Glenn Allerton wants to up the ante in 2015 – By Trevor Hedge
The NextGen Motorsports Team might be calling it a day, in their present format at least, but current ASBK Champion Glenn Allerton wants to make it clear that he still has plenty of fire in his belly and is eager to be back on track stronger than ever in 2015.
Despite a massive horsepower advantage on the BMW S 1000 RR, the Sydneysider never managed to successfully challenge the Team Honda (Wayne Maxwell – Jamie Stauffer – Troy Herfoss – Josh Hook) juggernaut that steamrolled their way through the Swann Australasian Superbike Championship. Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP riders, including privateer Glenn Scott early in the season, dominated in a fashion that nobody, including Team Honda themselves, ever imagined would have taken place.
Allerton did add another ASBK Title to his tally in 2014, but with the rest of Australia’s domestic road race stars effectively boycotting the troubled Motorcycling Australia run series, it was a title victory that is somewhat tarnished.
A troublesome knee injury plagued Allerton throughout the early part of the year, before it demanded surgical intervention halfway through the Swann ASC-FX Series.
We chatted with the 33-year-old three-time Australian Superbike Champion after his Monday evening workout session, and he was all worked up about getting back on top in 2015.
Trev: Glenn, you have obviously struggled this year to match the pace of your regular sparring partners, apart from the knee injury, what has been holding you back?
Glenn – “We really struggled this year to get the HP4 to perform really well on the ASC control tyre, I feel that it was a lower spec’ tyre, and with only one set per day that meant the grip that was available made it difficult to get the settings right, to get the most out of the huge horsepower that the BMW does have.”
Trev: I know that earlier in the season, at the second Wakefield Park round, you and your team were adamant that the Honda guys had cheated in some way shape or form, as their drive out of every turn was so superior to what you could achieve that you demanded they be put on the dyno. On that dyno, the same one that they were also put on at the opening round of the series, they reeled off the same horsepower figures they recorded at the start of the season. That must have been a really frustrating round for you…?
Glenn – “I knew heading to Wakefield that they (Honda) would be strong as it is such a tight and twisty circuit, with a lot of bumps, and it is obvious that the Honda chassis seems to work so good on the bumps…
“Look, I think even just the vibe you get from that team, you have four competitive guys that are all champions in their own right, a race team is always going to go forward in that scenario. They are going to push development, as they want to stand out above each other.
“It’s a tough sport and you have got to be at the front, each one of them was trying to find an edge over each other, and as they did, they all then pushed forwards further again.”
Trev: You mentioned the ASC-FX Dunlop control tyres. But we also went to Phillip Island where you were on your preferred Pirelli tyre, as were the Honda guys. Your bike was consistently 20km/h faster than the Honda, yet you were 1.3 seconds a lap slower.
Glenn – “We didn’t get a chance to test, and we have been around that track a second faster on those tyres than what the Honda boys managed.
“And to be honest, by the end of ASBK we had an engine developed in ASBK specification that was just as powerful as that WSBK engine we achieved those times on early in the year. We just missed the settings at the MotoGP event to take advantage of the extra grip we had available.
“At MotoGP where you get a session at like 8am in the morning, and the next thing you know you are qualifying. You just don’t get any time to correct any problems at the MotoGP event.
“And if you don’t do a test down there, like the Honda boys did, then you are behind the eight ball straight away and you just don’t get any time to correct those problems at the MotoGP event. If you don’t hit the ground running there you are never going to catch up.”
Trev: It seems to be a common theme, with not just the BMW but pretty much all the European bikes, that while they have an extreme level of performance, the window for extracting that level of performance from their chassis is quite narrow. It is like if they are not spot on in the chassis set-up for any given situation, then you are a mile off and just not competitive. While take the Honda, for example, and not in anyway trying to discredit the hard work that we have all seen first hand the boys at Team Honda put in at every round, the Fireblade seems to be pretty close to the mark where ever they go as soon as they pull it out of the truck, without even touching a clicker. And from there they can just fine tune a little. While set-up for the European bikes is almost like starting from a blank slate for every different circuit, or tyre, or track condition etc..
Glenn – “I couldn’t agree with you more. Obviously Honda have developed an extremely good chassis with all their experience in MotoGP and other categories, as have Yamaha. You just have to look at MotoGP. All the other brands that come in with a lot of horsepower, they just play catch-up in the chassis to try and get on level terms with those vastly experienced brands.
“The tracks we went to this year the chassis was vital. Mallala has a low grip surface, as does Wakefield, where there is also a lot of undulation and bumps in the corners. If your chassis is not working properly then you are in trouble, especially if you have a lot of horsepower, it just makes it a tough job.”
Trev: I believe there might be a couple of opportunities for Glenn Allerton in 2015, but clearly you are still on the hunt for the outcome that will put you back at the forefront of the competition come next year.
Glenn – “At this point in time I haven’t had anything put in front of me in writing, but I am trying to get myself on a factory team again if any opportunity presents itself.
“It might have seemed like NextGen BMW were a factory, or semi-factory team, but at the end of the day we were just a privately funded crew of enthusiasts that worked really hard, and we did a good job to get what we did out of it, but I want to get back in a position that has that vital factory support.
“With the team I currently have I still feel we can do the job, we just need the right support behind us, from a manufacturer that wants to win, then we can do the job.
“I feel that winning another championship is inevitable with the right support, I know I can do it.
“I am really hungry to race next year as potentially, 2015 could be even more exciting than this year.
“Even though there is a perception out there amongst some of the industry and sideline commentators that road racing is dead, this year we have had some of the best racing ever.
“At Eastern Creek on the weekend there is one of eight of us that could have won the race, at any point, it just needs to get the manufacturers behind it and a bit of outside support.
“We have got an awesome sport that people get excited about when they come to the races, we need more people to come to those races, and in 2015 we can take it to yet another level.”
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