TT 2016: Sarolea explain last minute withdrawal

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Sarolea have defended their decision not to race in this year’s TT Zero race despite pulling up on to the grid having failed to complete a single lap of practice.

The Belgian firm had high hopes ahead of the 2016 TT with brothers Torsten and Bjorn Robbens confident of taking the challenge to class leaders Mugen.

However, a combination of issues meant neither Lee Johnston nor Dean Harrison took to the mountain course aboard their SP7 machines at any point during practice.

When the team wheeled their bikes up to the grid for Wednesday’s race, it seemed as though they may have made a breakthrough but with engineers working on the machines until the final klaxon sounded, a late decision was taken to pull off the grid at the last minute.

“The issue we encountered was the mapping of the power that uses data from the motor to guide the throttle response,” explained Bjorn Robbens. “The data got scrambled and so we could not be sure that the throttle would respond the way we wanted it to.”

Not knowing how the throttle may behave should Harrison and Johnston have set off down Bray Hill, the team took the difficult call to withdraw in the interests of safety.

Annoyingly for the team, they claim the issues were solved that night and on Thursday, a run at Jurby saw the riders hitting top speeds of 160mph – in a similar region to that of Bruce Anstey’s race-winning Mugen.

“This is cutting edge technology and is not easy for any of the teams and it’s not just us, it looks like it wasn’t meant to be for anybody this year. Seeing that the winning lap time did not get improved from last year, it just goes to prove that this is hard for everybody.

So next year all the teams will all start again with the same goal, but we want to be the team that gets 120mph first. Make no mistake, we want that record.”

Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing