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GP Week : Issue 134
GPWEEK OPINION >> good enough to get some meaningful work done in the short time available, simply refining what they already have. It means that, apart from the three days at each race weekend, riders have a very limited time on their motorbikes. Which translates as having virtually none at all to work outside the box. They have to stick with what they already know. Of course, factories can run private tests with private test riders. That expense is beyond Dorna’s control. But there is an old problem with that. The riders, no matter how good or experienced (and several Japanese ex- GP winners are employed) simply aren’t fast enough, compared with active GP riders. Solutions which may work for them at a couple of seconds off the pace are no longer valid, once a rider starts to approach 100 percent of the possibilities. Some control is necessar y, I suppose. Twenty or 25 years ago, testing was out of control, and the amount that could be done was a direct function of a factory ’s racing budget. Teams would go to Brazil or australia or South africa in winter for day upon day of round-and-round. Then do it again to test tyres. It reached the point of absurdity, and soon after wards teams’ association IrTa stepped in with an organised schedule. Even then, it was not until the crisis that private sessions for full-time riders were banned. Ducati’s plight – testing new chassis developments at races – seriously suggests that things should be eased up. It was one of the red-clad mechanics who explained that the tests that really matter are those the day after a race, when there can be meaningful comparison with what happened the day before. and the expense is not so bad. all the teams are already there with all their riders and all their gear. It’s time for Dorna to schedule tests, where feasible, every Monday after every race. wheels were a shiny new Volkswagen Scirocco which falls a long way short of the old school entry requirements, but did set my mind to racing mode, for the last time I drove one it had slicks and a roll cage. The white VW also reminds me a bit of the Escort XR3i my mum had in the 80s, in terms of its character. There were a handful of ‘Risky Business’ Porsche 928s there and whale - tail 911s on show at Goodwood meaning, I guess, that the cars of my youth are now considered credible classics, just like the time- traveling comedies. Not sure I’d take the concours by storm with an F-plate XR3, mind. Classics have long appealed to me. A Mk1 Merc SL, Jensen Interceptor, or two-tone Healey 3000; my mind began to wander as I checked out what other people had brought with them. The trouble is, I don’t have the discipline to dust and vacuum my apartment, so how could I be expected to keep a 40- year-old motor in perfect order? It sounds like a responsibility akin to parenthood, with running costs that make an Etonian education look cheap. After a few pints of real ale, I suppose an XK120 and a vasectomy could be considered a reasonable compromise. Then again, as I left the circuit I soon happened upon several enthusiasts stood by the side of the road, bonnets up, looking bored. One flat-cap-wearing gent looked more than a little upset as he waited for the fire brigade, next to what may once have been his Austin Healey. A laudable but nonetheless cripplingly expensive extravagance, these wonderful cars. They make a set of Marty McFly shoes look sensible. But maybe the madness is part of the appeal. Goodwood was, frankly, barking ... and I loved it. Test pattern No need for a flux capacitor – just go to Goodwood 25