And we're off! The racing season has begun and the True Heroes Racing team are as ready as they can be, with the bikes all set in their 2022 livery. The bikes have been on a huge journey from the manufacturer, to Laguna Performance Centre, then onto the team for further adjustments and modifications. The motorcycles are now ready to go and the team have been out on the track for their free practice... so we caught up with Phil Spencer (Founder & Team Principle) for more news on how everything is going for the team.
Scroll down for the interview and a closer look at the race bikes...
The True Heroes Racing 2022 livery on the Suzuki GSXR1000
The True Heroes Racing 2022 livery on the Ducati Panigale V2
"As we embark on our 10th year of activity my aspiration is to make 2022 our biggest and best year for beneficiary activities. We are aiming to field the largest number of bikes we have ever attempted, with 5 core team riders at the high profile British Superbike Championships, a further 2 bikes in our Grassroots program at the North Gloucester Road Racing Club and an additional 3 linked riders under our Associate Rider program. So this is going to keep us very busy this year and also means we can offer the largest ever number of opportunities for beneficiaries from the Wounded, Injured and Sick UK Service personnel & Veterans communities, to be directly involved in all aspects of competitive motorcycle racing."
"At this stage, the 3 new Ducati V2 Panigales look the part, but we are yet to take them out on the track. They have certainly been designed with a racing pedigree and in my opinion, show a return to the classic Ducati styling of the 90s (916/998) with a single-sided swingarm. This brings both challenges and advantages to the racing environment but takes me back to my days on the sidelines watching Carl Fogarty, Neil Hodgson and others racing around Brands Hatch in the World Superbike Championships."
"Our single biggest technical challenge this year is adapting a Ducati V2 Panigale for Chris Ganley to race. Chris is a single-arm amputee who has lost his left arm above the elbow, which means we need to convert his bike so all the controls are on the single righthand handlebar. In real terms this is just the clutch lever, but because the V2 Panigale is a hydraulic clutch, we need to install a completely new hydraulic system and master cylinder to do this. If we just moved the OEM clutch master cylinder from the left to the right it would be upside down and the fluid reservoir would be trying to feed the master cylinder from underneath! Another technical challenge we face this year is an advancement in onboard data logging for our 2 Suzuki GSXR1000s. Although the AIM systems we will be using are well renowned and prolifically used, they are new to us and the concept of data logging and interpretation will be new skills our mechanics and riders will have to learn as the season goes along."
"In hindsight back in 2012 no. I still find it amazing to look back at where we started and where we have come. The opportunities we have offered our beneficiaries and the inspiration their stories have provided to the wider audience are outstanding. I couldn’t have grown True Heroes racing to what it is today without the support of so many people; from my wife and family and the sponsors to those involved in helping me with the day-to-day organising and running of the organisation."
"Interesting question… What has been achieved to date has been achieved in my spare time while I have continued to be on active service with the Royal Navy. My 32-year career in the Royal Navy will come to an end in a couple of years and the hope is we can reach a position where I can apply even more time and effort than I am currently to expand both the organisation and the opportunities it can offer. We’re reaching a real crossroads in our existence and the next stage involves some serious logistical and financial challenges to overcome to underpin our continued expansion. There is still a strong desire for True Heroes Racing to become the first-ever all military team to compete in the premiere Superbike class at the British Superbike Championships…so let’s wait and see what the next few years have in store."
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