Blog: BSB’s open dialogue ensures a bright future

Published: 23 September 2009

By now I’m guessing you’ll have read about the new BSB Evo class that’s going to be introduced next year.

Personally, I think it’s the only way forward for superbike racing in the current economic climate – standard engines, a control ecu and superbike chassis – plus a one bike per rider rule.

Not only will it slash costs it should also improve the racing and bring the field closer (because it will spell the end of pure-bred factory specials), it will also improve the spectacle because we’ll get away from fancy electronics controlling wheelspin and wheelies! 

The way the new class rules have been drawn up has demonstrated once again the impressive level of communication and trust that exists between the series organisers MSVR and the teams.

Of course there will be dissenters (I’ve heard of one privateer who has a gripe!) but I’ve not found one major team boss who is opposed to the new class.

In fact, the only negative vibe I’ve picked up is from one manager who would like to see the rules implemented across the entire BSB field in 2010, rather than trialling it for a year as a replacement to the privateer Cup competition.

With the BSB spirit of open dialogue in my mind – and a willingness to continually develop and improve the series - I didn’t know whether to grin or gimace when I was sat reading a piece on the AMA Superbike championship one of the recent issues of America’s leading motorcycle newspaper Cycle News this morning.

Henny Ray Abrams (MCN’s American correspondent) has penned a piece on the dire state of the AMA Superbike championship, highlighting the on-going and sadly rather appalling relationship between the teams and the new race organisation there.

All year there have been recriminations: First it was the rules – the organisers wanted to scrap the exisiting superbike rules and the teams didn’t like the direction the series was going.

Then there was the abysmal implementation of the safety car.  There’s been a distinct lack of consistency in application of the rules – highlighted by a total disregard for homologation rules, allowing an non-homologated machine onto the grid.

And the latest gripe – according to Henny’s story - is organising a Thursday pre-race meeting practice – even though the organisers had introduced a rule mid-season to ban it – and then charging the teams $10,000 for the test!

I just find it incredible that the organisers and teams can be locked in such a bitter long-term feud at such a difficult time when everyone, everywhere in motorcycle racing needs to working in harmony just to survive the economic plight we all find ourselves in.

I can’t believe the American organisers haven’t entered into dialogue with the BSB race directors to get a handle on what makes our series works so well. But then again, given their background since taking over the series, it’s no surprise.

But – just in case any one in the current AMA superbike racing organisation reads MCN.com – here’s a few points to what makes BSB work so well.

Firstly it’s all about communication. Before making any major decisions all the top teams are canvassed for their opinions.

That’s rules, safety issue, timetables, paddock parking, hospitality, everything that affects the teams, the riders and the racing. And regular meetings are held around the table so everyone can express their views. 

But it’s not only dialogue with the teams – the race direction have open dialogue with all the major manufacturers including those that aren’t even directly involved in the championship at this stage.

It gives them a good handle on the market – and how best to shape the future of their series.

You only have to look at the new BSB Evo rules. It doesn’t take a genius to work out the discussions for the new rules have been ongoing for some time.

How else would Relentless by TAS Suzuki be able to field a bike – built to the new rules just two days after those very rules have been announced? It’s all about dialogue.

Secondly the rule-book is adhered to.

No rules are bent to suit anyone. We all saw that at Mallory when Josh Brookes skittled race leader Simon Andrews and five others went down too.

It would have been so easy to bow to pressure in the heat of a very emotional moment and give the race win to Andrews – certainly the morale victor on the day. But it wasn’t what the rule book said.

And that’s the bottom line. Everyone knows where they stand in BSB. It means the teams trust the organisation, and vice verca.  And it’s that trust has helped grow the series even in these harsh times

 And that strength feeds back to the fans who continue to flock to the races in record numbers.

Long may it continue. I’m just surprised I’ve not seen one or two top staff from the AMA Superbike series hanging around the BSB paddock to see how the job really should be done!  

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  • Alastair Seeley will ride in the Evo class