Michael Neeves 2007 Yamaha R1 long termer

Published: 19 August 2009

The Grand Prix layout of Brands Hatch is simply magical. It turns the Kent track from a giant roundabout in its Indy form, into one of the best tracks in the world. This is one round of the MRO Powerbike Championship I was really looking forward to this year.

I was here last year in the R1 Cup, supporting the very first BSB round of 2008, but if you remember it was snowed off! So, the last time I actually raced here was 2007 with Bemsee and I was a bit rusty in qualifying, only managing 13th spot on a packed grid of 42 riders.

To be honest I’ve struggled on my R1 this year compared to previous years. I changed the rear spring in my Ohlins TTX shock from a 9.5 to a 10-weight at the start of the season and it seems it was the wrong thing to do. I asked Harris Performance to stick the 9.5 back on there and suddenly my bike stopped feeling so wooden, and felt nice and plush and controlled again.

Despite the R1 feeling so nice, I never managed to crack to the top ten over the weekend, I scored a 12th in race one and 14th in race three. Race two would’ve been a 10th if I hadn’t have binned it on the final lap trying a bit too hard to fend off a closing rider. It was Hudson Kennaugh, who was practising for the BSS race a few weeks later, if I had have known I’d have let him go as he was lapping a fair bit faster than me. I need to put the mirrors back on!

I didn’t really damage myself or the bike, but I scuffed a brand new set of leathers, which I’m gutted about. I usually ‘appease the tarmac gods’ by rolling around on the floor before riding, but I had such a bad back at the time, I couldn’t get down to the floor without help!

My results weren’t as good as I’d hoped but I really enjoyed the weekend, which is what it’s all about and my R1 felt fantastic. The Dunlop Ntech slicks, SBS brake pads and Bob Farnham engine were faultless too and luckily the new carbon fibre frame protectors I got from Harris Performance (£104.65, www.harris-performance.com) managed to escape damage from the crash.

Best of all I didn’t spanner myself in the crash, because the next day I began a 3200-mile trip to France, Spain and Ibiza on my Ducati Streetfighter long termer for my holidays, which I’ve just returned from and which you can read about about in MCN soon.


Next MRO Powerbike round: 5-6 September at Snetterton