Brands Hatch – An unexpected battle

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jedmetcher_brands_hatch_01Brands Hatch was set to be a promising round for The PR Racing team and I as it was the second time round at the iconic British track. We have been making progress on the lead up to the Brands Hatch round and were hoping for our best results.

Day one was a decent day although I found I was still learning the technical back section of the track and didn’t manage to place as high up as I would have liked. We did how ever improve on my personal best times by close to half a second later in the second session.

I went into day two feeling confident that we would be able to improve as I became more accustomed to the track. We had been making good progression up until mid session in free practice three where I got wide while wheel spinning and touched a ripple strip that had quite a bit of positive camber on it. That camber provided a lot of grip suddenly causing two rather aggressive tank slappers followed by a decent high side that sent me through an advertising banner. I was pushing really hard and had not been out that wide in any session before. That lapse of judgment lost us a lot of time just before the all-important qualifying sessions in the afternoon. The PR racing team did an amazing job to fully repair the bike before the afternoons qualifying, where the bike performed as if it had not been crashed.

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The first 20 minute qualifying session consisted firstly of a quick shake down of the bike to be sure that everything was 100%. By this stage I really only had 12 minutes to come in for a new tyre, get out and put in a lap time that could get us through to the top 20 and the next 12 minutes of qualifying. I unfortunately wasn’t able to make the lap time although we did find an improvement in the area of engine braking.

Race 1 was a similar story, with the struggles that I have had most season while trying to get along with the BSB superbike continuing to dog me. We seem to miss the confidence and speed needed mid corner to accelerate smoothly out of the turns, which in such a competitive class is absolutely vital to overall success. Finishing 18th and outside the points is bitterly disappointing for myself and the team at this point in the season, but bringing the bike back each time is vital to ensure we are working on moving forward not working on crash damage.

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Our goal for the second race was to sharpen the power delivery in the lower rpm’s tp help the 2nd gear accelerating corners and also keep moving forward on our engine brake strategy that we had improved from the qualifying session. I got off the line and unfortunately quickly realised that the bike was not performing correctly and was deteriorating as the laps went on. It became such a problem that I needed to stop to consult with the team, which lead to us not finishing the second race. The issue was quickly diagnosed and corrected by the team but it was all too late to continue.

jed_metcher_brands_hatch_03I want to thank the PR Racing team and sponsors for hanging in with me during these tough times as it is in no one’s interest to not be scoring points at a track that we have been to previously. We are off to Thruxton in two weeks’ time where I will be trying to redeem myself!

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