A busy weekend in motorcycle racing although all of it off shore. In the Le Mans 24 hour race, Aussie rider, Damien Cudlin had to settle for 7th in the race after putting the bike on pole and leading for much of the first half of the race. ECU gremlins eventually put paid to the BMW France’s entry (when is BMW going to wise up and stop trying to develop their own, in-house, electronics?) Two more Aussies also did well, Steve Martin sharing the Yamaha Austria entry that finished 3rd and Cameron Donald sharing the TT Legends bike that finished 5th. Considering how huge endurance racing is in Europe, to have that many Aussies drafted in to top teams speaks wonder for our talent development here. Just wish we could get some fair dinkum endurance racing here. Oh, the race was again won by Kawasaki, but the Suzuki team extends its points lead in the championship by finishing 2nd.
In the BSB, Josh Brookes took a win and a 3rd, but John Hopkins on the Crescent Suzuki, despite recovering from finger surgery during the week, extended his points lead with only 3 races to go. Aussie Glenn Richards, a long-term campaigner in the BSB, won the Evo Class.
In WSBK, Carlos Checa strengthened his grip on the 2011 title with a 3rd and a win at Imola, Castrol’s Johnny Rae bouncing back for a win in Race 1 after a dreadful season with injury. Haga rode well for an old bloke to score well on the Aprilia. Most of the talk in the paddock, however, concerned not when Checa would clinch the title, that seems to be a given, but what would be happening next year with some of the other teams. Francis Batta, of the Alstare Suzuki team, said that Suzuki will be making a decision on its involvement (or otherwise) in both WSBK AND MotoGp next weekend at Motegi and will announce their intentions there. However, he revealed that he had already been told that he should expect no direct factory support and that he will have to soldier on with 2011 bikes, raising the money for on-going development for himself. Given that the GFC looks like rearing its ugly head again at just the wrong time, don’t be surprised to see Suzuki pull the pin entirely on both teams. Despite saying that he’d never consider racing another brand of bike, rumours are circulating that Batta has been in talks with MV Agusta.
Yamaha’s position is similarly ambiguous. Despite having the runs on the board in the WSS, Parkingo officials have been told during the week that they will not be moving up to WSBK next year to run the Superbike squad. Whether this signals a more direct involvement from the factory for 2012 or a complete withdrawal, we are still in the dark.
After the PCRA meeting the weekend before last that was pretty low on entries, it is to be hoped that they pick up for this weekend’s final round of the series at Broadford Park, in Victoria. The old puffers (that’s the bikes, not the riders) certainly do turn on a good show and it will be worth the price of admission to see them wrestling the big bikes around the tight confines of the BP.
The latest rumour out of Italy is that Ducati’s test at Mugello during the week was very successful with Rossi equalling Stoner’s times set earlier this year on the similar 1000cc bike. Skeptics are quick to point out how ridiculous these claims actually are given that they are coming from the press rather than the team and given that the test was closed to everybody BUT the team. I’ll believe it when and if I see it.
My brake disks should be back this week and work is in progress lacing up the wheels. I am so close to a rolling chassis I can almost taste it.
This restoration business is infectious. I’m watching another project on ebay today!