Jed Metcher Round 7 report.
The IDM German Superbike championship is again nearing to its conclusion as round 7 from 8 was completed at Hockenheim Ring on 20th to 22nd of September. Traditionally Hockenheim has been the Final for the German championship for more than a decade. This year the tradition was broken although the racing was as fierce as always.
We welcomed back Friday practise with rain as it was missed in round 6 at Sachsenring. Session one called for a “full wet” bike set up and a reasonable amount of caution due to the slippery fresh rubber inches off race line laid down by numerous Porsches and other race cars. The Suzuki GSXR 600’s forgiving power delivery helped to place us in 2nd position at the end of the first session.
Our second session began as the track was in the process of drying. My opening laps were simply to inspect the level of grip on track, it was easy to come to the conclusion that the track was at that moment still too wet for dry tyres. The waiting game began in the pit box, the team made the decision to run a wet front with an intermediate. I exited the pit lane with 6 minutes remaining in the session. Surprisingly the track had dried quite a lot and I was able to maintain good temperature in the rear intermediate. As I crossed the line for the final time I saw P1 on my pit board, which is was a relief as it has been a rare sight this season.
Fridays final session was completely dry but unfortunately cut short when I attempted to shift into 4th gear exiting turn 3. 4th gear failed to select although the electronic shifter still cut the engine while I was at a high level of lean angle. It resulted in a crash as all the weight of the bike shifting onto the front tyre over loaded it and lost grip.
Saturday Morning produced some brisk yet promising weather. Unfortunately our first qualifying session was cut short when I attempted to shift into 4th gear exiting turn 3. 4th gear failed to select although the electronic shifter still cut the engine while I was at a high level of lean angle. It resulted in a crash as all the weight of the bike shifted quickly onto the front tyre over loading it and lost grip. I posted a time fast enough for 10th position by the close of the session
Team Suzuki Mayer did a great job to repair the bike for qualifying 2. To our dismay we still ran into some technical difficulties caused by the crash which caused us to loose time in the opening moments. I only managed to complete 5 flying laps on track before a red flag incident caused the session to be concluded early. I managed to improve my lap time enough to start from 9th position.
I was hoping for luck more than anything in the lead up to the first race of the weekend. As we hadn’t completed many laps, we were forced to leave the decision of race tyre choice to our good friends at Pirelli.
My get away from the line for Race 1 went very well in the first lap I was able to cross the line in 7th position. I began my progression very quickly moving my way up to 3rd position, at this point a subtle “chatter” exiting the corner that I felt at the beginning of the race became much more apparent as the fuel load lessened. I was only able to salvage 5th position as I was in a tight group of 5 riders battling for the final podium position.
Our main goal for Race 2 was to eliminate the chatter in order to keep a fast pace in the closing laps of the race. During lap 1 I was relieved to have not encountered any “chatter”, I also understood that I was able to lap around half a second faster each lap. I had a great battle with German Luca Grunwald and Finn Tatu Lauslehto for 4th position, on the last lap I was able to pass Grunwald into the second last turn but Lausletho’s bike was too strong on the run to the finish line. I was happy with this 5th place as the gap to the win was significantly shorter.
Check out the IDM you tube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/IDMchannel there should be race highlights up soon!