Competing In MotoAmerica Superbike the Westby Racing Way

Yamalube/Westby team manager Chuck Giacchetto talks about the bikes and Superbike racer Mathew Scholtz.

Yamalube Westby Racing Mathew Scholtz wheelies
Yamalube/Westby Racing's Mathew Scholtz at Road Atlanta.Photo: Brian J. Nelson

Part 2 in a series of observations written by Yamalube/Westby Racing’s team manager, Chuck Giacchetto. CLICK HERE for Part 1.

Anyone involved with MotoAmerica knows that the series needs more Superbikes on the starting grid. In fact, I believe most teams would like to compete in the premier class. But let's not fool ourselves: Motorcycle road racing is a very expensive sport. It's not our God-given right to participate in it, be good at it, or afford it. So, in this entry, I would like to focus on the new Superstock 1000 rules package.

Let’s start at the front of the motorcycle. Under the new rules, we can change the axle and modify the fork lower, which means we can now use a captive axle nut—one less tool needed. This also allows use of a different fender-mounting system so we don’t need to remove the fender or brake calipers to execute a wheel change. For my guys, this means fewer steps, reduced opportunities for mistakes, and less time spent kneeling.

Moving upward, you can clearly see that the Yamalube/Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 has a big ol' fully adjustable triple clamp. That means we can now legally change offset and add or take away trail according to rider feedback. The kit we use also allows us to change rake and perform a stem tilt. On our bike, the latter will vary from zero degrees up to 1.5 fore or aft.

These changes affect the inputs that our rider, Mathew Scholtz, receives from the motorcycle during corner entry and, even more critical, mid-corner. Depending on which way we adjust the tilt, we can increase or take away the feeling that Mat picks up through the handlebars. Thus far, this has been the most noticeable change to our Superstock 1000 race program.

Moving to the rear of the bike, we are now allowed to modify or replace the standard shock linkage. This is an open option so we have built different links according to what the rider feels that he may need based on the track and his riding style. There is no specific combination that just mysteriously drops out of the sky, so patience truly is a virtue with regard to this modification.

In addition, the location of the swingarm pivot can now also be modified. Most of the time, that adjustment isn’t more than 2mm in either direction but it will nevertheless alter a number of things, including chain pull, leverage, swingarm angle, wheel rate, etc. This is an area of modification in which very few who race our particular class of machine will likely see significant benefit.

By far, the biggest change at the rear of the bike is the use of a modified swingarm. We are fortunate to have great sponsors that build and test these parts. Our new arm is 25mm longer than standard, which means that we can adjust wheelbase from the stock length to something greater. We can also swap the rear brake caliper for an underslung aftermarket unit. Now, with one tool, the wheel is in and out seamlessly—and safely.

Superbike teams have traditionally had two bikes ready to go for every session. Bin one? Jump on the other. Testing tires and different setups was far more efficient. Now, everyone who is racing a 1000cc motorcycle, Superbike or Superstock 1000, can only use a second bike if the designated number-one bike is a total loss. Teams will now leave their back-up bikes stored in or behind their transporters.

Some may argue that this isn't the right time for Superstock 1000 teams to be spending more money. I look at it instead as a smooth transition into Superbike. We have to spend the money, but we are doing so in two steps. For 2017, we will run Superstock 1000 with a highly modified Yamaha R1. Next year, we will run the same bike with fork and engine modifications. Maybe it’s psychological, but we feel great about these changes.