Interview conducted by Trevor Hedge with Jed Metcher – Island Classic 2016
“Yeah..we’ve been struggling over even the testing…we’ve been struggling with chatter a lot….the Harris chassis is quite stiff…so as soon as you get a hint of chatter it really resonates through the frame. And that was quite an issue the whole time this weekend really until this morning, and that lack of track time of Friday really hurt that. We would have found the issue a lot earlier, but that’s the way it all panned out.
“But really happy with how it all ended. I really wanted to get a lap record really. I was hoping that with the 37.2 I did in the first race, that we could make a few changes and go faster, because I lacked a little rear grip in the first one, but we found the rear grip quite easily, but it made the bike a bit lazy. So there’s still quite a bit of testing to be done on the Harris.
“Rex has done a phenomenal job on the bike. It really feels like a modern bike. And the race center suspension, just every single time we rode it, it got better and better and we started to understand these things and now there’s absolutely no chatter.
“So this morning (Sunday) when I went out, after a few drinks at dinner last night, we managed to find the solution and yeah the bikes a lot lower, a lot lower centre of gravity and that was the fix.
“After a bit of a shocker in BSB last year, with the team falling apart around me and financial problems. I actually managed to land a ride with BMW Germany for this season…with Wilbers BMW, and they are the development team for all the BMW products.
“That’s going to be interesting as we are going to be running the BMW electronic suspension, and that’s variable via GPS and so on, so it’s actually live valving changes and so on. It’s quite technical and we’ve got a ten day test program as soon as I land at the end of February. So I’m going to learn a hell of a lot. If we go fast it’s going to be a bonus, but I think it’s going to be a learning year.
“I will be racing in the German IDF SBK series. No teammate at the races, but I am lucky enough to have Gareth Jones as my test teammate. He’s actually the official Dunlop test rider. So he works for Dunlop in France during the year. So to have his input will be massive, as he’s been on the BMW for three years and on the Dunlops. So it will be a very interesting year and I’m hoping we can put our heads together and use my experience now through race Center on the SBK, and with Gareth’s experience with BMW and Dunlop, and come up with something special. I’ll also be working for Wilbers suspension as well.”
“We are hoping to ride a Wild Card back here at Phillip Island for WSBK at the end of February. We’ve got a test on the 8th and 9th. We’ll have the Race Center RC10 (a ZX-10R based Superbike produced by Race Center), testing all the developments they’ve made over the last 12 months and we are hoping that we can find the good lap time. That’s the key at the moment.
“If we are fast enough over race distance to get it into the top eight, we will look at investing money in it. We have some sponsors, but we don’t have anywhere near enough to do it in a carefree way. Last year it cost about $25,000, once we did all the testing and everything, so we really need another $15,000 to make it happen.
“We’ve got some really great sponsors in Valid Technology and Demolition Plus who have put there hand up and said we can help, but they can only put in so much. And Race Center is a new business, and like any new business, it’s not easy to get it off the ground with cashflow etc.
“But we are a lot further along with the bike this time around, we’ve got the gearbox, we’ve got the engines and the radiator. We’ve got all the little bits that we had to prep last year in a very short time as we only got the sponsor late. So we are a lot further along with the develoment of the machine than last year. So hopefully we can come in and be fast straight away, which will give us the motivation, and hopefully with some sponsorship, to jump on board for the race.
“Then it’s off to Europe the next day, as we have testing to do in Spain.”
Mitchelton Wines 2016 Island Classic International Challenge Race Reports
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