Sport

Superbikes take first spin at Winton since lockdown

By Meg Saultry

Winton Motor Raceway saw its first bit of action in recent months, with the BMW Maxima Australian Superbike team holding a closed testing session at the track on Monday.

The team, which is based in Whorouly, recalled its team for its first session since COVID-19 restrictions eased, though it was far from normal, with strict social distancing guidelines enforced.

Winton Motor Raceway stressed that the track was not yet open to the public, and that the visiting team fully adhered to all social distancing and government restrictions.

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Australian Superbike rider Glenn Allerton was able to get back into the hot seat throughout the day, taking the team’s newest ride, the BMW s1000RR 2020 model for a spin.

Allerton, who hails from Sydney, said his first ride back since restrictions were enforced proved to be a "shock to the system".

“It’s been a long time, 68 days, since we last rode,” Allerton said.

“It took a bit of time to get accustomed to the power and speed of the bike again.

“It was fun to get out there though.”

For Allerton, the time off from racing has been advantageous, after the rider suffered a string of injuries in recent years.

“It’s been good for me - I broke my humorous in two places in 2017, and in 2018 when training on a dirt bike, I hit another guy and broke the C5-6 vertebrae in my neck, my wrist and ribs, and collarbones,” he said.

“I had another accident in 2019 and broke my left leg and wrist.

“So it’s been a godsend to get the body healed, and not be in pain when I’m racing.”

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With little action on the Winton track recently, Allerton said the surface had been slippery to start, with the usual rubber grip missing.

“It took a little to get used to, but by lunchtime, it was fine,” he said.

And while behaviours had to be modified within the garage, the team still achieved what they set out to.

“I think we’ve gotten used to it these past few months, so it was kind of normal to keep that 1.5m distance,” he said.

“It was probably most difficult in between sessions, we would normally sit tight around a laptop to look at the data we collected and talk through it.

"We couldn't go too in-depth.”

While a return to competition is still in the grey zone for all riders - due to restrictions on border travel - Allerton said the team would look to do three-to-four more testing sessions in the coming months.

“The team wants to try and get to the new South Australian track at Tailem Bend and get to Wakefield in NSW,” he said.

“We’ve got the new bike, so we are going through setting it up and making sure the shock absorbers are balanced.

“Our goal is when we are backing racing, the bike is balanced and we are competitive.”