Brands Hatch, Improvements open door to top ten – Blog

Brands Hatch, the venue for round 2, with beautiful brisk spring weather to set the scene over the short, sharp and demanding Indy Circuit.

I was really looking forward to this race, Brands Indy is one of the shortest circuits on the calendar, and this leads you in to a sense that it would be the simplest, however this is not the case. To acquire a fast lap time you must gain enough grip to generate a lap just a few hundredths of a second faster than the man next to you, and on a lap where you’re pushing to finish in just 46 seconds, these hundredths are impossible without a bike which is working with, and for you.

In practice we got away well and went to work on generating grip and control of the rear shock, of which had plagued us with issues at Donington Park.
We made some changes to generate feel from the bike, however the session would end before a balance could be found. After the session, several changes to the bike’s geometry were changed to try and generate grip.

Qualifying 1, we improved again with a longer bike and several suspension and geometry changes. I pumped and slid my way to 9th spot, I was pushing hard with around 6 laps before the new tyre started to unmask the ongoing issue of losing control on the rear suspension. Q1’s efforts for 9th place would be achieved with a 47.4 second lap time.

After first qualifying we made changes again with spring rates on the front and rear, Q1 had me focused on a smooth and fast lap time, as the session was very frustrating with the unpredicatble nature of the grip given. Qualifying 2 I had the plan of doing a few laps to get my head up to speed then put a new tyre in to push for a lap time.
We did a time good enough for 11th on the grid, which was achieved on the new tyre but after 6 laps we were sliding and losing control. This wore the tyre quickly which had me concerned for the length of the race.

Further changes were made for warm up, and we found more grip again, with the new set up I was as confident as I had been and ready to sink my teeth in to the race.

The launch off the line was good and I was in the mix on the first lap, overtaking people on the exit of druids and in to clearways. Pushing hard I got through to 8th place but on lap 4 a massive moment was to come at the bottom of clearways. My strongest overtaking spot has always been paddock hill bend, so as I came out of clearways I needed a good drive to get alongside for Paddock Hill Bend. I did exactly that, drove hard off the turn but as I hit the dip at the bottom of clearways the back came right around on me and pinged me out of the seat, I held on as the bike was heading for the grass on the inside to finally grab a hold of the bike, rush along the grass, hit a foam advertisement sign and re join.
With the pack so close I was a way back in 17th place but got to work straight away on making the places up. Mostly in to paddock hill bend I picked off as many people as possible, to finally finish in 9th place.

This 9th place also puts us in 9th place in the championship standings. I know when we find a consistent set up, we will be able to push towards the top 5 and grab podiums in the not too distant future, I’m excited for the season ahead.

Thank you to the entire team, with special thanks to my mechanic and chief tech Dave Hopkinson for his relentless efforts.

Further thanks go to our treasured sponsors who provide 100% support from their respected positions. Thank you to my personal sponsors Walters Medical.

Thank you all, I will keep pushing until we get there.

James

Downshift on the points table in season opener

Donington-BSB-East A cold and bleak winter’s testing was followed by a sunny weekend for round 1 of the championship at Donington Park.
Photo: Colin Port

43 riders strong, the Superstock championship has a line up of varied riders and machines for 2015, with the usual contenders of recent years on the Kawasaki ZX10R, but many competitors choosing to run the all new BMW and Yamaha machinery.

We got off to a great start, with both me and Hego in the top 10 in practice, me 7th and Dan 8th with average times in the 1:34’s.
I didn’t feel comfortable in the practice session, the bike was moving a lot and hard to bring down to an apex, so we reviewed the data and went to work on an improvement for qualifying.

Qualifying practice didn’t go to plan, I quickly found that we had gone the wrong way with the set up and the bike was very difficult to ride with very little grip. I was unable to put a good time in so again we put in some work to bring a new set up to Qualifying 2.

Qualifying 2 saw us improve the bike however it was still violent on the throttle with seemingly little grip to be found. I pushed as hard as I could without putting myself in to a position where a crash was likely and we got to a time in the 1:33’s good enough for 15th on the grid.

We changed spring rates and the bike’s geometry for Warm up which worked, we hold solved some of the pumping issues and gained some stability, so with the bike feeling the best it had felt, we kept the newly found set up for the race.

A good launch kept me with the row in front in the first corner. I got on the throttle early and drove inside many people at Hollywood to get away with an early group.

Making my way through the group I got to the front and 8th place on lap 4 and started to go for the Top 7 in front of me, but on lap 6 a big warning was to come when I exited the foggy esses. The bike broke grip once, twice and the third time kicked me out of the seat, at which point some of the people in the group around me started to come by.
The new tyre had masked over a set up problem looming, and from lap 6 I had major problems with grip and pumping. I was out of the seat and sliding just trying to hang on for the end of the race, and at the end we would finish in 13th place.

I am happy to get off to the start of the season on the championship table without any setbacks in terms of a crash, we have a lot of work to do in testing, but I am confident we will be able to push for podiums on more familiar circuits in the coming rounds.

My team mate Dan had the worst luck with an un predictable electrical fault, turning his bike off and forcing him to retire. I’m wishing him the best of luck for his next race this coming weekend at Scarborough.

I can’t thank my team enough for the opportunity and package given, and Dave Hopkinson of Downshift Motorsport And Mountain bike for his hard work.

Thank you to our sponsors collectively, and my personal Sponsor Walters Medical, for they’re in put, I can’t wait to get to work for Brands Hatch, round 2, where I hope to bring them and the team as a whole closer to, or better yet, on the podium.

East and Downshift Team Up

R12 MCE British Superbikes Brands Hatch GP - 17/18/19 October 2014 Years of experience as well as combined passion for the sport has put a competitive package together for the season ahead with rider James East and Daniel Hegarty competing on 1000cc machines.
Both East and Hegarty will compete in the National 1000 Superstock Championship, East focusing on the series, competing for the Championship, and Hegarty focusing on International Road Racing, including the Isle of Man TT and Ulster International Grand Prix.

James – ‘ I am just delighted to join the Downshift Team. I’m so thankful to be given a package which will put me where I need to be. I’m taking a treasured sponsor with me in Walters Medical of whom I can’t thank enough. I can’t wait to race.’

Collective product and financial sponsors have joined the team in partnership for the coming efforts, of which all are very excited to work in collaboration. Downshift and the Riders are open for further partnerships and endorsement deals.
Downshift’s technical partners are:
Putoline oils, Held Biker Equipment, JT Sprockets, HiFlo Filters, FTWCO, Samco Sport Silicone Hoses, Racebikebitz, Bournemouth Kawasaki, Moto-Master Brakes, Dynojet, GB Racing, Direct Distribution, K-tech suspension, Bell Helmets, Venhill Brakes, Jap4 Performance and Reactive parts.

Dan and James are wearing Held HRD Race Suits, available for purchase today.

Check Out The Page https://www.facebook.com/downshift.england

Downshift Motorcycle & Mountain Bike are a business based in Preston, Lancashire, UK, and specialise in competition cycle sports. Race Service, Builds, Maintenance and Product Purchase are available and carried out with the highest possible standards.

www.putoline.co.uk – The best High Performance Engine Lubriation.

www.held.de – For 1st class rider protection

www.jtsprockets.com – Downshift is geared using JT Sprockets

http://www.ftwco.com/ – Downshift’s apparel of choice – Shirts on our back, at home, or at the track

http://racebikebitz.com/Kawasaki-ZX10-R-2011-2014-7-Piece-Moulded-Y-Piece-Samco-Sport-Silicone-Hose-Kit-Race-Design
– Seen the custom camo Samco Sport performance silicone hoses keeping the Downshift machines running cool? well you can order them today on the link above, quote in the comment box when ordering, Green, Black, Red and White when choosing custom camo for a Downshift replica design, or mix it up with the colour of your choice.

http://www.bournemouth-kawasaki.co.uk/ – The ZX10’s had lights and mirrors once. No really, and when they did, they came from Bournemouth Kawasaki. Order your Kawasaki machine, gear or parts today.

http://www.moto-master.com/ – The best brakes around are stopping Downshift this year.

http://www.dynojet.co.uk/ – Give us the figures we want to see. BHP.

www.gbracing.eu – Engine Protection

https://www.directdistributionservice… – Buy your consumables today.

www.k-tech.uk.com – Downshift turn and grip with KTECH Suspension Components

http://www.bellhelmets.com/ – The choice of Crash Helmet for Downshift. Light, Strong, ready for P1.

www.venhill.co.uk – Providing fast lines, Venhill Brake Hoses.

www.jap4performance.com – The beautiful Carbon Frame Protectors on the Downshift ZX10R’s are kindly supplied by Jap 4, check out their range.

www.reactiveparts.com – Race Parts

Downshift are backed, sponsored and partnered by Gridworx, Nettworx, 2Works traffic management, Star Delta, AUS, Duco Power and Aptus Utilities

James East is proudly sponsored by Walters Medical
Daniel Hegarty is proudly sponsored by RTR Motorcycles and Paul Thompson

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East – Mid Season Update

After Knockhill James split with the Brabus Opus Team due to a raised and unjustified dispute.

The following rounds saw James, Race for the Tsingtao Team for one race at Brands Hatch and after, under new sponsorship, race with the ILR Kawasaki Team at both Oulton Park and Silverstone Superstock events, Silverstone racing alongside Moto GP.

James – ‘ It has been distressing time, but I cannot thank my supporters enough for their help. Thanks to friends sourcing new sponsors, who in turn have become friends, it has been possible for me to continue. I got off of the fantastic Ian Lougher run ILR Kawasaki at Silverstone not in a position I go racing for, but with a smile on my face after some old form was shown on track in a great race with Tom Tunstall.
I know what I’m capable of, and this will be shown in the future.’

Thanks go out to the continued supporters of James and his racing career.

Charlie and Lisa


Walters Medical

Downshift Motorsport & Mountain Bike
Downshift England


Cougar Leathers

R&G Racing home page
R&G Racing


Homechoice Carpets Leeds


IDAQ

Walters Medical Confirm Personal Sponsorship Support With East For 2014

Hertfordshire based Walters Medical confirm they will support James as personal sponsors for his 2014 National Superstock 1000 title challenge.
After backing James in the latter part of the 2013 season, the unique medical supply specialists are excited to be involved for the coming season, as is James is to carry the brand name –
James East – “I am elated, grateful and humbled that the Walters Medical team will support me again for 2014. This season looks to be my most exciting season yet. I feel I have found the class for me on the 1000cc machine and having learnt so much is 2013, my first year, I will be proud to fly the Walters Medical banner, and to have them involved throughout the season with the success I know we can achieve. Thank you to Walters once more”.

http://www.waltersmedical.co.uk/

Walters Medical Supporting James East 2014

Round 12 Brands Hatch GP – 10th

Back to Brands Hatch for the last round of the season and wet weather is on the cards.
After I lead the race for the first 6 laps earlier on in the year on the GP circuit until I was forced to retire I was confident I could fight again in the dry for a win.

Picture By Paul Egan

Free Practice
I’d say the track was 80% dry, but much of the back of the circuit was wet, as to not risk a crash I took it easy and got aquainted with the circuit again. 11th – 1:31:254.

Qualifying
1:28.905 I qualified 7th putting my fastest time in on the last lap of the session. When I came in for the new tyre I was held in pitlane as there was a suspected oil leak from my bike. This was contained and I had 2 laps to put the time in. It wasn’t good enough for pole but would put us in a good position for the race.

Qualifying 2
Q2 was wet but drying and no one improved. I took it steady in this session as to not risk a crash before the race.

Warm Up
I went out to confirm the bike was ready and to do a practice start in the wet as it would be my first wet race, the start was good and I was confident for the race.

Race

I got a good launch but quickly realised that my set up was wrong when pushing on in the full wet. The bike was to hard and finding grip was a real balancing act. I dropped back to tenth but I am very happy with the way I rode, I kept my cool and rode my own race. 100% effort was put in to stay on the bike and hold my position and I finished the race in 10th position.
2013 has been a successful year for me, I think it’s clear I have found the class for me on the 1000cc machine, which has increased my confidence in working towards competing in superbike. Despite some unfortunate and unlucky set backs through out the year we have achieved some good results, especially for mine and Idaq’s first season. I believe I have learnt the fundamentals of how to be competitive on the 1000cc machine in 2013 and I am looking forward to working towards how I am going to take the title in 2014. I want to thank Mark and Sarah Roebuck for believing in me coming in to this season and giving me the opportunity, Colin for his advice and direction from Cadwell Park onwards, Dave my Mechanic for his tireless efforts and PCR for their input working on the motorcycles away from the meetings. Also a big thanks to my Dad for his input and always believing in me and standing by my decisions and my personal sponsors for without their support the season would not have been possible. Homechoice Carpets-Leeds – GHM Services – ToiletSpares.co.uk – Cougar Leathers – Bikers Division Ltd – Daytona Boots – R&G Racing – Samco Sport By Racebikebitz Ltd – Paul ‘Noddy’ Brown – Walters Medical

Silverstone RD 11 National Superstock – Bad Luck sums up the weekend

 Silverstone was an enjoyable weekend up until race day. Qualifying didn’t go my way with 13th place but I learnt an important lesson in the fact that effort isn’t always simple or physical action, espeically not on the 1000.
I made it hard work for my self on track with pushing my braking markers back on my strong areas and this effected my lap time. In the race I made an average start but made up for it in the first turns. Later on in the lap I quickly came to realise that the level of grip I had at the rear of the bike was unpredictable, I was having moments. On lap 6 Whilst in 11th the bike stepped out suddenly and I highsided, we’re still reviewing the bike and data to find out exactly what happened. I will take a number of things from this meeting, I will be focused on using the session’s to their fullest in the future and will stick to my markers. Silverstone gave me clarity that you can earn a faster lap and race time from precisely building on what you know you are capable, and that is with every aspect of your corner entry, apex and exit. It can’t be achieved by simple physical efforts promoting only one of these at a time.
I’m looking forward to Brands Hatch GP now, it is the last round and I am going to be working hard to make sure I get my best result yet.
Thank you to my personal sponsors
Homechoice Carpets-Leeds – GHM Services – ToiletSpares.co.uk – Cougar Leathers – Bikers Division Ltd – Daytona Boots – R&G Racing – Samco Sport By Racebikebitz Ltd – Paul ‘Noddy’ Brown – Walters Medical
Thank you to my mechanic Dave for all his efforts, Colin for his advise, Mark and Sarah for the opportunity, PCR and everyone in the team.

3 weekends 3 Races – Cadwell, Silverstone Test – Donington Park Round Up

James East Round 9 National 1000 Superstock Cadwell Park

After a successful test the week before Round 9 at Cadwell Park I was really looking forward to this race. I had followed superbikes in testing and set fast lap times so the podium was my goal.

Free Practice
We didn’t enter the track due to wet and drying conditions, we felt there was no need to take a risk on a track which would be dry for the rest of the weekend.

Qualifying 1
Light rain was falling on a dry track so I quickly put in a respectable time of 1:31:7 on lap 3 before returning to the pits shortly after due to a damp track.
The session finished with me in 1st in group A by 0.9 and 7th overall as the track was dry for longer in the group B letting others better my time.

Qualifying 2
I got down to a time of 1:30:9 which I wasn’t happy with. I rushed the session and didn’t find the space I needed to do the times I thought I was capable of. This put me 8th on the grid but I knew I could improve.

Warm up
I tried some different lines in warm up which made it easier to get through the last sector, this made me feel better for the race.

Race
I got a great start from 8th and was up to 6th. Lap 2 I moved up to the leading group and fought off Simon Andrews to hold my position. I knew the front runners had more pace so I needed to move through to see if I could match this and stay in touch so I committed to a move on Lee Jackson at Turn 3 ‘Charlie’s but he closed the door which left me no room. I just avoided tripping over the bike but this put me on the grass. I rejoined in 18th and got up to 11th before the red flag came out for another incident.

I made a mistake, you make decisions and I made the wrong one. In the last 3 rounds I will be showing more patience and working to turn my pace in to results we are capable of and put us on the podium. Idaq Motorsport and PCR did a great job so thank you to them and all of my personal sponsors.

Silverstone 200
We entered the Silverstone 200 meeting supporting MotoGP as a test for the National Superstock round there later on in the season.
We had warm weather and sunshine for the full meeting and my first ride at Silverstone on the Kawasaki ZX10R.

Photograph By Paul Egan

As many laps as possible were needed to learn the long flat Arena GP circuit so the aim of the game for every session was to stay out for as long as possible and make any changes needed after the session.
We quickly got to pace and was in to the 2:11’s from the first session.

Qualifying
We made some changes for the better with the bike to make it turn faster and qualified well amongst the array of bike including superbikes on the 4th row with a low 2:11.

Race 1
I did a 2:10:9 on lap 4 but came in to some trouble when tipping in to the ultra fast maggots corner at 160mph I got stuck in to a fake neutral between 5th and 4th, the bike came around on me and forces me forward into the gravel. I had to lay the bike down before I hit the barrier.

Race 2
We had made some changes again which made the bike turn better and hold a line again. I did a 2:10:5 on lap 2 but on lap 3 another rider crashed in front of me at the Vale chicane and I had nowhere to go, hitting the bike and was thrown from mine.

‘We had some bad luck but we will have good pace come round 11 to push for the podium. Thank you to my personal sponsors and WaltersMedical for coming on board for this round’.

 

Donington Park
Friday was as wet as it gets, and the forecast showed rain throughout the weekend. I just did a few laps in this session to make sure the bike was straight from the Silverstone off. The bike was prepared and was running perfectly.

Qualifying 1 It was wet again. This was the first time I had ridden the bike competitively in the wet and we quickly found that the setup we predicted didn’t work. I couldn’t turn the bike and had next to no grip.
Unfortunately the slick Donington surface caught me out on the exit of the old hairpin and I had a high side. The bike was relatively un damaged but later we would realise the bike had an engine problem from the crash and we would need a new engine, which we were unable to source so I was forced to sit out the rest of the weekend.

‘I was obviously devastated with having to sit out this round. We were generating really good momentum in the season and recently have experienced some bad luck and knock backs however I will not let it affect my actions for the final two rounds of the season at Silverstone and Brands Hatch GP. Consistency will allow us to be on the podium as my pace is fast enough. I will need to qualify well and ride patient and precise races of which I know I am capable of. I’ve got 3 weeks now to prepare for Silverstone and I will arrive there ready. Thank you to my family, my personal sponsors, my team and everyone for their support.’

Thank you to my personal sponsors.
Homechoice Carpets-Leeds – GHM Services – ToiletSpares.co.uk – Cougar Leathers – Bikers Division Ltd – Daytona Boots – R&G Racing – Samco Sport By Racebikebitz Ltd – Paul ‘Noddy’ Brown – Walters Medical

Pre Cadwell Park – Test and Thoughts in preperation

Following a brilliant test on Wednesday 14th August at Cadwell Park we will be at the cicuit this bank holiday weekend from Friday to Monday 23rd to the 26th of August 2013.

Picture By Bike Sport Photography

We had a successful test where we worked hard all day to generate as much feel as we could from the bike. We achieved this, I could turn fast and meet apex’s and finished the day on a 1:30:8 which would of been good enough for 3rd on the front row of the grid for the race in 2012. More importantly this was achieved on tyres that had done 25 laps or more so the pace is consistant and strong.
I want to win, I think we deserve it and I want it more than anybody so I’m going to take it.
Thanks to PCR Performance for preparing the bike and the whole entire Idaq Motorsport Team for collectively making such a great package.
Also thank you to my personal sponsors. Lets get on the podium.
Homechoice Carpets-Leeds – Idaq.com – GHM Services – ToiletSpares.co.uk -Cougar Leathers – Bikers Division Ltd – Daytona Boots – R&G Racing – Samco Sport By Racebikebitz Ltd – Paul ‘Noddy’ Brown

Unlucky Oulton Park for East and IDAQ

James East – Idaq Kawasaki – National Superstock – Round 8 – Oulton Park
Back to Oulton Park for round 8 and under turbulent skies. The rain would hold off but an unlucky finish for me.

Free Practice
1:40:439 2nd in group A. 8th overall.
Free Practice at Oulton Park quickly made me realise this is still a learning year for me. Even though we used the settings from round one, my riding showed has changed and these settings no longer gave me the turning I needed.
We would change the ride height of the bike and damping sessions after this. Ready for qualifying.

Qualifying 1
1:39:307 2nd Group A. 8th overall.
I improved by over a second but lacked the feel from the front end I needed to drop my times further. We would trawl the data further after this session and come to a conclusion for QP2.

Qualifying 2
1:39:199 Group A 5th. 14th Overall.
I simply didn’t get my qualifying lap in. It seemed every lap I entered I either came across someone or had a moment. I improved but only slightly.
We improved the bike which was good as I knew I could push through from my qualifying position. Also after the session we quickly found some issue on the data from the point I was letting off the brake and found a solution for this in warm up so I was confident for the race.

Race
I got a great start, launched well and moved to the right of the track and went up the inside of many people.
I had a bit of a dice on the first lap with Lee Johnston but got back past at lodge and made my way forward to the leading group in 9th position.
I made a mistake at Dears leap which sent me into a wheelie on to the start finish straight. This lost me about .8 of a second and a missed gear on the same lap put me about a second off of Daniel Johnson in front, but on the same lap at Lodge my bike cut out completely and I coasted in to pitlane.

Some wires for the ignition switch had worn and become bare. We believe that this must of surged and blew the ignition fuse turning the bike off as if you turned the key off.

I was gutted as this was yet another non score which wasn’t my fault. However I don’t think I rode well enough in the race either. I showed my inexperience and I need to work on my positioning on the bike which is exactly what I will do at our next test at Cadwell Park on Wednesday 14th August.

Either way my team worked tirelessly all weekend so I want to thank them for their efforts as well as Dave for putting in the hours for me.


Thanks go out to James’s personal sponsors.

Homechoice Carpets-Leeds – Idaq.com – GHM Services – ToiletSpares.co.uk -Cougar Leathers – Bikers Division Ltd – Daytona Boots – R&G Racing – Samco Sport By Racebikebitz Ltd – Paul ‘Noddy’ Brown