IFS Yamaha Racing 2017
YOUNG RACER OF THE YEAR AWARD
British Superstock season continues for Young Racer Award winner
April 25, 2017
Masters Superbike Championship Young Racer of the Year Robert English continues his maiden BSB Superstock season at Oulton Park this Bank Holiday weekend. The Bangor rider will race his IFS Yamaha in the British Championship for the third time in five weekends with backing from Young Racer award sponsors, Mondello Park, AJ Plumbing Supplies, Dawn International, Pat Duke Plant Services and Megabikes.
The opening two events of the 2017 season have been tough as English and the IFS team have struggled to adjust to the different specification to which they have to run their bike this season compared to last. A positive start at Donington produced a top twenty finish in one of the most competitive fields ever seen in any motorcycle racing championship.
The level of competition was even higher at Brands Hatch where the top twenty six riders were covered by a second in qualifying. English was happy just to make the grid at the Kent circuit, having struggled to find a strong set up for the extremely technical track. Changes for Sunday's first race did not improve things, leading to a non-finish, but further adjustments for Monday were a move in the right direction as English finally made progress during the second race to leave Round 2 feeling more confident for this weekend's double header at Oulton Park.
“I was very dejected on the Sunday night but we made another large set-up change for morning warm up on the Monday and changed my seating position, both of which helped.” commented English after race two. “In the race I achieved my best lap of the weekend and passed a few riders at the start which helped my confidence and now I will go to Oulton Park in a more relaxed frame of mind which is when I ride at my best. Once again I must thank all of the award sponsors as without them none of this would be possible."
English will race this coming Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday at Oulton Park after which the championship takes a six week break returning at Knockhill in June. During the break English and the IFS team will compete at home for the first time in 2017 by entering the Irish Championship event at Bishopscourt on May 20th.
April 1st & 2nd 2017
Tough weekend for English at BSB opener
Young Racer of the Year award winner Robert English could not have picked a tougher weekend to make his British Superstock 1000 debut than the Donington Park season opener. The first race of English's season took place under extremely changeable weather conditions, on an unfamiliar circuit and included the first endurance race he had ever tackled.
Competing in his first BSB Superstock 1000 event was always going to be a steep learning curve for the reigning Masters Superbike Champion and the changeable weather did not make his task any easier. Following two dry practice sessions qualifying was wet and having been as high as twentieth on the time sheets Robert eventually dropped to 29th, but was still happy to be one of the forty riders who qualified to race from the fifty racers entered.
Races one and two would provide the Mondello Park, Dawn International, AJ Plumbing Services, Pat Duke Plant Services and Megabikes backed rider with the biggest challenge of his career. The first two races of the season would be eighteen laps each, with just a ten minute break between them, making for an hour of almost non-stop action. The longest race English had previously contested was a fifteen minute Masters race around Mondello Park.
With so little time between races the IFS Yamaha team knew that they were stuck for two races with whatever set up they went for in race one, but they opted to take a gamble on a wet set-up. Race one was initially playing into their hands, as English climbed to 9th from 28th on the grid, but as the track dried he fell away to finish 18th. There was just time to change tyres and re-fuel before the restart, so English had to tackle the dry second race with a wet set-up and this dropped him to twenty fifth at the finish.
Having acquitted himself well over the longer races the Bangor rider was confident for Sunday's shorter final race but soon found out what life in the middle of a packed Superstock 1000 grid was like. The early laps were spent avoiding other riders accidents and off track excursions, so with finishing as his main aim English took his time until the latter stages and then got his head down to set his fastest laps of the weekend on his way to a safe finish in twenty fifth.
English summed up his weekend as “A tough one, but one where I learned so much. I'll go to Brands Hatch now with a much better understanding of what a BSB Superstock weekend involves and I will look to push harder to get towards the points. Everything about the weekend was new to me from the race distances to the level of competition, as these events are such a huge step up from the Irish scene. I'd like to thank all of the award sponsors who contributed to this weekend, and all of my other supporters and team members for helping me to get this season together and I look forward to giving them some better results at the second event”.
English's next BSB event will be at Brands Hatch in two weeks time. For the second event the Superstock 1000 will once again have a new format as they tackle a fifty mile race on the short Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
Young Racer of the Year makes BSB Superstock Debut at Donington Park season opener
Inaugural Masters Superbike Championship 'Young Racer of the Year' award winner Robert English, takes the first steps in the next stage of his career this coming weekend at Round 1 of the British Superstock 1000 Championship at Donington Park.
Having come out on top of a six rider shoot-out at Mondello Park last October Robert will tackle six British Superbike Championship supporting events during 2017, backed by a €16,000 prize package, courtesy of the award sponsors, Mondello Park, Dawn International, AJ Plumbing Supplies, Pat Duke Plant Services and Megabikes.
English was the first rider in Masters history to win the Supersport Championship and Superbike Championship in successive years and this year will compete on the same IFS Global Logistics Yamaha Superstock bike which he rode to so many race wins, and his second Masters title last season. The Bangor Co. Down native will compete in an extensive programme of events at home and abroad during 2017 but his award funding will be used to finance his British Championship races.
This weekend's opening event at Donington will be The Young Racer of the Years' first race at Donington for six years and only his third time to visit the track. The British Superbike Championship pre-Season test took place at the Leicestershire circuit last week but due to persistent heavy rain English had little opportunity to improve his circuit knowledge. This weekend will therefore be a steep learning curve as the championship débutante gets used to the increased level of competition compared to the Masters Superbike Championship he cut his teeth in.
Speaking about his expectations for the weekend English said “I am excited and motivated for the coming season, It will be a tough opening round as there will be full grids of guys that have vastly more experience than me in the superstock 1000 class. I will not let this effect my own performance as I am there to learn and to improve my overall riding ability. We have been getting ready for this all winter and it is great to finally be getting organised for the first round of the year. I would like to say a big thanks to all of the guys supporting the award as well as my loyal sponsors because without them this season of racing would not be possible“
Following Donington, over the remainder of the season, the Young Racer of the Year backing will take Robert English to Brands Hatch on two occasions, Oulton Park and Knockhill before finishing his schedule at Silverstone in September.
For further information on the Masters Superbike Young Rider of the Year award scheme which continues into 2017 see www.masterssuperbike.ie. Robert's progress can also be followed on the Masters Superbike Championship facebook page.