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Aug 22, 2014

CIA Insurance Honda Team To Decide 2015 Plans After Jerez Round

Jack Kennedy (4) on his CIA Insurance Honda CBR600RR.

DECISION TIME LOOMS

Simon Says with CIA Insurance

IN my last column I mentioned that we had been looking at BSB as a possible alternative to the World Superbike paddock. Since then the rules for World Superbike are just about finalised and in my opinion whilst catering to the wishes of the factory teams (of which of course there are only three, maybe only two if Aprilia go to Moto GP next year) this rules out the possibility of a team like CIA Insurance Honda making the step up to the main class unless we can find a lot more funding.

There is a cap on electronic costs but in reality after the companies have clawed back the loss of the sale of the hardware in service charges this will not save as much as it should do and once again will be hard to police.

Allowing two bikes also puts the cost up in a big way. OK I know you can only have one bike passed at a time, but having two bikes means more spares and more staff. With this in mind we may have to drop our ambitions to move up to the Superbike class in the World Championship. Put simply, without a much larger budget we simply could not compete. The gap between the teams could now be even bigger. In a lot of ways I hope I am wrong as this will lead to reduced grids again and a backward step for the Championship.

That now only leaves us two options, to stay as we are in World Supersport with a four rider team and look to challenge for the title. Our bike package is working well again now so this is a realistic aim. I am in talks now with Ratthapark Wilairot and his backers Core’ and would like him to be part of our team wherever we decide is best for us.

We are looking for Jack Kennedy to repeat his Portimao level of performance in the remaining three races and as with Film we would like Jack to continue with us if together we can be a consistent competitive package on the CIA Insurance Honda. Raffaele has done a good job for us and I personally am very happy with his input as a team player. That said we need to look at our overall budget before making a decision on him. I will discuss with Nacho Perez in Jerez his views for 2015. There are also a number of other riders we are talking to now about 2015. I will update you on this next time.

For British Superbike we would look to run 1 Superbike and 2 Supersport machines in the series. MSV put on a great show and I would not consider it a backward step to be part of this series with good crowds, strong TV coverage and excellent promotion. We are talking with Stuart Higgs now about how we could make this work and indeed who would be the riders for this project should we move in this direction.

In my opinion the BSB Superbike rules are far better than the new rules proposed for WSB. They allow us to be competitive and the Motec control ECU means teams are on a level as seen by the different machines winning races in recent years. This is just my view but Dorna could have done a lot worse than taking this on board and used what is a proven package. I know Gregorio and Daniel at Dorna are doing a good job and have many things to consider, but the factories have had far too much say in the final rules which in turn has just ramped up the costs again.

The final thing to consider is the World Championship calendar. I have to say this year has been a bit of a disaster. With losing South Africa so late in the day we are left with three races in three months. That is never a good thing cost wise as we have staff being paid to do very little right now. I’m sure all my men will remember the easy time they are now having when the hard work period arrives.

Hopefully we will have two WSS races in Qatar to make it a 12 round series to help things a bit. For next year we all need to know form Dorna what the calendar will be and really to have a series with only 12 rounds starting in February and ending in November is far from ideal. This will play a major part in our decision process as we have our title sponsor CIA Insurance to consider not just ourselves.

Martin Sheppard from CIA Insurance is at Cadwell Park BSB round with me this weekend so we can discuss together the way forward. We will be looking to make our final decision after the Jerez round of WSS on September 7th where I will also met with Film and the Core people. It is never easy to decide what is best but we hope to make an exciting announcement about the future of our team in September.

Cheers

Simon