This past weekend 28th and 29th March saw the Race Center team enter their Superbike with Jed Metcher aboard in round 1 of the Pirelli Road Race Series at the Victorian Broadford Motorcycle Complex. The team was using the race meeting as our very first test on the recently acquired, beautiful Matris Suspesion. Our first taste of the Matris product went very well and we couldn’t have been more impressed with how the product performed off the shelf. Saturday saw Jed and the Race Center team work on a number of different base geometry setups to find the working range of the Matris suspension and Race Center Superbike.
We tried 3 different settings on Saturday, all of which saw the outright lap record broken with some great riding by Jed. First with a 56.949, then a 56.794 in Race two, followed by the current and new outright lap record at Broadford with a blistering 56.639 set on used tyres. On Sunday our focus was on improving the bike further however we made a backwards step in Race 1 with the settings, still a 57.0s was knocked out on very used tyres. For the final race of the weekend the Race Center team went back to the settings used to record the 56.6 the previous day, but this time with a small variation and a brand new set of sticky Pirelli tyres that we had held off using for the whole weekend. Jed and Race Center were looking forward to seeing what sort of time would have been possible in this very, very early stage of development however an unfortunate incident saw our race over before it begun and Jed now recovering in hospital.
It was a very nasty incident and it could’ve been a lot worse so we are very, very thankful that while injured, Jed will heal and be ok, and that no one else was hurt. The incident occurred on the warm up lap down the back straight towards the approach to turn 3, it was a case of a number of circumstances conspiring all at once rather than anyone being at fault. Jed was getting himself up to speed tucked in flying over the rise on his normal race line & he had a small head shake over the rise which pushed the pads back enough to make the initial brake grab not so effective. At the same time another rider was getting his brakes up to temperature on the approach to Turn 3 and was braking quite hard on the approach, a little early but nothing unreasonable for a warm-up lap. Those who know the Broadford track would know that the effective race line narrows from the left hand side of the crest to the right kick over the back straight, effectively making the race line very narrow. All these circumstance left Jed with minimal time to slow and avoid the other rider on the approach to T3. But by all reports he almost did avoid him and only just clipped the other rider with his brake lever sending Jed over the bars and with the Race Center Superbike landing on his left leg.
Neither rider was to blame, nor were there any mechanical failures. Everyone can be an expert with hindsight but it really was a case of the stars aligning and even then the incident was so, so close to being avoided. Both riders feel terrible about the incident but we are just thankful no one else came down and that Jed’s will be ok once healed.
Jed has sustained multiple fractures to his left foot which will require plating once the swelling has gone down, and has also broken his fibular which has already been aligned and will not require pinning. On top of that Jed sustained a nasty gash to his calf muscle after being hit by one of the foot pegs, which has been stitched up earlier today at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. It is unlikely that Jed will be able to make the 2nd round of the ASC Formula OZ championship at this stage so we will be focussing on him making a speedy, but full recovery. He has a bit of a tough road ahead but is in great spirits. His focus remains on a complete recovery and the next changes to be made to the Race Center Superbike as it begins development to WSBK EVO Spec.
While Jed recovers the Race Center team will be very hard at work further developing the bike both in the new Brunswick workshop and out on the track with stand in test rider and team boss Darren Sciberras. While unfortunate we don’t see this halting the project’s progress over the next few months. We still have a lot basic work we can do with a test rider that would probably be a bit boring for our number 1 lap record breaking rider anyway.
Thanks to everyone for their kind words and support to both Jed and the Race Center team.
Also my website will be fully updated with pictures and info soon.