BMW S1000RR – Thrills, oil spills and super heroes

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Last weekend’s Brands Hatch round of the MRO Stocksport Championship was an eventful one.

I actually arrived there last Thursday to do Level Three of the brilliant California Superbike School on my Z1000, which really helped with my riding over the race weekend.

On Friday for Bemsee’s official practice day, I swapped the big handlebars and 130bhp of the Kawasaki and settled into the racing clip-ons and 192bhp of my Team Vari-Trac BMW Park Lane S1000RR Stocksport racer.

It took a bit of time to get used to the speed of the Beemer again and to try out some of the drills the CSS taught me, but I was as happy as Larry, lapping the magnificent Brands circuit, even if it was the smaller Indy layout.

It was good to be riding with Steve Mercer too, who was testing – he’s my team mate, but he’s racing in the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 series with the big boys.

The weekend saw its share of incidents. On Saturday a sidecar dropped its oil from the Cooper Straight all the way to the start finish line. On Sunday exactly the same thing happened again, a couple of meters alongside Saturday’s oil spill (see picture).

Bemsee’s marshalls, officials and organisers did their best to make sure the oil spills were dealt with quickly and professionally, but there was nothing nice about trail-braking or accelerating over the cement dust on a superbike, even after the worst of it was cleared up.

My friend Leighton Read highsided his R1 at Clearways, but was ok and my brother Ben crashed at Paddock Bend after getting a bit too loose on the way into the corner on his R1, but luckily he was ok too.

More worryingly was my team mate Stef Cappella, who was involved in a start line collision on the sighting lap of Sunday’s first race.

The rear half of his S1000RR was wiped out, so it’s thanks to all the hard work from the boys and girls in the team for getting a bike ready for Stef to ride in race two.

It was miraculous that Stef even managed to ride the second race. After a trip to the hospital on Sunday night, he was diagnosed with an ankle broken in two places, a broken toe and ligament damage in his shoulder.

The fact he managed to ride is amazing and he even bagged a heroic third place in the Clubman Stocksport class. More annoyingly he was faster then me, even with broken bones. Kids, eh?

I ended up with a best result of third in MRO Stocksports and actually set my fastest lap of the weekend in the cement dust! I’ve loving my S1000RR more every time I ride it and am constantly amazed with the grip and durability of the Metzeler Racetec Interacts.

This just leaves me to say get well soon, Stef and to Stuart Gill, who was also involved in the start line incident and is now recovering in hospital with broken bones.

Thanks, as always to the Vari-Trac BMW Park Lane team, including new member Rebecca Lopez (or Andy, as she likes to be known!) for twirling the spanners and helping get Stef’s bike repaired in double quick time. 


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Michael Neeves

By Michael Neeves

MCN Chief Road Tester, club racer, airmiles millionaire.