The Iron Horse BMW/ Speedcell/ Evan Steel Performance Superbike made it’s third AMA American Superbike appearance at Laguna Seca this past weekend.
Rider Chris Peris and the ESP crew continued development of the highly sophisticated BMW S1000RR. Development of the German made Superbike has been ongoing since the team’s last AMA appearance in Sonoma, where they secured a solid top ten finish.
Friday’s first practice showed that the talented ESP crew’s hard work had paid off. At the end of the session, Peris was in sixth position with a time of 1:26.3. The time was a mere 1.3 seconds off of pole time and the closest the team had been to P1 since switching to the BMW.
Saturday’s two qualifying sessions would determine the grid for Sunday’s final. The morning session saw the Iron Horse BMW/ Speedcell/ ESP team continue to improve the setup of the machine, posting a 1:26.1 lap time, for a provisional position of ninth.
During the second and final qualifying session on Saturday, the team chose to work on a race setup for Sunday’s race versus an all out one lap flyer. Even though the team was looking for a race setup, Chris was able to improve his lap time to a 1:26.0, running a string of laps in the mid 1:26’s, for a final grid position of eleventh for Sunday’s race.
The Phil Allison built motor was consistently at the top of the speed charts throughout the weekend including second fastest Superbike overall in the first qualifying session, and the highest trap speed in qualifying session number two.
On Sunday morning the team was greeted with gray skies, cold temperatures, and fog. The fog was so thick on Sunday morning that AMA Pro Racing had to cancel the morning warm-up because of safety concerns-the marshals could not see from one flagging station to the next. The lack of morning warm-up was a bit of a concern for Peris as the team had made a major chassis adjustment overnight.
Peris’ concerns were alleviated when AMA officials decided to have a ten minute warm-up immediately preceding the race. The adjustments the team had made to the chassis helped the overall balance and feel of the S1000RR through Laguna’s fast and flowing turns.
When the lights went out, Peris had his best launch of the 2010 season aboard the BMW and was with the lead pack of ten riders. As the race wore on, Peris was embroiled in a four way battle with Bostrom, May, and McCormick.
At the finish line, Peris was ninth, after posting the seventh fastest lap of the race with a 1:25.62-less than a second off the fastest lap of the race a 1:24.69. The ESP crew was rewarded with another solid top 10 finish, once again demonstrating the strength of the BMW S1000RR platform. With stock wheels, brakes, calipers, and an anorexic budget, the Iron Horse BMW/ Speedcell/ ESP Superbike was capable of running with the much more developed, full time Superbike teams and riders.
The S1000RR is now back at the ESP shop in Tucson, AZ where the crew is working on refining the handling package and chassis setup to track conditions and rider preference.
Although the team would like to contest the remaining AMA Superbike rounds, the budget is not currently in place. The whole crew at ESP is grateful for all the contributions and fundraising efforts of fans, friends, customers and family that made their participation in the Laguna Seca round possible.
Team Iron Horse BMW/ Speedcell/ ESP is actively seeking sponsorship to campaign as many additional AMA rounds as possible in 2010.