Roadtester and racer: Michael Neeves MRO Powerbikes Cadwell Park
05 May 2007 08:30
MRO Powerbike championship. Round 3 – Cadwell Park 28th/29th April 2007.
Qualifying position: 9th
Superpole race: 9th
Race 1: 9th
Race 2: 8th
For the week leading up to the third round of the MRO Powerbike Championship at Cadwell I was away in Jerez involved in the massive Masterbike sportsbike test (see next week’s MCN). This test is incredible, it lasts a whole week and we’re testing sportsbikes with the likes of Randy Mamola, Jurgen Fuchs, Alex Gobert and Stephane Chambon (who was ‘backing in’ a GSX-R1000 from 160mph!), to name but a few. The idea is to razz all the sportsbikes you can buy around the track and the fastest one is the ‘Masterbike’ champion.
Anyway, you can read all about that in the paper next week, but although I got in lots of track riding around a GP circuit with the Gods it also meant I missed the Friday practice day (as well as the Thursday trackday that many people did too!) for the Cadwell race, as I was still travelling back from Spain. As it turned out this put me on the back foot all weekend.
First job was to drive up to the circuit early on Saturday morning to meet my bike. Alison and Mark ‘Billy’ Silcox who race in the Clubman Minitwins (he did his first ever race at Lydden earlier in the year and promptly won it – jammy git!) brought my R1 to the track and got in scrutineered for me, so that was one less job to worry about. Thanks chaps!
Having fitted a fresh set of sticky Dunlop slicks, some new Galfer wavy discs (for improved performance) and a beautiful Akrapovic carbon (for looks!) from Performance Parts - www.performanceparts-ltd.com – it was time to roll.
The difference between riding a road bike on road tyres around a big, wide Jerez, where there’s little impression of speed, and on a slick shot R1 around Cadwell, where the narrow track, trees, Armco and Mountain motocross jump gives a huge impression of speed, is incredible.
I though a week doing Masterbike might give me an edge, but nothing can prepare you for how fast a superbike feels around a track, which is only half the width of the pitlane at Jerez. Corners come up at you frighteningly fast, and the faster you go the more the tarmac shrinks. I think my visor was steamed up permanently in first qualifying from panting so hard with excitement.