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Racer refuses to bow to pressure of toughest test

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: September 19, 2013

  • PROGRESS HOPE: Yeovil's Ridersmotorcycles.com BMW racer Martin Jessopp heads to Holland this week for the latest round of the MCE British Superbikes. Picture by Peter Boocock

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MARTIN Jessopp's current British Superbikes plight may be amongst the toughest mental tests of his racing career but he is refusing to throw in the towel.

The Ridersmotorcyles.com competitor from Yeovil has endured a torrid first season back in the MCE-sponsored series, beleaguered by both injuries and technical problems.

It is currently his BMW – brand new at the start of the summer – that is giving him the biggest headaches as he and his team struggle to make it consistently quick and competitive.

When Jessopp, right, left BSB for World Supersport in 2012 he was used to challenging for top ten finishes. Now he heads to Assen in Holland focused more on ensuring he can reach similar heights for 2014.

The 27-year-old has recently benefited from assistance from grid heavyweights Buildbase BMW – who have helped fire James Westmoreland to sixth in the standings – and Halsall Racing Kawasaki friend Tommy Bridewell.

Whilst taking on board the expert assurances and advice, Jessopp said he and his team were working around the clock to improve his Superbike ahead of the trip to the Netherlands.

Jessopp said: "I'm finding it really hard at the moment to try and think positive and see a light at the end of the tunnel.

"We're struggling with so many things on the bike at the moment but on race day at Donington Park Buildbase BMW shared some information with us to show where we may be going wrong.

"We're trying to get some parts made in time to test at Assen. The bike is a really good standard and it turns out the things that we have done to turn it into a Superbike have taken the good bits away from it.

"It's a bit reassuring to have heard from Buildbase BMW that it took them four years to get to where they are now, which is a position where they are scoring good results.

"It's taken them a long time to get there. We're working very hard but as a racer it's not what I really want and the results I am getting now are a hard pill to swallow.

"We have tried to get little bits off them throughout the season but at the end of the day it's not so much a team sport.

"It's good of them to share that information and it has been a help.

"It does mean that there is quite a lot of on the bike that we have made that is possibly not right, so we need to go back and get other stuff made.

"We will work very hard in the week in the workshop to be ready for the next round. We're not giving up yet and we're just taking it race by race. It's a very difficult time and we're not happy at all, really.

"I carry an on-board camera on my bike and I'm good mates with Tommy Bridewell, who's doing really well on a Kawasaki at the front of the pack.

"I've been going through some stuff with him and it really highlighted just what I'm struggling on. I'm a tiny bit out everywhere, which shows that the bike is slightly not right. At this level of racing being just a little bit out is a big disadvantage."

With only pride at stake during the remaining three race meetings, Jessopp said his own performances were of more importance than how he fared in comparison to his compatriots.

After spending much of the week comparing his Superbike to his Superstock ride, he will take both to Holland.

"We're taking it round by round, as we have been all season," he said. "I had some help from Steve Plater at the weekend, who came into the garage after a couple of sessions.

"He's an ex-racer who competed at a good standard and he said 'you're not fighting for a Championship, use it as pre-season testing for next year'.

"We're trying radical things for next year and seeing what works and what doesn't work.

"The Superstock bike is close to a road bike, with a very stiff chassis where you feel every lump and bump. When you bolt all the clamps and forks on to these stiff wheels to make it a Superbike it makes that stiffness even worse.

"We've gone a little bit too far with that and we will get back on the Superstock bike to get some feedback to see where it's better and where it's worse.

"It's especially hard work for us as we only have one rider so there's only one stream of feedback and we can only try one thing at a time. If you have two riders, one can try one idea and the other a different one. It's hard but I have got to keep my head up, concentrate and get this project working better."

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