Team Traction Control Team Principal Paul Bolwell explains why they are changing bikes in their first year of British Supersport
We’re not yet at the season’s halfway mark and already we’ve built up an impressive group of wonderful fans who also want to see James Rispoli challenge for podiums on the track.
With so much popular support it’s little surprise that the pressure of expectation has built quickly for results and the team has to improve on its performances to do so – not only for James and the the fans but for our sponsors and the long-term stability of the team, too.
To give James the best chance of battling with the front runners we have, as a team, made the choice to switch to the Yamaha R6 for the rest of the season in the BSS rounds. This has been a hard decision. Our initial testing showed our current bike is a great one, but the feeling from the rider and the engineers is that we cannot get the bike to a level that matches our ambitions.
Both Keith and I came into this debut season full of excitement with a desire to build a new team and gain respect within the racing community. James’s exceptional raw talent has meant we’re well ahead of our goals and at a point where we want to give him the opportunities to chase podiums and battle with the front group of riders.
As part of our TTC strategy we review and reflect on every race as well as study all the data and video footage; it is our belief that to continually improve all aspects of the team you have to be prepared to make major changes as well as marginal improvements.
Changing bikes mid-season is not a decision that we’ve taken lightly but we have to think about the future – and that includes the remainder of this season as well as the next.
We felt we had a better chance of pushing for results if we moved to the Yamaha R6 in the Supersport class and we spent many an hour discussing whether to wait until next season to start using the bike, or make a ballsy decision and do it now – which is exactly what we’ve decided to do.
James is really buzzing and the feedback from his first rides on the R6 have been phenomenal: “It’s already being run at the front of the pack, so we knew it worked, but now I can see why,” he says, “I absolutely love the feel of this set-up: I’m pumped about the difference it could make to my season. It’s going to be awesome.”
With a great bike beneath James we expect to see him battling amongst the front-runners. We know that this is a big ask in only his first year in the UK, but his AMA Championship titles prove he knows how to ride and win races.
Some might question what we’re doing but we as a team are here to race. The team already has a great camaraderie and we want to be right up there fighting with the front runners. This passion is driven by Keith because, as race fans will know, he’s a motorcycle fanatic; a brilliant rider himself and life-long lover of motorcycle racing. Keith has built the team that best represents what he loves about racing – and that’s what we want to achieve.
The final word goes to Keith. “I started this team because I wanted to go racing, that’s what it’s all about man. We have a great rider in James who has shown a lot of commitment coming over to the UK to race with us. I have a responsibility and desire to help him in every way I can, to make sure this is a positive chapter in his career; as a team, we need to be as ballsy as our riders are – James and Steve – so they must have the right weapons to go racing.”