasn't so good, It seems we still had a little bit too much clutch in there and although the bike launched the clutch pulled the motor down a bit too far. Tim suffered severe tyre shake! Causing massive shock loading on the engine, a con rod let go..bending an inlet valve , resulting in a cocktail of burning methanol turning the plenum inside out! Damage to the plenum chamber caused by the clutch!(Plenum photo courtesy Steve French)
On hindsight we probably got away with it on the first run as Tim had two attempts at the burnout so this probably gave us just enough slip on the clutch to make it work. Amazingly the rest of the engine and Nova gearbox was still intact and crank cases and bearings were like new! A real credit to the strength of these Kawasaki engines. We were still very happy with our progress!
We had qualified number one so that afforded us more track time on race day. We worked through the evening to get the replacement engine in place and we must give a huge thank-you to the multi talented Jon Webster of Webster Race Engineering who worked his magic repairing the plenum and Super Woman Lizzy McCarthy for sorting dinner even though she had her own bike to fix! Unfortunately we were unable to run the first round due to an oil leak on the start line! The cam cover gasket had split due to suspected crankcase pressure! Suspecting the head gasket design (slightly different on this particular engine) to be the fault we were confident of the solution and we now have the off season to address it.
Overall it was a successful weekend and we are over the moon with our progress. We have found a base set up for the Gen II clutch that we can now work with and the new 3 speed Nova Auto transmission is doing its job! So we end the season on a high...and hopefully progress further with development of the ZZR1400 for 2011! We would like to congratulate all the riders who achieved new PB's this weekend and to Ian , Darren and the rest of the Santa Pod crew for an awesome track!
Finally a huge thank you to our sponsors and supporters who make it all happen!

Kawasaki Motors UK - Rock Oil - Webster Race Engineering - Avondale Welding - CR Turbo Engineering - TJC Design -

Oh...and not forgetting Shamus (Shawn Rodman) for the welder.


There's no substitute for track time!!!!

Our initial plans for 2010 was to, reluctantly, take time out, regroup and concentrate our efforts for 2011. This was so that we could concentrate on the business and renovating our dilapidated home!
However due to sponsorship commitments this didn't quite happen as we still had to attend the Main Event and Euro Finals and with resources very tight we could only do the two peak performance days precluding each event to test equating to minimal track time for this year. We have indeed been climbing a mountain , developing our ZZR1400 project with a combination that, as yet, nobody else in the world has done!
We decided it would be better to get these initial teething problems sorted before the end of the season so we have the winter to make any improvements. The only good track time left was the National finals and the Extreme Performance bike weekend so we have extended the diary to include them.
The GenII clutch at present is still causing problems but it is early days and with no starting data we know it will take a little time!! We managed to get the new spring set from MTC in time for the finals. We had also changed the gearing slightly as we calculated it to be a little to high which could also compound the stress on the clutch at the bottom end. Jon Webster on the standard engined ZZR1400 9.50 bike
On the first Qualifier we didn't quite get the hold off spring right to counter the weight and it dragged Tim through the lights again. We spent some time in the pits setting the engagement rpm up and went out to try again! Q2 and we had a launch resulting in a 1.13 60ft which is a PB for the 14 (the ZX12R ran a best of 1.09) but again it blew the clutch away at the top of first gear aaaargh!!! On inspection of the clutch plates we were finding now that the standard ZZR1400 friction plates are fine but the Z1 plates, which MTC advise installing to make the correct stack height, were being absolutely destroyed. We decided to experiment and managed to make a pack up using only the newer style plates. On to qualifier 3 and would you believe it? the bike wouldn't fire! Our brand new Automotive fuel pump packed up on us! what great luck we are having!! Well this marked the end of the weekend for us as we were unable to source a spare in time. Tim has since spoken to MTC and explained the problems we are having with the clutch, the guys there were really helpful. They explained that there was no there reason that using the Z clutch plates were essential it was specifically to obtain the correct clutch height so they couldn't see any reason that our revised set up wouldn't work. They explained that they have only tested the GenII clutch on street bikes, with great success, but not with any big tyre bikes or anything close to our set up! So they are also very keen for our feedback on this!
Jon Webster represented the team well in 9.50 bike riding a completely different bike, a new slick looking standard ZZR1400 loaned to us by Kawasaki UK. The usual bolt on mods were swapped over from the turbo version and, by cutting the standard pipes down and remapping, he managed get it to 9.90 with only 3 qualifiers with still loads more to come!! Unfortunately the weather stopped play again and Sundays eliminations were inconclusive. blakemore_racing_zzr1400_funnybike
We still had a great time at the track as ever and send our congrats to all the other racers who did well!
So its on to the extreme performance event in two weeks to pick up where we left off and see where we go!.We would like to thank everyone supporting us. Also a big thank you to our sponsors:




UEM European Finals 2010 Funny Bike Cup

Clutch, clutch and more clutch!!!!

With only the second outing of the year for the new Tim Blakemore Racing ZZR1400 funny bike and seriously limited track time we knew it would be hit or miss on finding a base setting for the new Gen II clutch. Starting off with the peak performance test day on Wednesday problems struck where a trapped waste gate diaphragm caused issues with boost control, hampering the much needed clutch testing we were hoping for. We are now feeling a lot more at home with the new Motec engine management system and most of the set up gremlins have now been ironed out.
The bike was previously run by Tim's partner and Super twin fuel champion Wendy Clutterbuck a few weekend beforehand at the 'Ladies that launch' weekend at Shakey. We initially tried to set the bike up so it could just be driven off the line initially as the new Nova gearbox should allow this to work o.k after destroying a few clutches we thought better of it and Wendy decided to go for a proper launch but was still having problems, The bike still kept pulling forward over the startline at around 5000rpm before being able to reach the desired launch rpm so after a serious bog it went down the track - short shifting through the gears it over powered the track, black striping it before running out of clutch at 3/4 track and going through the traps at a steady 140mph.Ladies That Launch saw Tim as crew chief for the day. Here he signals for Wendy to end the burnout on the Blakemore Racing ZZR1400
Back to the Euros and on to Friday day one qualifying and that familiar black sky and rain came to haunt us yet again! Thankfully it cleared and we managed to make the only run of the day! Tim was encountering the same problems as Wendy on the line so we needed to get more clutch into the bike but with the combo of springs in the initial kit not being heavy enough we were struggling! We need to get more weight on the arms but still countering this with the hold off springs so that we didn't change where the initial engagement was in the rpm range so we had to make some up at the track but the only springs heavy enough were binding in the basket.
To further compound the issue we found that the whole basket and shaft was moving outward when the clutch was operated! It seemed that as some of our engine parts were from a pre production engine that the quality of some of the ancillary parts were not built to last. Luckily we found one of much beefier construction in one of the spare motors.
Saturday's weather reports were not looking good and we still hadn't qualified. Miraculously the rain forecast for the day did not materialise, infarct the sun shone for the rest of the weekend! We spent the day testing the clutch in the pit as best we could, we could have really done with a few burnouts for some better data. We tried different combinations but time was running out so we had to go with what we had.. again it would not launch!! We had one last chance so it was decided to go right back to the beginning putting in the clutch setting we had at the 'Main event' where we knew we could get a launch. We figured that if we could at least get to the end of the track we might qualify, after all we knew that we would be treating this meeting as a glorified test weekend so we really had nothing to lose and really just wanted to get a bit more track time.
The burnout pulled clean and went into gear very positively which suggested that the clutch was still in one piece. Into stage and Tim finally had a clean launch recording a 1.15 60ft which, wasn't bad seeing as the clutch was out by the time he got to the tree! It was enough to coast him to the end of the track with a 10.87 @71mph on the bump. We had qualified!..
Disappointingly we realised that we didn't have the necessary springs etc to do what we needed to do! All we could do was creep up on it and go for broke. Sunday and first round elimination we were against Rikard Gustaffson. Tim had an absolute storming launch leaving Rikard on the tree this time he managed to keep the drive in to the top of first gear, predictably we blew through the clutch again but improvements had been made the 60 ft was slightly improved to A 1.14 60FT. Back at the pits and the team were very happy with the progress, we have since ordered all the necessary component needed to make our improvements with the Gen II clutch and it has now been decided to enter the ACU National finals at Santa Pod 25/26 September to get a bit more quality track time to prepare for a full season in 2011.



10th - 11th July Junior Drag bike Shakespeare County Raceway

Congratulations to Rookie Junior Drag bike racer, 11 year old Conor Meehan who made his track debut at Shakespeare County Raceway in July. Campaigning his cousin, and former Drag bike racer Tyler Clutterbuck's Honda CB125 fuel bike replica, he looked as if he had been racing for years! Conor has been coming drag racing with Tim and Wendy since he was a born and is an avid fan. He had to wait until his birthday in June until he was old enough to be able to race the 125cc machine. Although he had previous experience with automatic machines, he only learnt to ride the geared bike the week before. Connor Meehan, new Junior Dragbike racer
Conor under went his licensing passes without a hitch, and went on to qualify well in the 10 bike field. It was very difficult to dial him in as he was going quicker and quicker with each pass, so we had to try and anticipate his times! He was really geared up to go for his first race on Sunday, and, although he cut a great light, he broke out against 'race veteran and sharp little cookie' Jorden Bissell in the first round by almost a whole second! Connor Meehan in the fire up lane at Shakespeare County Raceway
Conor and his team would like to thank all the Junior Drag Bikers for being so welcoming, C&C medical Services for their support and sponsorship and especially to Sharon and Jerry Collier for the time and effort they have put in to this fantastic class!

Catch Conor and the Junior Drag Bikes at their next round at Shakespeare County Raceway: 28th - 30th August.




For 2010 a new class was showcased at this prestigious Drag Racing event held at Santa Pod Raceway near Northampton, heralding the start of the European championship.

We have always enjoyed ‘putting the cat amongst the pigeons’ by entering the Top Fuel Bike class, where as rule, the quicker reacting Funny bikes always got out on the Nitro burners making the racing very interesting to say the least. However, creating this new class should prove a step in the right direction and hopefully attract more of these fantastic machines out of the woodwork. This season has also seen and the addition of the awesome 7 second ‘Super Street’ bike class which should altogether see a healthy boost to the Bike classes as a whole.

We had spent the winter thrashing to get the bike ready for this season and had hoped to get a bit more track time before debuting the machine for this event. However, We did get some very good data on the dyno before hand as Dave Rowe of EPS (Electronic Performance Systems) gave us a crash course with the Motec engine management system. We set up the initial fuel map, gave everything a check over and tried to find a starting point with the new MTC GenII clutch.

We decided to enter the Peak performance test day on the Thursday before the meeting and decided to burn out only until we can find a launch base setting with the waste gate spring on the new turbo charger. We now have the luxury of 3 complete spare engines! Even so, we don’t intend rush things this time round! The trouble with these new combinations is finding that base setting whilst carefully easing 500+ Hp up the track. One wrong decision can cause extreme loading and unloading of drive causing devastating consequences to the Engine, the gearbox and/or Tim’s back (well he is getting on a bit now) So when we were happy it was on to a launch, Which, to our utter surprise, It did! With a reasonable 1.2 60ft, driving through it by ¾ track. So far so good.

Due to rain on the first qualifying day we only had 2 opportunities to make the field so with a Motec system we barely knew our way around and a clutch that works unlike any other, we had a steep learning curve ahead.

We qualified number 4 which wasn't a bad start to the season but we couldn’t get the bike to rev past 10000rpm when it should have been around 12000rpm! This turned out to be a little hiccup with the Motec set up, which, as novices to the software and the fact we needed another sensor we were unable to sort out at the track. We ran a best time over the weekend of 8.2 with a 1.17 60ft and found the whole weekend to be an overall success!

So it was back to the workshop to go over everything………


Sometimes problems that arise turn out to be blessings in disguise and the engine limiting problem at THE MAIN EVENT turned out to be just that!

The ZZR1400 is integrally stronger than the older ZX12R with a much larger clutch area, which was always an issue with the latter. The only slight worry with the ZZR1400 is that the cylinder head is actually narrower than the ZX12R and this means that the cylinder bores are very close together, which, we suspected, could cause sealing issues when introducing large amounts of boost.

We have, as we did with the ZX12R, employed the ‘o’ring copper sealing ring design and machined receiving grooves into the cylinder head and barrels. Initially we went with the Cometic copper gaskets but we found that the exhaust valve cut outs were allowing the gaskets to blow out over the sealing rings. These had almost completely failed and if we had run to full potential at the previous meeting we would have, most certainly suffered engine failure to some degree. We have now fabricated our own copper gaskets and, after further testing, have solved the problem.

The fun now is getting to grips with the MTC GenII clutch, which, essentially, for ease of explanation, is a cross between a slider and a lock up. Taking its cue from the Crank and NOT the rear wheel we can control traction loss much easier, but as we have no previous data to work with and are working from a blank sheet. As the day went on getting off the line was proving consistent; we just need a little more adjustment in the lock up and needed some stronger springs to continue. So, happy with our progress we headed back to the shop. The bike had been ‘stepped up’ up a little more running to full revs with around 26 lbs of boost, it was a good idea to strip the motor again and check everything over.

Kirstie Tramm photo of the funnybike team at Santa Pod

Wendy and Dan prepare Tim for another launch at the Webster Race Engineering Peak Performance day.
Photo by Kirstie Tramm of www.eurodragster.com check out Eurodragster for all the latest drag news and race reports.


The final piece in the puzzle is the new Nova 3-speed transmission, commissioned by Tim Blakemore in collaboration with the guys at Nova transmissions. Opting for the 3 speed allows a slightly larger ratio, which helps to ‘load’ the motor, working the turbo better. This gearbox is proving fantastic and is far more forgiving than anything we have used before. During the previous test day it took quite a hammering and we discovered that it had been working with a bent shift fork. Absolutely no marks were on any of the gears or the dogs! Great! Replacing shift forks is a lot cheaper than a gearbox!

Overall inspection and rebuild checks out fine so were all set for the next test day……



May 2010 - Shakespeare County Raceway Spring Speed Nationals - Tim Blakemore Racing Kawasaki rider runner up in 9.50 Bike

Most of us involved with Drag Racing, especially the competing amongst us, experience the high's and lows of competition. Easter was a particular high for us on the Tim Blakemore Racing 9.50 Kawasaki, this was followed by a particular low at the Big Bang. Qualifying proved to be complicated due to an uncharacteristic handling problem, making the bike pull hard left on the first two runs, making me throttle back on both occasions. The third pass resulted in a mid pack qualifying position, making our pairing for the first round Steve Ashby, from there the disappointment continued, my slight advantage on the light not being enough for a heavily slipping clutch in 3rd and 4th gear, giving Steve the disserved win.
No less than a week later we were back out at Shakespeare County Raceway for the Spring Speed Nationals. During the week I had removed the clutch, not only to repair but to try and make some adjustments so that the clutch lever feed would be easier from the start line, I also made some small adjustments to the ignition kill time as it has always felt quite aggressive.
There were 6 qualifiers scheduled over the weekend so it gave us a few passes to dial in the new settings.
Qualifier 1 was a bit of a surprise to say the least. The launch from the startline was ultra smooth, the clutch feed very linear, lock up coming in about 1500rpm before the shift light, lifting the wheel slightly, the kill time felt significantly shorter.
I went through my usual routine, hitting the shift light on target, into 4th gear and rolled the throttle off and coasted across the line, 9.19 @130 mph is not what I expected, the small changes had resulted in significant differences on the track. The remaining qualifying runs were ducking and diving around 9.50 resulting in a best of 9.59 putting us at 6th and giving us a first round run against Steve Whiting.
Steve had struggled in qualifying but I almost shut off too early making side by side 10.3s, too close for comfort. We were happy to progress to the next round, meeting Pete Austin, Pete and I both run big power for 9.50, the result was again to the wire and a good race, each pondering the result, but a complete contrast to our 1st round with a double brake-out, my 9.43 to Pete's 9.34 taking the win.
The semi final was going to be tuff. Young gun Jake Mechaell has proved himself on several occasions with consistent good lights and spot on dial in's, including this event with a 9.503. On face value the race went as I expected, Jake seemed to get the lead, I reeled him back in by 400 ft and knew that there was a big possibility of a double breakout. We seemingly crossed the line together again not knowing the result. Shelby was waiting in the return road with both our timing tickets she seamed upbeat then expressed her surprise to Jake on his red light, which surprised me, and gave me a lucky route to the final against Richard Sawatski.
The weather was looking more ominous approaching the finals and it looked unlikely to happen for a while, but with a lucky break we got to run, Richard had a better light and was in control of the race from the start, my breakout 9.468 no answer for his better light and 9.61.
Thanks to Tim and Wendy for there support over the weekend and continued support from "Tim Blakemore Racing" and Kawasaki.

Jon Webster

  Jon Webster wiins 9.50 bike at Santa Pod Raceway  

April 2010 - Santa Pod Easter Thunderball - Tim Blakemore Racing Kawasaki rider Jon Webster wins 9.50 Bike

It's amazing how quickly Easter come around this year, there never seems enough time to do everything without having to rush around.
Tim has prepped the bike up in the weeks leading up to Easter but was unfortunately unable to attend the event, so Wendy brought the bike up on Thursday evening. Friday saw the forecasted inclement weather, but we remained optimistic for the rest of the weekend.
No changes had been made to the bike over the winter, just routine checks and maintenance so we were hoping to start off the season with a known combination, the plan was to run the bike exactly the same as always during qualifying as the dial in is there or thereabouts by short shifting at 8500rpm and rolling off the throttle at the top off 4th gear. So 1pm Saturday we got our first call, Super Street bike ran before us and had a few problems on track but when we got our turn the bike ran faultlessly resulting in No 2 qualifier with a 9.57/127mph, not bad to start with.
The rest of the day had down time for various reasons such as weather and on track incidents. Sunday saw two more qualifiers neither of which improving our position, Q2 netted a 9.491 and we were relegated to third by Jemma Venables and the final qualifier a shift solenoid gave up the ghost resulting in a 10 second pass. Our final qualifying position ended up being 6th place so I was quite happy with that because we were in the lower side of the pairings of a sportsman ladder which is an advantage for bye runs later in eliminations should we be fortunate to progress that far.
We were all set on Monday, weather looked promising but there was a strong head wind which is better than a side wind for safety reasons, but this could prove difficult to dial in close to 9.50 for all riders, in terms of judgement, power etc. The Kawasaki has plenty of power to overcome the resistance of the head wind but I was very aware it could result in a breakout.
The plan was to try and stage deeper, go for the light and try and maintain a nose until as late as possible, if the Guy/Girl in the other lane was no where to be seen then get off it in the usual spot.
As plans go, by luck or judgement the first two round went more or less that way, Stuart Ashby lacked speed and I backed out early making our 9.93 to his 10.36 a good dial in point for the next round against Aaron Sparks, Aaron got out on me slightly then disappeared behind with some sort of problem, so I got off the throttle a bit earlier making our 10.10 to his 10.27 good enough to face Phil Pratt in the quarter final.
Phil is a really tough competitor, always on the money and renound for good lights, my chances weren't good but I was fortunate enough to win, that bye run was the route to the final. I really lost my cool moving out of the burnout when my front wheel slipped away and I almost low sided it, but I gathered my thoughts and went for the game plan.
What a race, Phil's 0.16 light to my 0.14, he was well out by 60ft over a bike length, but then the turbo power started coming in and by 3rd gear we were pretty even, I short shifted 4th gear and even hit 5th as we cross the line, it seemed an age for the win light to show on my side of the wall but a huge relief when it did my 9.53 to Phil's 9.47 breakout.
That meant we had the bye run , Fred Furlong and Richard Beck squared up in front of me, by the time I had finished the burnout I saw Richard take the win and I knew who my next opponent was.
I was going to just stage the bike for the bye run and take the light, but I decided to try something a bit different, which didn't work.So for the final I went back to the original plan.
We only had 5 minutes in the pits before our final call, but with only air pressure to check, there was no stress, I was quite relaxed for the final, I had gone a lot further than I thought I would, based on the calibre of the riders attending that weekend, I learnt a long time ago that bracket racing is a game of mistakes, he or she that makes the worst one "looses" no mistakes means you run a perfect .000 light and run a perfect 9.5000 and that a rare thing. But primarily if you can leave first then you have more chance of controlling the race. Richard has historically made less mistakes than me in 9.50 so it wasn't going to be easy.
Richard staged first, I followed my previous procedure and managed to get the light. As with Phil, Richards bikes 60ft gave him a short lead but again Kawasaki turbo power proved good and I pushed the line anticipating Richard will lift, I throttled back 20ft from the line as I had pushed harder in 4th than previous and thought I would go under so figured Richard would too.
I looked at my side of the wall and the light was on so all was good but without the light it would have been difficult to call, another awesome race my 9.59 taking a 9.47 breakout.

I must admit I didn't expect the win this early in the season as I have always found too many faults in my riding , which still need fixing , I just figured more practice required, I guess the thing about going round is you get more practice, so hopefully I'll be in better shape the next round.

Many thanks to Kawasaki UK, Tim and the team at Tim Blakemore Racing for giving me a great bike, Jeanette and Shelby my family and crew, Jamie Sneddon for help and shift solenoid and to the well wishers who came by.

Jon Webster


Click here for our 2010 Race Calendar in PDF format.




Congratulations to Tim Blakemore Racing 9.50 bike rider Jon Webster, who won the FIA Top Fuel Dragster Final at the Santa Pod European Finals last weekend. Jon who had qualified No. 3 with a 4.8250/293.38mph blast, won a thrilling final against Sweden's Jöran Persåker.

Jon's Top Fuel Car team were all in the Kawasaki team apparel sponsored by Tim Blakemore Racing and Kawasaki Motors UK.

For the full story click here for the Eurodragster event coverage.

Tim Blakemore Racing Team news photo shim