Brands Hatch BSB Press Release

MIST Suzuki Racing
British SuperBikes
Brands Hatch

Having only decided to switch to the British SuperBike Championship with four weeks to go before the first round MIST Suzuki Racing were always going to be up against it in order to be ready for Brands Hatch.

Coming fresh from racing in the European SuperStock class at World SuperBikes for the past three seasons the team was convinced they could do well in the UK despite still lacking that crucial title sponsor.

Initially it was a challenge to even understand the different options when it came to selecting wheels, fork offsets, engine tuning, etc. as well as planning for the different parts to arrive and scheduling building the bike around them.

As it was the lightweight wheels didn’t make it in time despite promises that they would be delivered pretty much every day for the two weeks prior to Brands Hatch. Without a lot of last minute help, from Harris Performance to make the suitable spacers to allow us to use the standard road wheels with the new Ohlins SuperBike forks, and Steve Jordan Motorcycles for rebuilding the engine the day before heading to Brands, the team would not have made the grid at all. In fact the bike was only ready to turn a wheel hour in to the first hour and a half practice session on Friday morning. We even had to adapt some rear sets at the last minute as that was another thing that was stuck somewhere between the UK and Italy.

Our data logging kit also failed to show up and we didn’t manage to get the bike on the dyno until Friday evening so we ran the first day with standard fuelling, and no electronics. In fact, other than a box to adjust the fuelling everything else was down to the Matt’s throttle control and the old fashioned route to achieving a good suspension set up.

Despite riding on slicks for the first time and having to get used to the new forks and brakes Matt acquitted himself admirably. The team were always mixing it with the majority of SuperBike Cup riders, many of whom had plenty of testing under their belts. The only time it was a struggle was when the changeable weather required intermediate tyres or another rear slick part way through qualifying. Relying on two sets of standard 17″ wheels instead of the five sets of 16.5″ forged magnesium wheels we had on order was a struggle.

Just getting to race day had been a huge challenge but the excitement wasn’t over yet. Well aware that he had thirty laps to show what he was capable of Matt took his time in the first race and quickly settled in to a fast rhythm after his customary good start. He was well placed towards the end of the first lap only for fellow SuperBike Cup competitor Tom Tunstall to slide off his bike on the exist of Clearwarys. By some random piece of bad luck his bike managed to stay on two wheels and kept going. As the pack approached the start finish straight the camber of the track caused the now rider-less bike to dive across the track.

With no warning the first thing Matt knew as he opened the throttle at over a hundred miles an hour was a bike appearing directly across his path some two hundred metres away from where it had deposited it’s rider. With nowhere to go and no time to take avoiding action the two bikes collided leaving Matt bouncing down the track and the once immaculate MIST Suzuki Racing GSXR1000K9 doing it’s best to shed it’s expensive parts as it cartwheeled to a stop some distance away. In fact the television cameras got a great shot of Matt and the bike sliding in to shot both looking worse for wear.

Matt was very lucky but the bike less so. The team are struggling to find the twelve to fifteen thousand pounds necessary to rebuild the bike in time for the next round at Oulton Park. The brand new 2009 Ohlins SuperBike gas forks are now only fit for the rubbish bin and pretty much every other part of the motorcycle bar the rear wheel needs to be straightened or replaced in order to race again. On the positive side, at least we didn’t destroy our new shiny lightweight wheels mainly as they hadn’t arrived in time, but no word on whether they will arrive for the next round so we are down to one standard front wheel as our fall back position.

Team Manager Mike Edwards was suitably philosophical; “Of course we were heartbroken to see all our hard work and very limited budget get destroyed in one move that was totally outside of our control but at least Matt is relatively okay and we have proved to ourselves that even with the bike being no where near the finished compared to the others we are capable of fighting for podiums in the SuperBike Cup championship and beating a few factory supported riders along the way. I think we can do well this season if we can just get ourselves back on track for the next round.”

The search continues for a title sponsor as well as looking for other potential partners to help support the team. In the mean time all contributions to the team funds are welcome and to get things going MIST Suzuki Racing are selling off their remaining 2007 and 2008 SuperStock bikes to help pay for some of the damage from the weekend. See for details.

Many thanks to our sponsors and supporters, including Mike Edwards, Steve Jordan Motorcycles, Harris Performance, GPR Steering Dampers, Leo Vince Exhausts, Silkolene and NGK without whom we would not have made it this far.

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