It was not long after the first automobiles and motorcycles were produced that drivers and riders were testing the limits of top speed. And with all the recent press on Kawasaki's 300-horsepower Ninja H2R, one of the questions many people have is, of course, "What'll she do?"
At the final round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship this year, held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Saturday's Superbike race was held in very wet conditions while Sunday's race was in near-perfect sunny and cool weather. Comparing data from the two races provides some insight into how the rider adapts to those conditions, and we can even put some numbers on those aspects.
Over the years, there have been many great road racers that have got their racing careers started, or at the very least moving swiftly, by racing flat track. A few of the more recent are the legendary Hayden brothers and Jason DiSalvo. The Canadian flat track scene has seen a reversal of this trend in the past month, however, as four former and current pro road racers have shown up to have some fun in the dirt.
July was a busy month. First I spent a week in Japan testing for the Suzuka 8 Hour Endurance race. I had a crash, but I also learned the circuit with respectable lap times, came to terms with the challenging Yamaha R1 powerband, and started coming to terms with the special 'Suzuka' Dunlop tires (I use the term started lightly!).
I always get a chuckle when I receive an email with “race-winning data” to look at, as if it is somehow different or special compared to, well…data that didn’t win the race. It makes me smile because quite often there is not much to be learned from such data, contrary to what we logically think would be the case.
When the temperature rises, it is important to avoid overheating and dehydration. A recent group ride took a nasty turn when one of the fellows passed out at 110 km/h. I was out in front and didn’t see the calamity, but the riders who were at the tail of the group said it was one of the most distressing things they had ever seen. After a battery of tests, it was deemed that the rider had simply lost consciousness due to dehydration. Luckily, besides getting to go shopping in a few months to replace his two-month old Triumph Trophy, he only suffered a broken arm.
The new riders of today have no idea how good they have it. With cellphones, laptops, texting, Facebook and so on, communication before, during and after the races is amazing compared to what it was like a couple of decades ago. I’m sure if youngsters Adrian St. Amand or Jordan Molnar could gather around the rocking chairs of grizzled veterans Chris Evans or John Parker, they would hear tales of how it was in the ‘old’ days.
Time and again on our short Canadian tracks, we have seen 600cc machines turn lap times close to 1000cc bikes, and well-ridden 600s have occasionally made it onto the Superbike podium. Given the huge horsepower advantage of the 1000, the 600 must be making up time somewhere to be so close on overall lap time. By looking at GPS data from both bikes, it’s possible to see exactly where those differences lie.
In Part II of our interview with MotoGP star Colin Edwards, he talks about his team, his son, the Texas Tornado Boot Camp and the people that have helped him along in his career.
At the recent opening round of this year’s Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Shannonville Motorsport Park, I was at the track working with the Accelerated Technologies / Honda Canada team and Jodi Christie, using the team’s AiM Sports data acquisition system to help with setup.