I’ve never talked to myself so much during a race – I’ve never needed to. I’m telling myself to sit forward on the tank to keep the weight over the front wheel into the corners, shouting to let go of the front brake to keep up the corner speeds and urging myself to make the rear squirm out of each corner for maximum acceleration along each straight.
Leading a race might look easy on telly, but it’s hard if you’re not used to it, like me. All you long for is to see that chequered flag to be waved before anyone catches up and you’ll do anything, including talking to yourself to win.
Having someone good on the pit-board is a must, so thanks to my mate Rookie giving me the gap behind, so I could use fast wide lines when I was ahead and tight defensive ones when I had company.
The poor bugger missed a few of my laps as his hands were so cold he couldn’t get the numbers in quick enough in such a short lap!
Round two of the Bemsee Team Respro Premier 1000 championship at Brands Hatch at the weekend has got to be one of my best race meetings ever. I won both 16 lap feature races (in class and over the line) and the 8 lap sprint race.
I also recorded two fastest laps and two pole positions (Bemsee run the same grid system as BSB, with positions based on the previous race’s lap times).
I’m learning more and more about my new BMW Park Lane S1000RR every time I ride it, working ever harder with my fitness and dieting and really thinking about by riding technique, which has changed beyond recognition over the past year thanks to Simon Crafar’s Motovudu book and DVD.
Brands Hatch is really hard on the front end with the two downhill corners at Paddock and Graham Hill and the 100mph (according to my BMW HP Datalogger) bumpy Surtees left-hander.
My forks (fitted with an Ohlins 30mm cartridge kit) were bottoming-out all weekend, which made for a bucking bronco ride at times and slowed me down a bit.
Thanks to help from Steve and Sarah Jordan at Steve Jordan Motorcycles, we fitted heavier fork springs and added more fork oil over the weekend, as suggested by MCN and MotoGP tech guru Neil Spalding who lives nearby and happened to pop his head around my awning.
Thanks also to Andy White at Kais Performance for his set-up advice by phone while he was busy with BSB at Thruxton.
Although we improved it, we never got rid of the bottoming-out problem, so it’s something we’ll have to work on the next time we visit the Kent track in a few months’ time.
Aside from that my bike never missed a beat. I used med/hard rear and soft front Dunlop Ntec slicks, fitted new SBS Dual Sinter pads and off we went. Better still at the smaller track I only used half the fuel I used the round before at the Snetterton 300 circuit.
I’m glad to say we didn’t have to endure the same wet, greasy conditions that BSB encountered the week before.
It was bitingly cold all weekend (and I had to put my loose tyres in warmers before getting them changed, in case they cracked in the tyre machine!) and we only got two sessions on the Friday practice day due to fog and rain, but all the races were thankfully dry and I had some great battles with Danny Fowler (Blade), Jon Waghorn (S1000RR) and James Edwards (Blade) on their superstock-spec 1000s.
My results at Brands went a long way to make up for the disappointment of losing the championship there last October and now I can’t wait for the next round at Pembrey in a few weeks.
Pictures by Bryan Lancaster