It was one of the best racing weekends for me so far on my beloved BMW Park lane S1000RR.
The weather was glorious and I managed three thirds in Powerbikes, with a best lap time of 1.33.01. That’s over two seconds faster than I went here last year on the same bike and over a second quicker than my personal best.
I tell you, Cadwell gets narrower the faster you go and it’s like threading a needle, but it’s a magical circuit and one of the best in the world.
The only downer was the size of the grids in our class, which was small to begin with and shrunk even more after a series of unfortunate crashes over the weekend, including Anthony Rogers who broke his collarbone, so get well soon, mate.
My brother Ben also crashed his new R1 at the Gooseneck, wrecking his forks in the process. I was gutted for him.
It’s amazing that we’re three rounds in to the championship already and BSB hasn’t even begun!
It’s still early days on my Beemer with my Kais Performance Ohlins shock and fork kit fitted, but the more we work on the set-up the better it gets. I ended up with quite a stiffly-set bike, the faster I went, but the forks could still be harder.
I was bottoming out on the brakes in places, which was setting the ABS off, which is a strange thing to experience – but obviously helpful too, it’s that or tuck the front.
I’m in love with my Dunlop slick fronts too – I can’t believe how hard they’ll let you push into corners. Other than changes to the suspension and mucking about with pressures, we shortened the gearing back again after Snetterton.
HP Race Power Kit
This consists of a complete titanium Akrapovic exhaust system, a revised fuel map to suit. As well as giving my Beemer a few extra horses (it must be knocking on the door of 195bhp or more – I’ll get it dyno’d soon) the power delivery is smoothed right out, making it much easier to ride. The throttle response and delivery is simply perfect.
HP Race Calibration Tool
This is a plug and play tool (which Paul Cooper from BMW Park Lane plugged in, so I could play), which lets you in to the engine management and traction control systems to manually adjust them.
You can change everything from when the TC comes in, at what angle of lean, gear, throttle position, road speed, how severe you want the power cut when it does come in and much, much more. You can have a pitlane speed limiter too.
Mine’s set at 7000rpm in first gear, which you activate with the starter button and now sounds like a MotoGP bike when its in operation, although Cadwell’s paddock is a bit too slow for 7000rpm in first so I had a play on the slow down laps.
You can buy preset maps from BMW to suit your bike, so mine is designed to run with the size and shape of my Dunlop Ntech slicks. It also lets you assign a power and TC map to each of the four riding modes.
o my ‘Rain’ mode is now full power (unlike the road bike), full ABS with lots of TC. At the other end of the scale, ‘Slick’ mode has very unobtrusive TC, which is what I ran over the race weekend.
The biggest compliment you can give the system is that you don’t know it’s there working for you, until you see the TC light flashing out of the corner of your eye in places. If it’s not flashing, then you’re not opening the throttle hard enough!
It’s amazing this technology is available over the counter now, when just a few years ago it was the preserve of MotoGP and WSB. None of it stopped me from making crap starts, though. I just can’t seem to get the Beemer off the line…
SBS Dual Sinter brake pads
I’ve been running standard pads in the S1000RR’s Brembo calipers until now, but I’ve used SBS pads in the past and been impressed – they’ve been developed in WSB and Moto2, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
As soon as I fitted them the difference is marked. There’s nothing wrong with the standard stuff, but the SBS pads are instantly more powerful and have tonnes more feel
Best of all they’re durable too, after the Cadwell weekend they’ve hardly worn. I’ve got a couple of other new SBS compounds to try, so I’ll give them a go at Pembrey.
A special mention to…
My mate Jimbo and his stunning Yamaha RD350 YPVS (see picture). It was Jim’s first ever race this weekend in the heavily subscribed Yamaha Past Masters series. Of all the bikes at Cadwell it was Jim’s that got the most attention.
It’s based on a 1992 F2 Yam, with paint by Jim and a chrome-painted frame. The engine and suspension are all stock at the moment, but now the racing bug looks like its got its claws in, I’m sure that’s about to change.
Next stop: Pembrey, Royal wedding weekend! You can see how I get on and follow my road testing shenanigans here, there and everywhere (I’m off to the Aprilia Tuono launch in Valencia this week) on twitter: @neevesy33
Cadwell action pictures by Brian Lancaster
BMW Park Lane: www.bmwmotorradparklane.co.uk
Kais Performance: www.kais-performance.com/
SBS brakes: www.sbs.dk