Dakar Dazed II - Part 2: The road to Dakar 2015

Discussion in 'Racing' started by JMo (& piglet), Jun 4, 2014.

  1. Corsica101

    Corsica101 Been here awhile

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    Want one! Could you guys pm me some info about the package you offer with this bike. Have no experience rallying apart from going crazy on my 1190 here in S.Am:D but looking get my feet wet. Maybe I'll ride down to Bolivia and meet you guys there!.
    In any case best off luck at the Dakar to the whole team. Getting there is already a victory!

  2. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Corsica!

    Glad you like the bike ;o)

    Your first stop should probably be www.lc450dakar.com for more information about the bike, and the various packages available... in a nutshell, you can buy a complete bike, a kit of parts to convert an existing 690 yourself, or have your bike converted by Rally Raid/Torque Racing...

    However, if you are new to rallying and are intending to compete, I'd recommend you actually rent an LC4-50 first (complete with all spares and assistance) and go from there... they can prep a bike for you and transport it to (and from) the event, along with all the spares you'll need and any tyres etc.you specify - while you can fly directly to the event and meet the team there - very easy and safes a huge amount of logistics on your part... you might even find it is more cost effective to rent a package each time rather than own your own bike, depending on where you envisage most of your racing/riding?

    If you want more info about which events the LC4-50 is going to be available for, drop a line to Torque Racing www.torqueracing.net and ask about their 2015 calendar - I know for sure they will be at the Tuareg and Hellas again next year... plus the Albania I think, the Serres, and the Maroc and Merzouga later next year...

    Hope that helps!

    Jenny x
  3. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    The following is a copy of the Press Release we sent out at the beginning of the month, which summarises the LC4-50 project to date, and sets the scene for our participation in the Dakar this coming January:

    PRESS RELEASE - 1st December 2014

    British engineers to debut new motorcycle at Dakar Rally 2015

    After two and a half years in development, Northamptonshire based Rally Raid Products have finally been approved to compete in the Dakar Rally this coming January 2015 with their own branded motorcycle - the LC4-50.

    The Dakar Rally (formally the ‘Paris-Dakar’, now held in South America) is the longest and most arduous off-road race in the world. Held over two weeks and in excess of 9000 kilometres, it is considered the ultimate test of endurance and reliability for both competitors and their machines.

    The Dakar is also unique amongst premier league motor-sport events in allowing amateur participants to line up with their professional counterparts, although for anyone other than a factory-supported rider, simply finishing the event ought to be considered a resounding success - as typically each year little more than half those that start the rally actually manage to complete it.

    “In our experience, the main reason riders fail to finish is due to a mechanical failure and/or their own fatigue” explains John Mitchinson - proprietor and chief engineer at Rally Raid Products.

    “We feel this has been compounded in recent years with the introduction of a maximum 450cc limit for motorcycles, which in turn has seen a new breed of ‘high-tech’ rally bike being developed by the factory teams - optimised for outright performance, and with correspondingly higher maintenance requirements” he suggests. “Currently the only choice for the privateer competitor is between an expensive factory ‘team replica’ bike, or personally converting a regular motocross/enduro machine with the inherent compromises that entails. “Either way, these days it is almost essential to employ an assistance team to carry a host of spare parts and provide daily mechanical assistance, further adding to the already significant cost of participation.”

    “It is also essential to consider that typically 40% of the total Dakar distance is liaison [between the timed special stages], where competitors will be riding many hundreds of kilometres day after day - often starting very early in the morning when it is still dark, and again later in the day when you are already tired from racing an extended special stage” he continues “This can quickly compound any fatigue - of both the rider and machine.”

    Rally Raid Products’ solution has been to combine proven technology with their own design and engineering capability. “By utilising the established KTM 690 engine and chassis, we have been able to retain all the key elements of their previous generation Rallye bikes that were so dominant in recent years, and successfully re-engineer them into a Dakar compliant 450cc package. The result is a rally bike that offers excellent chassis stability and comfortable ergonomics for long distance racing over a wide variety of terrain; together with the inherently strong and reliable LC4 engine that requires far less daily/regular maintenance than a typical 450cc MX/enduro derived machine.” John Mitchinson explains.



    The Rally Raid Products LC4-50 was developed in partnership with engine preparation specialist Martin Wittering of Torque Racing Services: “We realised that by retaining the original bore dimensions and simply using a shorter stroke, it would be possible to re-engineer the existing KTM 690cc engine to meet the 450cc capacity limit with the minimum of component changes” Martin explains. “This allows us to retain all the [proven] benefits of the original LC4 engine architecture - a far larger oil capacity, a stronger gearbox and clutch; and fundamentally was originally designed to have 70+bhp running through the transmission - so it immediately gives us a huge margin for stress and wear when compared to a typical 450cc motocross engine.”

    Certainly the engineering team believed that the key to retaining the inherent strength and reliability of the donor engine was to change as few of the original components as possible - and the LC4-50 retains exactly the same fuel injection [throttle body], air-box, engine ancillaries and exhaust as the donor 690cc version. The existing crankcases, barrel and cylinder head are also untouched.

    The reduction to 449.6cc is then achieved using a shorter stroke crankshaft, correspondingly longer connecting rod and a new custom-profiled piston, together with remapping the existing ECU with a new EFi programme for the reduced capacity.

    Initially the prototype engine parts were CAD and CNC machined completely in-house, while the production specification components were developed in partnership with fellow British engineering firms A&M EDM (crank and rod) and Cosworth Engineering (piston). “We had to pay particular attention to the design of our new piston crown as it was essential to retain the compression ratio and ensure efficient flow characteristics through the combustion chamber” John Mitchinson explains. “While our initial calculations had suggested the conversion was [technically] feasible, we had no idea [until we had prototyped the components in-house] that it would actually run properly, never mind actually provide genuinely usable power and torque characteristics from such fundamental component changes.”

    The result is a 450cc engine that still retains the feel a larger single cylinder machine, featuring a level torque curve that offers excellent low and mid-range tractability - which the majority of rally-racers would prefer. The LC4-50 is unique in that it also produces comparable horsepower to the current mainstream manufacturers’ 450cc MX/enduro engines, but at a usefully lower maximum rpm - offering a corresponding reduction in wear to piston and valve-train components, further improving longevity and reliability, particularly at sustained high [engine] speed.

    “From an engineering perspective, I admit there was a huge personal incentive for me to prove the concept would work - particularly when others said it couldn’t be done [successfully]” John says with a smile. “However, the primary motivation was to never to try and compete with the factory rally teams for outright power and performance; rather to build a strong and ultra reliable bike, that would actually suit the vast majority of clubman level privateer riders far better than a highly strung and uncomfortable converted MX machine, or exceedingly expensive factory replica bike” he suggests “At the same time, I must admit we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of power and the torque characteristics that our new short-stroke engine design ultimately produces.”



    Once the first production specification engine was assembled earlier this year, the finished bike was comprehensively endurance tested and raced both at home and abroad in countries as far apart as Tunisia, Greece and Sweden. “We are confident that the LC4-50 will adapt perfectly to the varied conditions in South America” explains John “We certainly don’t expect to have to change the engine half way through the race which seems a typical requirement these days!” he grins.

    For their Dakar Rally debut in January 2015, Rally Raid Products have enlisted Swedish privateer rally racer Carl Hagenblad (#159) who has been integral to the ongoing development of the LC4-50 project over the past 12 months, and has already enjoyed a string of rally successes in Europe and North Africa in recent years.

    “This is my first participation in the Dakar, and I feel a strong and reliable bike is essential to help me succeed in my personal campaign” Carl begins. “Traditionally I move up the results table towards the end of a event, so with a race as long as the Dakar, I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can achieve with this machine!” he adds with a wink.

    As part of the strict approval process for eligibility and entry into the Dakar Rally, the company had to gain UK Type Approval for the LC4-50 - making it an independent model in it’s own right, and effectively making Rally Raid Products the UK’s newest motorcycle manufacturer. “We can now supply a complete bike, road-registered and fully prepared for rally racing direct from our factory” John reveals.

    “As you might imagine, seeing the bike finally signed off at scrutineering and safely crated for shipping to South America was a huge relief” says John Mitchinson. “We see our participation in the Dakar 2015 as not only as the culmination of over two and half years development and engineering, but more as a milestone in our ongoing [racing] programme - that from next year will see a team of LC4-50 bikes being made available to customers throughout the 2015 season up to and including the Dakar 2016 and beyond.”

    “In the meantime, it’s up to our team rider Carl Hagenblad to take the LC4-50 all the way to the finish line, and of course Martin and I will be there to support him every step of the way.”

    ends.


    The LC4-50 endurance testing in Sweden earlier this year:
    [​IMG]

    Swedish rally rider Carl Hagenblad will pilot the LC4-50 at their Dakar debut in January 2015:
    [​IMG]

    Development team John Mitchinson (Rally Raid Products) and Martin Wittering (Torque Racing Services) with the LC4-50 prior to shipping to South America last month:
    [​IMG]


    Please do check in on Calle's own thread here:http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=955231 where he is blogging his personal campaign, and which I will of course be updating along with our own dedicated LC4-50 team photo and info thread during the Dakar itself...

    If you would like to help support the team during our inaugural Dakar campaign, and into next season with an expanded team - LC4-50 team T-shirts are now available directly from our apparel sponsor: www.ADVaddicts.com (US and rest of world) or through the Rally Raid Products webshop (for supporters in the UK and Europe): http://www.rally-raidproducts.co.uk/rallye-rally-accesories-?product_id=582

    Jx
  4. Seth S

    Seth S My avatar is ok. Your screen is broken

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    You'll find you can get a stock KTM 690 and build it up the same for a bit less as you wont need to do a motor conversion. There are many events around the globe you can compete in with a 690.
  5. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    I would tend to agree with Seth - the LC4-50 engine conversion is fundamentally for anyone who wishes to compete in Dakar, and/or any FIM championship events and want to contest for points (currently you can still race in the FIM rounds on a larger machine, your result just doesn't count towards championship points).

    Of course with the LC4-50 components in place, there is an immediate benefit on only running 50hp through a transmission that was designed for 65+hp regarding longevity and reliability... and certainly if you do intend to compete in a Dakar or FIM championship round in the future, you might as well convert the engine to 450cc while it's in the shop and apart as part of an overall build anyway - as you're unlikely to need to [completely] strip it down again after a season rallying anyway (unlike the vast majority of more highly strung MX/enduro derived engines) - certainly that is the whole ethos behind using the LC4 engine as a basis in the first place.

    Don't get me wrong - a full-power 690 sure is addictive to ride! However, at the same time, the 450cc version is no slouch, and will potentially be a more reliable and cosset you if you are new to rallying... as anyone with experience will tell you, there is a lot more to rallying than simply how much power you have to play with ;o)

    Ultimately however, if you're serious about campaigning an LC4-50 in the future, I would suggest building an EVO2 bike around a regular 690 first - race it for a season, then refresh it with the 450cc engine conversion kit and you'll be good to go!

    There are also rental options from Rally Raid & Torque Racing if you'd like to 'try before you buy' - the first event we'll be at in 2015 will be the Tuareg Rallye (Morocco) in March...

    Hope that helps!

    Jenny x
  6. ADV Addicts

    ADV Addicts No Dirt, No Glory

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    Hi all,

    Sorry, just wanted to jump in and mention that we have 2XL, 3XL, and 4XL Team shirts in stock now. Thanks to everyone's patience as we wanted to upgrade our print sizing to better match these shirts.

    For more info and to order, please visit my vendor thread here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=25695499

    Thanks to all for the support!
  7. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Just a quick update to welcome in the new year!

    Amidst the inevitable torrent of information here on ADVrider that will coincide with Stage 1 of the Dakar rally this year, I've started a dedicated thread: Dakar <s>Dazed</s> Debut! where I will endeavour to consolidate all my specific posts about the progress of the LC4-50, Carl and the other Torque Racing riders - together with summarising all the additional information I can glean during the course of the event itself... effectively providing you with a daily update, all in once place - so please do subscribe if that is something you desire.

    You are of course more than welcome to ask any specific questions there too (rather than get caught up in the malstrom of the main Dakar coverage thread), and I will endeavour to reply, or at least get you the answers from the team out in South America just as soon as I can!

    Stand by! - only 3 days to go now!

    Jenny xx