Round 7 – Thruxton Race Report

For the seventh round of the 2019 season, the team headed to Andover where we took on Thruxton, the fastest circuit on the calendar. This is a circuit that does pose us a great challenge due to its flat out nature, however our first aim was to get back up to speed from where we left off last season. The initial free practice session was strong as Kurt got to grips with the circuit and began looking for changes that could be made to give more.

Free practice 2 saw Kurt reach his personal best lap time with a P11 finish following some mid session suspension changes. The biggest difficulty would be the rear grip and managing the tyre life as a result of the abrasive tarmac. Although Matt was not in attendance due to his recovery, Josh was out and keen to show his pace. FP2 saw the youngster claim P4 and shy of the top 10 in the main class.

Following a night of track walks and data analysis, we set out for qualifying with some pretty substantial changes to the bike and a plan to move forward. We split the session into 2 for Kurt with a fresh rear tyre and clear mindset mid way through. In the closing stages of the session, he set a new personal best lap time 0.7 of  a second faster than practice. Although this stormed his personal best lap time from the previous season, it wasn’t quite enough to remain at the sharp end of the field due to the level of competition. Josh also set to the track on Saturday morning for his qualifying as he managed to keep with the improvements of the class between sessions and secure a 4th position in class.

Unlike Snetterton, the changes that we decided up on between each session were a step in the correct direction allowing for a weekend of continuous improvements. Kurt had a strong start to the race as the lights went out as he started in the thick of the field. Despite struggling with top end sped, Kurt managed to bring it home within the points just shy of the top 10. Josh on the other hand was looking to have the best race of his season as he battled it out for a podium position, unfortunately on the last chicane of the final lap, he pushed to secure a 2nd place finish and in doing so ran too much kerb on the inside causing an attempt of a high-side. This has a disastrous affect on his race as he crossed the line in P4.

Following the regretful end to race one for Josh, he was evermore determined to spray the champagne. With an awesome beginning to the race, Josh moved up to 2nd position ready for a tough battle. Following a red flag, the race was restarted closing up the gaps and taking his advantage away for the shortened sprint. Josh achieved his goal of standing on the podium as he crossed the line to secure a P3. Kurt on the other had did not have the best of races. He was penalised for failing to see the Long Lap board that requires riders take a longer route on a lap as a time penalty. As the board was held out at the end of pit wall with minimal effort to ensure the rider could see (this is because by this point Kurt was banked over, braking and traveling around the 100mph mark) Kurt did not realise and received a 15 second penalty taking him to the lower end of the points.

The next race is at Cadwell Park next weekend where Josh is hoping to continue his podium success and Kurt aims to brush aside the outcome of Thruxton race 2 and keep pushing on.

Round 6 – Snetterton Race Report

We have already reached the halfway point of the season which took us to Snetterton in Norwich. The weekend began with glorious sun and we were lucky to not be hit by too much rain over the weekend, unlike Knockhill in the previous week where the Sprint race was postponed on Saturday due to heavy downfalls (whilst the rest of the UK were enjoying the 30oC heatwave) and Sunday did not show much improvement.

Matt is still recovering following the crash at Brands Hatch which saw him break his ankle in two places, the Talus and Distal Tibia. Utilising hyperbaric treatment to speed up the healing process, he is looking forward to moving from a non-weight bearing cast to a supporting boot in the next couple of weeks and is hoping to be back riding as soon as possible.

The Snetterton weekend began on a high starting note with both Free Practice 1 and 2 putting Kurt in top 10 positions, including a P5 for FP1. However, whilst his lap times were strong and consistent Kurt was having issues handling the bike around the twelve demanding turns of the Snetterton circuit. He knew that improvements could be made to the bike and suspension to resolve these issues and the team worked hard through Friday afternoon to late evening making the changes they believed would be most beneficial based on the data from each practice session.

Saturday morning the sky was covered with clouds but a dry session meant that Kurt had a good opportunity to put the changes made into practice. He needed the first part of the session to adjust to the difference in handling the bike. Having the best speed through the speed trap in sector 1 which included the hairpin, he continually improved throughout the session, putting his best lap time down on 11/13 laps. With over a second improvement on his lap time, Kurt achieved P6 in Qualifying. Still feeling as though the bike was not handling as best as it could be, further changes were made to the bike in preparation for Saturday afternoon’s race.

Despite a heavy spell of rain on Saturday afternoon, the track was dry ready for the Sprint race. Kurt had a good start and kept in with the pack fighting for the top 10 positions. Half way through the race a couple of GP2 riders interrupted the flow, setting Kurt and his fellow competitors back slightly. However, a close battle enabled the fight to achieve 10thto continue. By the end of the race, with a gap of 0.164 Kurt crossed the finish line in P11.

Kurt began the Feature Race on Sunday from the fourth row of the Grid. A bad start set him back slightly, surrounded amongst three GP2 riders. Kurt fought hard to keep with the group, not losing sight of his fellow Supersport competitors just ahead. However, after big changes to the bike’s geometry over the weekend we fell short of grasping that ideal setup, closing the race with a P13 finish. The weekend was a significant struggle in terms of achieving the best setup for the Snetterton circuit, however we will not let this influence our motivation after such a positive first half of the season, with Kurt retaining a top 10 position in the championship.

Round 4 – Brands Hatch GP Summary

Following the Brands Hatch event last weekend there has been a lack of updates due to some unfortunate luck.
Matt was looking to have a positive weekend with some strong lap times straight out of the box in the practice sessions but was unfortunately stopped in his tracks during the opening stages of Qualifying. A fellow competitor lost the front exiting turn 1 and in an attempt to hold on to the bike, it shot across the track side swiping Matt. There was nowhere to go and nothing more Matt could do when ran over the other rider and their bike causing a big crash and red flag. Matt has spent the week in hospital near the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent as they have plated two broken bones in his ankle, the Talus and Distal Tibia. He is hoping to be discharged early next week.
Kurt spend the entire weekend struggling with flu which didn’t stop him completing practice within the top 5 and qualifying 6 for the race. The biggest downfall that he has was the energy to complete a full session. He push on as best as he could in the first race securing a P9 position which is a solid result considering the state he was in. As for race 2, the team was caught out with the new minimum tyre pressure rule brought in by Pirelli resulting in a back of the grid start for Kurt. Despite being at the back end of the 20s on the grid, he battled on and brought hope a 10th place finish continuing hes streak of not falling outside of the top 10 so far this season.
We will keep the updates on Matt coming and his expected recovery as Kurt heads to Knockhill this weekend coming with Moto3 team mate Josh Hiatt.
Kurt & Matt Wigley

Round 3 – Donington Park Race Report

Round 3 of the British Superbike championship took us to our local circuit of Donington Park where to begin with we had what seemed like the height of our summer shortly followed by true British rain.

For the first practice session, Kurt went out with the aim of getting used to the new bike after a difficult couple of weeks building the Sorrymate.com Racing supersport bike. He had several pit stops during the session in a bid to iron out any issues and despite the change of bike, Kurt managed to secure a P8 finish. Matt also had a fairly strong beginning to the weekend with a P11 finish to the session after also developing the bike setup to move forward with the recent progression over the previous two events.

Both riders made many changes to the setup of the bikes as we looked to improve for FP2, Matt wasn’t best impressed with the outcome as he gave himself more work to do when discovering that the changes he made brought new issues to the surface. As a result of this, Matt continued to visit the pits in order to make further changes in a better direction. On the final lap of the session, Matt pulled together his fastest of the session securing a P13. Kurt on the other hand had an excellent session as he battled it out for the top 5 before landing a lap time mid-session that saw him jump to P3. As the session came to an end, Kurt crossed the line for the final time to secure P5 putting the team in high spirits for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday morning brought a very sunny qualifying session as the great weather continued. The beginning part of the session was excellent for Kurt as he made his way up to the top 5 only a stones throw from the front runners, however, after struggling to get some clear space on track for the closing stages and having exhausted any ideas of how to improve the handling of the bike, he was demoted to P9 as he did not manage to improve his qualifying time during the closing stages. This was frustrating for Kurt as he had set high aspirations following the top 5 in FP2. Matt on the other hand had three separate stints on track during the session, each one setting a faster lap time during the latter stages of the stint. Each change he made opened up a new opportunity to go faster as he pushed on to secure his best lap time on the final one of the session putting him in P13.

For the opening race of the event on Saturday afternoon, the rain began to arrive as we lined up to take our grid positions. Kurt didn’t have the best start to the race as he lost a few positions entering turn one, however, Matt successfully managed to take advantage of the sprint from the line edging his way ever closer to Kurt. Both Kurt and Matt said that it was difficult to determine the level of grip from lap to lap as the marshalls had flags out to show which section of the track was raining but there was no time to take it steady despite being on dry tyres. As the race progresses, Kurt had a very lonely second half with a three second gap either side of him whilst Matt was in the same boat with his teammate in his line of sight. As the sprint race came to an end, we landed two top 10 finishes with Kurt in P9 and Matt P10.

The build up to race 2 on Sunday proved to be somewhat of a waiting game as nobody knew if it would be dry or wet for the forthcoming race. As the lads took to the grid with wet tyres, it soon became apparent that they would only have an advantage for the opening stages of the feature race as the track was drying rapidly. There were a mix of dry, wet and intermediate tyres throughout the grid which as the lights went out and the all riders fought for the dry line, fallers came rolling in thick and fast. Matt had an excellent start to the race as he rolled the dice on the wet sections of the track gaining him a substantial advantage over Kurt, however as the race progressed, Kurt came to his own with a better ability to ride the bike ‘loose’ as it moved around due to the wrong tyre choice. Despite the incorrect choice, both lads made their best effort to battle it out and collect as many points as they could whilst facing the biggest challenge of rubber that was rapidly tearing up with minimal traction. The final lap saw Kurt cross the line holding a respectable P10 along with Matt who nursed his Sorrymate Racing R6 home in P11. Matt overall had a great weekend with some of his best results and a confidence boost moving onto Brands Hatch. Whilst Kurt was a bit disappointed with the outcome of the races after having such a strong beginning to the weekend in the top 5, he is pleased with the consistency and strong return following his opening round with the new bike due to the 141mph crash a few weeks back at Oulton Park.

 

Interview with Sorrymate.com following the Oulton Park crash

 

The feature race at Oulton Park took a turn for the worst in an overtaking manoeuvre when the competitors bike Kurt was slip streaming over Clay Hill seemed to immediately stop accelerating down the straight. At 140mph and a couple of feet apart, Kurt crashed into the back of the bike he was pursuing which dragged him off the side. This left the bike to ghost at full speed across the grass with no pilot for 100 yards or so before barrel rolling end to end as it crossed back over the other side of the track. The red flag was brought out and the result was called.

It is entirely thanks to the quality of the kit that Kurt was able to walk away from such a crash unharmed.

Hideout Leather provide tailor-made leathers to fit both Kurt and Matt. In this instance, extra padding surrounding Kurt’s forearms his leathers protected him in a way that cheaper off-the-peg products could not compare.

HJC Helmets provided by Oxford Products ensure the upmost head protection with their lightweight, high quality helmets. Matt and Laura from Oxford Products service both of the boys’ helmets after every session, ensuring they are ready for anything.

 

SorryMate.com

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Round 2 – Oulton Park Race Report

The second round of the British Superbike season took the Sorrymate.com Racing team to the North West circuit of Oulton Park where the Silverstone summer weather was long gone. This weekend we had a full house as Josh Hiatt joined us for the opening round of his season in the Motostar class.

FP1 looked to be positive however, the damp conditions left us uncertain of what tyres or setup to run with. Kurt made it to the top 10 as the Supersport class took to the track following some major changes to the geometry of the bike following round 1. Josh followed suit securing an 8th position on his Moto3 as he continued to improve up to the final stages of the session. Matt spent FP1 piecing together a good base setting for the weekend ahead.

Saturday afternoon saw a dry FP2 as Matt put the hammer down knocking 3 seconds off his fastest lap of FP1. Many changes were made to the suspension setup during the session in a bid to obtain greater edge grip from the rear tyre. Kurt took a different approach to the session as he focused more on personal changes in the way he rode. The circuit proved to be a challenge in the manner that the harder you try, the worse the lap time. Kurt had a steady couple of laps leading to the closing stages of the session in order to collect his thoughts and arrive at a plan which paid off as he set his fastest lap of the session on the final lap securing himself P7 only 0.1 of a second from his personal best. Josh began with a progressive start as his class took to the track continuously bringing down his lap time as he tested out a change of gearing following the FP1 debrief with the team’s chief mechanic. Josh was happy with the progress made as he continued to battle it out in the top 10.

Due to a local Church being a stone throw from the circuit, Qualifying wasn’t until the afternoon of Sunday giving the team plenty of time to make any changes required to the bikes and give them a nice clean down ready. For Kurt, the qualifying session was similar to that of FP2, he made a conscious effort of securing a strong lap time early on before pushing forward. After a quick pitstop to collect his thoughts, Kurt entered the final stages in a bid to better his previous time. Once again, the final lap saw him put down a flying lap a second faster than practice launching him into a respectable P6. Matt had difficulties in qualifying as he struggled to put his ideal lap together, it was a risk but during the final handful of laps, Matt opted to ride through the pits in a bid to get some clear track. Fortunately, this paid off as he found himself alone on track to find a strong time. This came on the final lap as he also knocked a second off his time putting him in P14. Josh headed out for the Motostar qualifying on wet tyres which at the time was the best way forward. However, the rapid drying circuit soon saw him forced to take a pit stop for a change of tyres. He headed back out on track to secure an impressive P7.

Race 1 through a curve ball at Kurt as during the opening stages of the race following an excellent start, he clipped his knee on the back of the kerb at the turn 1 apex ripping off his knee slider and almost dragging him off the side of the bike. This resulted in him losing a couple of positions and the worst part being having to quickly figure out how he was going to tackle the race without putting his knee on the floor which for those who have raced bikes or rode on track will know it is not all that easy. After a few failed attempts, Kurt began to get to grips with the change of style in a bid to not let it ruin his race. He closed the gap to the competitors who took advantage of his misfortune and battled it out down to the last corner where he regained previous losses and crossed the finish line to take a fantastic 5th place finish. Matt didn’t have the best start to the race putting him on a very busy part of track. This posed many challenges as it didn’t allow him to settle into a rhythm as he chopped and changed with fellow competitors. However, despite this, he managed to set his fastest lap time of the weekend and bagged a P16 finish. This is not where he wanted to be but following post-race debriefs and a track walk, many changes to the bike’s geometry have been made. Josh had a great start to his opening race of the weekend as he battled it out in the top 10, however, following a mistake entering the chicane, Josh out braked himself causing him to run on through the long lap section of the lap. He lost a three second advantage along with 5 places as a result giving him plenty of work to do. Josh managed to pull back a couple of places in the short sprint race bringing home a 10th place finish.

Monday’s main race brought high spirits after the progression of all three riders along with some fantastic results already in the bag. Following a track walk on the night before and a fresh mindset, Josh was determined to keep pushing forward and battle it out for a top 10 spot. As the lights went out Josh got stuck in trading paint with several other riders as they chopped and changed positions. As he reached the later stages of the race, with two laps remaining he broke through to the front of the group he was battling with. It was a tough race but after keeping the fellow competitors at bay for the final stretch, Josh crossed the line to take an impressive 7th position.

As the lights went out for the final Supersport race of the event, Kurt once again got off to a great start. Matt had a much better performance in the opening stages as he battled it out for the points and after taking a substantial gamble on bike setup, managed to obtain a lap time 0.6 of a second faster than his best that weekend. Mid way through the race, Kurt had a moment where he lost rear traction exiting Druids pitching him out of the seat which resulted in a loss of 3 positions dropping him back into P8. Once he settled back into a rhythm, Kurt began to make up lost time and regained 7th position before catching and setting up an overtaking manoeuvre for the next. Unfortunately, his race took a turn for the worse when the competitors bike he was slip streaming over Clay Hill seemed to immediately stop accelerating down the straight. At 140mph and a couple of feet apart, Kurt crashed into the back of the bike he was pursuing which dragged him off the side. This left the bike to ghost at full speed across the grass with no pilot for 100 yards or so before barrel rolling end to end as it crossed back over the other side of the track. The red flag was brought out and the result was called, Matt picked up a respectable 13th position as Kurt was heartbroken as the sight of his bike spread over the track.

Following the race, we were informed that the incident was caused as a result of a gearbox failure of some sort from the bike in front, as they went to hit 6th gear, the bike stopped driving and began to roll. It was unfortunate to have such a big crash that wasn’t ours to be had, but in circumstances like this, racing is racing as they say and we very much appreciate the rider coming to check if Kurt was okay following the incident, which thanks to his excellent safety gear Kurt was soon to his feet. An incident like this so early in the year puts great financial strain on the team but we will do everything possible to ensure we can the bike rebuilt for the next round at Donington Park.

Supporting Highways England’s Motorbike Safety Campaign

Highways England were present at Round 1 of the 2019 British Superbike Season speaking to riders attending the action-packed event about the importance of motorbike safety.

The campaign, supported by the  police-led BikeSafe initiative, DocBike charity and the Biker Down initiative, aims to raise awareness to riders of the dangers of not wearing the appropriate protective clothing and were present at Silverstone to advise visitors and enrol motorcyclists on potentially life-saving courses.

As motorsport racers we understand the importance of having the correct kit and unfortunately it is not until people come off and hurt themselves that they really appreciate that. Nobody thinks it will happen to them.

We try and test new protective equipment and realise that quality overrides all. One example when he was younger, Kurt had a crash and his glove came off, removing all of the skin off his hand. If that can happen just losing a glove, what could happen without all of the protection?

And the harsh reality is that you can come off at any time, even if you are just popping down the road. For anybody riding out on the road today a big element is having to do a lot of thinking for other road users, predicting what they will do, which is not always possible. Having the correct protective kit is of upmost importance and we applaud schemes promoting this fact.

To find out more about their ‘distressed‘ scheme and where you can next meet Highways England, visit their website here.

Round 1 – Silverstone Race Report

The 2019 British Superbike season kicked off this Bank Holiday weekend at Silverstone and the weather was defiantly a first for the opening event of the year as temperatures exceeded 20 degrees. Kurt had the upper hand as he attended the Silverstone BSB test just over a week ago and hit the ground running right from the opening session.

FP1 saw Kurt battle it out at the top of the leader board as he bounced around within the top 10 until the closing stages when he secured a P5 finish putting the team in good spirits for the weekend. Matt kicked off the weekend with the aim of familiarising himself with the circuit having missed out on the opportunity to attend the Official BSB Test. He managed to complete 24 laps whilst bringing down his lap time and testing out some changes with the bike following an analysis of the Cartagena test in Spain just a few weeks ago. The session saw Matt cross the chequered flag with a 17th finish.

Following an array of discussions with the team and analysis of data, Crew Chief Josh and Kurt decided to take a gamble for FP2 despite having such a strong result in the first session. They completely changed the geometry of the bike following in a bit to improve traction and improve rear tyre wear. This initial change lead to many more alterations in pit lane during the session which was not ideal but during the final stages when he managed to get back out on track and dropped his lap time by 0.3 of a second. Matt also made significant changes to the setup of his R6 in a bid to hold a line better on the exits of the sweeping corners which Silverstone is well known for. Matt matched Kurt with an improvement of 0.3 form his best FP1 lap time.

The small nature of the Silverstone International circuit leaves the biggest challenge of getting some clear track during qualifying to put down some flowing laps and not be interrupted by fellow competitors touring. Kurt and Matt both faced an element of this struggle however, it was the same for everyone out there. After a night of comparing the data of both team mates, Matt hit the track with the aim of pushing a key brake marker along with a few other items. After running on 3 times at the end of the straight, Matt finally settled down knocking a further 0.2 of a second of his weekends personal best. Kurt spend the best part of the session battling with a bike fault as the quick shifter failed meaning he had to take the old school approach of shutting off for every gear change going down the straights. It was a frustrating ride but he pushed on to secure a P9 qualifying (P12 on track due to the separate GP2 championship running simultaneously).

Saturday afternoon saw the opening race of the season which was an 18 lap sprint in the blistering sun. As the lights went out, so did the elbows entering the first turn with everyone aiming for the racing line. Kurt didn’t have the start he was aiming for as he lost a few positions on the opening laps but managed to settle into a rhythm and make up lost ground. Following some very close racing and having left the circuit onto the grass a couple of times onto the grass at over 100mph, Kurt kept pushing on to take the chequered flag in a respectable P6 having held 5th position for some time. Matt continued to make changes to the bike setup moving into the race in a bid to be more fluent with the bike, this allowed him to further reduce his personal bet lap time of the weekend and despite a strong race bringing home a P16, he was left wanting more from the race to come.

The Sunday 26 lap race was a tough one due to the heat and the challenge of controlling tyre life. Kurt had a brilliant start to the race and spend the first fifth of the race holding on to the leading train. However, the continuing struggle Kurt was facing with the quick shifter lost him some time on the straight and in a bit to keep with the first group he out braked himself locking the bike up and running to the edge of the track. All of Kurt’s attempts to close the gap seemed to have the opposite affect as he pushed into lap times that were new to him but nevertheless completed the feature race in a strong 9th position putting him 7th in the championship standings after the opening round. Matt found himself in a great race during the opening stages as he battled it out and pushed forward but struggled to pass a fellow competitor quick enough before the next group broke away. This left Matt in a lonely race as he got his head down to try and regain lost ground. The closing stages saw Matt cross the finish line to take his first points of the year as he claimed a 14thposition finish. Matt feels that he has learned a lot this weekend and looks to better his results come Oulton Park in two weeks. As for Kurt, post-race analysis revealed that he was the fastest on circuit throughout the whole race in the fourth and final sector of the lap which is small positive to take from the weekend.

The team has grown as we move into the new season and are impressed with the commitment the new starters have given to getting up to speed as fast as possible. Supported by the Young Engineering Student project the new recruits are:

Jack: Warwickshire Garage & Training Association Apprenticeship – Studying Motorcycle Maintenance & Repair Level 3

Doug: Coventry University – Studying Motorsport Engineering (BEng)

Ellie: Heart of Worcestershire College – Studying Motorcycle Maintenance & Repair Level 3

They will be brought along and developed by the teams experienced members including:

Josh: Coventry University – Studying Motorsport Engineering (MEng)

Nick: Coventry University Enrollment – Due to study Motorsport Engineering (BEng)

RBPS Photography

Continued Support From Omega Scaffolding

Local business Omega Scaffolding Solutions Ltd have signed up to partner with the team for the 2019 season. We are pleased to maintain such a positive relationship with the team and are looking forward to what this year has to offer.

Motorcycle Trade Expo

We are exhibiting at the 2019 Motorcycle Trade Expo show taking place at Stoneleigh Park from the 20th-22nd of January. Come and see us on stand B133!