The draw to determine the winner for our brand new YAMAHA R1 60th Anniversary edition took place at 9pm (21:00GMT+1) on Wednesday 26th July. The winner was Adam Thresher whose lucky ticket was drawn by our website’s random ticket generator. We want to say a huge congratulations to Adam and also to say thank you to everyone who entered our draw. We’ve met some fantastic people during the events that we’ve attended and if we could have made you all winners we would have. But don’t be too disappointed if you didn’t win as MotoPrizes are going to be launching a new competition very soon, giving you the chance to pick the bike you win! Further details on this new competition will be sent to all previous entrants via email soon, so look out for that message as you won’t want to miss out.
It seems like only 5 minutes ago that everybody was joining in congratulating Luke Mossey and his epic maiden double victory at Brands Hatch Indy circuit, but already it is race week and the BSB circus rolls on into the picturesque Cheshire hills and the rather stunning Oulton Park circuit.
I think everyone is hoping for more of the same for this round compared to the last. Albeit perhaps without the technical problems and crashes that plagued a number of the top riders. Every true race fan prefers a genuine hard scrap for victory compared with gifted places due to DNF’s. We’re absolutely not taking anything away from Luke Mossey, Leon Haslam, Christian Iddon or any of the other guys. To finish first, first you must finish is what they say, right? I think the point here is that there is a massive amount of talent on that BSB grid and we all want to watch epic races with hard fought victories unfolding for our viewing pleasure!
Oulton Park is sure to not disappoint us. This roller coaster of a circuit with it’s changes in gradient, mixture of fast and slow corners and surrounded by beautiful countryside means that this circuit is a favourite, no matter whether you’re a rider, team member or fan.
MotoPrizes will be at Oulton Park selling tickets for our prize draw to win the stunning Yamaha R1 60th anniversary edition motorcycle. If you’re around make sure you come over to see us, if only to take a look at our awesome prize in the flesh – although we’d obviously like you to buy a ticket too 🙂
So fingers crossed that the weather is kind to us and that we’re treated to more fantastic racing, not only from the Superbike boys but from all the support classes too who also never fail to entertain the crowds.
We look forward to seeing you there!
I can’t think of many other venues more suitable for the launch of our new competition than Brands Hatch. A natural amphitheatre with an illustrious history that has seen some of the worlds greatest motorsport competitors on both 2, 3 (we can’t forget the awesome sidecar racers here!) and 4 wheels compete wheel to wheel and elbow to elbow over the years. Couple that with a fantastic weekends racing courtesy of the MCE Insurance British Superbikes and we’re onto a winning combination (no pun intended!) Being our first public facing event it’s fair to say that we were a little nervous and apprehensive. However, we needn’t have been because the feedback we received from everyone was spoke to was really positive. The beautiful Yamaha R1 60th anniversary edition quite rightly attracted a lot of attention and many of those who came to speak to us ended up buying tickets in the hope that they will be the lucky winner of the fantastic bike.
The reality is that there can only be one winner, but I found myself rooting for everyone who I sold a ticket to! I sincerely hope that whoever wins in October is over the moon with their prize and all of us at MotoPrizes will be super excited to make the draw and give the good news to that one lucky winner.
Away from us and back to the racing, we want to congratulate Luke Mossey on an excellent maiden double victory. He rode with passion, determination and a drive to show his team, his team mate, all the other riders and every BSB fan that he is a real threat for this years crown. Those who thought they might see a two-horse Byrne and Haslam race are in for a bit of a shock I think! We were gutted to see Ellison fall after such a strong weekend where he smashed the lap record, put the bike on pole and then acheived the fastest lap in race one. To come away with two DNF’s and zero points must be gutting for him and his team. It was also a shame for others who crashed during the races including Shakey Byrne on his BeWiser Ducati during race 2 after the losing the front on his Panigale. He’ll no doubt come back stronger and more determined than ever to get onto the podium at Oulton Park for the round 3.
We’re all very much looking forward to the next round at Oulton Park on 29th April – 1 st May. We’re looking forward to meeting more fans, selling more tickets and watching some more of what is easily the best domestic Bike racing championship on the planet.
See you at Oulton!
Nobody ever forgets their first track day. For many, the instant buzz of actually being allowed to go as fast as you dare is hugely addictive and opens up a whole world of fun, freedom and life-long friendships. I am one of those hooked on the adrenaline rush of being knee-down at 100+mph on what you believe to be the edge – although you’re usually far from it.
But let’s say you’ve never been on track before and you’re quite keen to give it a go. How and where do you start? There are websites, Facebook groups and forums dedicated to those who enjoy riding on track and usually they’re pretty welcoming to newcomers. But here we’re going to run through some of the basics to get you going in the form of a question and answer session. Let’s make an assumption that you’ve got a full motorcycle licence a bike (neither of which are actually necessary, but we’ll come onto that later) and some half decent safety kit.
Q: I love riding my motorcycle but hate not being able to make the most of the bikes capabilities on the road. Should I do a track day?
A: Simple answer here is yes. You’re already clued up on the fact that riding fast on the road is dangerous to both yours and others health and also potentially dangerous for your licence should you get caught going too fast. A track day is the only way you can really enjoy and exploit your bike for what it was designed for.
Q: OK, understood. But surely I’m just going to crash and smash up my pride and joy if I take it on track?
A: That’s not true and there’s no real reason to fear using your own bike on the track. Yes accidents do happen and yes you can’t control everyone around you. But if you stick within your abilities, listen carefully to the safety briefings, respect those around you and act sensibly there’s no reason why you couldn’t enjoy countless incident-free days on your bike.
Q: I’m still worried about my bike getting damaged. Is that game over for me?
A: No. There are a few options open to you here…
- You can hire a track bike. There are some great companies out there that provide everything you need to enjoy a day on track with a bike they supply to you. The price normally includes fuel, wear and tear on tyres brakes etc plus they will set the bike up for you and guide you through the day. Bike hire is a great way to start in the world of trackdays
- You can insure your bike to cover any damage. There are specialist companies out there who will provide cover for track days, for a fee of course. Alternatively your current road insurance might already cover you. Some policies include it as standard, but beware of excess amounts and restrictions they impose.
- Buy a dedicated track bike. That’s possibly not realistic for many, however I personally was one of those who decided to go straight out and buy a track bike having never done a track day, so that is an option.
Q: Right, I’m going to go for it and use my own bike. What next?
A: Well, you need to book a track day! There are plenty of providers out there offering days at almost every circuit in the country throughout the year. The sensible thing to do would be to book one at a circuit locally to you, especially if you plan on riding there. Once you’re hooked you can travel around a bit and explore some of the great circuits out there.
Q: Do I need tyre warmers, slick tyres and a garage worth of tools?
A: No absolutely not. There are plenty of people who ride their road bikes to the circuit, adjust their tyre pressures slightly and go out and enjoy a day on track. If you decide to take things more seriously then there is a whole world of extras you can buy to go with your new hobby. But don’t get stressed about not having all that kit right from the start.
Q: That makes sense, but will my bike be ok on track for a day?
A: The answer here should be an automatic yes, provided your bike is in a road-worthy condition. But there are some simple checks you can do to make sure you don’t fall foul of any mechanical issues.
- It is imperative that your tyres are in a good condition. They don’t need to be super-sticky race spec tyres, most tyres these days, even sports-touring tyres, are more than capable of knee (and elbow in some cases) down lean angles. Just make sure they have a good amount of tread as a day on track will punish them much harder than any road ride. Also check that they’re not old and cracked and ideally puncture repair free.
- A track day is very hard on your brakes as you would imagine. Make sure your brake pads have a good amount of life left. If they’re nearly worn get a new set. Don’t scrimp on the basics, especially when they potentially could save your life
- Fluids and general condition. Your bike will be pushed hard on track, if it’s not been serviced in 5 years put some new decent oil in there. Make sure the coolant levels are topped up and that your brake fluid is clean. Basically a well-serviced and maintained bike should be fine.
Q: Got all that. How about my riding kit. Do I need a 1-piece leather suit for example?
A: No. Most circuits and track day providers will insist that you wear leathers, but you can wear a two-piece suit as long as it zips together most of the way round. You will need to check with your track day provider as to their conditions, but any relatively modern sporty two-piece suit should be fine. You will be required to wear a full-face helmet, boots and gloves in addition to your leathers. It’s always recommended that you wear a back protector too, although it’s not mandatory.
Q: I’m a pretty quick road rider, shall I go straight into the ‘fast’ group.
A: No. No. No. No. Don’t let your ego ruin yours and potentially someone else’s day. Road riding and track riding are vastly different and no matter how good you are on the road, make sure your first track day is in the novice group. You might find you have Rossi-esque talents from the off in which case you can move up a group next time out. Mostly though, people need to build track confidence and that takes time and requires you to be in the correct group. When you’re faster than almost everyone in your group, it’s time to move up. But don’t worry about how long you spend in the novice group, it’s not a race…
Q: It rains a lot here, can’t I ride on track somewhere warm and sunny instead?
A: Absolutely. There are plenty of track day suppliers out there who offer track days in Europe and beyond. Spain is popular due to its good weather and track days there are good value for money. You’re looking at paying anywhere from £300 to £800 for 3 days on track, which is good considering how much a single day in the UK costs. The cost generally includes shipping your bike out to the circuit, the days on track and accommodation. You will be responsible for flights, hire cars, food, spending money etc. Be warned though, European track days are hugely addictive!
The above barely scratches the surface when exploring the world of track days. The best thing to do is just crack on and book one. Just be prepared to have a new favourite wallet-draining hobby!
British Super Bike – Introduction
The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship (BSB) is one of the greatest domestic bike series in the world, and continues to produce some of the sport’s hottest properties.
The MCE BSB bikes average more than 180bhp and are capable of reaching 200mph. If you haven’t witnessed the atmosphere first hand, the explosive acceleration off the line or the riders rubbing elbows at incredible speeds – then you really should!
MCE BSB has a huge following of fans who follow the championship around the UK, and that is a testament to the teams and riders who push themselves and their bikes to the limit, whilst never forgetting that they’re racing to entertain the massive crowds at the circuits.
MCE BSB is now a globally recognised brand, broadcast live throughout Europe and Asia, with some of the world’s best riders and most prestigious manufacturers. And, above all, it’s possibly the most thrilling spectator sport on the planet!
Name: Shane Byrne
Team: Be Wiser Ducati
Born: Friday 10th December 1976
Home: Lambeth, London
Likes: Cycling, riding motorcycles, flying helicopters
About: Shakey was club racing in ’97 he got noticed by Colin Schiller who owned and ran Fastbikes magazine, soon after Shakey started testing for the magazine and Colin got Shakey plenty of tests on race bikes which quickly aided Shakey along the way towards British Superbikes.
Byrne emerged in the British Superbike Championship in 1999, initially on a private Kawasaki. In 2001 he finished eighth in the championship onboard the performance house Suzuki, which was raced in the world Superbike Championship in 1997 by the Harris brothers and is now being restored back to this specification. Byrne had five top-five finishes in the 2001 season and was champion of the Cup for privateers; he was the privateer winner in 22 races out of 26.
He then joined Renegade Ducati for 2002, taking his first British Superbike Championship win, replacing reigning champion Steve Hislop with MonsterMob for 2003. He stunned the paddock by storming to a string of wins, taking the title with ease. He impressed further by achieving a double win at Brands Hatch for the British round of the Superbike World Championship.
For 2004 he joined fellow Brit Jeremy McWilliams in MotoGP with Aprilia, although he missed several races because of injury. He spent much of 2005 racing for Kenny Roberts‘ team on a KTM bike, before they were forced to pull out due to an internal dispute between the chassis and engine manufacturers He raced in Malaysia and Qatar for Camel Honda, replacing the injured Troy Bayliss. But after finishing 14th and 13th, Byrne did not impress Honda and was replaced by Chris Vermeulen.
Twenty-four hours after clinching the British Superbike Championship, Byrne confirmed that he would compete in the 2009 World Superbike Championship with the Sterilgarda Ducati team along with Alex Polita. This was his first full-time World Superbike Championship, although he has made successful wild card appearances in the past. Byrne became Sterilgarda Ducati’s sole rider in February (due to apparent financial problems forcing Polita out) and recorded his first podium with the team in second place in the first race at the San Marino round of the Championship.
Due to financial problems, the Sterilgarda team failed to announce its intention to compete in the 2010 Superbike World Championship season, leaving Byrne without a confirmed ride for 2010. In November 2009, Byrne announced that he had signed with the Althea Racing team for the 2010 season. He raced alongside former Honda rider Carlos Checa. He was well behind Checa in performance and had no top-five finishes by midseason. He said he was “bitterly disappointed” with the season as a whole.
For 2006 he returned to the British Superbike Championship with Rizla Suzuki squad. His first podium came in Race Seven despite suffering a severe stomach virus that weekend. He missed Races 11 and 12 after a 187 mph crash caused by a brake failure; he was not seriously injured. At Knockhill he qualified second and followed with a second place finish in Race One. The team’s first win of the season came in Race Two. This was despite the team’s bikes having been stolen and dumped in a barn alongside horse manure the previous week. At the final round of the season he was running third when he highsided, being knocked out in the process. Although he again escaped serious injury, he was unable to compete in the final race of the year, which meant he slipped from fourth to sixth in the championship standings.
For 2007, Byrne was reunited with his former Monstermob boss, Paul Bird, who was now running the Stobart Vent-Axia team, a privateer team using the 1000cc Honda Fireblade. The Honda was competitive from the start, giving Byrne more opportunities to fight at the front. He finished fifth overall, with a win, a pole position, and nine further podiums.
For the 2008 British Superbike Championship, Byrne competed for the Airwaves Ducati squad on a Ducati 1098 alongside Leon Camier. The combo was immediately dominant. Byrne won three of the opening four races. In the second race at Oulton Park he went wide on Lap One, dropping to 13th place, but he fought back. Almost immediately after he passed Cal Crutchlow for third place, Leon Haslam hit Tom Sykes, giving Byrne the lead. This race was stopped four laps early after several riders, including Crutchlow and Karl Harris fell. In Race Two at Snetterton he was held up by a crash involving Harris on Lap One, dropping to 13th position before fighting back for the win. He finished each of the first 14 races on the podium, often coming through the field after poor starts.
2011 also the 1st year of the Showdown and on the return to BSB Shakey actually scored the most points that year but due to the points format that wasn’t enough to take the title, something he would become somewhat accustomed to in years to come!
In 2012 Byrne made a return to Paul Bird Motorsport along with Stuart Easton.
In 2016 Byrne again comped in British Superbike Championship on a fully factory supported Ducati Panigale R sponsored by Be Wiser Insurance.
2017. Not a bad year to be a motorcyclist. You are spoilt for choice whether you want the latest super bike, mile-munching touring machine, scramblers, retro re-makes or super-naked’s. There has never been more choice. That is, unless you fancy a shiny new 600cc Supersport machine. While 200bhp 1000cc + electronically advanced hyper bikes seem to be order of the day for most manufacturers, the smaller capacity siblings are suffering from a drop in consumer demand coupled with an increase in the demands of more efficient and quieter engines from the powers that be. Euro4 rules have sounded the death knell for a number of 600cc machines including the Triumph Daytona 675 and Honda CBR600RR. There simply isn’t the consumer demand in this sector to warrant the R&D costs to cover the changes of revised or new engines. Which is a real shame.
Yamaha however are bucking this trend and the new 2017 R6 promises to be something rather special. Dripping with electronic trickery including 6-level traction control, switchable riding modes, a quickshifter and ABS, the R6 should be a joy to ride and brings unheard of technology to the 600cc class. It has borrowed most of its styling cues from its big brother, the R1, which is no bad thing. The revised front fairing is 8% more aerodynamically efficient than the previous model according to Yamaha – every little helps, right? More important than aerodynamic efficiency though is that it looks fantastic.
Yamaha have done a great job in helping to reinvigorate a shrinking sector. Despite declining demand for 600cc Supersports motorcycles, the new 2017 R6 is expected to sell well, and why wouldn’t it? It has everything people want from a modern supersports bike: A comprehensive electronics package, high-quality parts and awesome looks, all wrapped over a well-proven, strong and screaming 600cc motor which provides all the power you ever really need in a road bike (if we’re honest with ourselves!). It will make for a bike more than capable of showing up some of its 1000cc rivals on the race track.
We hope the new R6 signals the start of the revival of the 600 class, something Yamaha will not be able to do alone. So it will be interesting to see whether other manufacturers are going to try to stop Yamaha having their own way and monopolising the 600cc machine sales. Surely the other big Japanese bike companies aren’t going to sit back and allow that to happen? Until then, here’s to an exciting looking 2017