By Daryl Burnett
I was talking to my friend Blake Rivard about doing something different for his motocross bike. We settled on a carbon fiber airbox (air filter cover). On his bike, the airbox sits just below the handlebars where the gas tank usually is. I started with removing the plastic piece and cleaned it so no dirt would be present in the final product. The original airbox would serve as a mold for the finished piece.
I cut a piece of carbon to size, then covered the original airbox in a mold release. Next, I coated the backside of the carbon fiber with a thin layer of West System 105 Resin/207 Special Clear Hardener colored with 502 Black pigment to prevent light from shining through the carbon fiber weave.
When the epoxy was tacky but not wet enough to stick to the glove, I covered the original airbox with the carbon fiber like I would a sticker, and smoothed out the fabric. The stickiness of the epoxy allowed me to place the carbon fiber in tight spots and over angles that would otherwise have the carbon fiber lift up. I let the piece cure for another two hours, then applied 105/207 to the topside of the cover. I recoated every two hours until I had four coats applied. I let the new carbon fiber air filter cover cure overnight, then sanded it to knock down the high spots, taking care not to sand into the carbon fiber.
After washing it with water and wiping it down with paper towels, I applied four coats of clear coat paint from a can to help protect it in the sun.
Blake qualified for Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Motocross Race, which their website describes as “The first step in the world’s largest and most prestigious amateur motocross championship race.” It’s a regional Championships that seeds riders into the national championship. We wish Blake the best of luck in this enduring sport.