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Rain hampered the Bemsee Powerbike race meeting at Snetterton (Pics: www.swaffs.co.uk)
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Bemsee Powerbike race report: Snetterton, July 5-6

By Michael Neeves -

 09 July 2008 13:20

With last weekend’s Bemsee Powerbike championship at Snetterton now under my belt, that’s 11 meetings I’ve done this year (including seven Henderson Yamaha R1 Cup rounds), and you know what? It has rained at every single one!

I can’t believe the weather we’re having. It’s not nice to race in, for your friends to stand around in, or for the poor marshals to stand around in all day.

The only race I’ve done this year in the sunshine was in a one-make Ducati Hypermotard race in Vallelunga, near Rome. Perhaps we should all move there!

It’s been a while since I’ve ridden my own Yamaha R1, my long termer from last year, as most of the Bemsee Powerbike rounds have clashed with the R1 Cup.

I’ve got used to the R1 Cup bike now and jumping on my bike at Snetterton at the weekend couldn’t have felt more different.

On the face of it the two bikes are the same; they both have standard engines with an Akrapovic exhaust and Power Commander but the R1 Cup bike runs a WP rear shock, Ktech fork internals and Metzeler Racertec slicks.

Mine has a TTX36 Ohlins shock, Ohlins 25mm fork cartridges and Pirelli slicks. Both are superb packages, but they have a completely different feel.

I also race SBS Dual Sinter race pads in and it stops like buggery compared to the Henderson Yamaha R1 Cup bike!

I spent Friday practice trying to make my bike feel like the R1 Cup bike, but during the course of the weekend I kept tweaking the suspension, so the settings ended up back where they started!

The Ohlins has a plusher feel to the WP/Ktech combo on the R1 Cup bike and the Pirelli slicks on my Yamaha R1 steer faster.

Qualifying in 4th on the front row of the grid I was hoping for a good first race on Saturday, but half an hour before the race the heavens opened, so it was on with the wets. Once they were in, it stopped raining and the sun came out. Typical.

Five minutes before the race I decided to put the slicks in as the paddock was now dry, and from what I could see from the pits, the track was rapidly drying too.

The only thing was that I was so convinced it was going to be dry that I hadn’t put the slicks in the warmers.

I was one of the very few with dry tyres on, with everyone else running wets. On the sighting lap there was enough dry track to convince myself I’d made the right decision, but when the flagged dropped and we rushed into a damp Riches (turn 1), I soon realise that cold slicks don’t grip through wet tarmac.

I had to wobble around for at least four laps before I had the confidence to cut through the damp with slicks. Once up to temperature the Pirellis amazingly hung on through the damp bits and flew around the dry ones.

It was too late though, as the race was only 7 laps long and I could only get myself up back up to 7th.

The second race on Saturday never got going. A number of crashes on the first lap of the race and then the restart meant our time on the track dragged on for some time while the mess was being cleared up, so the Bemsee organisers rightly decided to let some other classes have a go.

Now that race is now rescheduled until the next round at Cadwell on 2/3 August. I hope all the fallers had a speedy recovery.

For Sunday it looked liked we were going to have a nice day. Race one got going in the dry and I finished 5th but race two was held in the wet.

I got a good start and was second after lap one, closing down on the leader, but a crash by series leader Peter Baker at Russells caused the red flags to come out and the race stopped.

I made a hash of the restart and got caught up in a freight train for the lead finishing lap one in around 10th. I managed to work my way up to 4th but the race was cut short to 5 laps and I ran out of time to get any higher. Oh well…

I’m disappointed with the results but I always think it’s a result just leaving Snetterton with bike and body in one piece, as when you crash there, it’s normally big, so I can take comfort for that.

A big thanks to my mates Rookie, Creature, Ali and Mark for keeping me going all weekend too…

Next weeklend I’m off to Magny Cours for a Racedays event on my Suzuki GSX-R750 long termer, the following week in the next round of the Henderson Yamaha R1 Cup at Oulton Park then I’m riding my Suzuki GSX-R750 down to Sardinia in search of some sunshine.#

Then it’s back to the Powerbike Championship for the next round at Cadwell on 2/3 August. See you there!