A number of M7 members were stretching their legs around different circuits this weekend as final preparations began in earnest.
First up was Shane Payne who took himself to Mallory Park and, worryingly for the opposition, found the bike “On point”
Trying numerous settings throughout the day Shane said he felt real confidence in the new Bridgestone wet weather tyres while as the circuit dried the times kept dropping and 2018’s race speeds were bettered time and time again leaving Shane in an enviable position as Round 1 approaches.
While the lap times were obviously very pleasing Shane also went on to play around with gearing, tyre pressures and suspension settings and found he now has much more front and rear-end feel with the bike leaving him extremely satisfied with the test session.
Elsewhere Mark Brailsford was taking the covers off ‘Hetty’ ahead of the new season. Donington Park was the venue for Mark and the #21 machine to begin to shake the winter ring-rust off with one of the duo confirmed as being in slightly better shape than the other!
As you may be aware Mark is down to one bike this year for his assault on the Darley Moor and EMRA Championships and he will no doubt be desperate to shed the ‘bridesmaid’ tag (which I think I might have given him. Sorry Mark!!)
Meanwhile over at Oulton Park Zach Oultram was having his first outing on the K&A Racing Kawasaki ZX10 that will contest the Thundersport GP1 Championship. Horrible conditions all day kept the lap times down but the day was more about getting familiar and comfortable with the bike as Zach hadn’t sat on it, or a 1000cc bike until the morning which meant the first few sessions were concentrated on brake lever, gear changing and foot pegs being moved to the correct positions.
The late morning and afternoon sessions were continually blighted by red flag incidents although thankfully nothing more than bruised pride for anyone and Zach still managed a good number of laps during the day and both he and the team left the circuit relatively happy with how the day went.
With a decision being made to miss Round 1 at Brands Indy where it was felt time could be better spent, and more learnt elsewhere, the plan for now is to get Zach on the bike as much as possible and the feeling in the camp is that by rounds 4 or 5 they will be mixing with the big hitters in the class.
On a personal note it was great to catch up with old friend Alan Edwards as well as meet and chat with both Zach and his Dad before we left the pit garage, donned the wet weather gear and ventured into the strong winds. The 2 new cameras performed far better than the person behind them but I was very happy with the feel and performance and left our own little ‘shakedown’ feeling good about the opening event of our season at the end of the month.
As with all the Magnificent Seven we will bring you as much news as we can of testing up to the various championships beginning.