Round 5 – Donington Park GP

Last weekend we headed back to Donington Park for the second time this season, although this time riding the GP circuit. Last year this was where Kurt broke his collarbone on the Melbourne Loop. He had to have it pinned together as the bones were too far separated to heal naturally. Kurt is now looking forward to having the pins removed after the completion of this season.

Unfortunately, Matthew was unable to attend this weekend due to a Coronavirus incident. This was also the case for one of our team mechanics. However, all parties are in good health and the remainder of the team did a fantastic job to cover any gaps.

Free Practice 1 provided a strong start to the weekend. We were graced with a dry track – the only dry session of the weekend – which gave Kurt the opportunity readjust to the track, regain his confidence on the Melbourne Loop and to put in a decent lap time, situating him within the top 10.

However, later in the afternoon the clouds drew in and conditions turned for the worst. The pouring rain meant a fully wet session, which we knew we needed based on the weather forecast for the coming weekend. Kurt however, was not fazed by this and was one of just three riders to spend the entire session on track. He ran the majority of the session in the top 5, and secured P8 by the closing stages as the chequered flag was drawn. On the final lap of the session Kurt’s lap was obstructed by a back marker losing him 1.4 seconds in one turn alone. Despite this, his final lap was still his fastest lap of the session, causing him to just miss out on the top 5.

On Saturday the circuit faced even worse conditions with Race Direction deciding to cut many of the sessions to avoid the heavy rain forecast on the afternoon. Qualifying was therefore cancelled for the Supersport class and Race 1 was moved into the time slot. Following a quick 10 minute Warm Up session on the Saturday morning, the team soon rolled into the first face of the weekend in torrential rain.

There was a lot of flooding on the track but it wasn’t quite enough to sway the official’s decision to postpone the race. The grid for Race 1 was based upon combined practice timings, putting Kurt on Row 4. He had a steady start to the race, maintaining his position for the first couple of laps. With the conditions many riders were falling, however Kurt rode tactically and kept it pinned, closing the race in 6th position!

Race 2 took place within a break in the weekend’s downpours, allowing the race to commence on dry tyres. Unfortunately for Kurt who had a solid P6 in Race 1, in doing so his consistent lap times did not spike, therefore he started Race 2 from 22nd on the grid. This was frustrating as there was a lot of ground to make up. Kurt had difficulty with his brakes in the opening laps, this is potentially due to being in an overcrowded part of the track resulting in excessive braking late on corner entry. The brakes rapidly began to deteriorate which is not a problem we have suffered with before. In a bid to overcome this, Kurt was forced to increase the distance from himself and the group in front, allowing him to carry more mid-corner speed. At the midway point of the race, Kurt’s remedial action had worked which allowed him to then push hard. He worked his way back through the pack, picking riders off one by one. Kurt gained 11 places from his grid position, and successfully managed to pass the entire group in front, allowing him to cross the line and secure a P9 in class.

We had many positives to take away from the weekend, including that Kurt’s race pace had the potential to compete with the top 5 had he been placed on track with them. However the Race 1 lap time added another obstacle to this objective.

The final round will be taking place a week on Friday at Brands Hatch. We’re hoping the weather holds off but looking forward to seeing where Kurt can close the championship this year. He is currently sitting in 10th.

Round 4 – Oulton Park

Round 4 of the BSB championship brought us to Oulton Park in Cheshire. We were joined by our new student Connor for his first full weekend with the team, which was set to be a busy one!

As usual we began on Friday with Free Practice 1. This offered the boys the chance to readjust to the track, and was Matt’s first outing here on the GP2 machine. Kurt was quick to get up to pace in the first session, running within the top 10 for the majority. Matt had a positive session, steadily bringing down the times as he began to resolve some issues carried over from the previous round with the bike.

Moving forward to FP2, Kurt and the team took a view to make some significant changes to the bike having had such a positive FP1 and desperate to push forward for the next session. However, the happened to go in the opposite direction for the team as the bike became a challenge to handle. The changes that were made were irreversible within the duration of the session and therefore there was no reward for FP2.

Matt began to have an even better session in FP2 as he was based on track with some strong riders with a determination to catch them. Just as he began to feel increasingly comfortable on the GP2 machine he ran wide mid-corner of Cascades, Turn 2 of Oulton Park, and hit the bumps on the outside of the turn whilst still loading the front on the brakes – causing a fairly fast low-side. This catastrophically damaged the bike as the front wheel and forks were ripped out during the series of rolls across the grass. Fortunately, whilst being able to get up and walk away from the incident, the outcome for Matt’s bike was not the same. Despite the team’s best efforts overnight, he was forced to sit out for the remainder of the weekend.

Having collected positives from FP1 and negatives from FP2, the team knew which direction they should be moving. They put a plan in place to execute for Qualifying. During the closing stages of the Qualifying session, Kurt found himself on track with some other consistent and fast riders allowing him to confidently secure a personal best of the weekend lap time and a 9th place in the Supersport category.

A lot of changes were made going into the race in a bid to improve on a personal best time, as this year the field has closed and become increasingly more competitive. Starting from Row 5 on the grid, race 1 began for Kurt. Being surrounded by the GP2 machines on the grid always makes the beginning of the race more difficult. However, Kurt was able to battle through and closed the race in front of them.

By being caught up by the GP2 machines in the prior race battle, Kurt did not surpass his personal best lap time which meant he began race 2 further behind on the grid.  The changes made to the bike for race two were somewhat of a gamble as the team went for a change of gearing with no chance to test the outcome prior to the race. This was in a bid to overcome being on track with GP2 machines that have the advantage of initial acceleration but seem to fail to carry mid-corner momentum. The opening lap was intense as he was engulfed within the GP2 pack. However, with an extreme battle, closing on the corners he picked them off one by one, gaining several places and closing the race in 10th.

The team look forward to next weekend at Donington Park where the aim is to secure an improved qualifying position, giving the opportunity to battle with fellow Supersport riders.

Round 3 – Silverstone

Round 3 of the BSB 2020 Season took the Team to the Silverstone National Circuit. It was set to be a dry weekend with temperatures of around 17 degrees all weekend.

Friday’s free practice sessions saw both Kurt and Matt experiment with some different settings that they hoped would improve their session times. Kurt finished FP1 in 11th place being just a tenth of a second from obtaining a 7th place finish, which just goes to show how close the championship is this year! Matt finished the session in 12th place and was confident that more improvements could be made. During FP2, tyre wear had affected Kurt’s session but that didn’t stop him being the fastest rider in sector 4. He finished in 12th and had many positives to take into Saturday’s qualifying session. Matt had struggled with a vibration to the bike but also made improvements to his time by 0.4 seconds and finished in 12th place.

Saturday’s qualifying session had positive results for Kurt, following the changes that were made to the setup of the bike and a tyre change; he qualified in 11th place and felt the handling of the bike was better. Matt had a consistent session, qualifying in 11th place but he still felt there were further improvements to be made to the bike ready for Race 1.
The sprint race didn’t quite go to plan for either Kurt or Matt. During the first lap, Kurt’s exhaust split causing him to drop back as the race progressed due to the huge loss in power. Luckily, it was still in ridable condition so he battled through to a P10 finish and set a personal best lap time. Matt also suffered mechanical issues with an engine problem but still managed to finish P11.  This resulted in a trip home to collect a new engine and exhaust system and saw the team working late in order to rebuild both machines.

Sunday’s feature race was 26 laps. After a long night rebuilding bikes the Team were up early to get both bikes on the Dyno. Starting from the 4th row of the grid, Kurt was confident he could push hard and battle for a top 10 finish. Unfortunately, an electrical issue forced him to retire on lap 8 of the race. However, the team have found the issue and are confident it will be resolved before the next round. Matt struggled during the race but continued to put down consistent lap times and finished the race in 7th place – setting his personal best lap time of the weekend.

A weekend of mixed results and emotions, but the team will continue to work hard during the weeks leading up to Oulton Park on 18th – 20th September.

Round 2 – Snetterton

Round 2 of the BSB 2020 calendar took the team East, to the Norwich circuit of Snetterton. The weekend was set to be a windy one, with forecast wind speeds of up to 65mph.

Friday’s Free Practice sessions provided a positive start to the weekend. Though Storm Ellen did not disappoint as high speed winds hit the circuit on the flat-landscape of the Norfolk county. Kurt finished both Free Practice 1 and 2 in 11th place. There was much progression made by Matt, who reduced his lap time by two seconds between the two sessions. An adjustment to the clutch and other further tweaks the MW6R left Matt feeling positive about more progress to be made on Saturday.

The following morning saw Qualifying for the team. They had worked late amending the front suspension for Kurt’s qualifying session, which enabled increased stability on entry to the corners that required demanding braking. This enabled his progression throughout the session, knocking a further second off his lap time. The improvements continued through to Matthew’s performance, thus proving that amendments to the clutch were a beneficial move.

Saturday afternoon came with a 12-lap sprint race. During the initial stages of the race, Kurt found himself battling his way through a group of GP2 bikes. Though Kurt’s strength lies closing in on the corners, the lightweight frames the GP2 machines have a substantial advantage on the straights, resulting in him being separated from the Supersport pack. He closed the race in 13th position. Matt got off to a great start, finding fresh pace for the opening stages of the race. He knocked a further 2.2 seconds off his lap time and finished the race in 10th place.

For the feature race on Sunday both Kurt and Matt had moved a up the grid, leaving them both enthusiastic going into the 15-lap race. Kurt was determined not to get caught up in the GP2 battle again, he pushed hard and broke from the pack, quickly gapping them by the following lap and closing the race in 10th place. Matt had a good start to the race, though a mistake entering turn 1 put him out of the running for a 9th place finish. Despite this, he chased the clock, putting consistent lap times down and his personal best of the weekend, finishing 10th place in class.

Kurt is now 12th in the Supersport championship and Matt is 11th in the GP2 class. Both have taken positives from the weekend but are displeased with the overall finish and are aiming to achieve more at the National Silverstone track in two weeks’ time.

Round 1 – Donington Park

Round 1 of the shortened BSB 2020 calendar took the team to Donington Park for the National Circuit. With the weather forecast being 26 degrees all weekend, the team were in for a warm one!

Friday saw the boys endure the heat for both Free Practice sessions. Kurt finished FP1 in 10th place and continued to improve on his lap times during the afternoon FP2 session. Matt, still getting a feel for his newly built MW6R, showed consistency in both practice sessions and improved on his lap times during the FP2 session. Despite technical issues closed out FP2 in 12th Place.

Saturday brought qualifying and the sprint race. Kurt, still struggling with his collarbone from the 2019 season, pushed hard and qualified in 15th place. Matt made continual improvements knocking a second off his lap time following FP2 making good progress.

For Race 1 we had an unlucky start for Kurt following an electrical issue on the start line. The team managed to get this resolved, but for Kurt it meant starting the race from pit lane. He pushed his way through the back of the grid, making some real pace. However, lap 4 saw the problem return and Kurt was forced into the gravel during turn 1. He was able to restart but retired from the race shortly after. The team had managed to resolve the MW6R’s technical issue that hindered progression at the start of the weekend. Matt found some great pace during the race, narrowly missing out on a P9 spot during a last lap dash to the flag. Still bringing it home in P10, was a positive result for the MW6R’s first race.

Sunday saw the main race of the weekend. The team had hoped for a cooler day with the weather, as it started of bleak, however, as the afternoon progressed it just got warmer! The grid line up saw the boys just a row apart and both were determined to make something of this opportunity. As the first few laps got underway, it seemed they would be battling with each other, but Kurt managed to make a break for it and caught the group in front. He spent the duration on the race in a three-way battle, finishing in 8th place. Matt also found himself in a battle of his own, fending off three other riders. Matt finished the race in 10th place and put in his fastest lap of the weekend.

A positive start for the twins and the Team. Next we head to the Norfolk circuit of Snetterton on 21st-23rd August.

COVID-19 August Update

MSV have today (31/7) confirmed that they will be unable to permit spectators at the following Bennetts British Superbike Championship events:

Bennetts BSB at Donington Park – 7-9 August
Bennetts BSB at Snetterton – 21-23 August

Whilst we are greatly disappointed by this update, we understand that it is paramount that people’s safety comes first, and hope that our sponsors, guests and the wider public will be able to join us back in the paddock as soon as possible.

Read more on the BSB website here.

Donington Park Test – 28th July 2020

We visited Donington Park this month where we had the opportunity to do some testing prior to the 2020 season which begins on the 5th of August. We were fortunate enough to enjoy decent weather conditions, with only a small shower of rain in the morning.

The day was positive, and gave Matt the opportunity to test out his new, custom-built MW6R GP2 machine. Whilst the day revealed a few issues which needed ironing out, Matt enjoyed the opportunity to get back into the swing of riding and achieved on average P9/10 in-class positions throughout the day.

Kurt felt that the test provided a much-needed confidence boost after his crash at the end of last season on the Melbourne Loop at Donington which resulted in a shattered collarbone. He achieved a best position of P5, running in P3 for the majority of the second session.

We are now looking forward to beginning the season, and appreciate the ongoing support of our truly loyal sponsors after such a difficult year.

Special thanks are due to Hawkins Logistics who transported our trailer to the track last-minute.

 

#BSBRESTART

We have now been informed that the 2020 race season will be going ahead, but reduced to just 6 rounds. The dates will be as follows:

R1 Donington Park (National) 07-09 August

R2 Snetterton 300: 21-23 August

R3 Silverstone (National): 04-06 September

R4 Oulton Park: 18-20 September

R5 Donington Park GP: 02-04 October

R6 Brands Hatch GP: 16-18 October

 

We are looking forward to testing at Donington Park on 28th July.

2020 BSB Season Postponed due to COVID-19

Following the unprecedented measures introduced by the Government designed to suppress the spread of the Coronavirus, the MCRCB and the ACU have currently suspended all motorcycle circuit racing events until at least May 31, a decision which will be kept under review as the situation progresses.

The following rounds have been postponed:

  • Silverstone (April 10/11/12),
  • Oulton Park (May 1/2/3)
  • Donington Park (May 22/23/24)

This is being continuously evaluated by MSVR who will provide further updates when possibly.