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Staff Blog: Thundersport Rockingham

By Michael Neeves -

First rides & tests

 29 July 2013 10:45

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I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything of note with my Hyperstrada over the past week. But it did treat me to a glorious ride cross-country to Donington last Wednesday, where I instruct at the Ron Haslam Race School.

The early morning journey there and late evening ride back was perfect, with twisty, empty B-roads, sunshine and temperatures in the late 20s. I love riding my Ducati on these type of roads. The soft, long travel suspension soaks up the bumps and the steering is nice and quick. The engine punches nicely out of medium-speed corners, but best of all it’s comfy, smooth and relaxing to ride, which is just what you want after riding around Donington for nine solid hours.

What I’ve been doing instead of riding my Hyperstrada, is racing my BMW Park Lane S1000RR at Rockingham. I was there at the weekend with Thundersport GB and it’s the first time I’ve raced with the club.

The weather made for a cracking weekend and I’ve made some drastic changes to my bike, which has made it feel like it’s less on the knife-edge when you get on the throttle. We’ve fitted a shorter rear spring, to give it more sag and lowered the swingarm position, so it mirrors the 2010 S1000RR and it’s now easier to set-up.
Oh, and it’s been completely rebuilt, from the frame-up, from when I smashed it up at Snetterton last month. Thanks to all at BMW Park Lane for putting in the hard work to make it look beautiful again. 

My best results were 2nd and 3rd in the GP1 class and I enjoyed some good battles. The ‘International’ layout track is good fun. It’s anti-clockwise, which is unusual for a UK track, but it caught a lot of riders out, crashing on right-handers on cold tyres. Coming on to the banking is fun. But the infield is so tight I only used first and second gear.

I was really impressed with the amount of practice, warm-up, qualifying and race time we were given on-track and the way each race is topped-off with a podium celebration, which leaves the riders, friends, family and supporters all with big smiles on their faces, which is what club racing should all be about.

August promises to be a quieter month for racing and road tests, so I’ll get more of a chance to ride my Ducati and I’ll be giving it a good thrashing down to Ramsgate this weekend to see my Ma for her birthday.

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