In this week’s MCN we go behind the scenes at the HM Plant Honda team workshops in Louth to talk to the team about their 2009 race bikes.
We also talked to team boss Neil Tuxworth about what he thinks the true costs are for the majority of top teams chasing the BSB title.
The team have had budget cuts and are running a one-bike-per rider two man team with Glen Richards and Josh Brookes this year.
One bike per rider is nothing new to the team, having been in a similar situation when that fielded Jonathan Rea on a Red Bull Honda.
So we asked Tuxworth for his views on potential cost cutting ideas that have been debated to ensure the future well-being of race teams in BSB.
Compare his answers to this we got from Crescent Suzuki boss Jack Valentine when we asked the same questions.
One bike per rider
It would certainly cut costs. It’s something I’ve suggested at our BSB team meetings for two years now and I’d support it as a rule change. In the 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s race teams at even the top level only had one bike per rider.
We’ve run one bike per rider in our Red Bull team and made it work for us. I think it should certainly be a rule across all the other classes in the British championship.
Two day meetings
The problem with doing this is the large number of classes running at BSB meetings. We can’t afford any less practice time so if you did cut back from three days to two there would have to be less classes.
And, if we’re honest, it’s not going to be a drastic saving for the teams because one less night in a hotel and a meal isn’t going to make a huge difference in terms of the overall budget.
First this is that whatever happens I think we should continue to run superbike-spec chassis and slick tyres.
The spectators want to see something special when they look at our race bikes.
In terms of the engines, well even in stock trim all the manufacturers bikes produce enough horsepower. Superstock spec engines definitely cost less to run.
Steve Brogan’s (championship-winning) Fireblade never came apart once last year apart from when the scrutineers wanted it stripped for inspection.
So, theoretically, we could do an entire season on an engine. People will argue that one manufacturer may have a distinct advanteage one year, another manufacturer might have the edge the next.
That’s true when you are running the stock motorcycle (as you do in superstock) but if you allow superbike-spec chassis, that wouldn’t be an issue.
It’s a difficult subject. The problem we have is that it’s coming into road bikes. However, I tend to agree with Rossi that traction control should be banned.
I think we could do away with all the rider aids, especially if BSB went to superstock engines and there was 180bph available instead of the 200-plus horsepower we currently have.
I’m in favour of it. We already have an unwritten rule that we can only test at a BSB tracks once in a season. But even this needs looking at, especially if you said we had to go to two-day meetings.
Then people would want to test more often. Testing is actually more expensive than racing because you spend all day on track in a test.
We do need to test to evaluate the new bikes each year.
So what might be a good idea is to have two official pre-season tests in Spain that everyone does. That way there would be more bikes so you would have less track time.
The one-make Pirelli tyres rule works well in WSB and BSB. If we had less bhp with a superstock engine tune then maybe we could get away with less tyres. Look at British Supersport.
There’s less power and we use less tyres. But you have to remember there’s less qualifying time in BSS. Maybe a two-day meeting would result in us using less tyres too.
Tyres cost around £50,000 per year for a two-man team.
I say let’s look at anything that cuts costs but the one factor you always have to remember is that the biggest cost for any team is staff and rider salaries.
And if you want to be the best team, you have to pay to get the best staff and riders.