Former Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Michael Gilbertson opened his 2010/2011 account well with a win at the Fuchs Australian Nationals at Sydney Dragway.
The off season has seen Gilbertson develop not just the Suzuki combination in his machine, but also his team with a new association with Glen Wooster. The two Hogs Breath Cafe bikes certainly looked the part out on the track and are contributing to increased exposure for the Michael Gilbertson Racing brand.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years, I’ve wanted to run two bikes,” he said.
“I started speaking to Glen last year, it has been in the pipeline for the last nine to 12 months. I wanted to expand Michael Gilbertson Racing and promote it as a brand.
“He was the logical choice, he runs a bike that is quite similar to mine, over the next 12 months he will start running my motors.”
Gilbertson (yellow bike, left) said he has known Wooster for a while, since their early days in Modified Bike, and saw the advantages in bringing him into the team.
“He was a good fit, he speaks well and he rides quite well,” Gilbertson said.
The team is now building up the infrastructure necessary to take the two bikes around the country.
“I’ve just bought a semi we are fitting out at the moment to bring it over to Perth,” he said.
“It’s good for Hogs Breath to get more exposure with two bikes in the one class.”
The Nationals win came on the back of a fairly consistent performance from Gilbertson, though he also got lucky with a red light against him in the first round and a final where opponent Phil Howard was not able to run after staging.
Gilbertson has been working on getting a new clutch happening in the Suzuki.
“There was a few changes to the bike, I’ve gone to the new Gen 2 clutch, so that threw me a bit of a curve ball and we didn’t qualify quite as strong as we hoped,” he said.
“We’ve just got to figure the clutch out, it’s making good horsepower.”
Gilbertson explained the difference with the new clutch.
“It’s a different principle, the new clutches work on rear wheel speed, these MTCs work on engine speed, it’s just getting some laps on it,” he said.
“We used to 60ft around 1.10 consistently, we ran a 1.15 best on the weekend, so they were pretty good ETs considering the first half of the track.”
While describing the Nationals as a “good solid meeting for the first round of the year”, Gilbertson is hopeful there is more performance to come.
“Once we get on top of that clutch we should see it go a fair bit quicker,” he said.
“We want to be running right at the pointy end of the field, Trevor is running consistent 7.20s, I know I have the horsepower to match it with him it is just getting the right tune up.”
The team is now looking ahead to Perth where a championship round was recently added for December.
Last year’s round saw a low ebb for the bracket where nearly every racer struggled with mechanical demons and the strongest wind ever seen at the Motorplex played havoc with the second half of the track.
Gilbertson is still excited about returning west and bringing his mates with him.
“It’s going to be a good round, I’m going to bring most of the field over in the truck,” he said.
“No one has really shone in Perth yet so the whole bracket is excited in putting on a good show. We look like bringing a full field. I think the 50% bonus points will make it important to do well.
“I’m hoping to bring the truck over to do the test session, we are adamant we want to put on a good show.”
An important aspect will be to increase Wooster’s performances to see him also become a threat for the championship.
“We’re in the process of upgrading the motor in the second bike to try and bump it into the top half of the field,” Gilbertson said.
“We’ve got a pretty good arsenal now with spare motors. I’m confident (my) bike is going to be near the front of the field, the main concern will be getting Glen up there.”