#04 Finishing the ‘Suzuka 8hours’
- 掲載日／2010年08月04日【Suzuka 8hours Endurance Challenge Blog】
- Text / Masanao NITTA (Tras) Photo / Koichi OHTANI, Virgin-BMW × BMW BIKES Japanese >>
Coca-Cola Zero 33rd Suzuka 8hours Endurance Annual Meeting: The #135 Tras & G-Tribe + 8810R team has brilliantly raced the 3rd series of the 2010 QTEL FIM World Endurance Championship. From the standpoint of building the race bike, Nitta-san from Tras has been writing this blog series. In this fourth and last edition, let’s hear from the challenges within the pit on the day of the race, Sunday July 25th 2010.
The S1000RR is packed with BMWs most recent technology and holds sheer power within. This years Suzuka was HOT in many ways!
The first thing we encountered upon our entering Suzuka: The scorching heat. Once Muto, Saito and I finished setting up the pit, we went for some shade and took a sip from our pet bottles. I am not exaggerating; the drink supposed to cool our throats was warmer than our own body temperature! The thought burning in our minds: Is the water temperature in the bike going to be OK?! As I explained in the last blog entry, the engine and the radiator used are standard parts. During our tests air temperature was around 30 degrees. During Suzuka 8tai week the temperature exceeded 37 degrees Celsius! After his test ride Toda called out: “The water temperature is really high! During the test ride it rose 10 degrees!” Of course this caused uproar with the mechanics:
Iwama：“Hirano-san! What was the maximum water temperature the bike can take? ”
Team mechanic Iwama-san is Meister at Motorrad Suzuka. He is asking Hirano-san, who is in charge of After Sales at BMW Motorrad Japan.
Hirano“Correction only kicks in at a hundred-something degrees, so we are totally fine! We can ride with the normal parts! ”
Everyone is satisfied and relieved.
Hirano-san, who works for the motorcycle division at BMW Japan, always gathers maintenance information on the new models quickly and then regularly instructs the dealer mechanics. He actually has incredible experience. At home in Germany BMW organises mechanic world championships (for the 4-wheeled vehicles). Hirano-san has actually won this world championship once! Thanks to the appearance of Hirano-san the mechanics lost their worries and continued their work in an instantaneously improved mood.
First up: Free practice. Toda-san goes first. We can feel his aura as we see him disappear. But what is this? He does not return… When he finally does he is reporting a machine error. The Meister instructor and the Meister mechanics exclaim: “It’s that thing” and at once start their work. As Toda returns to the track, we can again feel is aura…
Finally: Qualifying starts.
Right before the start: Again trouble! Toda ? ready for a time attack ? cannot start! His aura transforms into anger. But just as the atmosphere seems to turn bad our head of mechanics Nagayasu-san joins Toda-san (G-Tribe). The two have a long race history.’
Nagayasu：“That’s alright! Toda doesn’t lose it over such a thing.”
At the qualifying usually misfortune hits Toda-san…
Toda：“No worries! I am determined to drive off the bad luck this time!” (He smiles.)
To fulfil the dreams and goals of everyone involved he changes his spirit like flicking a switch. That is not an easy thing to do. The machine that had shown a slight problem got rid of the malfunction right with him.
Race day greeted us with a clear blue sky and sweltering heat. On this day I have to start working on the bike in the workshop of Motorrad Suzuka. 8810R (Rider Hayato Takada) likes to do things right. To minimize working time in the pit, he indicates troubles with the stand. It is exactly in these times that I as a crafting professional have to radiate energy. While being stung by horseflies I execute the repairs and return to the pit. From the early morning a sense of accomplishment fulfils me.
At 11:30 it is finally starting time. 8810R rode a steady race and then the handle changes over to Rider Saito. In the pit I am in charge of the fire extinguisher! This is a remainder from the Motegi race in 2008. Muto-san had joined in as a rider and I took over his duties as a fire fighter. More on that is on his blog. There are also race reports from Muto-san, Toda-san (G-Tribe) and MSP of Saito-san on their respective blogs.
It is typical for a BMW team not to have an overly strong team leader or steep hierarchies, when the riders are on the course or when working in the pit. The oiler in charge is Boxer Sports Club president Takagi-san, responsible for the sign board is Kubota-san from BMW Japan and so on. Everybody loves BMW and thus enjoys doing whichever job needs to be done! The team and the riders are connected through this positive atmosphere.
Completing the planned amount of laps in the race, the checker flag ends the race at 19:30. We are officially ranked 18!
Traditionally it is now time for the big water battle at the pool behind the pit. Look! Reinert-san is not wet yet! Well unsurprisingly nobody has the courage to shove the Director of BMW Motorrad Japan into the pool. Well… That is when I come into play. From the moment Reinert-san landed in the pool he became the top of the team! And he told me: ‘Next year again!’
That S1000RR was incredible! The vehicle that fought the race, was the exact one I had ridden to Beater in Gotemba. All we changed were the CPU and the Akrapovic race muffler! This is the undeniable truth! That means the S1000RR you are privately riding could enter the Suzuka 8tai!
Thanks to the support of all of you, we were able to produce a great outcome. Thank you very much for supporting us until the end. I am dreaming of a Suzuka 8tai next year, where many S1000RR are taking on the challenge… Next year!!
August, 4th 2010
Tras Ltd. President Masanao Nitta