MRO Powerbike Championship: Round 1 – Brands Hatch March 10-11, 2007
Wow, what an eye-opener. The step up from Forza Extreme to MRO Powerbikes is a big one; the pace is electrifying and everyone on the grid is unbelievably rapid.
To begin with I thought I’d bitten off more that I could chew, especially as I’m up against pukka Superstock and Superbikes on what is essentially my 2007 Yamaha R1 road bike – the same bike I’m riding to work on this week, and using for my holiday later this year!
Having had a nightmare in qualifying (I’ll come back to that in a second) I lined up on the grid in 17th for Sunday’s two MRO Powerbike races, way back on the fifth row. (The pole position man was on last year’s factory Yamaha R1 BSB bike!).
Anyway in my first race I got stuck in and rode as hard as I ever have to battle up to 10th, and in the second race fight hard to get 9th.
To say that I’m pleased with that is an understatement in my first ever foray in the Powerbike tour.
If I had have qualified better I would have finished further up as my times were a match for those up to fifth place (my best ever at 49.2secs). Also four or five riders in front of me were only at Brands to try out for BSB Privateer and National Superstock so won’t be doing the rest of the rounds.
The new bike handles amazingly and is ‘kin fast right out of the box, so I’m very optimistic for my next round at Lydden in a few weeks
These results are all the more rewarding as I had a few problems over the weekend along the way, alongside learning how to ride my new R1 for the first time after two years on a GSX-R1000 K5.
In Friday’s free practice I got rear-ended and knocked off on the slow down lap by someone who didn’t see the chequered flag. It caused a fair bit of damage to the bike and we missed all but one session trying to get the bike repaired (thanks to Yamaha for sorting us out with spares in record-breaking time).
On Saturday we put new Dunlop slicks on for the two qualifying sessions and Superpole race but the bike never felt right all day.
I couldn’t put in the times, or even get with a second of what I did with the Suzuki last year.
After a day of head scratching we traced the problem to the front tyre we had fitted, which was wider and taller than the one we usually run (a 125/80 x 17 instead of a 120/70 x 17). The wider tyre was too big for the rim, which meant it was difficult to turn and wouldn’t hold a nice tight line through corners.
With the correct tyre on for Sunday warm-up, boom! I went a second faster straight away.
This was one of the most electrifying racing weekends I’ve ever had. Finishing top ten in MRO Powerbikes is better that a podium finish in Forza Extreme. Roll Lydden.
Next round: Lydden, March 24-25
Ben, Rookie, Alison, Mark, Tony, Bruce, Andy, Trev.
2007 YAMAHA R1
Engine: Std motor with Micron end cans, set up by BSD using a Dynojet Power Commander. 169bhp at the rear wheel. Regina chain and Renthal sprockets.
Suspension: Maxton rear shock and fork re-valve. Ohlins steering damper.
Wheels and tyres: Standard 17-inch wheels shod with Dunlop slicks
Brakes: Standard discs and calipers, SBS Dual Carbon brake pads and HEL braided lines. Standard Yamaha levers and footpegs.
Bodywork: Pattern fairing, screen and tail unit by ANR UK. Stomp tank pads.
Crash protection. R&G