MRO Powerbike championship. Round 8 – Cadwell Park August 11-12 2007
Qualifying position: 5th
Superpole race: 5th
Race 1: 4th
Race 2: dnf
Championship position: 5th
All I had to do was to hang on for another three laps and I would’ve been fine, but on lap six of Powerbike Race Two I went and lobbed the R1 while holding an easy third place. Bugger.
But more about that later because this is round eight of the MRO Powerbike championship, held at the magnificent Cadwell Park circuit - one of my favourite tracks.
As usual I found during open practice on Friday that my R1 doesn’t like this circuit as much as I do. I can use more or less the same settings at every other circuit we go to but here it’s different.
Whether it’s the bumps, the undulations, the high grip level or the amount of flip-flop corners, I struggle with stability and getting the bike to steer quick enough.
As usual I’m miles off the pace in practice but am steadily working towards a good set-up for Saturday qualifying.
With the Maxton suspension finally dialled in and the forks pushed up through the yokes to speed up the steering (although not by too much or else the steering goes heavy again) we manage to qualify in fifth and finish fifth in the Superpole Race on Saturday.
Heading the field in each case is the brilliant Kieran Blair on his GSX-R1000 K5 and the equally talented John Paul Scott on his Pro Twins prepped Ducati 1098.
For the main two races on Sunday we’ve tweaked the bike a shade more and battled to fourth in the first of the two main races, setting a personal best lap time in the process – which brings us to Race Two.
The heavens opened just before the race and I’ve got to admit that I was pleased, since both of my wins this year have been in the wet.
My Dunlop wets are incredible and with the suspension suitably softened off the R1 just carves through the rain like it’s dry. The only snag was that I’ve never been around Cadwell in the wet before.
On the sighting lap I literally wobbled around trying to figure out how much grip there was, and then after a lightning start I suddenly find myself in third place going in to the first corner.
After that it was simply a case of blind faith and trusting the grip of the Dunlops around the first few laps and hoped I’d stay on.
On about lap three I figured out that I actually had loads of grip – enough to run lap times that I would struggle to do in the dry on a standard road-going R1.
Seeing Kieran Blair and John Paul Scott slowly edging away I decided to settle for a safe third and starting talking to myself around the lap; telling myself to take it easy on the brakes turning in and getting the bike stood up before getting on the gas.
The Old Hairpin is the slowest corner on the track; you take it at around 20-30mph max. Then half way through the corner the track dips down hill and is off-camber, so here I tell myself to be careful and not lose the front.
I’m just eyeing up the next corner (Barn) when I get on the gas too hard and the rear lets go, grips and fires me up into the air.
Although the R1 made it all the way down to Barn, I stopped were I was, landing on my head in the process. I guess I wasn’t concentrating as hard through this slow corner as I was on the fast scary ones.
The marshals and recovery teams gave me nine out of 10 for height travelled and artistic merit and that was my race finished.
Luckily the only injuries are bruising and a stiff neck. Although I landed on my noodle my Arai took the brunt, so did my Alpinestars leathers. Both took a battering but the soft, ugly squidgy bits inside are all intact, which is the important thing.
There’s time to repair the minor damage to the bike before the penultimate round of the championship in a couple of weeks at Mallory Park; a place I’ve never raced at before – I’ll try and stay on this time…
Performance Parts Ltd
Rod Harwin Racing.
PJB Technical Services
Ben, Rookie, Trev, Alison, Mark, Tony, Bruce, Andy, Exit Racing.
2007 YAMAHA R1
Engine: Std motor with Micron full exhaust system, set up by BSD using a Dynojet Power Commander. 169bhp at the rear wheel. Regina chain and Renthal sprockets. Dynojet Quickshifter and Sigma slipper clutch.
Chassis: Maxton rear shock and fork re-valve. Ohlins steering damper.
Standard 17-inch wheels shod with Dunlop racing slicks
Galfer wavy discs and standard Yamaha calipers, SBS Dual Carbon brake pads and HEL braided lines. Standard Yamaha levers, Gilles rearsets.
Pattern fairing, screen and tail unit by ANR UK. Stomp tank pads.
R&G crash protection.