Recap IRRC Frohburg (GER)

Read Rhys’ race report down below!

After a long hard Manx GP at the Isle of man I headed to Frohberg Germany for the final round of the IRRC Championship 2023. After a fairly long trip from Berlin where we flew in, both Forest and I were looking forward to getting set up with the team for a good weekends racing as the weather was absolutely perfect. We started by getting signed on where the officials were all very welcoming and efficient, we made the riders parade which again was a fantastic experience, fantastic atmosphere. Back to the paddock bikes scrutineered we were ready for a feed and an early night to get set for the AM. I didn’t sleep very well the first night which didn’t help with getting in gear for practice and learning a new circuit but never the less we set to it, first session was the ssp r6, all in all was ok the bike required a gearing change and a chassis adjustment to the rear ride height all of which was simple stuff really, next up was the sbk r1 session, which again went ok, we was running a lower seat height for this session which took some time to adjust to as my legs are quite long and this highlights the foot peg height is still an issue for me, but none the less the bike performed well and I was slowly chipping away and learning the circuit and bit by bit becoming more confident to let the speed build.

Session 2 sspr6. With the changes made I was keen to see what we could do, also with a lower fuel level to assist with the fatigue that comes with longer sessions and carrying unnecessary weight..(lighter is faster)..
Unfortunately we incurred a technical/mechanical issue which forced us to retire from the session on lap 2.. with the bike recovered and returned to the pits the team worked tirelessly to ensure the issues were rectified. Session 2 on the sbkr1 was pretty close after, unfortunately I didn’t have the correct feeling from the bike or myself after changing the seat height to try and compensate for the foot peg height, we didn’t go any slower equally we didn’t go any faster. With confidence low by this point I decided to pull in, regroup and reset for the Sunday.. race day.

I suffered with quite a poor start which is fairly unusual for me

Sunday. Race day. After a better night sleep some good food, company etc.. we were ready to race..
Unfortunately with poor qualifying we were on the back of the grid with a lot of work to do, the first 600 race I suffered with quite a poor start which is fairly unusual for me, this made it very difficult into and exiting turn 1, I pushed on and tried to find a good feeling, the bike worked really well with the changes we had made from the very first quali session but didn’t get to really test in the second quali due to the mechanical issue… we pushed on and really enjoyed the race…at a disadvantage in peak power compared to some of the front runners overall I was pleased enough with the progression and times we had achieved from practice, again this mainly is done and found under braking and the high speed (big balls) corners… I was looking forward to race 2 having learnt more of the bike and circuit at speed and where I could be strong, and or work on some areas I could be stronger..

Sbk R1 race 1. We had reverted back to the lower seat height, dialled in some different setting in the bikes electronics and I was ready to give it a good go…with a good start I got myself in to a fairly strong point into turn 1 I was steadily making progress chipping away and moving up, I made a move into the down hill section for the left hand turn and put myself ahead of the rider in front, where he came straight back at me and leant on me around the outside and forced me to break, nothing wrong with the move at all be it very aggressive with near contact, racing is racing, it caused me to loose 2 positions, we fought hard to regain them! Unfortunately, we the encountered a gear selector issue where the bike was stuck in 5th gear on the last lap and wouldn’t come down the gearbox on the bipper or by clutch, so again lost 2 positions on the last lap 1 of them on the last corner!!! All be.

For the first time in a long time I felt I was riding more like my old self and my old style...

It frustrating it all in all was a fairly positive finish from where we had started again lapping faster than previous. After returning to the paddock the team and TIM stripped the bike to inspect the issue as it was replicated on the stand, without the means or time to strip the engine/gearbox it was decided as a team to not run the last race as a matter of precaution and safety… as unfortunate as this is it was the correct decision made by the team.. disappointing not to of achieved a finish in every irrc sbk race we had campaigned this season but there’s always next year!!

The second 600 race was brilliant!! Although a poor result it was by far my favourite race of the weekend, with a good start and a strong position from the grid position into turn 1 I had the wrong gear on exit and lost a few positions id made but overall came out still in a much stronger position, I pushed hard to make up some more positions although still being cautious as we had a new rear tyre in the rear a sc0 which although grippy it wasn’t quite there yet, as a result of this down the hill into the hard left turn I out braked myself after overtaking 2 more riders, my fault pushing too hard when the bike hadn’t quite come to me yet, after narrowly avoiding a dnf by heading down the bank into the field on my ass I managed to stop the bike turn it around and rejoin, I decided as the corner was blind I would wait until the last bike had come through as the race had now gone really, I decided to have some fun, I managed to get my head down for the remainder of the race and work my way back to a fair position, I really enjoyed having to battle my way back through the pack and calculate my passes.. for the first time in a long time I felt I was riding more like my old self and my old style…

Buried behind the screen we worked to our strengths and did the best of a bad job… the little 600 was working well, again making all our time under breaking and through the fast stuff… we finished the race best we could I felt like I could have just kept going around like that all day… but we ran out of laps.. we took a minimum of 1 position a lap. We didn’t go any faster than the first race, however obtaining the same lap times with that amount of traffic and no clear lap I was happy enough.. forest rode really well and showed a better lap time with again a lower fuel level, although a little to close for comfort at the end of the race, it did highlight the importance of the correct fuel level for each race as apposed to my full tank, resulting in a progression in lap times as opposed to my stagnant lap times..

The team have worked well together and learnt together

Summary all in all the meeting was fantastic, with the fantastic circuit, beautiful surroundings situated in the beautiful German Countryside with great people, as always it’s been a pleasure to be a part of the IRRC family, the competitors officials, marshals, fans, photographers and clubs that host the events has been absolutely outstanding.. a real joy and privilege… and boy do the German hosts know how to throw a party!!!

Last but no means least A huge thanks to Andre and the whole Never Be Clever Team,, the team have worked really well all year tirelessly ensuring the bikes perform faultlessly and rectifying any issues that have appeared.. the team have worked well together and learnt together.. this to me is something that is as important as the racing…although from a riders perspective (a selfish one as all racers are selfish to a degree) I want to win and be as fast as I can…its important to me that the whole team are successful but most of all enjoy the experience! And I hope that the team have enjoyed it as much as I have.

I hope to continue with this success moving forward, but most of all I hope that the success that the team deserve continues…

Other Posts

2024 Championship Schedule

11 & 12 May: Hengelo (NED)

27 May – 08 June: Isle of Man TT (IOM)

14 – 16 June: Schleiz (GER)

05 – 07 July: Imatra (FIN)

27 & 28 July: Chimay (BEL)

10 & 11 August: Horice (CZE)

14 & 15 September: Frohburg (GER)


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