Maxima BMW’s Glenn Allerton returns to ‘grass roots’ of racing at SMSP

Maxima BMW’s Glenn Allerton was finally back in the saddle last weekend, racing at Sydney Motorsport Park which was the venue for the final round of the New South Wales Road Race Championship, hosted by the St George Motorcycle Club.

After a bit over four months since Allerton last raced, which was the third and final race of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Allerton showed that he had not lost his touch what so ever. Allerton racked up the gold by winning three races in the Unlimited Superbike Championship, as well as taking two race wins in the BEARS F1 Championship, both from pole position.

We sat down with the New South Welshman and fired a bunch of questions to see how the weekend was from his point of view.

Image: Half Light Photographic

What were your thoughts on being able to return to some sort of racing last weekend after the year we have had thus far due to the COVID-19?

It was great, it really was. It has felt like it’s been a lifetime since we have gone racing. In fact, I was almost nervous ahead of the first race on Saturday. I knew I was going to win, but there are always nerves ahead of racing which creep in. While the races were short and sharp, it was nice to be able to have some clear track to really be able to push myself and the bike to its limits. The last few times I have ridden here at Sydney Motorsport Park have been at track days, which resulted in traffic whilst out on track, costing me a decent lap time.

What was it like to step back to the ‘grass roots’ of racing in terms of racing in your state championship – New South Wales Road Race Championship?

Quite refreshing and a breath of fresh air. Racing at the ASBK rounds can sometimes be quite stressful, as there is a lot of pressure on my shoulders having to fly the flag for BMW Motorrad Australia and all of our team sponsors. So, to be able to return to the grass roots of our racing is a wonderful thing which I have really enjoyed. It’s a huge credit to the St George Motorcycle Club how they have run the meeting and considering the difficult hurdles they had to leap over with particular procedures due to the COVID-19 issues. So, I take my hat off to Michael O’Brien (Club President) and his team. They have run the meeting extremely well. I’ve had a blast, that’s for sure.

In terms of the riders across the classes, they are pretty good. I was very surprised how fast some of the riders were. All in all, I had a great few days. It was just a shame that Sunday got called off due to the weather.

With all the work which has gone into the 2020 BMW S 1000RR, how much easier have you found the bike to ride now, compared to the start of the year at the opening round of the Australian Superbike Championship?

The bike is night and day. Shane [Kinderis] has put in so much work to make the bike much easier to ride. On top of that, its fast, but we are able to put that power to the ground which is making the biggest difference right now. The work which has been done on the electronics and the stability of the motorcycle is what is making the biggest difference now. I just honestly believe we have a package which will enable me to run in the top five, if not the top three in the ASBK Championship when we go racing again. I’m just really excited about what we have now.

Image: Russell Colvin

On Sunday, you managed to get two races in the wet, which was the first time you rode the 2020 Maxima BMW S 1000RR in inclement conditions, before the event was unfortunately abandoned. What was it like from your point of view?

I was really amazed with how the bike handled in the wet. It’s always scary to ride a Superbike in the wet, so I was a little bit cautious for the first few laps on Sunday.  However, after two laps I instantly felt right at home with the BMW S 1000RR. First of all, that is credit to BMW Motorrad in terms of the overall build of the motorcycle itself. Then secondly, as I said before the work which Shane has put into the bike has made it even better. The bike was so stable and easy to ride in the wet, which is what you need. I didn’t have to take any unnecessary risks in those two races, which once again gives me the confidence knowing we have a very good package to challenge for good results in the Australian Superbike Championship – wet or dry.

Image: Half Light Photographic

How much more potential does the all-new BMW S 1000RR have and what else would you like seen done to it?

The bike has a bit more potential in it. I believe we can extract more power out of it and there’s always things that we can do differently. But the overall handling is pretty much spot on now. I feel at one with the bike and it’s the first time in a long while since I have felt that way. I admit in the past few years I have not been able to ride as myself, being freely and feeling 100% on the bike, but now I feel as if I’m 100% back to my old self.

Something which I’m able to do is change direction on the power, which is the biggest thing I was chasing. The way the bike is now, I’m more than happy with it. We have got the ingredients; we have just got to put our heads together and keep chipping away.

Final question, hypothetically if it could happen, would you consider a MotoGP/AFL/NBA style hub and lockdown for a 3-4-week period and complete three rounds at Phillip Island or similar? If it could happen, would you do it?

I would be all for it for sure. If it would enable us to be able to go racing then I would be fine to be in a ‘ASBK hub’. It wouldn’t happen, but I would like to see it happen, that way we would be able to go racing again. For sure, I would miss home and my family, but if it would help us to go racing then yes, I would be up for that form of living, like what Supercars and MotoGP are doing right now.