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IBHR 2018 - Mugello Report

Over the last weekend of August, Talan and a small team (Darren, Hayley, Caroline) travelled to Italy for the second round of the International Bridgestone Handy Race (the World Championships for disabled motorcycle racers). It was a support race at the Italian Superbike race series, held on the famous Mugello Circuit. It was the first time that Talan Racing had been to the circuit and the first time for Talan out on the new Yamaha YZF R6.

The two test days prior to the race weekend were held in mixed conditions. Thunderstorms would rapidly develop over the track and cause sudden downpours and increased winds. It wasn’t possible to track the storms coming in, as they simply grew right on-top of the local area. The circuit was then able to dry out in a matter of 30minutes due to the 30oC heat and sunshine. Being limited to one set of wheels meant decisions were needed to be made over 45minutes in advance, due to the length of time it took to get the tyres changed over. This resulted in Talan going out an a dry track with wet tyres in one session and a wet track with dry tyres in another, however he made the most of what was available and used the laps to continue to learn the circuit.

Steadily the lap times were reduced in the dry sessions, and Talan qualified in 11th place overall with a 2’10.5 lap. The pace was high from the rest of the riders who were regulars to the circuit, and many were quicker down the main straight which would prove problematic on the opening lap. Mixing 1000cc and 600cc bikes together is always an issue and Talan was the fifth slowest (out of 32) through the speed trap.

The race was dry, and when the lights went out for the start of the race Talan got away quickly. However, many of the 600cc and the 1000cc bikes which had qualified with a slower overall lap, were able to overtake Talan before the braking point for the first corner. This resulted in him going backwards and losing touch with the faster riders, as he was then held up during the more technical section of the circuit. The race played out in a usual pattern….overtake in the flowing corners, make up ground in the long corners but then lose it all going down the long front straight. With an average of 230kmh top speed versus the other racers, who were reaching speeds of 250-276kmh, the positions yo-yo’d throughout the ten laps. Crossing the line for the final lap Talan was in 8th overall and 3rd 600cc. He was then overtaken once again by a faster bike, which pulled dangerously across in front of him. Talan had to swerve out of the way as the rider had applied the brakes early. The avoiding action caused Talan to run wide and lose touch with the other rider. Despite trying his hardest he wasn't able to close the gap sufficiently before the final corner, and once back on the straight, the faster bike kept ahead and Talan missed the final podium slot by 0.5second.

Initially disappointed not to have got onto the podium, the team realised that they had improved in all the sessions and finished with a best race lap time of 2’09.3, which was some ten seconds faster than the first dry laps completed back on Friday morning. Talan was becoming more comfortable on the new Yamaha YZF R6, trusting it to hold greater and greater lean angles. All things considered it was a very promising start to a new bike at a new track.

Next IBHR round is Magny Cours with World Superbikes (WSBK) during the last weekend of September. The next race meet for Talan Racing is the first weekend of September at Castle Combe.

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