Note: If you can read German, read the German reports. The English reports are often just short summaries.
By the end of 2009 I decided it was time to change race bike. So I sold the Suzuki TL1000S and bought a GSX-R 1000 K5. Over winter the suspension has been reworked and race fairings have been mounted. The goal in the first events was to get used to the new bike. The bike is quite different, riding position and 50hp more required some time to adapt.
Test event with Speer, primarly for racers but this year for the first time open for amateurs. I joined Koni from Ducati Bern for the long 1500km trip. The evening before we left, the Ducati of Alain was still in pieces. It was after midnight when the big van was finally loaded with three bikes and a ton of tyres and pit material. Everything ready? No, Dunlop was unable to deliver me new D211 GP racer rear tyres that I wanted to test, so I was stuck with used KR slicks from last year.
We left Wednesday at 4am in Bern. Koni drove the first few hours because I was too tired at that time of the day. Still in Switzerland there was a big accident where we just passed through before the highway was closed for three hours! Our driver Alain was stuck for hours in the traffic jam. I didn't remark anything of that and woke up around Lyon in France where it began to rain. Not unusual at this time of the year. Unusual was that the left windscreen wiper of the van suddenly was a little bit too far left and got stuck on the left of the windscreen at highway speed. So we drove blind to the next fuel station and then tried to fix it. It didn't work for long so we had to fix the damn wiper at every toll booth. We ended up driving through roughly 800km of heavy and very heavy rain with almost no windscreen wipers. Well, the rain stopped only 100km before we reached Valencia.
We arrived just in time in Valencia to watch the last session of the official Moto2 tests in Valencia. Quite impressing those small 600 bikes. But apart from Tony Elias that any blind person recognizes because of his particular riding style, we had difficulties to recognize the riders, because 8 of 10 bikes were still black without the usual advertising.
After the MotoGP teams left, we installed in pit #31 together with three Honda CBR 1000 RR drivers. Some hours after, Alain finally joined us so we headed to the Holiday Inn Express hotel and had dinner and some beers.
Dry track, 18° C to come. Our (amateur) group is not too crowded, so I can really concentrate on the new bike. Aldready after the first session, I removed the shim under the rear shock mount to set the rear ride height back to stock, it was much too nervous. We had a lot of breaks when the pros were driving, so I also changed the ECU for a tuned one without restrictions.
In the third session I tried to change the angle of the clipons a bit by turning them further forward. There were a lot of details to adjust, but in general the bike was running really well! Even when I drove still very slow into and out of the corners, I was at 1:49.1 in the evening, thus already a second faster than the last time here on the TL. It's incredible how well the bike runs on the straight line and how much time you can make up like that. I can't remember that anyone overtook me on the straight.
Alain was setting up his Ducati 1198R in the mean time, so that meant more work for me and Koni (as mechanics). Changing final drive ratio, footpegs and of course tyres. Even before really dialing in the suspension, he was at an impressive 1:39 laptime, but unfortunately then crashed it. The bike was fixable, but he hurt his hand so the event was already over for him :-(
Koni returned from a long break from injuries. He started slowly but got faster and faster again. He definitely didn't forget how to drive.
At the evening we drank a last small drink at the hotel bar. The bar man saw the taped hand of Alain and served him a HUGE Whisky. I guess he slept well after that.
When we arrive at the track, the weather is cloudy but still dry. So lets drive! I tried to drive a bit more constant, but still had difficulties to get the lines right. Just at lunch good weather was over and it began to rain. I had the rain tyres, but no motivation to try the new bike in the wet. Our pit neighbours created a bit of action in this afternoon when they suddenly ran out of pit and there was a lot of smoke. As it turned out, two pits further a 125cc team lit up their bike when tyre warmers and fuel got in conflict, then the burning fuel got underneath the seperation wall into our neighbour pit. Well, everything smelled a bit bad and there was a fair amount of white powder everywhere, but fortunately they didn't set on fire the pit building.
Unfortunately it was still wet and cloudy when we arrived. There was no wind, so the chances that it would dry up until lunch were null. Finally Koni and I decided to leave early. We were not sure if it was the right decision, but at least we had almost no traffic jams. When we heard on the phone that there was snow at home, we thought it was a bad joke. Can't be true. Well, just before we arrived in Bern there was indeed snow... so we had to unload the bikes late in the night because I had no antifreeze in the cooler. Heck I had to heat the garage because of the freezing cold weather!
When we learned that those who tried to return Sunday were stuck in endless traffic jams because there was snow on the French and even Spanish highways, we concluded that it was the right decision to return saturday.
Bottom line: Good! The GSX-R drives very well, the power is just unbelievable. Even when I didn't drive very well I was a second faster than with the TL. Rear suspension was too hard, we have to change spring again. And I need more practice!
At this rainy saturday morning I headed to France to my "home" track Anneau du Rhin. Father joined me to assist such that I have the maximum of track time. As stated before, the weather was not good - until we arrived at the track! Clouds everywhere, except above the track. What a luck! Corsin was there too. He bought my old TL1000S, so this was kind of special to see my old bike running. At the drivers briefing there was the brief announcement that the "red" and "yellow" groups will be put together. Or in other words: We get 6x 40mins of track time at one day, whow!
The advantage of Anneau du Rhin is that I know the track really well. That means I can really concentrate on the bike. After changing the rear spring for a 6kg softer one, the bike felt immediately better. For the 3rd turn I switched to a new Dunlop D211 GP Racer rear tyre (yes, I finally got two of them). I switched from one rim to the other in the middle of a session to have a back to back comparison. And surprise, the GP Racer felt really good! The 190/55 size is moderate and needs a bit less lean angle than the 195/65 KR108. That felt good with the new bike. One disadvantage is that the final drive ratio feels like a tooth less on the rear sprocket, because the tyre is smaller. I'll try the 200/55 version later.
On the front I tried both Dunlop KR106 slicks that I had: One in 6680 (strong) compound, unfortunately this one was not perfectly round on the left side. The other one is a 6178 (soft) compound, much too soft for the cold weather. But surprise, the soft tyre worked better, I had less chatter with this tyre.
Corsin adapted well to the race TLS and was driving very fluently, very fast! Unfortunately there were some small offs around lunch, but nothing major. Generally we had little traffic on track, perfect conditions!
In the afternoon I tried the old KR slick from Valencia again, but the tyre began to disintegrate because of a transport damage (probably the ramp was touching the tyre in the van for a long time). So I switched to the D211 GP racer tyre once again. I tried one small but important detail: Earplugs. The inline 4 engine screams so loud out of the airbox, it almost hurts in the ears, not good for concentration. With earplugs driving went much smoother, I was able to stay focused for a longer time. I never liked earplugs on the twin, but now on the inline 4 I will never drive without again.
|Sportfoto Trescher||Photos Werner Rufer|
The suspension of the GSX-R worked better. Rear was a lot better with the softer spring. But on the front I had a lot of chattering. Finally we saw on dads photos that I was running in the hydrolocks at turn-in. No wonder there was a lot of chatter with the better slick compound and less with the (too) soft slick, because I simply had less grip. That means we have to change fork springs again.
Because I still had big difficulties to hit the apex correctly, we investigated the steering stem bearings. BINGO! The bearing was overtightened and had a flat spot right in the middle. OK, that explains a lot!
Bottom line: We were really lucky with weather, had a whole lot of track time and some major problems with the suspension have been resolved/localized.
Well, in theory I just wanted to change oil and filter. But because of the chattering problems, we had to remove the forks and have them resprung again. One additional modification was the Gilles GP light clipons instead of the stock clipons. The Gilles clipons have a moderate angle of 5° and can be installed as you like on the forks. Then there was the overtightened steering stem bearing with the flat spot in the middle. We had no time to order a new bearing and replace it (and my van was broken), so we just cleaned it up, regresed it and ajusted it correctly. Not perfect, but definitely a big improvement.
Well, the van. The Mercedes engine had signs of leaking Diesel injectors and had to be fixed. You can't believe what my mechanic found under the plastic CDi cover: It was an unbelievable mess, I was really shocked that something like that can happen with Mercedes!!
Ruedi was so nice and not only helped me out to haul the bike to Barcelona but also offered me to stay in his motorhome. We left Tuesday evening, drove to the French border and stopped for some sleep. Wednesday we arrived relaxed some 1000km later at Barcelona. We found a quiet place in the paddock, opened a beer and then unloaded the bikes, the tent and so on. Now imagine us two with the big motorhome and the big trailer sitting there with a beer when a Toyota Previa minivan arrives. Ruedi tells me "you don't believe that they have two liter bikes in there, do you?" I certainly didn't, but these guys really unloaded a GSX-R 1000 and a R1. Fecking impossible, all that stuff in a Previa! We had a good laugh and went to the pits to sign up. My group is "red", target time 1:59 to 2:03, Ruedi is in the fastes "racer" group. The night was quiet and relaxing in the comfy motorhome.
Todays schedule: 6 sessions of 20min of free practice. Sky is covered, temperatures around 10° C. I roll out on used Dunlops to learn the track. Well there was nothing to learn, I immediately felt at home again, even when it was back in August 2007 when I was last here. A really great track on the GSX-R. I have to get used to the extreme speed, the brake points don't work compared to the TL1000S.
During the 2nd session the weather very suddenly changes to wet. When I entered the start/finish straight, it began to pour down so hard that there immediately was spray and I really felt uncomfortable on the dry tyres! It was a really bad lap back to the pits, it felt like driving on ice. We skip the following wet turn, it turned out to be the only one.
In the afternoon we attack on dry track again. The GSX-R now drives where I want to drive, I can hit the apex as I want. The new clipons work well, too. I still struggle at acceleration, and that means my times are much too slow. Acceleration is almost everything at Barcelona. In the evening we both do some small setup changes on our machines. Ruedi can't decide which final drive ratio is best, well he was on 1:55 times comapred to my 2:04 so I really was no help for him.
Schedule: Qualification for GP and sprint races until lunch. 14 lap GP race at the afternoon. Well, the qualification is a real challange, there are only 44 grid positions for at least twice as many starters in the 1000 class. And the pace is fast!
I drive the first session on the now old D211 GP Racer rear tyre and then switch to a new tyre for the 2nd session. Unfortunately the 2nd session was cancelled due to oil on track and I have to return from the pitlane to paddock. So the 12:00 session is the last chance to qualify. During these last 8 laps, I am able to improve my time over 3 seconds to a 2:00.58. The time is good for the 8th row, 32nd position on the grid. I have to add a bit of compression damping on the front to avoid chattering in the very hard braking zones / corner entries.
For lunch, Ruedi and I prepare some pasta and then relax a bit in the motorhome. The race will be long and hard. Race mode is pregrid in the pitlane, warmup lap and then immediately flying start with 14 race laps. My target is to drive focused and to crack the 2:00 barrier. Weather conditions are good, about 20° C and sunny.
Exactly at 4PM we line up for the pregrid in the pitlane. I'm in the middle of a big group of drivers with times around 2:00. The flying start works out well, everybody starts well. In front of me there is a new BMW S1000RR. When another Suzuki GSX-R 1000 passes me, I decide to follow him and overtook some opponents with him. At some time in the race, there is a lot of smoke at the end of the start/finish straight, will there be oil? Luckily not. The laps go by very fast, braking works very well now, only problem is a lot of wheelspin when accelerating out of corners. It seems I have to get used to this. Even before I can attack the Suzuki in front of me, the race is over, I have no idea on which position I was.
In the evening at the winners ceremony I cheer for Ruedi who got 2nd behind an extremely fast Kawasaki with an engine on the last breath, that's where the smoke came from. I finally was 22nd, well that's 10 positions better than on the grid. My laptime is 1:58.828, target hit. The 2nd half of the race was constantly below 2:00. Well, I need a new target for tomorrow: 1:56 should be possible.
At the evening I checked the bike. The cooleant level in the overflow bottle is now constant. But I found out that the oil level was over max. Well, that's strange. Ruedi thinks there is nothing wrong with it and in fact it ran so bloody well on the straight that there can't be much wrong. A calculated 282kph at 3% slip with 12750 U/min in 6th gear. Whow.
The weather in the morning doesn't look too promising, only about 12° C and still a bit cloudy. That's why I roll out on the already well torn up D211 GP racer rear tyre from yesterday. Well, the tyre seems to be over aldready. Fortunately I had a good Dunlop KR108 in the right 6680 (strong) compound in my luggage and thus mounted it for the 2nd session. Some laps later I am sure this will be the tyre for sprint race, much less wheelspin when accelerating and a good feeling.
At exactly 12:00 we roll into the pitlane for the sprint race. My grid position is the same as yesterday, thus 8th row 32nd position. But the pregrid is delayed and finally cancelled because there is oil on track and the ambulance is away. Races will be delayed about one hour. Finally the start is rescheduled at 1:15pm
Well, the pregrid wasn't as complete as yesterday, some people were missing, as example the winner of the GP race beause of a blown engine. I took my position on the grid, again just behind of that BMW S1000RR. Well, this time he didn't get a good start, so I decided to overtake him immediately. I was amazed that I was able to slipstream him on the straight, it was really an easy job to pass him on the brakes. And I passed quite some bikes like that, slipstream on the straight, late on the brakes. It was really easy. I think the bigger diameter of the KR108 helped, because that made my final drive ration a little bit longer. I wasn't overtaken, things were going well. At about half distance I made some minor errors and lost contact with the next opponent. Well, that was it, I couldn't catch him till the end.
Ruedi was 2nd again, congratulations! I found myself on the 12th position with a lap time of 1:56.67. That's about 3 second slower than the fastest lap... driven by Ruedi. I'm happy with the lap time. Well, the absolute fastest time was driven by a local spanish driver on a 600 Moto2 prototype: 1:48 and that on a 600!
Even when the weather was perfect, Ruedi and I decided to leave. We were both happy and tyred, driving more would have been a waste of money. Instead of that we ate up all of the remaining food and left about at 6pm. Sunday morning I was back at home.
- I had a lot of fun!
- the pace was extremely hot, a lot of fast drivers. Exactly the right thing to get faster.
- the GSX-R is very powerful and I like it
- The D211 GP Racer rear tyres didn't last long in the M compound. I'll try the E compound next time.
A big THANK YOU to Ruedi!
Link to the Photos of the official Photographer.
When I checked the bike at home, I found out that there was 4dl too much oil in the engine. Well, oil level was definitely right at the first day, so it had to be fuel in the oil. Another oil change made Castrol happier and me poorer. There was no obvious error like a leaking injector or malfunctioning spark plug. Because I had the sparkplugs out I changed them for new set, this time I went for Denso Iridiums.
At the beginning of the year I wasn't sure if I should sign up for this event. The track is far from me (1000km) and it would be difficult for me because of the pollen allergy. I was thinking about another event in Spain instead. But because I needed the race for the Dunlop cup ranking, I decided to go anyway. That was eventually a good decision.
Saturday I put everyting in the van and left Sunday at about 6am. Until Vienna Austria the route was the same as for Pannonia Ring. I had little to no difficulties with traffic. Oh and the van ran better than ever thanks to four new and expensive Diesel injectors. From Vienna I had to go to Bratislava and from there to the track somewhere in the nowhere. The track is new and on no map yet. I looked it up on Google maps and used the next cottage for my Via Michelin print out. Amazingly I found it very well, even when there are no indications except for a flag at the next road. I arrived at the track after about 10h.
I parked the van near the organizer and had a look for Ruedi, the buddy from Barcelona. I found him on the other side of the paddock just packing up. In brief words he told me "great but difficult track. If you want to beat my time, go faster than 2:16". After that short chat I signed up, picked up the tyres I ordered and unloaded the bike from the van. There was some rain in the evening, not a problem I had my tent for the bike. And the rain would be good for my pollen allergy.
The alarm clock woke me up just before 8am. It's still wet outside, so no hurry. I skip the first session because it is still too wet for slicks. In the second session, the track is still damp in most parts, but wet in one corner. Well, I decided it was good enough to learn the track and went out on dry tyres. The track is very flowing and goes over four crests where the service road doesn't go under the track, but the track goes over the service road. Interesting! Everyone came back to the pits with a big grin, such a great track! The free practice really began with the 3rd session when the track was completely dry. With warmed up slicks and the bit of track knowledge I went out to improve my times. The track is really very challenging: After the start/finish straight, there's a righthander with a bump right in the apex, followed by the first crest where you have to be at least in the right half to not miss the next 5 gear righthand corner! Whow!! Just before, on or just after (depends how courageous you are) the 2nd crest you have to brake very hard for tight righthand hairpin. Very difficult to brake, because it's all downhill! then there are several fast esses through sort of an infield that lead to the slowest corner: The left hairpin. From there the track leads to a 4th gear corner over the 3r crest into a left-right-left chicane, followed by the last crest that leads on a short back straight. The last corner is in fact a combination of a very long righthand and an extremely fast lefthand corner. This leads you to the long start-finish straight, top speed is a tad faster than in Barcelona. I just hit the limiter in 6th using the "smaller" 190/55 Dunlop D211 GP racer tyre. No rpms left for slipstreaming! The 20min sessions are over much too quickly, you wouldn't believe the track is 5.9km long. It's so flowing, it's really a great drive. I show considerable respect of the four crests, my 185hp beast is still hurt at the (steering) neck and shakes its head considerably when the front wheel gets light. If I had to describe the track in one sentence, it would be "a low-level flight in the alps".
The tarmac is very rough and still very new. The tyres look so clean after each session, I never saw something like that! Most rear tyres get torn up a bit, so does the used D211 GP racer. That's why I mount a new 200/55 D211 GP racer in E compound for the afternoon. the tyre is not really larger, but considerably bulkier than the 190/55 version. That should be perfect for the straight, too.
The 30min sessions in the afternoon are perfect to focus on the long track. The 200 tyre means the final drive ratio is like one tooth longer, perfect for the long straight! Ambient temperatures of 20 to 25° C are perfect. In the last session, I have a lot of luck when the paddock neighbour crashes just behind me on the brakes. Well, I didn't remark anything, the turn was redflagged because of another incident in the infield where someone lost the front wheel and crashed out quite seriously. My best time is 2:24 - still a lot of room to improve.
Because of the pollen allergy I don't feel too happy in the evening, so I don't stay up very long.
Today the track is dry from the first session on. Qualification counts until lunch, so there are 3 sessions to improve my time. The first two I drive with the D211 GP racer rear tyre and concentrate on the esses in the infield, where I obviously lost too much time. For the last qualy session I mounted the Dunlop KR108 in strong compound. I raced this tyre in Barcelona, but it still looked new. Well, that was the perfect tyre choice! I improve my time to 2:20 which is good for 9th position on the grid. Speaking of it, the grid is quite full, 36 starters!
I eat a bit of pasta and then relax a bit in the quiet hour of the lunch break.
After lunch break, the schedule continues with the races over 6 laps. First to go is the Supersport (600) class where I follow the start from the grandstands. For the next class, the Pro SBK (including TL1000) class, I have a look on the lights for the start procedure. Aha, one-two-three-four-five red lights, and only when they go out there's start. Good to know that they become red one after the other. Then it's my turn. I only come to know after the race that I was the last one to leave the pitlane before it was closed. Then drive to the grid position (3rd row left) for the prestart to the warmup lap. I used the prestart to approximate the braking point in the first corner. We are back on the starting grid. Not everybody remembered how the traffic lights worked and there was more than one jump start. My start was not so great, well it was the first standing start on the new bike. It was a bad choice to be on the outside just before the first crest, I had to defer to two opponents. But I got them back when braking for the hairpin at the 2nd crest. During some time, I was behind a group of two and tried to follow them. But I lost the group again when I got into trouble lapping slower opponents and suddenly was in wrong gear at the left hairpin. I almost gave up to catch them again, but in the last lap they had difficulties to pass some backmarkers, so I got them again. I was very determined to pass at least one of them, and so did it happen when entering for the last righthand corner. I made it to the chequered flag ahead of him on the 8th position. Best lap time 2:17.2. The time is not too bad, I know where I could make some time (over the crests and in the very fast parts). The result is not bad - perhaps if I didn't have this error at the hairpin I would have gained another position. But hey, first race of the season finished without a crash. Harry wins the Pro SBK class on the TL, an Ukranian driver wins the 600 class.
In the evening I load everything in the van such that I can still sleep in the back of the van. Then we eat up all food and had a nice chat with the organizers. I sleep bad because of the pollen. At 4am I leave direction Switzerland. Some 10 hours later I was at home.
I began my journey already saturday in the direction of Corsin. We needed a bit of time to load his bike (which was my old bike), a total of five (!!) sets of spare rims, tent, and so on in my van. We called it 3D-Tetris :-)
Sunday we left early and headed direction Germany. When we approached Karlsruhe, we wondered if we had missed the highway and were on some gravel road. The road was in horrible condition, big holes, very bad pavement. Matten Joined us in Karsruhe with car and trailer. So we headed with 100kph east. After about 800km, we arrived at the Eurospeedway Lausitz. But the track was still closed. So we opened a beer :-) After a short time, we were granted access to the paddock. Because the weather forecast was rather bad, we decided to rent pit #19 and put our bikes inside. Uwe (Raptor), Matten (TLS), Frank (TLR), Valanti (Aprilia Mille), Tom (Yamaha R6) and Uli (Triumph Daytona 675) joined us. We then mounted the tent anyway and secured it between Uwes and my van. Should provide some shadow in the case the weather gets hot :-)
The weather is still dry. Short drivers briefing, then into the leathers! My first impression of the track is that they added quite some bumps. Yes, it is really bumpy, even on the straights! The latter is a real problem, because I slip backwards on the seat under acceleration and then the front wheel goes up in the sky. If I grab the bars too much to not slip backwards, the bike goes into headshake over the bumps, so not a good idea. The (still) broken headstock bearing doesn't help either. I try the whole day to drive around that problem, but at the end I conclude that I need to change ergonomics (rearsets/seat). Lap times aren't too bad, at lunch I am at 1:53, so that's about the laptime I did last year with the TL in the race. In the afternoon I want to have the Dunlop D211 GP racer rear tyre changed - it is a bit torn up. But Willy the Dunlop tyre specialist refuses to change it and sends me out on track with the old tyre again. He thinks the tyre is still fine "don't look at the tyre, ride!!". Of course this comes with some setup hints. And indeed I drive 1:52 times with the old rear tyre, too. A special thanks to Stefan and Roman who helped me with quick rear wheel changes.
Barbequeue and pasta in the evening. The Germans like barbequeue, Corsin and I like pasta :-)
I wake up in my van at 6 int he morning because it rains. Oh shit, my back protector is still outside! That small problem was quickly resolved and I get back to sleep. At 8 it sill rains, so no hurry. We wait until 10, then decide to mount wet tyres and try it on the very slippy track (the Eurospeedway has been built for dry only CART races and the pavement is known to be extremely slippery in the wet). I do some laps, so does Corsin on the TL. Well, I don't really get a feeling but at least I know that the wet tyres would work. Some drivers leave early because they don't believe it would dry up again today.
At Lunch it doesn't rain any more, but the track is still wet. I am somewhat optimistic and switch back to dry brake pads and put the tyre warmers onto the slicks. But it would be too wet to start a race on dry tyres now. The organizer does a sighting lap in their van to check the conditions just before the races. They then decide to postphone the races one hour, the remaining hour is declared as free practice so everyone can do a lap and decide which tyre to put on for the race. I do one lap on wet tyres and then decide it's too dry for wet tyres. Then another lap on dry tyres and I come to the conclusion that starting on dry tyres is the right choice. Thanks again Roman and Stefan for the quick wheel changes.
The races of the 600 and 750/TL class go by and now it's my time. The track is completely dry by now. I am in the first row on the left, 4th position on the grid. The tyres front and rear ar Dunlop KR slicks in 6680 (medium) coumpound. Well, the rear tyre will now do it's third race, but I hadn't the time to put on the new one. I try to do a fast warmup lap to get some heat into the tyres. My start is not bad, one in the first row almost does a jump start and then finally starts too late. Because I brake a little bit too early for the first corner, I'm overtaken by a R1. Ah well, 4th again. During the first lap I remark that something strange is going on with my rear suspension when entering corners hot. It seems I changed sag too much and the rear is very nervous entering corners. I have to adapt to that during the first few laps. It was not good for the confidence that running over the curbs at the exit of Apcoa ended in a major headshake. I really thought the beast would spit me off on the straight line, it was very uncomfortable! It only ended when I closed my eyes and opened the gas wide open. Well, until I got that sorted, the R1 was much ahead of me. When he lost much time lapping slow drivers, I had hope for a top 3 finish again. My feeling told me that we were in the last lap, so that would be the last possibility to overtake him. I was very close to pass him after the back straight, but it didn't work. Oh well, now he's warned. But he did an error accelerating out of Apcoa, I saw my opportunity and braked extremely late for the following corner and just sliped through. He couldn't fight back until start/finish. Whow, first podium finish in the 1000 class! My best time is 1:50.9, about 2.5 seconds faster than on the TL at the same time last year.
After the winning ceremony, Corsin and I played another part of 3D tetris to get everything back into the van. We succeeded, but there was no room left for the food. So we decided to eat up everything, Matten and Uwe helped us with that :-) Just before it got dark, we left direction Switzerland. Corsin had to work the day after, so we had to get home within 12 hours. It was a quite rough drive through thunderstorms of rain, but we made it to Corsin until about 5 am. At 6am I was at home and definitely needed some sleep.
I can be happy witht he result. But the lap time wasn't really fantastic, still almost 3 seconds behind the top times. I had some setup problems with the GSX-R on this stop&go track. I definitely have to change something with the rearsets and/or the seat. And last but not least we changed the steering stem bearing
I mounted the rearsets at Eurospeedway Lausitz to get the footpegs further back. Well, to really play with footpeg postition, I needed different lengths of shift linkages. I fabricated them myself, I already had the required tools (M6 right and left handed die).
As stated above, the steering stem bearing has been replaced. When I disassembled the bike, I remarked that the front fender was damaged. The tyre dragged! Lesson learned: The Dunlop KR slicks are not only bigger, they also expand more than normal slicks. There was about 1cm of room between tyre and fender, but that was not enough at high speeds. Saturday everything was back together.
I left at 6am. The cat didn't want to go out, the weather was really terrible. Driving on the highway was really bad, there was so much water I would have been faster with a boat. In Basel the weather got slightly less bad and 10km from the track the sun was out with a beautiful rainbow. Whow.
At the track I met Corsin, Matten Gunna and Hans, some good friends. Oli was a new face, he's driving a naked TL1000S. Drivers briefing took a bit more time than usually, so our first session had been cut by 10 minutes already and two minutes later it began to rain. I waguely remember Gunnas raindance, so from now on the weather was always his fault :-) Well, I mounted the wet tyres and did one session in the wet - only to be overtaken by Corsin on his good old Honda 600. The next session was already dry enough for dry tyres, so I had to switch back to slicks. I entered the track about 5 minutes late and began to warmup the tyres. Take it easy, it just rained and there won't be much grip on track. Well, a GSX-R driver in front of me thought the opposite and attacked very hard in the corners. I knew that couldn't work and left a safety distance between him and me. Half a lap later the bike spit him off with a highside in the second corner. Thanks to the safety distance I didn't run over him - the session was redflagged after this incident.
When we were waiting for our next turn, we were irritated by a rather uncommon noise. Sounded like a racing car! It was an old 6 cylinder Honda motorbike! What a sound!
From now on the conditions were good, cloudy but dry. Now lets work on the bike! The problem in Eurospeedway was, that I always slipped back on the seat when accelerating hard. I now put the footpegs 2cm further back with the extra rearset plates. But the best change was to lower the shift pedal, such that my foot was still at an angle when changing gear (I use standard shift pattern). Finally I added a small foam bit on the seat just behind my bum that should also help against slipping too far back. The Dunlop D211 GP racer rear tyre began to slide a lot in the afternoon, it was really done now. The small changes certainly helped, but I wasn't really fast.
Well, the sessions went by very quickly. Matten unfortunately ended his day with a big highside. He was unhurt, but the TL quite suffered. Oli was driving very reasonably.
The racing day ended at 5pm, we then put everything back in the vans and I was back at home at 7pm.
|Sportfoto Trescher||Sportfoto Trescher|
Bottom line :
We were very lucky with the weather!
It was a good day driving with many TL1000 friends. There could have been a tad more dry track time, though.
I was travelling Sunday and as usually the traffic was quite easy. Remembering the horrible condition of the German highway around Karlsruhe, I chose the 2nd worst route via Schaffhausen and Stuttgart. Well, the last 25km in Switzerland were again full of roadwork. The remaining part was known from lastyear. I just got once after the Czech border, otherwise I found the way without any problems. I didn't have a GPS so the many bypass roads due to road work in Czech weren't a problem for me, I just followed the signs. I arrived at the track in Most just in the moment when the friends from Ducati Bern left. They were there for the Swiss championship. In a short chat I've been told that Greg Junod drove a new lap record: 1:36.4. I setup with Daniel and Valanti, just aside of Uwe in the Paddock. We decided to install at a bit a distance of the pits, because the paddock behind the pits is very small. Beer&barbeceue while most of the Germans watched football world cup :-)
Well, I didn't remark it until I opened the door of the van, but it rained during the night. Ah well. But it was already too dry for wet tyres, so no hurry. I instead mounted a new Dunlop KR106 on the 2nd rear rim as a preparation for the race. At 11:00 the track was dry and I went out for my first session. No big surprises, I knew the track already. Except that I forgot the line of the two last corners. Honestly I didn't really like the track on the 1000 - it needs serious confidence when accelerating with such a beast on a fast, bumpy and not very secure track. The laptimes were around 1:52, still 3s slower than last year on the TL.
In the afternoon I was motivated for the 30min sessions. Usually I prefer the 20min turns, but I really needed the additional track time here and time was going by very fast. When the turn was ended, I thought the track marshals did an error because I couldn't believe we were already driving 30mins :-)
My biggest problem was still accelearting out of corners. I asked Harry for some help and he gave me some advice how to sit on the bike. And he instructed me to change my style a bit: My style is too round for the 1000s. OK, I'll try that.
In the last session I improved my laptime to 1:48, a good 1s faster than on the TL last year. We still have the qualifying practice, there should be room for improvement. In the evening there was the usual barbeceue. We also watched some onboard videos from Wolli and Peter.
At the drivers briefing, the race director advises us to lock our stuff in the paddock during the races because of theft. There will be 3 sessions of qualifying practice. I do the first session on the old rear tyre, then switch to a new Dunlop KR108 in 6813 (medium) compound. Despite quite a lot of traffic on the track, I improved my time to 1:46.4. That's OK, but there's still room for improvement during the race. In the mean time, Uwe and Bernhard crash at the same fast corner and have to go to the hospital. While Bernhard is about fine, Uwe broke many ribs, the collarbone and had a lot of pain.
At lunch the starting grid is published. I'm on the 7th position, 2nd row. Not a bad place to start with the tight chicane at the end of the straight. I put 8l fuel into the tank, eat something and relax a bit. My strategy for the race: A good start, then follow the faster drivers in front of me. A good start will be very important! I watch the start of the 600 race from the start line and the 750 race from the paddock. Then it's time to get into the leathers for my own race!
Now I was standing in the pregrid of about 35 bikes. The warmup lap was very strange, because the one on pole crashed! Now that was a strange feeling. I continued my warmup procedure and was ready to do my good start. Lights turned to red - out - START! I got a really good start, the front wheel was about 5cm over the ground from 1st to 3rd gear and I was on the excellent 3rd position after the chicane. Georg overtook me two corners later, he was a lot faster. Unfortunately the race was redflagged another two corners later because of a big pile-up in the midfield in the chicane. I raised my left hand and drove back to the pits, certainly a bit upset because my dream start didn't turn into a result. The restart was scheduled for 15:30 and the race was cut short to 6 (instead of 8) laps. There will be no warmup lap. I wasn't sure if the latter was a good idea.
15:30 I was the first to enter the track. That wasn't necessarly good because it also meant my tyres wouldn't be fully heated on the grid. I drove through the chicane where there was a lot of oil and cement on the pavement. I thought well take it easy and attack later in the race. My start wasn't as good as the first one and Otto passed me when braking for the chicane and I was passed back from 5th to 7tz position during the first two laps. Then the race was redflagged again, the poleman had (again!) crashed, this time it was in the hairpin and he looked injured. Ah well, back to the pits. I didn't need to ask Willy wether it would be restarted again, his face told me there would be no restart. So back to the paddock where I immediately began to load everything into the van. Well, it was too bad that the race wasn't restarted again, but it was certainly the right decision. It went wrong two times, that was enough! At the ceremony I was amazed that I was 6th. Well, the last one overtook me in the last lap that was red flagged, so that didn't count. Alex and Wolli did a good performance in the 750 class.
I then decided to return home the same day. I was back at home at 01:30am.
Bottom line: I need to change my driving style a bit to suit the new machine. Of course I'm disappointed that the race was redflagged twice.
Later remarked: The new rear tyre spun on the rim. It was a stupid idea to mount it with washing-up liquid! I had to remove it, clean everything and mount it with regular tyre paste.
I didn't drive on track for 6 weeks, but I did drive mountainbike :-) The bike wasn't changed. While I cleaned it I found a possible oil leak around the oil cooler. I repaired parts of the heat protection in the fairing and fabricated spare shift linkages.
I got the opportunity to do this day of free practice quite late and finally got onto the waiting list. I phoned the organizer some days before and was assured that I was the first one on the waiting list. Well, it's not sure that I can drive. So I took my street bike and some maps of the region with me. That would be plan B.
I left at about 6am for the 1.5 hour journey. The weather was bad until I reached Basel, then it got better. When I arrived at the track the weather was dry. Corsin was there, too, so was Oli. Before the drivers briefing I asked the organizer if there was a free drivers slot. There wasn't, I had to wait another hour. But I still hoped that I can drive soon.
Corsin was already back from the first session when we saw a strange Aprilia Mille passing near us. The bike was extremaly low, the swingarm was fully compressed. I was curious what happened and had a look on the bike. Well, the shock snapped off! Now the bad luck of the Aprilia driver was my good luck: I got his slot. Just a signature at the organizer later I was on track minutes after 10:00. It took a bit of time until my machine passed the sound check and I could do just one lap in this session.
The day really started at 11:00 when I started my first full session. For the first time, we got the possibilty for official timing on this track. My bike was still on the old Dunlop KR106 slicks in 6680 (medium) compound. The rear was quite used, but it should do another day of free practice. Well, the overall pace was quite low, there were a lot of slow bikes in the red group. I managed to do a 1:21.49 in the first session, that was good for the 3rd place on the timesheets (but honestly not many drivers were using a transponder for official timing). I changed the setup a bit, the fork felt a bit too soft when braking hard.
In the session that started at 12:00, it began to rain very slightly. I decided to finish the session, it was so little rain it didn't really make a difference. Then there was the lunch break.
Our next session started at 2pm. I tried my new "fuel gauge" for the tank. It worked quite good, fuel consumption was around 4 to 4.5l for a session of 20min. I tried to drive as teached by Harry in Most. The laptime dropped very slightly to 1:21.45. The next session I improved the laptime to 1:21.37, but I still had problems accelerating hard out of corners. I asked Horst (one of the instructors) for advice. He told me basically the same thing Harry told me in Most: Change your style a bit, you're driving too round through the corners. And that I needed a bit more of patience accelerating from the apex.
I tried that during the last turn and despite of much traffic the laptime dropped to 1:20.71. So I'm on the right way. If I used a new rear tyre, I would have cracked the 1:20 barrier.
|Sportfoto Trescher||Sportfoto Trescher||Sportfoto Trescher|
Corsin invited me for dinner. Thank you, it was very delicious.
Bottom line :
- I didn't forget how to drive
- The bike works well, no oil leak
Only driving in the meantime was on the mountainbike.
During oil change on the GSX-R 1000, we remarked that the oil leak was probably on the oil side of the waterpump. I ordered the parts at Suzuki and was amazed that most of the parts (but not the oil side) are the same than on the TL. Other than that I (again!) repaired the head shield on the lower fairing. And I had to change the front fender - the big Dunlop tyre touched the stock fender and the rear mounting points broke off.
Saturday I drove to Corsin, he lives about one hour from me. This time it took much less time to load his bike and stuff in the van. We then had dinner and left the next morning at about 8:30 direction Brno. There were no major problems on the road and we arrived in Brno in just less than 10 hours. The paddock was still occupied and we were only allowed to enter at 19:30. In the mean time, we found two other Swiss drivers who had rented a pit. Because the weather forecast was very bad, we joined them. Oli also joined us in this pit, as well as four Germans. Well, later in the evening, we suddenly heard a very bad curse in the pit. One of the drivers had forgotten the keys of the bike at home. Thanks to the immobilizers on the EU bikes, he had to drive back to pick up his key. But he and his brother were back the next morning!
It was raining when I woke up. At the drivers briefing, the organizer announced free practice (no groups) until the weather gets better. Corsin wants to drive, so I pick up the rain tyres and brake pads in the van and mount them. The brake pads for wet weather are just genuine OEM pads, they work better in the wet than racing pads.
When we entered the track, it rained already much less. There was no need for a rain suit. I just took the old leathers and did some really slow laps to show the line to Corsin. Grip wasn't too bad, except for some corners with standing water. On the other hand, Brno is a quite fast flowing track, not really easy in the wet. And I didn't want to crash in the first session like two years ago - so I took it really easy. Perhaps a bit too easy, it seem Corsin was a bit bored following me.
Up to now, I didn't drive much in the rain with the GSX-R. The very agressive brakes were sort of a problem and the missing feeling for the front wheel because of the very hard fork setup. I then opened compression and rebound damping by 5 clicks to make the overall setup softer.
It didn't rain any more before lunch, but the track remained wet enough for wet tyres. The feeling for the front wheel was immediately better with the softer setup. But Corsin improved more and overtook me soon. Lap times weren't fast, about 2:52. Others were lapping at 2:37 at this point.
After the lunch break the track had almost completely dried up. I quickly switched back to slick tyres and racing brake pads and entered the track for our first 30min session. The track was not fully dry and there was one really wet corner after the back straight. Not ideal with the slick tyres, but on the plus side there was very little traffic on track. Lap time 2:22 - still with wet setup.
For the 2nd 30min session, the track was completely dry. Now I could start chasing for a qualyifng lap time. But temperatures were quite low, there was not much grip on the track and I was using an old rear tyre. Laptime in the last lap: 2:17.1
For the 2nd qualyifng session I mounted a newer and softer rear slick and had a new D211 GP racer mounted on the other rim. Using the slick, I drove my fastest lap time of 2:16.78. The rear tyre was good, but I got some chattering problems on the front. Entering the downhill "Omega" section, I almost lost the front and had to catch it with the knee.
After 15 minutes I drove back to the pits and switched rear rim. Thanks Corsin for the tyre warmer. With the new GP Racer rear tyre I ended up on a 2:16.9 - but there were a lot of bikes on track. I then used the remaining free practice for some setup work on the front fork. Ten minutes before the session ended I ran out of fuel - too bad because that would have been the last 10 minutes of dry track time.
Well, it rained again in the morning. Today is race day, that would be my first full wet race. At the drivers briefing, the organizer didn't decide the race mode yet and scheduled another drivers briefing for 11:00. Corsin and I switched back to wet tyres, put on the leathers and rain suit and went on track in really bad conditions. I couldn't quite follow Corsin and just drove as fast as I felt was safe.
At the 2nd drivers briefing, the organizer decided that there will be only one race for all classes at 14:00. Race mode will be a formation lap to the grid, then two warmup laps to get the wet tyres on temperature and 7 race laps. Because the conditions were a little bit better, Corsin and I did some more laps in the wet. Oli was driving quite good on street tyres.
I was 4th on the grid thanks to my laptime in the dry yesterday afternoon. A first row start in a wet race, I was quite excited. But my wet lap times were quite not exciting :-o So my strategy was to finish the race and get some points.
At half past one I began to put on the leathers and the rainsuit (takes a lot of time!), had the bike refuled and prepared everything including a dry set of gloves.
At 14:00 Corsin, Oli and I entered the track. The prestart worked quite good, no wheelspin it just worked like in the dry. So far so good. Warmup laps worked out OK, too. Then we were back on the grid, red light, out, GOOO! George on the new BMW on my left side didn't react as quickly, but suddenly came by on the rear wheel when the traction/wheelie control cut the power and the front wheel got back on the ground again. So I was in front of him again, but he passed me once and for all entering the first corner. In the first laps I was overtaken by a lot of bikes that were going much faster than me in the wet. In the 2nd half of the race, even Corsin passed me, now that got me thinking. So I fought back immediately accelerating out of the chicane at the bottom of the track. But not much later he passed me again, I tried to follow him and didn't let him go. The lap indicator displayed "1", we were going into the last lap. I tried to catch up Corsin as hard as I can, was driving each corner a little bit faster. And suddenly, at the bottom of the track, I was within few meters of the TL. I knew he had some problems accelerating out of the following chicane and so it was. I was able to overtake him there and was to my amazement also able to keep him behind me for the last two corners.
It was a good fight and we were both happy to finsh the race without crashing. The result wasn't really good, I was actually last in the SBK class and 6th in the Dunlop Cup ranking. Best lap time 2:45, I was just not lapped. I clearly lacked experience in the wet for a better result.
Despite the really bad weather, we drove a lot and had quite some fun!
After the long summer break and the somewhat slow wet race in Brno, I decided that it would be good to get a bit more track time. I joined the last round of the Swiss Championship via Ducati Bern. This event was organized by the German company Bike Promotion.
The bike has been prepared such that it fits into Superstock 1000 regulations. This wouldn't be absolutely necessary because I will most certainly only be allowed to run in the "Open" class where everything is permitted, but I wanted to be on a bike that really conforms the Superstock rules, too. The only part I needed to change was the front brake master cylinder, where I used an aftermarket Brembo part. Because the brakes worked perfect, I decided to buy a complete set of front calipers including stock Nissin 3/4" master cylinder and prepare a 2nd set of brakes. Harry sold me a good set, only problem was that one bolt to secure the pads was stuck. So the caliper had to be splitted and the bold drilled out. While I had the calipers open, I also cleaned them and reassembled everyting properly. My dealer then put on new steel braided brake lines. Last but not least I'd need DOT race tyres. So I bought a Dunlop D211GP in 200/55 6680 (strong) compound at the last SPS race event and ordered a new Dunlop D211GP in 6817 (hard) compound at Ducati Bern.
Tuesday I brought my bike and all the stuff to Ducati Bern where they loaded it in their van/trailer.
Wednesday we met at 18:00 at Ducati Bern. We, that's Koni (team owner), Dave (mechanic) and me. Shortly after, we left direction Munich. We had planned to stay overnight in a hotel after Munich. But there was a slight flaw, because there was a huge football even in Munich, there was not one free hotel room between Munich and Salzburg. Ah well, at about 4am we gave up and slept in the van.
Thursday we did the 2nd half of the journey. It was quite easy and we arrived shortly after lunch at the Slovakiaring near Bratislava. Koni ordered a hotel, but unfortunately it was the wrong one and over 50km from the track. Luckily we were able to change the reservation and got rooms in the "right" hotel "Bonbon" in Dunajská Streda some 10km from the track.
The weather was cold and wet and the pits were still occupied by other racers. In the mean time we met in the motorhome of Daniel "Leibi" Leibundgut, a well known name in Swiss Racing. I found out that he actually built Corsins 600 Honda race bike and won with this bike the 600 Supersport Swiss championship in the mid 90s. The remaining team members arrived: Alain (Superstock 1000 driver of the team), Tom and Canjo (Swiss Open), Jürg (instructor) and Rolf and Mischu (Swiss Open). Everybody of our pit drives Ducati except for Rolf (Triumph 675), Mischu (Honda 1000) and me.
When we finally got our pit allocated, we installed us in pit #9 and #10, just aside of Grisoni Racing, another team with Italian (MV Agusta) bikes. We then signed up, which is always a bit more complicated when you join a championship race. I had to get a temporary licence and sign up for as many races as possible. Superstock 1000 was not possible, so I entered myself for the two Swiss Open races and also for the two "fun" races by the Austrian federation. That's a total of four races, should be plenty enough! When that was done, I removed the lower fairing for tomorrows technical control.
Finally there was still time for some beers in the track restaurant and the hotel bar. Well, not for too long, we had not seen a bed for quite some time...
Friday we showed up early at the track despite wet weather, such that we could quickly pass the technical control. Everything was OK with my bike, the main points that were checked were if the oil filter, filler cap and drain bolt were safety wired. The helmet was checked, too.
The weather looked really bad. So I picked up the rims with the wet tyres in the trailer and mounted them including the stock brake pads. It was still heavily raining, so I put on the leathers and the rain suit and went on track. The grip was amazingly good, except for two corners with a lot of standing water. I drove quite a lot in the rain, usually about 40 minutes per hour with a break of 20 minutes. The track is really good in the wet, too. Very flowing, even when it was somewhat scary driving over the four "jumps" in the wet. The tyres showed some wear.
After Lunch, the rain stopped. But the track didn't dry, it was still so humid. Still the grip on the track improved a lot because there was much less water. I went on track and suddenly got confidence in the tyres. I came back with a good 2:30 laptime on still completely wet track surface. The bike got a little bit unstable on the straights, a sign that the tyres got quite some heat in them. It was also an interesting experience to drive wheelies in the wet.
The next session was the Superstock 600 and Superstock 1000 first qualyfing. The track dried up more and more, the best lap time in the Superstock 1000 class was 2:23. I would have been easily qualified with my time of 2:30 :-)
The track dried up only very very slowly. Nobody wanted to drive in these intermediate conditions, so it dried up even slower. Finally I decided it was dry enough for dry tyres and went out with slicks. I couldn't really drive the lines I wanted, because the track was still very wet in some corners, in special in the last corner and in the two corners where threre was standing water in the morning. For the very last session, the track was almost completely dry (except last corner) and I was able to drive a laptime of 2:21.
In the evening, Dave tried to repare the slipper clutch of Michus Honda. The clutch made strange noises and didn't work as it should. When they finally found the right tool to loose the special locknut, Dave quickly found the problem. A bolt behind the clutch basket got loose and caused some damage. After we found the missing bolt in the oil sump using a magnet, we also had to locate the small ball bearings of the slipper clutch in the pit, because somebody managed to loose them :-) With all that done successful, a bolt broke when reassembling the clutch pressure plate - it was a complete waste of time :-(
That day we stayed a bit longer at the hotel bar, because the others of the pit didn't drive that much. They shared only the instructors Ducati 848 with rain tyres.
Saturday we didn't get up as early as Friday. Thanks to Tom our tyre warmers got plugged in early and everything was ready when we arrived in the pit. I wasn't really up to the task in the morning, the helmet was a bit too small :-) I drove the first session behind Jürg, our instructor. That was really good for waking up. For the 2nd session, I again went out on the used rear tyre, that was already spinning quite a lot. For the last turn of pratice, I put on the race tyres and broke them in. They felt good, the lap time dropped to 2:19 without special effort. The qualification for the Swiss Open class had already ended, only the times from Friday were counting.
Then I ate something and prepared the bike for the race. Refuel, cleaned the windscreen, tyre warmers, and so on. An interesting detail: The D211GP 200/55 race tyre is a little bit more bulky than the D211 GP Racer in the same 200/55 dimension. The tyre warmers only just fit.
The grid for my race was presented only at lunch. Rolf pointed out that I was missing on the grid. So I went to the organizer to complain. They forgot that I was driving in this class, too and first wanted to put me on the back of the grid. Of course I did not agree to that, my qualy time was good for the first row! Finally the race director agreed to change the grid and I got my 4th position on the grid.
Our race was the first race after the lunch break. Race mode is classic: Pitlane opens, drive to the grid. One warmup lap, standing start, 8 race laps. I'm the only unknown driver in the first pit row. Horst Saiger is on pole position. I use the prestart to get a feeling how late one can brake in the first corner. 150m should be really plenty enough, even on cold tyres. We then drove a quick warmup lap to get some heat into the tyres. My start was excellent, I was 2nd in the first corner. Saiger and also Alain passed me already in the 3rd corner. A Kawasaki overtakes me on the 2nd jump. Just after the 3rd jump when braking for a tight left hander, Christian "Hitch" Monsch passes me on the MV brutale in a quite brutal way with elbows out :-) No no, not with me, I pass him again on the back straight. We have a looong fight, he usually accelerates better out of corners, I have a lot more top speed. Hitch also has some problems in the tight corners. Leibi overtakes us both in a fast part of the track. I am very close behind Hitch in the slowest corner when he catches a slide, I have to go a bit wide and brake a little bit to avoid hitting him. When I touch the brake, I hear a noise behind me that sounded like someone crashed. Hitch and me pass each other again and again, but finally I beat him and drove home the 6th position. Best lap time 2:17.2.
Back in the pits I shake hands with Hitch for the good fight. Canjo in our pit is already repairing his Duc that he crashed in the formation lap. Unfortunately Koni is missing. And unfortunately it sounds like it was him who crashed right behind me. And more unfortunately he has hurt his collarbone and is in the medical center. Dave and Mischu visit him and Mischu accompanies him into the hospital. Well, that was a bad situation, the team boss that crashes behind me because otherwise he would have hit me. But I couldn't to anything either, if I didn't brake I would have hit Hitch in front of me. Ah well. The races of the Superstock 600 and Superstock 1000 were quite interesting. Alain started well and was on a good position in the first half of the race. Then the tyres faded and he dropped back some postions. Patric Muff wins the race and the championship, best lap time 2:07.
Koni returns from the hospital with broken collarbone and an injured finger. He watches the video at the race control. Well, it was an unfortunate situation, we were all three extremely close and when Hitch made an error I couldn't do other than I did, Koni was surprised and had no time to react. It was a race accident. Of course I was feeling sorry for Koni, because he was really unfortunate to hurt himself on a such slow crash. Story of the day: When he arrived at the hospital, they told him he would have to pay right away. He agreed and thought he would have to pay a fair amount of money. X-rays of the collarbone, cleaning and stitching the injured finger, pain killers for two days and that alltogether did cost... 2 Euro :-)
At 16:50 I have my 2nd race of the day, the RTS fun race. The front tyre is torn up so bad, I can't use it for another race. It was the wrong compound. I change the front wheel, this one has a soft Dunlop KR106 slick mounted. The rear tyre will do another race, but I slightly change the setup of the bike. I am again 4th on the grid, but it is a completely different class with all different opponents. Pole time was 2:15, so that's within my possibilities. I start quite well again, but I am a bit too careful in the first corner and drop back again to the 3rd position. During the first lap, I watch the lines of the two opponents. Quite strange. I pass the 2nd on the brakes into the first corner and try to catch up with the first. We have a similar speed, he is a bit quicker in the fast part, I'm a bit smoother in the infield. I am able to slowly close the gap. Towards the end of the race we have to lap some slower oppenents. Suddenly I am on the back wheel of the leader. Unfortunately I loose some time myself when I have to lap someone in the very fastest corner. The grip on the right side of the rear tyre wasn't good any more, it slides very much. Despite that I am again on the back wheel of the leader when we go over the 3rd jump. In the left/right/left combination I have problems in the right hand corners because of the sliding rear tyre, that's why I was not close enough to outbrake him on the back straight. I tried everything, but he was first into the corner. I almost highsided when I opened the throttle in the last right hander! 2nd place, fastest lap time 2:16. Back in the pits I get a lot of congratulations for my race. I have a look on the rear tyre: It is completely destroyed on the right side. Well, that was the wrong setup then.
In the evening, there are the award ceremonies for all races. I am 3rd in the Swiss Open ranking, but Leibi is complaining that he was not in the Ranking, so I will probably have to return the cup tomorrow. In the RTS fun class I'm 2nd as expected.
Despite the injuries of Koni, we have a few beers in the evening. Fortunately his right arm still works to lift a beer :-) But I was very tyred after more than 50 laps and two races.
Sunday there are the 2nd rounds for all classes. Weather forecast was bad, but it is dry and sunny! I drive one session in the mornig, once with the torn up rear tyre and once with the used GP racer rear tyre. But the GP racer is moving almost as much as the destroyed tyre from yesterdays races, it doesn't make sense to race on this one either. So I have to find another tyre for the remaining two races. Finally, the 2nd RTS race is cancelled, so I only need a tyre for the 2nd round of the Swiss Open class. During the preparations, there are the Superstock Races. The 600 race was interesting, but I missed most of it. Muff wins the 2nd 1000 race, but Alain doesn't finish because of a broken gear shifter.
After the Superstock race, Dave mounts the good Dunlop KR108 slick in 7813 (medium) compound that I had in the trailer. I refuel the bike and change the setup in a different direction than yesterday.
The starting grid for the 2nd round of the Swiss Open are the positions at the end of the race yesterday. So I'm 6th in the grid. Grid positions 2 and 3 are empty, best conditions for a good start. Quick warmup lap. I start simply excellent, I'm the first on the straight, but Hitch elbows his way through. He seems to be in a hurry. Of course Saiger passes me again in T3, I didn't expect anything else. The Kawa passes me again, too. When Leibi passes me on the MV, I decide to follow him, because he wasn't so much faster than me yesterday. I am able to follow him with 30 to 50m distance, my bike is working fine. In the 2nd last lap, Leibi is a bit unlucky when lapping and I catch him again. On the 3rd jump, I'm on his back wheel, but this time I have the patience to drive the following left-right-left combination clean and slipstream him on the back straight. I was able to outbrake him into the last righthander resulting in the 2nd position in the Swiss Open ranking (Saiger and Hitch only count for the MV ranking). At the awards ceremony, I return my cup from yesterday, the results were corrected. And get a new cup for todays race. Final result is 4th and 2nd in the Swiss Open ranking, personal best lap time 2:16.66.
After the race, Dave and me load everything back into the van and the trailer and drive home in just under 12 hours. Koni returns by airplane, that's much easier for his injured collarbone.
Bottom line : Three races, 4th, 2nd and 2nd and a lot of track time and a lot of fun! Get well soon Koni.
The date for the that last SPS Dunlop cup event was not really ideal for me. First of all it's holiday time, so Corsin can't join me this time. And then the date is adjacent to my yearly army service, so it was clear that I can't make it home over night. So I signed up only for two (of three) days, such that I have one day to return home.
Wednesday evening, I loaded the bike and all the stuff into the van. The bike hadn't changed since the last event. But the damn oil leak was still there, now it was clear that it was not the oil cooler and not only the waterpump, but also the bond of the lower crankcase half that looses some oil. I tried to re-tight some bolts.
The van was more excited for the race than me. The exhaust made some strange noise and we had to fix heat shield around the rear muffler. Thanks dad for the help.
Thursday I needed about 11h for the 1000km journey. I left early to get through Zürich and Munich without too much traffic jams.
When I arrived in Hungary, the first impression was damn is it cold here. I then setup my small pit tent aside of the van and Wollis caravan. Met some friends in the paddock and had dinner with Wolli, Angie and Harry. I then didn't stay up for too long, because it was so freezing cold.
Friday 1.10. The usual schedule of SPS race. 4 each 20min sessions in the morning, 3 each 30min sessions in the afternoon. The red group in which I was had the "privilege" to drive first. Well, privilege, it was stil freezing cold! I added another T-Shirt and some more warm clothes and went on track at 9:00. I knew the track from last year, it was no problem to remember the line. But damn is that track bumpy, narrow and curvy! And the repainted curbs are extremely slippery. The track will definitely be a lot of work with the GSX-R 1000.
The lap times of my first few sessions were bad. I just wanted to change the setup of the bike (make it softer) when Willy denied and told me I should rather open the throttle and drive faster. He's probably right, the track needs really "guts". You can barely open the throttle, there's always immediately the next corner or a bad bump or whatever. It felt like when you open the throttle, you're too fast for the next corner. The worn tyres didn't help either to gain confidence. The rear GP racer was spinning a lot, the soft front tyre was feeling a bit "mushy", it was already almost over. At the lunch break, I was only at a laptime of 2:10. That's quite bad considering I was doing 2:06 on the TL last year.
So I picked up new tyres at lunch, new Dunlop KR106 / KR108 slicks for front and rear.
The plan for the afternoon was simple: Always keep the throttle wide open until the brake point. Sounds very simple, but isn't on this technical track. I had to learn how to ride over big bumps without the front wheel going too far in the air. And to drive the long bends with as much throttle as possible, despite the rear going a bit sideways...
For the last two sessions I mounted the good KR108 rear slick. The temperatures got a little bit less cold, but it would still be a bit cold for that tyre. But it worked much better than the old GP racer. Times dropped well below 2:10, but the front tyre felt really bad and also needed replacement.
So I put on the other rim with the brand new front tyre for the last session. That worked a lot better. At the evening, I had a 2:07 laptime on the chart. Not bad, considering that it was cold and I didn't drive over the curbs.
I wasn't fully happy with the brake, though. So with the help of Wolli I switched back to the Brembo front master cylinder. I also cleaned the underside of the engine of all the oil - the oil leak was still there. I also had a new Dunlop KR108 rear slick in 6680 compound mounted on the 2nd rim, that would be the race tyre for tomorrow.
Beer & barbeceue in the paddock. Well, not for too long, it was again freezing cold.
Saturday moring, the temperatures were even lower. I skipped the first session, because it would be nearly impossible to improve times with such a cold track surface. I drove the 2nd session on the old rear slick and prepared the new slick with tyre warmers for the 3rd session. In the 3rd session, the last chance to improve my qualyfing time, I drove a low 2:06 laptime. That was finally faster than with the TL. Not much, but faster :-) The time was good for 4th position on the grid, another front row start.
The next thing was to cook some pasta, the race would be very hard. I then prepared the bike and the helmet - a tear-off visor would be helpful because there are a lot of insects here.
The situation for the race was the following: I was actually 4th in the championship and could improve if I'm 5 points ahead Otto. But I also need to make 4 points more than the opponent behind me, otherwise I'd drop to 5th. A victory would have been the solution, but frankly the drivers on 1st and 2nd position were untouchable, they were much faster. So my target was clearly 3rd position.
After the lunch break, I had a look on the starts of the 600 and 750 classes. Then I had to prepare for my own race.
The pitlane opened and everybody drove the formation lap to their grid position. It didn't take long until the prestart. Arriving in 5th gear on the first corner, it should be safe to brake a bit later than usually, 100m should be OK. To my amazement, Andreas, the 2nd on the grid has an off during the warmup lap and drives through the gravel trap. Back on the grid he was already waiting for us, I guess he took a shortcut after the small mishap. When the lights turn red, the one on the 3rd spot of the grid immediately launches off, much too early. I don't care and put down a really good start when the lights are finally out. I win the start and I'm first into the first corner. Georg overtakes me just some corners later - I did expect that because he was much faster. In the early laps, Otto overtook me in the fast part of the track, but then made an error and I was able to fight back braking for the next corner. I now knew Otto was just behind me and the 1st was already very far. It was thus like leading a race with an opponent in your neck, very difficult. Even more difficult on such a technical tracks. I made two or three small mistakes, but Otto wasn't able to pass me. After about 4 laps, he passed me at T4 and immediately gained something like 50 to 100m in the next fast sessions. In other words he was gone, I was unable to fight back this time. Anreas overtook us, too, he must have had a bad start. I finished the race on the 4th position, behind Otto. Of course I knew that this was not enough for the championship. Best lap time 2:06.26.
Because I couldn't drive Sunday, I drove the remaining two sessions of free practice after the race. I tried some different lines that I saw behind Otto. Because it was just free practice, I used the old rear slick again. In the 2nd session, I had a nice little fight with Andreas that had switched bike (R1 <--> R6) with a friend.
In the evening there was free food and beer for everybody and of course the award ceremonies. I was 4th in the Dunlop cup ranking of the race what resulted in the 5th position in the Dunlop Cup championship.
Sunday I drove back home, unloaded the bike and the whole stuff and packed my stuff for the army the next day.
Bottom line :
Very difficult track with the 1000. I was about 6 seconds behind the fastest time, that's too much. Did I already write the weather was freezing cold? It was!
Well, that was it, my first season on an inline four. I expected a little bit more, a little bit better results. But it was a big change and not so easy. On the positive side I never crashed, had a lot of fun and learned a lot!!