On Sunday the 8th of October Argy and I took part in the final round of Franciacorta’s Time Attack Series 2017, organised by Luca Pedersoli.
This would be our first time in a competitive event on motorcycles, and definitely not the last.
Although far from being a race, taking part in a competitive setting was a great motivator, which allowed us to push ourselves harder and reduce our lap times even further. This is something we hadn’t experienced yet on a motorcycle.
The event was held over the course of just 5 hours, starting in the afternoon. The participants were broken up in four groups, roughly organised by pace on track. Each group got four 15 minute sessions where the first 2 would be timed practice laps, and then the last 2 would count towards the final standings.
Compared to the Italian Time Attack Series for cars that I’ve taken part in, it’s a much simpler and relaxed setting, which is better is someways.
The event was divided into 6 classes: Amatori, Esperti and Veloci for 600s and 1000s. Each rider is put into their respective class based purely on final lap time at the end of the event. This is an unorthodox way to break things up as it could mean that from winning a lower class you could be bumped up to being the slowest in a higher class if you improved your pace.
But as explained by Mr. Pedersoli himself, it depends on the way you look at it; either you are happy to be the winner for a slow group or proud to be able to qualify for the faster group.
Either way the classes are only there as a measure to reward more riders across a wider range of skill levels, and don’t count towards overall championship points. This is based purely on an absolute standing in the 600 and 1000 class.
My Honda CBR1000RR SC57/1 ’05 and Argy’s MV Agusta F4 750 S ’01
Argy and I entered into the 1000 class; Argy wasn’t able to enter in the 600 class with his 750 despite the matching power levels.
I ran a session in the morning before the event and much to my surprise the misfiring issue had disappeared. But unfortunately it wouldn’t last for long.
Argy and I treated the first session just like we’d done any other session before. We kept a clean and consistent pace without taking big risks, while still trying to maximise performance. As this was our first timed session all weekend it gave us the opportunity to understand our normal running pace.
We set a time in the 1:25-1:26 range, which was actually a bit of a wake up call for both of us. We knew there was a big room for improvement based on our lap times earlier in the year.
With a reference pace now gauged we attacked the second practice session with more aggressiveness, which yielded good improvements. A mid 1:24 set by Argy and a high 1:23 by me. At this point we still had no idea how we really compared against the others in our class. Although timing screens were present we didn’t know which class they were in, but at least we could see we weren’t the slowest!
At this point the misfiring issue was slowly showing itself occasionally but wasn’t really hampering my pace.
3rd Session (1st Competitive Session):
It was finally time for the sessions that count and I can say that we gave it a good shot. This would be the fastest session for me as I had to cut the last (4th) one short due to the misfiring issue proving too much. We stepped our pace up even further this time round and I set my PB of 1:23.280, while Argy reached into the 1:24.1s.
4th Session (2nd Competitive Session):
Argy was able to improve even further on his lap times with a final 1:24.095.
With his 1:24.095 Argy was able to clinch 1st position in the 1000 Amatori (Amateur) class, topping it with a 750 no less!
With my 1:23.280 I finished 23rd in the 1000 Esperti (Expert) class. Still a way to go as the class was topped with a low 1:19.
It was an incredible way to end the season and I can guarantee Argy and I will be back next year to compete again. For now, it’s time to service the bikes and try to make improvements where we can.