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Brno 19./20. August 2009

Tuesday 18.8.
Quite a long way with the van from Switzerland to Brno (about 1000km), but thanks to the newly finished highway I was considerably faster than last year. I have no problems finding the famous GP track in the woods near Brno (yes, that's the track where there was just the last MotoGP!!). Setup in the paddock with Daniel and his brother Andreas. I knew Daniel from last years TL cup, he's very fast on his TLR. Andreas brought his Aprilia Mille.
The other TL drivers, namely Harry and Wolli, arrived already Monday at Brno and watched the MotoGP tests. They were impressed of the sound and the lean angles!!

Wednesday 19.8.
Todays schedule is free practice in 20min sessions in the morning and 30min session in the afternoon. At the drivers briefing we are warned about an oil spill at the lowest part of the track and that we shouldn't turn in on the far right there.
I know the track already from last year. Fast, challenging and with big elevation changes. It makes our job not easier when an engine blow up spills oil in the whole 1st corner, the following straight and the chicane. This also cancels our 2nd session, because the track has to be cleaned up with oil binder. This makes driving the fast 1st corner extremely difficult, because at least in the morning you were NOT supposed to cross the oil. I tried it and the back wheel stepped out, so not good. Anyway, it takes me some time to get on pace again at Brno. The track is really challanging.
In the longer 30min sessions in the afternoon I manage to find a good pace and improve my times considerably. At the end of the day my personal best is a 2:19.4, already 6 tenths faster than last year.
On a side-note, the Dunlop KR106 6136 front slick I'm using is exactly the same as in last years sprint race. Last year it was horribly torn off after just 8 laps, this year it works great the whole day. I can only guess that the forks were twisted in the triples after the crash last year and that this caused all the front tyre problems. On the rear, the Dunlop GP Racer slick works OK. The rear is a bit unstable when changing direction in the very fast chicanes. A little bit more rebound damping helped.

Thursday 20.8.
Schedule is qualyfing until 12:00 and the sprint races in the afternoon.
The first two sessions in the morning I still use the old GP racer rear slick, but didn't manage to improve my time (I'm also a slow starter in the morning!). For the very last qualyfing session, I mount the magic Dunlop KR108 slick that I used with success in the last race. The tyre feels so much more planted that I improve my time to 2:17.029. That was not only the virtual pole in the TL ranking but the real pole in the 750/V2 class, whow! One disadvantage of the huge 195/65 slick is that 16/39 gearing was now a tad too long for the last and first corner, I probably should have changed to 16/40 but I decided not to do so.
Race of my class (750 I4 / 1000 V2). Formation lap to the grid, warmup lap, standing start. That was the theory! In reality the 1st start was cancelled because someone stalled. That means another warmup lap and in effect one lap more. As always I filled in as little fuel as possible and now I wasn't sure if that would be enough. Let's hope so! I started good, but not good enough because I was overtaken by a 750 I4 in the first corner. After the back straight Angy (on another GSX-R 750) passed me and Harry (my biggest TL opponent) sneaked through in the chicane as well. Oh well, I should really drive more agressive in the first lap. Harry overtook Angy in the 2nd lap, but I couldn't manage to follow him. The problem was that the GSX-R 750 is considerably faster on straight and that I lost so much ground that I couldn't outbrake her. So I was stuck and saw Harry disappearing. The only point where I saw a way to overtake was on the entry of the uphill 2nd last chicane, just where that oil spill is. I tried to pass Angy there about mid race, but it was too optimistic and I had to brake. Doing so my front wheel locked up in full lean angle and the forks bottomed out very hard twice. Phew, that was a very very very hot moment!! So I had to catch up again. Two laps from the end, I block passed Angy entering the long righthander at the lowest part of the track, but at the exit I was in wrong gear so she fought back immediately. Last lap. I had a look at the inside of the first corner, but I was too far. So I concentrated on that 2nd last chicane again and did my move again, this time successully. Problem is that the 25hp stronger gixxer will fight back in the following uphill section, so I drove a rather tight line towards the last chicane. Angy tried to fight back, but I was a fraction of a second later on the brakes. At the finish line I was on a very close, very hard fought 3rd place and on 2nd place in the TL ranking. Best lap time 2:16.7, almost 3.5 seconds faster than last year!
Congrats to Harry, he was simply faster in the race. A big thank you to the organizer, SPS Race and Bikeroffice for the perfect event. Brno is definitely one of my favourite track, fast, challanging and we had an excellent race again.
In the following free practice session, Daniel and me drove some laps together with the camera on his TLR. But I wasn't done yet for today. I loaded the bike and all the stuff in the Van and drove about 3 hours...
 

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Most 21.-23. August 2009
...to Most, a city in the northwest of Prag (yes, "Most" is the name!). Navigation was a bit difficult due to small roads and lots of road work. I arrived in the paddock quite late and had a look for my old friend Gunna. It wasn't a problem to find him, but space around the organizers pits wasn't available anymore. Gunna is in the organizers crew because he is filming others, so he had to be near their pits. We also had no idea where our friends from Holland were.
So I finally decided to install me in the paddock at the other end of the pitlane. I discussed a bit with Mario from Spyder Motorsport who had rented a pit there. Finally we agreed that I rent a spot for my TLS in his pit, because the weather forecast for tomorrow wasn't so good.

Friday, 21.8.
Todays schedule is learning the track and ... surprise!!! ... the 2 hours endurance race in the evening! Andre and Jan from Holland show up in the morning and setup in the paddock around my van.
First session at 9:00. I had really no idea how the track looks. Well it turned out to be clockwise and with the exception of the chicane after the start/finish straight a very fluent track with lots of corner combinations and esses. Track surface is very grippy but also quite rough at some places, thanks to Wolli who warned me from the last corner. That last corner is in fact a double righthander with very rough surface at the entry and a very "sharp" bump at the exit. The TL always jumped a bit at that corner, not the best thing in full lean angle.
Between the sessions we mount my small pit tent to have some shadow. It's very hot already! The remaining sessions is dedicated to practice, the track is quite difficult to drive fast and you have no rest except for the 800m start/finish straight. Suspension setup needs some clicks of adjustment. I need a compromise between too soft for the fast corners and too hard for the bumpy last corner.
In the afternoon, it unfortunately begins to rain. Because it is so hot, water evaporates immediately. Anyway, I decide not to drive as long as the conditions are unclear. When it dries out again, I do one session on slicks just to get a feeling. It's working OK, no problem still good grip.
For the endurance race, Gunna and me will form team "Helvetia". The weather is still unclear, so we prepare Gunnas TL1000S with wet tyres and my TL on slicks. Just before the race begins, it starts to pour down. The organizer postphones the start by 15 minutes to give everyone a chance to switch to wet tyres. Now our strategy is clear: Gunna will start on wet tyres and drive as long as possible. I will drive the remaining either on slicks or wets. Andre's Girlfriend Marlene is our pit crew.
During the Le Mans start, I hold Gunnas bike. After a rather long start procedure, they're off and I have a look on Gunnas lap times. After about 20 minutes, it stops to rain, but the track doesn't dry. When we approached 40mins, I have to take a decision wheter to switch my bike to wet tyres or not. Because the track is still very wet, in special in the lower part where there is standing water, I decide to switch to wet tyres too. This is quickly done, I have them on a spare set of rims. I'm ready to go just before the first and only pace car phase, but Gunna isn't done yet and continues to race in the wet. Shortly after that, the race director tells Marlene at the Pit wall that we can't use our good old Swiss flag as a pit sign. In his opinion, the flag is too close to a red flag. I tell Marlene she should try to acknowledge Gunnas pit sign (raising his left hand when driving by) by waving with their hands. But of course Gunna doesn't recognize that because we had agreed on the Swiss flag as a sign. He drives by another three laps before he looks over the pitwall and sees me sitting ready on the bike. When he comes in, there are just 20 minutes left. I leave the pitlane with brand new rain tyres. It's really not easy to find your pace on a wet track that has an about 30cm wide dry racing line. I got something like a feeling for the rear tyre, but the front was spongy as always with rain tyres. But overall, the Dunlop wet tyres worked MUCH better than last years Pirelli, no headshake and such. I drove it home and was happy to see the flag without crashing. Note that I don't like driving in the rain!
Our effort was good for 7th place of 18 started teams. Jan and Andre were on the excellent 4th place.

Saturday, 22.8.
Todays schedule is qualyfing until 11:00 and then sprint races in three classes. The TL fits in the 750 I4 / 1000 V2 class, so nothing new.
I drove the two qualyfing sessions with the old used GP racer rear slick. Andre finally shows me the right line in the last corner: Brake late and hard at 100m, release the brake just before the bumps. Then for the exit wait loooooong and then turn in very late but sharp, drive just at the outside of that last sharp bump, pick the bike up and accelerate early to the start/finish straight. Persona best is somewhere around 1:51, good enough for first row.
For the session at lunch I mount the little torn up but still good Dunlop KR108 rear slick. The feeling is again much better with this tyre and I improve to 1:49.404. Unfortunately the front tyre had to be change after this session, because it was missing wear marks on the right side. I didn't want to take unnecessary risk and mounted the black rim with a new soft Dunlop KR106 front slick. I do some laps in the afternoon to break-in the new front tyre.
Then it's pregrid in the pitlane for our race, one formation lap to the starting grid and then a warmup lap. My start is excellent, I'm first until about 3rd gear when the GSX-R 750 started 2nd overtakes me again. The first very tight chicane is always problematic on this track, so I didn't outbrake him there and settled for 2nd. In the first righthander, I had a lot of understeer, same thing in the hairpin. Probably my tyres weren't hot enough. That allowed the pole sitter pass me. There was no way for me to follow these two GSX-R 750, so I concentrated on keeping my 3rd position. I was sure Jan would try to pass me on his 150hp Ducati. When I looked back over my right shoulder at about mid race, I saw nothing, but suspected he was hiding in my left exhaust pipe :) (so he was!!) I tried to put down some fast laps towards the end of the race and always concentrated to get a good drive out of the last corner to the start/finish straight. I ended up on the 3rd place again.
Back in the pits, I remarked that the right side of the rear tyre was very chewed up. You could clearly see the dual compound! Well it didn't feel bad, but it certainly looked bad now! Gunna raced with his GSX-R 1000 in the "big" class and ended up 15th after a restart. To "cool down" we drove some laps in the free practice after the race.
Beer & Barbequeue in the evening with the Dutch friends.

Sunday 23.8.
Todays schedule is just free practice and there are no transponders any more. So we decided to drive the morning and to leave after lunch break. There was some sort of a charity photo session in the lunch break where we obviously participated with bikes. Thanks to the organizer, Spyder Motorsport, to Gunna and the Dutch for these fun days!
I then loaded the bike and all the stuff back in the van and drove home. I had a slight problem finding a fuel station between the Czech border and Nurnberg in Germany and almost ran out of Diesel. Apart from that everything went well and I was at home shortly after midnight.

Conclusion
It was a good idea to subscribe for two events in a row, because both tracks are very far from me. Brno is definitely one of my favourite tracks, but I liked Most very much as well. Both tracks are very challenging, but have a totally different style. I didn't really like the paddock in Most, it is very noisy because the track passes so close on both sides. Czech Republik is certainly worth a trip, most people speak well English or German.

Greetings
Rufer
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Some pictures:

Paddock in Brno:


My TLS in the pits in Most:


Van & Ducati of Jan, my van and paddock tent, TL1000S of Andre:


Official photos aren't here yet.

Greetings
Rufer
 

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1000km's... That's Sydney to Melbourne

That is what i liked about europe, 2hrs and your in another country..

Anywho... nice write up :thumbup

Waiting for the pics now :devious
 

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1000km's... That's Sydney to Melbourne
That is what i liked about europe, 2hrs and your in another country..
Well, that was "far" by my means. Switzerland has a diameter of about 300km, so it is definitely very far :) It also depends on how much traffic there is.
I am thinking about the new Portimao track this Winter. 2500km one way, now that's really far.

Oh and not to forget I'll be in Brno again at the end of September. I miss this great track already :)

Greetings
Rufer
 

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Pictures from the official photographer, www.sportingpicture.com

Brno pictures

Typical Brno, chicanes:


Typical Brno, really big lean angles:



Typical Brno, elevation changes:



Great pictures, I ordered them all!!

Greetings
Rufer
 

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Most pictures:

The hairpin, ideal place to grind down the right footpeg a bit further:




Race: Jan is following me like a shadow:


Race:


Greetings
Rufer
 

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Hi Rufer!Im from Czech Repulic and i ride sometimes in Most too!If i knew that you will be there,i would come to Most to root for!Nice work,nice times at Brno and nice TL!Good Luck!
 
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