Another example of cost cutting....BSB rules change - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Another example of cost cutting....BSB rules change

Here's another example of a series thats about to implode because nobody can afford it.

http://roadracingworld.com/news/article/?article=45480

They have 2 motorcycles out of the entire superbike class that can afford WSB rules.....yep thats good racing and the costs were going to rise.

The fact of the matter is they either change or watch the series go away when nobody can afford it.

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 11:50 PM
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Basically current AMA rules but in the UK.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 07:28 AM
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That's interesting. Recently Dennis Noyes tweeted that the AMA was recently speaking with the owners of the WSBK series about adopting their rules. Although, I would love to have WSKB rules here, I can't see how most teams could afford it without more sponsor money.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 08:08 AM
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Rumors were flying about the AMA adopting Moto2 rules as well...but that appears to have fallen apart.

Everyone is scrambling to find cost cutting measures while not impacting the quality of the product. My guess is that BSB will be doing things in a manner so as NOT to piss the manufacturers off to a point that they all bail.

BSB's product is very strong at the moment. Easily the top national series. They've got what, 30-35 bikes on their grid at any given race?

I'm actually kind of partial to Pegram's insistence on electronics control. That's really the biggest cost, the biggest separator between the top teams and the lower guys.

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In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 10:59 AM
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Just eliminate the XR1000 class and make it a SV650 class. Tons of people on the grid for that
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 12:03 PM
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Dorna also had discussions about taking over the AMA and make it the same as the spanish national series. But, they decided it would be more cost effective to just bring American riders over to Spain.

Not every series need to follow a WSBK rule format.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 12:49 PM
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...on a side note, all the motorcycle talk in Britain is of the wild card riders entering for this weekend's race in Silverstone.


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Originally Posted by Tacitus
In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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They have more people on the grid this year at BSB because they are running 2 races inside of 1 race....the EVO class races at the same time.

That's why the grids look more full.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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There isn't a team in the AMA right now that could afford WSB rules.

That's why you saw Yosh go from 3 semi's to 1.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 04:08 PM
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This may actually be good news...maybe they'll dumb that series down enough to get some of these guys back over here

With all of the "cost cutting" measures in place here, we still regularly see grids of 15-20 and what teams are up front? Factory Suzuki, and for all intents and purposes factory Yamaha. The only two factories left.

Again...I really don't care what the rules are as long as the manufacturers are part of the sport here. Of course I would like open rules allowing development (with exception maybe to electronics), as it's always been. But if that can't be the case for whatever reason, then it has to be done with the factories on board. Otherwise you get an 8 round series with a 1/2 full grid and 1/4 full stands.

What does BSB have, 12 rounds, 24 races right?

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In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 04:41 PM
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Oh yeah, and there were rumors earlier in the year that FIM was looking at BSB Evo class rules for WSBK, loosely anyways.

I wonder if they're making this move in lockstep with each other?

Tom

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Originally Posted by Tacitus
In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 04:44 PM
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Have you looked at a map.
Kev mentioned the costs of moving his show accross the USA.
Last I looked GB was about the size of postage stamp.

The other item that I find remarkable is how good production sport bikes have become.
If we look back to the halcyon days of AMA superbikes. Lawson, Spencer et all, the state of production engineering left a great deal on the table for tuners of all manners. Pics of Pops yoshimura porting with a hand drill, working out of a van show state of the art. Frames needed massive bracing and so on.

When BMW introduced the the RR , I was at dealer expo, and Yosh had one of the first ones. The bike was fresh off the dyno and a gentleman with a Yosh show badge, half jokingly commented that BMW did not leave them much to do.

and really didn't the biggest and baddest in the AMA end when they stopped the F1 bikes and went to production machines.

Bring back TZ750s

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 04:52 PM
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Have you looked at the population in the UK?

About 60 million. 1/5 of the US population. Now of course motorcycle racing is much more popular there, but still that's a much smaller economy to support the series.

Additionally, MX/SX seems to be doing just fine. Obviously the electronics, or lack there of, play a much bigger part in that form of racing but they have huge factory support. By similar thinking, we should go ahead and make some rule changes there because Pro Circuit Kawasaki has just owned the lower classes. Clearly, it's the rules that need adjustment there right?

Everyone is facing difficult economic times and they're make adjustments to deal with it...but really, that's not what the rule changes here were about. The rule changes here were about a completely different vision of what the racing should be, who should be spearheading it and how it should be conducted. That is what I disagree with, and that is what chased away the factories, the riders, the fans and subsequently all of the money.

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In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 04:55 PM
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The bottom line is, the AMA has completely tanked since the rules changes in '09...and its popularity level has little to do with the economy. Obviously a lot went in to that, and they've made significant changes to try and fix the problems...but the damage has to a certain extent been done. This season has played that out...great racing.....no fans, no tracks, no pub.

(and I'm one of the few still watching religiously, and actually loving the on track action)

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In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 10:30 PM
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Pretty soon it's all going to be club racing on a larger scale.

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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 11:13 PM
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The AMA races have been awesome this year, especially the Daytona sport bike class.
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-29-2011, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryl View Post
Pretty soon it's all going to be club racing on a larger scale.
I really think the BSB is making these changes with FIM. We'll see, but that's the rumor circulating, to some extent at least. As soon as the economy turns around and the manufacturers have the $$ to fund the bigger race efforts again I think you'll see it open back up. The one area I'm definitely in favor of cost control is in electronics...I'm certainly not the only one in that regard.

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The AMA races have been awesome this year, especially the Daytona sport bike class.
Indeed they have. The Supersport class has been great too. It's a shame they don't air those races in their entirety. Lots of talk that Benny Solis' Erion Honda team is Honda's tip toe entry back in to the series. We'll see...

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In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous.
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 01:43 PM
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Great article from inside the BSB paddock, really intriguing. A lot of extra information in here not normally made available.

http://www.motomatters.com/opinion/2...#comment-22911

Quote:
Racing Is Expensive

Racing is expensive. Get over it. Does it need to be as expensive as it is? Of course not, but it's a difficult balancing act.

For any SuperBike round you need rubber, lots of it. The regulations permit a total of eight front tyres and eleven rear tyres for each round. Some might be qualifying tyres, others wet or intermediates with the rest being whatever is required over the weekend. At 222 a pair it's not cheap, in fact it's very close to the cost to the trade price that any dealer can purchase them at, but they don't have to pay for a team of people support the racing and fit tyres to the never ending line of wheels over the race weekend.

MSVR, who run BSB events. have done well to reduce the fuel cost for 2011. The 2010 price was 3.79 per litre, or with the recent tax hike 3.87/L. Having said that why are racers still obliged to pay 3.59/L for the control race fuel? Sure, there is a cost associated with delivering it to the circuit and making it available in 25L drums but, after a back-to-back test at the end of the 2010 season, the 98 octane fuel from the local garage was found to offer a negligible power increase at just 40% of the cost. That's a significant amount.

With three practice sessions, qualifying, warm up and two races a SuperBike has a lot of track time. That's a full quota of tyres and around 125L of fuel. Add it up and it comes to 449 for fuel plus the 2154 spent on tyres.

And that's just the cost of the bike out on track. How about the wages for the team manager, the suspension and data technicians, the truck driver or the guy that sorts and manages the tyres? Not forgetting the crew chief and the two mechanics needed for each rider. One team we raced against last year said their biggest expense for each weekend was the hotels and catering required for their small team. Pretty soon you start looking at the cost of fuel and insurance for the truck, the public liability insurance for the team, the workshop and dyno facility; the list goes on.

Perhaps the cost of actually building the bike isn't the most significant part of the budget. That was certainly one lesson we took from our time racing in the FIM SuperStock class.

Moving On Up

So if racing in a National championship can be considered expensive how about running with the big boys in World SuperBikes? Sure the bikes are more expensive but the base costs are also much higher. Even when we competed in the FIM SuperStock class we spent an additional 20,000 just on fuel, tolls and ferry crossings to get there. Not forgetting the need for someone to drive all over Europe during the season.

Don't forget that WSB is a global championship and that for each fly away round it is estimated the cost to ship the full team, bikes and equipment, and look after them once there, costs in the region of 60,000 Euros per event. For 2011, the entry fee was 10,000 Euros per rider with a further 2,500 Euros for Clinica Mobile contribution. Then add a further 55,000 Euros for tyres for the 13 race weekends and 2 official tests.

For the World SuperBike teams, costs are even higher. Word around the WSB paddock was that one leading non-factory team was spending 3.2 million Euros a season, though that amount of money did bring them some success.

Whichever way you look at it the numbers soon add up regardless of the debate on the spec. of the engines or which electronics package to use. So it is crucial for any major racing series to take a look at keeping costs down where possible, as racing is expensive enough as it is.

What Is The Best Way To Cut Costs In SuperBike Racing?

A few years ago we switched to race in British SuperBikes after several seasons in the highly competitive FIM SuperStock series run as part of the World SuperBikes calendar. Having raced for several years in a world class series where stock engines were combined with higher than standard rpm limits we were acutely aware of the fragility of components taken beyond their intended performance limits. With much higher refresh intervals to ensure reliability the costs spiralled to the point where our relatively low spec. 200 hp SuperBike in 2009 cost no more to build and refresh for a season than the 180 hp FIM SuperStock spec. machine we ran the year before.

When the Evo class was first proposed for the BSB championship we suggested a number of alternative ways to reduce costs whilst ensuring an exciting and evenly matched field with close racing:

* Permit aftermarket updates to potentially fragile stock parts when preparing their standard engines on the grounds of safety, e.g. cotters and retainers in some bikes, slipper clutches or gearboxes in others, etc.
* Permit basic tuning rules to ensure an even playing field for performance across different manufacturers and models of bike, e.g. 174 hp Suzuki versus a 195 hp BMW. Getting a Suzuki to 195 hp is relatively cheap so why not let us keep our brand allegiance?
* Implement a price limit for the aftermarket electronics similar to the FIM SuperStock rules, i.e. 1.5 times the cost of stock ECU, or for SuperBike a fixed price cap. If a manufacturer wanted to sell a 100,000 electronics package to everyone in the paddock for 10,000 then fair enough.

We thoroughly endorsed the concept of a fixed rpm limit. Spending money on titanium rods or other costly engine internals was always going to be a waste of money if the bike couldn't rev high enough for them to be of benefit. The fixed rpm limit rather neatly solves most of the other problems of engine cost.

After our sponsorship fell through shortly before the start of the 2010 season we chose to enter the BSB Evo class and built a completely new bike in just 30 days. With only the money for a few rounds we were still able to win races, set lap records and even led the championship despite giving away 20 hp, and a significant amount of budget, on the more powerful stock bikes.

The move to a one bike rule was inspired but you still need a second bike broken down in boxes should the unthinkable happen. Then only the big teams have the manpower to be able to put the parts together again in time for the next session. What are the small teams supposed to do?

To their credit BSB took note of some of our concerns and recommendations. For the 2011 season the rules were modified to allow teams to replace certain key components for reasons of cost and safety. Even models without air bleed systems to control engine braking or slipper clutches were allowed to add them.

They have clearly been listening again as for 2012 the rules will be changing once more and it looks like they will allow enough tuning to equalise the performance across the manufacturers. Trying to make up a 20 hp deficit really makes life hard, particularly on some of the faster circuits.

In fact, the key change for BSB in 2012, as the whole grid moves to the Evo rule concept, is that the proposed Evo rules are reportedly now the same as the previous SuperBike rules, but with standard pistons and a ban on titanium rods. Pretty much everything else remains with the addition of the control spec. Evo ECU, albeit with a slightly higher rpm limit.

Whatever the engine rules, and let's face it banning titanium rods will save a sizeable chunk of cash, a decent engine will still cost 10k to build. Kit gearboxes, generators, slipper clutches, head work, cams and other valve train components don't come cheap. Evo racing is still expensive so why try to sell it as a cheap alternative? The chassis is still the most expensive part of that equation.


Motorcycle racing is now at a crossroads. For so long the high costs have put people off, but there are still issues. It's not just the cost of the parts, it's the cost of the parts you cannot buy and the information on how to put them together.

This is where the AMA has it right. Everyone can buy the same parts at the same prices. I think they went a little too far in some respects but there are no factory specials for a few select teams. In the same way the one make tyre rule made a huge difference to letting everyone compete on an equal footing this takes it one step further.


Sure we can develop a swing arm just like the one the factory supplied to another team but it will cost us a lot more and that's money most teams just don't have. It doesn't have to be standard, especially as standard swing arms are invariably stiffer than the race items these days, but it does need to limit the input of the factory resources.

John Hopkins and the Samsung Crescent team put on an excellent showing at the recent Silverstone WSB round and they did it with a Motec ECU that costs 6.5k. Even at that price it includes the 2.5k data logging and analysis software upgrades so the base ECU is something of a bargain. That's less than a decent swing arm and, given the rise of the new fuel tanks that are required to help rebalance most bikes by moving the weight around, amounts to the equivalent of just two aftermarket fuel tanks once you have the special carbon bodywork and other parts you need to go with them.

Decent electronics need not be expensive. Sure, it's not going to be the same as the kit the MotoGP boys are using but it doesn't need to be. Does the Yamaha WSB electronics really need to cost up to 10 times the amount, as has been alleged in the press, to finish just 6 seconds ahead after a 106 km race?

If Motec can supply an ECU with full traction control, launch control, etc. that is capable of putting a bike on pole at a WSB meeting for a base price of 4k why is everyone so keen to remove traction control? Teams will still need a data guy at every round so it can't be about cost.

Do the front runners in any championship believe it allows lesser riders to keep up with them? Sure they do, although not everyone is trying to get it banned. Wiser minds than mine are already concerned that the riders in the CRT class at MotoGP won't be able to keep up without a decent electronics package. Would the gap increase or decrease if they banned them altogether? If you are looking for close racing then it could be argued that taking it away could be counter productive.

The poor BSB Evo guys are preparing their bikes and throwing away sophisticated electronics, incl. basic traction control, and replacing it with a very capable ECU without it. The 2010 BSB Evo champion on his BMW was only fractionally faster than the SuperStock champion of the same year on his BMW, despite better tyres, forks, brakes, suspension linkages, etc.

Even Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director for Pirelli Moto, has been quoted as saying that without traction control, Pirelli would have to change a lot. So the man that oversees the tyres that BSB riders have to run with says they would have to change, but because WSB retains their rules it is unlikely to happen.

As a small team we set out to make a point this season. We are building a bike as close to some of the race winning BSB bikes as we can in an attempt to show that it can be done on a budget. It might take us all season and we might not be able to afford the expensive swing arms but we can sure afford the not very expensive ECU with traction control. We just won't have the high staffing costs or other overheads associated with running a big team.

I wonder whether there are too many vested interests in racing trying to sell solutions without being able to clearly communicate the problems they are trying to solve. Racing needs to be cheaper but do you really need more than a few simple changes?

* One bike per rider and a rolling chassis as a back up.
* Price capped electronics with a fixed rpm limit for each manufacturer.
* Homologated parts to reduce the gap between the factory teams and the rest.

The rest of the cost savings need to come from elsewhere, e.g. tyres, transport, staff, etc.

And the final word from someone working with a leading race organisation:

"Do you want to fill your grid from the front or from the back?"
Damn right on that last comment.

Tom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacitus
In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous.
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 12:13 PM
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More details. The majority of the BSB regulation changes to adopt the Evo style relate to electronics. Good.

Eliminates launch, wheelie and traction control.

http://cyclenews.coverleaf.com/cyclenews/20110816#pg23

Tom

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