Picture by Racing Line Photography

Picture by Racing Line Photography

 

MRO Powerbike blog: Brands Hatch Indy 30/31 July

By Michael Neeves -

First rides & tests

 05 August 2011 13:35

Well, that was another fantastic weekend racing with Bemsee in the MRO Powerbike championship.

Riding my BMW Park Lane S1000RR, we bagged three third positions, had some close racing with leaders Rob McNealy and Peter Baker and I posted my best ever lap of the Brands Indy circuit, with a 48.1.

Championship leader Rob McNealy stretched out his lead on me by a few points, but fair play to him, he rode well and it was his first ever time on a BMW S1000RR after a couple of seasons racing his trusty GSX-R1000.

My big weaknesses at the moment is qualifying and starting. I’m ok in the race and seem to get faster and pull in the leaders as the laps tick by.

For the Friday practice I go with old tyres, which is good to get yourself dialled in, but it’s not ideal for bike set-up, which you need fresher tyres for, as the bike behaves completely differently depending on tyre wear.

I usually get the bike set-up for the Saturday sprint race, after qualifying, by which time it’s too late. I qualified 7th, but still on the second row, which wasn’t so bad.

On the last of Sunday’s two feature races, I think I figured out how to launch the old girl and got away with the leaders. I had one of the most fun races I’ve had for a long time – better than my wins at Silverstone recently.

I had a good old dice with BMW-mounted John Waghorn (pictured), which included running into Paddock between him and the outside of the track, literally elbow-to-elbow. That got the old ticker going.

I closed on the leaders and set my personal best lap on the penultimate lap of the race, with over 30 laps done on my Dunlop N Tec slicks, which seemed to revel in the conditions. I was nearly close enough for a lunge on McNealy on the last lap, but it would’ve been dodgy, but if the race was another lap long, I’d have had a go.

I’ve been using a different kind of SBS race pad for the past few meetings. They’re the Dual Carbon items, which cost £47.98 per caliper (from www.directdistribuiton.co.uk).

They’re cheaper than the Dual Sinter I used at the beginning of the year, but still offer immense stopping power and feel once up to temperature. They’ve done a complete race meeting at Snetterton 300, Brands Indy and two trackdays and there’s still lots of meat on them.

I also got some set-up advice from Kais Performance (www.kais-performance.com), the guys who fitted my Ohlins suspension and Ohlins dealer Steve Jordan (www.stevejordanmotorcycles.co.uk), who attends the Bemsee meetings.

I didn’t think I could improve the Beemer’s handling, but they both gave me some tips, which helped me go faster.

I stayed on at Brands on the Monday to shoot a trackday tips video at an MSV novice day then headed straight to the Silverstone GP circuit for a trackday on the Beemer. It’s such a lovely track now and just like riding around Catalunya or Jerez – we were even treated to some Spanish sunshine.

It was a Focussed Events day, with James Haydon, Neil Hodgson, Simon Crafar and Keith Flint in attendance, which was a real treat.

I’m back to Brands again this weekend to ride the guest bike in the Harley Davidson XR1200 Challenge.

We’ve got practice, qualifying and a 15-lap race all on the Friday on the Indy track. There’s one practice Saturday and one race Sunday on the GP track. It should be an experience!

Next MRO Powerbike round: Snetterton 200, 3rd/4th September 2011