Honda Rac­ing’s BSB bike is one of the world’s most re­fined Fire­blades. They showed us the new tricks they taught their old dog to keep it com­pet­i­tive...

Performance Bikes (UK) - - Project Bike -

ASWEET CHAS­SIS AND a strong midrange make our road­bike a still-ca­pa­ble un­der­dog. The same is true even at na­tional level: Honda Rac­ing’s BSB and Su­per­stock bikes are still get­ting on with the job of win­ning way be­yond the nor­mal shelf-life of a su­per­bike. The last year of the SC59 saw Dan Lin­foot fin­ish up fourth in the cham­pi­onship, with Ja­son O'Hal­lo­ran just be­hind him. That’s in front of a fair few ZX-10Rs and S1000RRs...

The long-stand­ing ba­sic de­sign has its ad­van­tages – while teams us­ing ri­val man­u­fac­turer ma­chin­ery have had to start from scratch with three dif­fer­ent mod­els within the life of the Blade, the team in Louth have eight years of data and knowl­edge from Su­per­stock, BSB, World En­durance and road rac­ing bikes to build on and fine-tune.

In 2016, at the Don­ing­ton and Assen BSB rounds, their bikes set com­pa­ra­ble lap-times with the HRC-backed Ten Kate bikes rid­den by Hay­den and Van Der Mark in WSB – in spite of more re­stric­tive rules for en­gine and elec­tron­ics.

Paul Wil­liamson has been Ja­son O’Hal­lo­ran’s crew chief since his Su­pers­port sea­son in 2013, then over­see­ing the prep of his 2014 Bri­tish Su­per­stock-win­ning Fire­blade SP and his 2015/16 BSB bikes, too.

He’s seen the bike sub­tly evolve, im­prove and defy ob­so­les­cence in one of the most com­pet­i­tive series in the world. PB vis­ited him at Honda Rac­ing’s work­shops for an ex­clu­sive look at how the BSB bike has moved with the times.

Words Chris New­big­ging Photography Jamie Mor­ris, Honda Rac­ing

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