Four in a row, EBR 1190´s unbeatable weekend
At one of the most important race weekends of the season, the Festival Italia, with fresh competition (IDM Rider Nina Prinz) and special guest Frankie Chili on the track, you like to look good. When everything will go wrong, it is not of much help to have Thomas Wanner, the Team owner himself, joining the team for his first real motorcycle race weekend in the Pro BEARS competition.
Yes, Thomas decided to release the brave air-cooled XB R racer from standing around in dark workshop corners and brought it back to the track. A honorable idea, if there was not a legend from Italy, a super quick German girl and our frivolous idea to sign Harald and the EBR 1190 RR for 4 races that weekend, what we had done with the intention to get some real good competition for Harald. So we had all over 6 races in front of us 2 x BEARS / 2 x Superbike open for Harald and 2 x Pro BEARS for Thomas. The weather reports said again changing conditions from sun to rain and backwards for the complete weekend, wonderful it looks that this follows us the whole season.
We prepared the pit box Wednesday night to have all ready for a first rollout at the free track time on Thursday morning. The day started nice and sunny, Ronnie Kreeft from AST Suspension arrived in time with some new parts and then Harald was a bit past 8.00 o clock out on the track and rode his first laps. The Motorsport Arena Oschersleben is the Teams home track so we know a lot about it, but for 2011 they changed the layout of the super quick right/left chicane with fixed plastic pylonsflaps to press the riders to ride the chicane in place of going over the curbs through it. Haven’t counted on a rider like Harald, who just hold into it, witch resulted the plasticflaps whipping first against the bike and then his knee. “On the bike with the old 1125RR bodywork it’s much better, there it goes much more on the bodywork, at the 1190RR it goes full on my knee, that really hurts!” Harald reported. The fairing and his knee was full of orange and black stripes, no idea to go easy at that point, the weekend result of that story was a smashed front fender, a hole in the fairing, 10 meters of Ductape as protection, an overnight reinforcement by Fiberglas and another hole afterwards. For the next Oscherslebenrace we must pop rivet some Aluminum crash covers on the fairing edges which will give the bike that authentic Rollerball outfit….
Anyway, that was only a side show, we had other bigger problems, like that actual Dunlop tires. We love Dunlop, but that final changes of the last batch are a real pain, the usable temperature range is much smaller and the tire wear bigger than ever. At least the lap times you can go with it are still extra quick, but what helps you to go 7 laps a half second quicker and loose for that on the other half of the race each lap a second. That way Thomas had a better life; he raced the Bridgestone R 10, which is solid as a rock as we know since our winter tests. We increased the Team by Jens daughter Julia and her boyfriend Rickard as personal crew for Thomas, so the main Team could do the regular work for the 1190 Superbikes, what is, even with no special problems a 14h shift per day.
It wasn´t Thursday Lunchtime when the first 1190 got a problem with a non separating clutch. We located the problem on the engine side and learned that after a while in the pits the problem was gone. So we reassembled everything and sent Harald back to the track, all fine –but at the end of the stint the problem was back. Now a deeper analysis of the problem explained what could be the problem, NO we will not tell you, this problem is so special that we don’t like to talk about it for now, maybe one day…. But after we understand what we must change, the clutch was going perfect for the weekend. Harald rode all 6 stints, but real fast lap times not coming up and the atmosphere was a bit dulled. We are here to win races, 1:32 a professional IDM race rider like Nina Prinz, will go out of the box, she got a 1098 S from Ducati Berlin. Frankie Chili´s last Oschersleben ride was nearly 10 years ago and he was invited as a guest of honor competing on a 1098 of the NL Kock team, he never worked with before.
In the evening we resume that we need to ride out a decision with Harald in the morning what 1190 we set as the “A-bike” for this weekend and Thomas should continue to getting familiar with the XB-R Shortstrokeracer to get some lap times, for now he was slower than with his 1470cc big bore XB road bike last year at the Pegasus Buell Experience at German Biketoberfest.
Friday morning, we need to pick up Speed, need to find the setup for the tricky Dunlop’s, the world is looking on us….. (-: Go EBR Racing, go Harald!
The now upcoming disaster was sneaking in silently. Harald reported on 1190 Bike Nr. 1, a strange throttle response, so we checked the mapping and all parameters, all looked fine, out again, problem still there. So he changed on Bike 2. While he is out we checked Bike 1, what will not start anymore. He came after some laps back into the pits and reported that he is not sure, but maybe the problem starts on bike Nr. 2 now also. Under the pressure of getting laps we decided to send him out again, for some final track time before the lunch break, to have a clear picture, but he didn´t came back. Some minutes later Thomas entered early (after only 4 laps) the pits and reports the XB was a bit strange on the throttle. Harald came back on a trailer, engine wrecked, stucked.
First we are all focused on the 1190 bikes try to find answers in the 2D data recording, checked the mappings again, nothing. After a while the connecting link of all bikes popped up, -the fuel. We drained both bikes who were still alive, the 1190 with the 1125RR fairing and the XB, we cleaned the complete injection systems and fuel pumps. We got fresh fuel, filled up the bikes, a push on the button both bikes idle fine and nice. We isolated 3 fuel canisters, 1 with a strange smell. Samples are taken and there will be an analyze what was in.
I am not a friend of conspiracy theories, all what we can say for sure is that there was something in our fuel canisters what was killing an engine and let the other 2 start to run bad. We can eliminate that this substance was filled in with our will and knowledge.
Both engine worked fine the rest of the weekend, Haralds won 4 races with it, including a new best lap time for the Team.
Anyhow why or what, Christian and Alex started to change the engine on the 1190 bike, 3 hours later it was done, early enough to go out for a shakedown in the evening on the last stint. Over the day, God of Thunder send us some rain and Thomas got his baptism of fire with rain tires. Harald pushed the 1190RR finally on a 1:30.high lap time and when I went to bed to have a 4h nap; I was thinking I am so damn proud of this people who form the Pegasusraceteam. All of us go into the next day with the same feeling, if there was a manipulation, watch up guys, now we give all we have.….
Saturday morning, we had 3 qualifying´s, BEARS Race 5 and Superbike open race 5 for Harald in front of us, Thomas the same with his first Pro BEARS race. But we had 3 good running bikes, a good suspension setup, an additional understanding of the Dunlop tires and a lot of extra motivation with former GP and WSBK rider Frankie Chili and IDM rider Nina Prinz joining the BEARS races. At the evening before was a meet and great in the big tent, Frankie had a look on the 1190RR and said: “A so simple rear suspension I haven’t seen since the 80th.” So Thomas replied: “Check out that tail section, which will be your view on the bike for this weekend”. Great start, a great laugh followed, but if you have a big mouth you should be sure that you can deliver what you promised. Thomas trust in his Team honored us, but I was at that point far away from sure that this weekend turn out good.…
I follow the progress of Nina Prinz since a couple of years and believe that her place is the IDM; unfortunately she cannot race the full IDM 2011 season, because of the money. I hope that in the future again one of the German manufacturers or importers pick the chance to generate a deeper identification for female riders, one of the last real growing target groups. Nina have a great sport record, she is the 2007 and 2008 Superstock 1000 European Women´s Champion, finished in the IDM SBK 2008 as 12th and was in 2009 and 2010 on 21th and 24th (Supersport). As expected Nina was very quick getting feeling familiar with the 1098S prepared from Ducati Berlin. We took the competition serious, in the past she was able to go on a factory backed IDM Yamaha R1 a 1:28 laptime at Oschersleben.
While Harald and Nina cutting down the laptimes in the first time practice, Frankie Chili was after the first lap out again with a technical problem. It was not the weekend of his Team, one of the Kockbrothers got badly hurt in the 3D Ducaticup, all the best for him from here! So it was to see that Frankie took it easy for now, while Harald and Nina battling over all 3 practice for the pole. At the end our Team and the EBR 1190RR got another BEARS pole followed by Prinz less than a second behind and Chili on third. At the SBKopen Harald let Steve Jacobs on Honda CBR 1000 RR and Ferdinand Schmarje on BMW S 1000 RR behind him and got also the pole. Precisely, we had the fastest lap all over the event. Thomas in the Pro BEARS was with 17th on the grid not happy, knowing that the bike was able to go faster.
Before the races Frankie visited us in the pit box and watched together with Harald the Moto2 and moto GP races at Assen. After he had seen Haralds performance, Frankie had a lot of questions about the EBR 1190 and we invited him for a test ride if we come next year eventually to Italy or meet maybe at begin of the season in Spain.
In the BEARS race Harald showed who is the Boss and rode 5 laps under 1:30, with the fastest 1:29.734, what is 1/1000 slower than his official record with the 1190RR at Oschersleben. With the changed chicane, the wider 1125RR bodywork, related to our tyreproblems and the low temperatures it is in fact a very good result. So we took the BEARS victory with 11 seconds in front of Nina Prinz, the podium completed Frankie Chili. Same result at the SBKopen race what we win also with 11 seconds ahead, before Jacobs and Schmarje. Mission 1&2 completed!
The hottest race action was booked for Thomas. First start cancelled because a Ducati caught fire in the grid, just before green. New start, another Ducati in front of him did not get away from the grid, so he needed to follow the complete field, fighted back to 14th , when the race was stopped after another crash. Restart from his old 17th grid and again on 14th . Not bad for the first race, the laptimes were still not as expected, but he was able in all that chaos to ride his race.
Sunday brought the same result for the BEARS, but Nina was getting closer, not only because our Dunlop’s gave up at half of the distance, she found also a half second in her laptimes. Ducati Berlin signed Nina also for the Superbike open Race later at that day and she managed it after a start out of the pits to fight through the field on the podium. 2nd place Steve Jacobs took home. So for the EBR 1190 and Harald Kitsch the Mission 4 victories in a row were completed. We heard that Nina Prinz will join us at the Finals at German Biketoberfest and then her 1098 will not only be equipped with the newest Nemesis Tractioncontrolsystem, like now…..
The cream on the cake for the Team was Thomas, who was running the whole weekend in the 1.50low´s. He had a great second race which he finished 12th. Again he was acting cool, running mostly between 11th and 12th, when he got the next restart after a crash, plowed at the end in the “Shell-S” through the gravel bed without losing his position and had finally a 1:47high on the counter. 2 seconds quicker than before this weekend and a new personal best laptime for Oschersleben. Maybe he should fine-tune his right foot position, when he came in he had lost a good part of his race boot on the asphalt including the sock, precisely the bare skin was looking out…..
Ok, when we draw the balance, we lost an 1190RR engine and a boot, earned 4 victories and a happy Teamowner, WHAT A WEEKEND!