Pirelli Competition Winners Day At The Races
We had a real eye-opening weekend at the opening round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch all courtesy of a Pirelli competition run on Londonbikers.com recently. The Ace Cafe have a hospitality truck in the paddock which opened its doors to us for a good breakfast while we heard how Pirelli take the tyres they use on track and adapt them to use on the road.
It was surprising to learn how close the race tyres are related to the normal road rubber that Joe Public can buy. Over a race weekend the racers have roughly 5 different tyres to choose from of different compounds for different conditions including 2 for wet weather. In the case of the Superstock race series, they use the Diablo Corsa road tyre which is a road legal semi slick that anyone can use for their normal road bike.
They also spent some time highlighting the new Angel GT which is the successor to the outgoing Angel ST which I've been very happy with on my last two bikes. The new tyre was given MCN magazine's Tyre of the Year award for 2013 proving it's not just marketing bunkum, it actually performs! Pirelli have improved it in a new compound and new profile which has given a 14% increase in road contact area over their old model.
Motorad Germany independently tested the GT against the fan favourite, Michelin Pilot Road 3, the Bridgestone BT023, Dunlop’sRoadsmart 2, Continental’s Road Attack 2 and Metzler’s Z8. The GT out performed all other contenders in every way and it will certainly be my first choice when my old ST's wear out.
All this information, usually something which is a bit dull and could be viewed skeptically, comes to life when you are at a British Superbike round. A lot of the bikes coming to the circuit could be using identical tyres to those helping the race bikes apparently defy physics.
For me the highlight of the whole 90 minute Pirelli ‘feature’ was the trip into the ‘island’ paddock to visit the Pirelli tyre station. Watching the crew at work was amazing and to see the rider’s teams coming and going really showed us all some of the ‘behind the scenes’ nuts and bolts of racing. They bring 4000 tyres to each weekend. Fact.
I would also like to say thank you to Jenny Tinmouth for putting up with my endless questions and letting me touch her bike (briefly, and I don’t think she noticed…), Neil Bamford from Aaron Zanotti racing for welcoming us in at a moment’s notice, and Tom Tunstall for his excellent hospitality and the best coffee in the paddock.
Many thanks again to Pirelli and Londonbikers.com for putting on such a great prize.
We all had a great weekend despite Sunday’s weather.
(Take a look at our gallery from this weekend here)