Proposal to run wets in 2016
I am not one for forums and such but I have had to put my natural reluctance to one side in this instance. I do find it rather odd that a major change to the Desmo rules that has been proposed for 2016 has not yet been discussed on the forum and that change is the proposal to run wets. This needs serious consideration by all of the riders.
Kevin had the good grace, around mid season, to ask me for my opinion regarding running wets in 2016 and I have to admit I replied that I had no opposition with the proposal. However, I really did not think too clearly about the matter
I have since reconsidered. Running wet tyres will offer no benefits to us as a class. If it were the case that the existing SportSmart 2 performed poorly or dangerously in very wet conditions, then obviously, for safety sake, the option to be able to switch to a wet tyre specifically designed for such conditions would make sense. However this, to me, appears not to be the case as the SportSmart 2 seems to be an excellent tyre in the wet, it is predictable and clears standing water surprisingly well.
Having to run wet tyres will only incur extra expense for the riders with them having to purchase rims, discs and (wet) tyres. Additionally there will be the aggravation of having to switch over rims in the paddock. There will also be the possibility of a race turning into a lottery if conditions may change during a race and and who will have made a correct or lucky choice will then be faster than those whose tyres do not suit the track conditions (I am assuming here that the rider will be able to make the choice of which tyre he wishes to run and not the organisers? I have no idea what present rules/protocol exist for wet races). Returning to the matter of extra expense, there is no fun in having to discard a set of brand new wets due to a dried up track.
The use of a sole control tyre is to the credit of the series and should not be given up lightly The Desmo series flies the flag of simplicity, a level playing field and an attempt to keep costs down. The prospect of running wets seems to me, at least, to go against all of these principles.
I would like to take the opportunity of thanking Kevin for all of his hard work in keeping the Desmo series alive this year.
My understanding of the situation about wets is, this not just a proposal to do it for the sake of doing it, but more an to do with the consideration of who we are able to go racing with next year. If the situation were ideal we would have DD grids big enough to always have our own races, however if we cannot guarantee full grids (or nearly full) race organisers will in turn be reluctant to guarantee our own grids. This being the case we may end up having to race with other series (e.g 400's etc) and then it would just be unsafe to be out in a wet race with some on wets and some on basically road tyres.
The only way I can see that we could solve this, is for all prospective 2016 DD racers to give our committee some kind of commitment so they can have a reasonably accurate idea of the amount of racers for next season, if we get enough racers commitment they can negotiate with the prospective meeting organisers on our behalf to get our own grids. Without this sort of commitment organisers will look at the average grid size over the last 2-3 years to get an idea of the DD grids and base there considerations on this.
Anyway, thats my understanding of the difficulties facing our committee when they start more earnest discussions with the possible race organisers, but I am sure our committee will outline things in more detail once the options are fully understood.
I've always thought we should use wets.
I'd be happy if the club made the call though so everyone went out on the same tyres.
Only need them if there's standing water
DD is now in a very weak negotiating position due to its small grid size
In 2015 we averaged less than 20 entries per race, with the average starters at 18 per race and the average number of finishers was 16.
Entries per meeting (excluding Guest riders)were
Brands = 23, Cadwell = 22, Pembrey = 16, Snetterton = 25
That was running with Hottrax, afterwards with EMRA, NGRRC and Derby Phoenix we had
Mallory = 20, Anglesey = 20, Cadwell = 19 and Pembrey = 15
So at times barely half a grid and at no time anywhere near a full grid, as such it is hard to justify our own separate grid
All clubs need to maximise their income from each grid, when each slot is worth around £225 having 10 empty places means they are loosing out to the tune of £2250, this is why the likes of Hottrax and New Era no longer exist where as Thundersport GB and Bemsee who will run several classes per grid are surviving
All the clubs we ran with in the second half of the 2015 season are happy to have us back
EMRA plan to run 6 one day meetings in 2016 all at Mallory and all on Sunday's
Derby Phoenix are planning 3 meetings but so far have 2 Cadwell dates
NGRRC are planning 8 meetings with no circuits visited more than once and if we have sufficient numbers we can have our own grids at 5 of the meetings but at Thruxton, Castle Combe and Donington we don't have sufficient numbers to warrant a separate grid as they can all accommodate over 40 bikes per grid and are popular meetings at costly venues so we would need to share a grid with either 400s as Mark says or with Open 500s or maybe even Mini Twins and as all these classes are allowed to use Wets it would be unsafe if we did not also allow them should the track be wet.
We have run for 11 seasons without wets and in that time I have missed 3 meetings, Anglesey first time DD went there, Assen first time DD went there and Donington when New Era decided to change the format. in that time I haven't had an issue with our lack of wets and have never sat out a race because of the conditions, yet in that same time I have watched the numbers in DD drop at one time we had separate grids for Class A and Class B with around 30 per grid and now we average a third of that.
So without adopting wets I can't see DD surviving
I agree with the suggestion of all of the Desmo racers committing early to 2016 so that the Desmo series can negotiate from a position of strength with the meeting organisers on our behalf to get our own grids. If we get our own grids we won't need wets appears to be the bottom line.
I have to ask this though, if wet tyres are used next year I am assuming that the RIDER has the choice of what tyres he runs in a race and not the organisers? This seems obvious to me but after walking back into this game after 25 years, monitoring and H&S control has certainly encroached onto the sport.
We had 38 riders commit to the series prior to the start of last season but this does not insure large grid sizes, at Pembrey in April it was evident that people weren't entering because they didn't want to race in the wet, the unknown is would they have if they had been allowed to use wets.
Based on recent figures it is unlikely DD will attract anywhere near the 40 plus bikes for some of the bigger, more costly circuits, where each grid needs to pull in around £6500 to make the two day meeting pay
When a race is declared WET by the organisers it is still as far as I know up to the individual rider to what tyre he arrives in the collecting area on. As some will often gamble on which way the conditions will change
Maybe the answer is to have a control tyre and free choice of wets?
The current Dunlops are cheap and work ok in dry/damp conditions, but given the choice I would not want to race on them in proper rain.
Times change and the original ethos of DD has to move on, IMHO
If the wets used are control as well then we maintain all being on same tyres which seems to make sense to me
working on it Miles, had a promising phone conversation today, but these talks always take a while.
We are the end users and need to be supported directly by the manufacturer to get a good deal on prices.
But in between we need a tyre supplier who is ideally in the paddock of the club we are racing with such as Pro tyre when we were with Hottrax and their deal is done with the tyre manufacturer.
<Devil's advocate mode on>
How about only allowing wets on mixed grids?
It would save a lot of faffing at meetings where we don't need wets
<Devil's advocate mode off>
Will quietly go with the flow.
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