Amid the tyre controversy at Queensland Raceway on the weekend, there was also much talk about the lack of parity between the bikes in regards to horsepower.
After proceedings on Sunday we had a chat to Glenn Allerton, Troy Herfoss, Wayne Maxwell, John Redding, Terry O’Neill and Mike Jones.
MCNews.com.au – A few of the boys are complaing about how much power that you have in the BMW S 1000 RR, what do you say to them?
Glenn Allerton – “Obviously I have got a lot of horsepower, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to ride either. Many times in my career I have been on slower bikes, so I will take the horsepower advantage right now as it always helps to have power on your side.
“It doesn’t mean it goes around corners good, and I struggled with that this weekend, in the last race we made a few changes and the bike came to life, I got the fastest lap, I think a lap record.
“I didn’t get a good start in that last one either, I had to come through a couple of Yamaha’s, then a couple of Kawasaki’s then fight my way past the Honda boys, I had my issues.
“But overall throughout the day, which started off bad with that crash in the first one and not taking any points… I really wanted to make a point in that second race to win the race, I had to muscle my way around that one, but the last one felt really good, I could flow and ride the bike the way it needed to be ridden, the changes the boys made between races were really good, it was a great battle between myself and Troy on that last lap, I enjoyed that, obviously I enjoyed it more because I came out on top (laughs).
“It is good for the series to have racing that is tight, it would have been exciting to watch, we’ve got a great sport and it was good to be able to showcase it like that.”
MCNews.com.au – How did the knee hold up over the weekend?
Glenn Allerton – “I would say it is worse than I thought it would be, but good enough to do the job, I just don’t feel strong enough to get the thing off the turns, especially out of right handers, I just can’t control it the way I should when it slides when I get hard on the gas, I usually grab on through my legs and through my core but at the moment I have lost a bit of strength there.
“I will get that strength back and be good for Winton. It’s pretty much a home track for us as the team is based out of Whoroully, Alpine Performance, so we go to Winton all the time and we are looking forward to going there.
“We have a lot of work to do on the cornering of the bike, just to settle it down a little bit, and get some corner grip then once I can use all that horsepower the BMW has got, then we will really be in business.”
MCNews.com.au – Next we caught up with Troy Herfoss. A good day for you Troy (Herfoss), it didn’t ended up on the most positive note but overall a successful day?
Troy Herfoss – “Yeah, it was a reasonably good day. After yesterday I wanted more, I felt as though I was riding good enough, any of us Honda guys at any stage could have been at the front.
“Jamie definitely had something on us in that first race. But that last race was the most frustrating last corner of my life, to get beaten in a drag race to the finish line…
“That’s fine, Glenn has got his package, and we have got our package, we have got a bike that turns well and is easy to ride, so, it is good to get good points but I am leaving here frustrated really with the way the weekend has gone, how it has been run.
“Frustrated that there are rules in place in regards to tyres, guys that had problems, the rules state they can start from the back of the grid, as far as I am concerned that is a fair rule, I don’t see why we have to get a new tyre halfway through because… we all know there was only one bike with the problem…. they are claiming that all of us had a problem, but in reality there was only one bike with a real problem. I haven’t said a thing about what bike does what, we have what we have and I love racing, but don’t change the rules mid-way through the weekend, that is my main issue with how things unfolded on the weekend.”
MCNews.com.au – Wayne Maxwell was fired up about the horsepower advantage enjoyed by the BMW and Kawasaki riders.
Wayne Maxwell – “The weekend wasn’t so bad, apart from the first race, which I had absolutely no control over… The way the regulations are, it allows guys on fast bikes to race near the front, when in reality they don’t have the skill to race at the front (Maxwell is inferring a reference to Sean Condon in this instance), they don’t quite have the ability to be there, but they are there because the horsepower of their bikes suck them back in to the race.
“It is obvious, to anyone that has eyes, that today the BMW and Kawasaki’s were super fast, but most of the riders on them had no corner speed.
“That is the rules we have got, and we have to play by, but I’m here fighting for a championship, and those guys aren’t in the running for that…It will be okay, there is a lot of races to go, I just have to win races.”
MCNews.com.au – Surely though Wayne, to be fair, if a rider can come out here, qualify for their place in the field, it is the rider’s choice as to which bike they ride, and of course privateers or semi-privateers would be stupid not to choose the fastest bike they can get their hands on, and as a result they have got every right to be out there mixing it up with you?
Wayne Maxwell – “They have absolutely got every right, that doesn’t mean the regulations are right for racing.”
MCnews.com.au – So what would you change?
Wayne Maxwell – “Well parity in regards to power would be a good start… You don’t want to start changing chassis etc. Parity with power would be a good start.”
MCNews.com.au – So are you suggesting that organisers should be somehow restricting the horsepower of the faster bikes?
Wayne Maxwell – “No, I would bring the specification of the other bikes up, it is not your choice to ride a Honda or Yamaha that is down on power, that is an obvious fact, it is Honda and Yamaha here as companies spending the money to showcase their bikes and give it the best possible chance of winning races. We know if power was more equalised who would have won here today, and the riders that would have filled the podium.”
MCNews.com.au – But if you open up the engine rules, and other rules, then the other guys on the faster bikes are also going to gain more power so there will still be a gap.
Wayne Maxwell – “No, you have rules allowing the slower bikes a few modifications so parity is there. But even if it is opened up for everyone, the bikes that are slower under the current rules and specifications (Honda and Yamaha) are going to make the biggest gains. All I am saying is, if you want a cheap bike off the shelf to take racing, buy a BMW or Kawasaki, but Honda and Yamaha, the brands that are down on power, still need to be competitive.”
MCNews.com.au – But at the opening round of the series, at Wakefield Park, virtually all the Honda riders were on some of the stockest bikes to ever grace the grid of top level Superbike racing in this country, due to their late arrival in Australia, and you were all very fast at Wakefield. And here today, Honda again have experienced the most success…
Wayne Maxwell – “But the BMW can still pass two riders in one go down even a shorter straight, so that, to me, is not racing. Everyone knows Glenn is a good rider, and fair enough he has ability and you can’t take that away from him, he would be fighting up the front on any bike. But you have seen today what happens when riders that are only in the mix because of the power they have get in a little over their head.”
MCNews.com.au – Next up we spoke to Yamaha Racing Team Manager, John Redding, and asked him to sum up proceedings from the Yamaha perspective.
John Redding – “We knew before we came here we were going to struggle, as it is a horsepower circuit, basically just damage control for us this weekend, just gather as many points as we could.
“Both Cru and Robbie had pretty good weekends, they exceeded the expectations we had in regards to the lap times they managed. Rick is still struggling a little bit but he has improved.
“We are looking forward to more Yamaha friendly circuits like the next round at Winton, and hopefully a better return to Wakefield Park, not so much looking forward to Eastern Creek (laughs).”
MCNews.com.au – The Honda boys are being very vocal in regards to what they see as the massive horsepower advantage the BMW and Kawasaki boys are obviously enjoying, and that there should be some sort of measures taken to achieve some parity on that scale. What are your thoughts on that? Is there an easy answer or method to do that? Or should nothing be done?
John Redding – “I am always concerned about someone adjudicating on parity, because, then they play god, then who is that person, and what vested interest do they have…
“I think that, really, I think that if a manufacturer has got a very good motorcycle then, so be it.
“Really, the whole cycle of new model development ebbs and flows.
“We have had our hugely successful years, we are struggling a little bit right now, but we look forward to the future and hopefully coming back into the game a little bit.
“Certainly, Honda have got a better bike this year, with Terry allowing SP’s, and HP4s for that matter, it has certainly put a cat amongst the pigeons as such, because we don’t have one, neither do Kawasaki for that matter… but look, I think next year we will come back fighting and this year we are just trying to do the best we can with what we have got.”
MCnews.com.au – And what does next year’s new R1 promise?
John Redding – “I haven’t heard a lot, but everything I have heard is promising, so I guess we will wait and see…”
MCNews.com.au – Next up we cornered a very tired Terry O’Neill after a big weekend’s racing. We neglected to put the parity issue to him on this occasion but will do so at a future date.
Terry O’Neill – “It was another big one, as you can tell I am pretty knackered, three big days, excellent racing, an excellent crowd as you would have noticed.
“Most of the actual racing I saw was from the AV truck on the live streaming and that was fantastic.
“Very happy with this round of the Swann Series, it is turning out to be a very good year for us this year.”
MCNews.com.au – And what have we got to look forward to at Winton, more of the same or are you bringing any new developments or introducing anything new at Winton?
Terry O’Neill – “We are yes, one thing, believe it or not, we are looking at a bicycle race on the Thursday evening, which you are invited to come along and take part in Trev.”
MCNews.com.au – And are you happy with the new electric bike class and will we see those on track at Winton?
Terry O’Neill – “These guys are more like mad scientists than motorcycle racers these guys, they are racers at heart, but primarily they are mad scientists.
“Some of the technology in the bikes is amazing, there is five of them on track now which is the best we have add and I believe by the end of the year we should have seven or more and it is starting to get some good racing.
“The electric bikes have the makings of perhaps something bigger and better in 2015.”
MCNews.com.au – Last but not least, we also had a a quick word with Mike Jones about his weekend at Queensland Racway.
Mike Jones – “We made good progress with the bike yesterday afternoon, and in the last race on Saturday we managed to get on the podium so today we made some more tweaks in the same direction, made some more good progress.
“We got on the podium with third place in that first race today (Sunday) which was fantastic, I was very excited to finish on the podium.
“I was hoping and trying to stay there in the next two races but unfortunately didn’t get a great start in the second race, which made it quite difficult, but I was relatively happy with sixth.
“Then in that last race I was trying my hardest, I was giving it everything that I had and unfortunately when running with that front group I tucked the front with only a few laps to go.
“That’s disappointing, but I set a new personal best lap time with a 1m09.2, which I think is around lap record pace, so I was giving it a red hot crack, but unfortunately wasn’t able to keep it together for a few more laps and had a fall.
“The positive is that it was just a slow crash at turn six, and I am unhurt and ready to go next time.”