I didn't think that help is what they wanted.....


It all started after we had used the Yamaha yzf750 for AMA 750 Supersport, with Team Kinkos Yamaha (great results from Jason Pridmore and Tommy Wilson) and our own Tony Lupo was our inhouse rider and we did pretty well, with moral support and a few stock bits from Yamaha USA, but without any special technical support from the Yamaha factory.

On a our good days and Yoshimura's bad days, our yzf750 and their gsxr750's had equal trap speeds.
When we finished on two wheels, we usually ended up in the top 5 in an AMA National and were one of about 3 total yzf750's in the USA in a huge morass of Suzukis.

Towards the end of 1994, Yamaha and Vance and Hines announced that they had a signed a muliti-million dollar contract for 1995, with Tom Kipp as the rider (Tom's a super great guy).

A bit later, my friend at Yamaha called up and asked if I'd do him a favor and call the VHR team manager and give him our engine information, so he wouldn't have to start from scratch......

Ouch...... "Right...." I'm thinking......
I'm going to call some well known tuner and tell him how to build an engine and how to set cam timing and how to tune a carburetor with a Factory Pro carb kit in his dynojet sponsored shop....... and I'm imagining that he'll be overjoyed and thank us profusely for the help.
"Right......" <grimace>

I thought about it and decided that, even though they were getting millions, and we all did the R&D at little cost to Yamaha, that I had made my friendly "nega-million" deal with Yamaha and VHR had made their "mega-million" deal with Yamaha and, well, I made my deal and they made theirs - and their deal was somewhat better and mine wasn't in comparison - but all that aside, I'd do my best to help my friend at Yamaha and do my best, to help VHR and Tom Kipp (one of the nicest riders you'd ever meet).

Well..... I made the call.

It kinda went like I was expecting.
I called and gave engine hints and trouble spots, refined  valve job angles and radii, cam timing settings for stock, 3 angle and full radius valve jobs, exactly what worked in the carbs and how to fix the chattering clutch.

I got a bunch of "Yeah, uhuh, yeah, uhuh" - as if he wasn't even writing anything down. (ever feel that you were doing something useless? <sigh....>)

In a nutty flash of inspiration, I even offered to send a set of carbs that were used at the WERA GNF endurance race last year and a couple of the correct carb kits.

The carbs were used on a yzf that was using the same Powermist fuel that VHR had contracted to use (I learned that a few days previous from the Powermist guys that VHR was contracted to run the same fuel as the endurance team was using last year).

Well, the phone conversation ended and we sent out a couple of the 1.7-RK kits and a cleaned up set of jetted carbs.

We heard nothing about anything for 2-3 weeks - So I called and asked how things went.

Apparently, according to him, the cam timing numbers didn't work and the carbs were "too lean", even when they changed the main jet (ever feel like "the stuff was getting pretty deep"?)

He made an excuse that they were running maybe a different fuel. I mentioned that I believed they were running AMA legal Powermist fuel - He agreed and I told him that that's what the carbs that I had sent over were running on last year.

But, he said, maybe he'll try to do some testing again, later.

You know, there are times in your life that you really have to look objectively at things -
Here we are, trying to help as a favor to a friend at Yamaha, and the well known tuner who you are trying to help, is pretty much not wanting help - and that's ok, just don't lie to me.
Well, I thought about it for a few minutes and decided that I had tried and that the guy either really did do testing and his dynojet dyno was giving him non-real world test results (not a big surprise) or that he really didn't do any testing and he respected our testing so little, that he was blowing us off.

I called back and told him to send my carbs and the two carb kits back overnight - as I, felt more comfortable with my stuff back and then it would be a non issue anymore.
Apparently, from the call I got form Eddy T. at VHR, the team manager was somewhat aggravated when he "slammed" our box of parts on my buddy's desk - to ship back.

VHR race team continued to tell people that their bike's cam timing was 105/105 (104/101 is actually what worked and what we told them) and that they used a dynojet jet kit (that they'd be happy to sell).

About 1/2 way through the next year's 1995 season, their bike got noticeably quicker  and Tom Kipp won his first 750 Supersport race. Congrats Tom (He is one of the NICEST people around and had nothing to do with the tuning and testing stuff). I figured that Yamaha had maybe decided to help VHR, like Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki helped Erion, Yoshimura and Muzzy in the old days (read into that, what you will <wink!> :-)

The year ends, with the VHR / Kipp bike doing pretty well, over the year.

A year or so passes and I get a call from Mark, one of the former VHR race team members.

"Hey - I've been meaning to call you for about a year -I felt kinda bad when *** told you that your stuff didn't work. We never actually tested it".

Yeah, I said - I figured that out already.  He didn't run the carbs or open the jet kits - The carbs were exactly as I sent them and they never had any fuel in them after I cleaned and sent them and the carb kit labels and seals weren't even broken.

"Well, remember last year when our bike got quicker?"

Yes - I kinda figured that Yamaha helped you out somehow?

Well, he says, no, *** had a friend of his buy your 1.7 jet kit and we changed the cam timing to 104/101, like what's on your website.
That's all we did.


And the moral to that story is. Err.... I'm not sure.
Tom did well! (Great!!)
VHR got millions. (Good for them!)
DJ got the advertising benefit........ (pooh!)

What would one learn?
Trust your instincts when you think someone's not telling the truth?
That business isn't fair?
Nice guys don't always get rewarded?
Hard knocks of life?

What did we actually get out of the whole thing?
A good industry story. :-)

What would I like (in case you were asking... :-)
Well, in a perfect world, I'd get a call from *** ******** one day and an apology - and I'd be OK and happy with that. It's hard to make that call -

Have a great day!

Marc Salvisberg

Know more background to this story? email here


I just thought of another story about a friend who worked all winter long in the wilds on Minnesota on cbr600f2 cylinder heads on his flow bench and sent one to some large race team and they told him that "it was good, but not any better than "their stuff".... but.... the head he sent them WAS on their F2 that won the AMA 600 Supersport Daytona Race - and they didn't tell him "that".....


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The extension of the laboratory for engines of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology was completed in about 1935. Its architect was Rudolf Otto Salvisberg (1882-1940). He had a successful career in Berlin but returned to Switzerland after the advent of the Nazis. His architectural style was somewhat similar to that of Erich Mendelsohn. The staircase of the laboratory is in normal use but well preserved.
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