It’s been a while since my last blog; I’ve been flat out dealing with the issues of the last few rounds of the WSBK.
As I mentioned in my last blog, I went to Miller a few days early to chill out in the States. We went to Vegas and had a good time, along with a few ‘Gone in 60 seconds’ moments in the rented Ford Mustang (which saw me pick up a $450 fine!). I’ve added a few pics on here to give you a giggle!
Unfortunately the fun didn’t carry on out on the track. We had quite poor results at Miller as we were down on engine performance – it really wasn’t as we had expected. Leon was putting in some strong lap times, but failed to qualify well and John who had to learn the track then crashed in race 1 before struggling with a slowing bike in race 2.
Right now it’s definitely an uphill struggle for the team.
After the US, it was off to Misano to deal with a really busy event schedule. The freight went straight from Donington to Miller and we didn’t see the bikes again until Misano so there was a lot of work to be done before the start of the meeting, what with servicing etc. Misano, however, went reasonably well but we’re still struggling to qualify well at the moment. We should be doing a lot better; we should easily be qualifying on the third row, so we’re pushing on and working hard. Yoshimura our engine partners are also working hard in Japan on the engines. Unfortunately it’s taking longer than expected to get it all sorted. Misano was enjoyable as always though, the team went up to Valentino Rossi’s Pizzeria. The team were like little race fans – buying merchandise etc. I always look forward to the meeting at Misano as it’s always good fun.
After Misano, Steve (our driver) was straight off to Aragon with the bikes and we joined the other teams, including Aprilia, BMW and Kawasaki, there for two days of testing. Hopper was new to the circuit so it was a good chance for him to practise away from the pressure. At the race meeting the following week both riders again qualified badly. Leon earned some good solid points in Race 1, but both boys were out in Race 2 with mechanical problems, which was disappointing. It was quite possibly my worst day racing and it was so frustrating because there was nothing I could do other than put pressure on the engine suppliers. It was out of my control. We’ve been working flat out ever since and are hoping for a stronger performance and greater reliability in the upcoming rounds. On the up side at least we had nice weather in Spain… it was 40 odd degrees, with a 65 degree track temperature.
There was an Official test the Monday after the Aragon race which give the team a chance to try the new Pirelli 17” tyres which will replace the current 16.5” next year.
We also had new aluminium wheels which will replace the current magnesium ones in 2013.
All part of trying to keep costs down for the teams and make the tyres and wheels more relatable to tyre manufacturers and the motorcycles you see and can buy in the showroom.
It’s off to Brno for us next, which is Hopper’s favourite circuit. Fingers crossed he can turn things around and give Leon some competition too. I’m hopeful that we can finish in the top ten of every race…there’s no real reason that we can’t finish in the top eight really.
But they key to that will be reliability and both riders qualifying well.
Since I’ve been so busy there hasn’t been much time for anything else. It’s strange to be back in the UK where it’s lashing it down, after being away in the heat. When I got back from Spain I went straight to the office to support the boys servicing all the engines and trying to find more speed. Then I had a weekend of being a lounge room lizard and catching up on the zeds.
I’m hoping to chill before heading out to Brno next week; I’m looking forward to a few days at home with Doris and the dogs and hopefully working off a few pounds gained in hospitality on my mountain bike, before jetting out again.