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This fortnight’s Revolving Racer is Arthur Sissis, who took time out after a successful weekend at Queensland Raceway to write this column for AMCN.

Arthur Sissis is showing some serious pace on the Stop & Seal YZF-R1. After a successful ASBK Round 3 at Queensland Raceway he penned this Revolving Racer column for AMCN:

After Sydney, I’d pretty much called it. I was finished in ASBK. There’s no point in going out there to finish 30 seconds off the lead and three seconds a lap off the pace – it’s a waste of money and a waste of everyone’s time. To have any chance of battling up the front in ASBK you have to be at the top of your game as a rider and your bike has to be the best it can be. If there is one small thing wrong, you’re finished. 

I don’t know what happened last year. Maybe it was the crashes that damaged something in the bike – I had a few big crashes last year. I don’t know but something wasn’t right with the bike. I questioned whether I was just scared of something, scared of crashing, maybe? With my old bike, I’d been having trouble for some time where it would wheelstand coming out of corners and then cut out. Then it would give me 100 percent throttle, wheelstand and cut out again. I had a feeling the problem wasn’t me – but there is always something in the back of your mind saying ‘the race before I was okay – and now I’m shit’. 

It really played with my confidence. 

Sissis in action at Queensland Raceway

When I’d made the call to stop racing after Sydney, word got around the paddock pretty fast, I guess. A few days later I had a call from Robbie (Bolger) saying that he had a spare bike and asked me if I wanted to ride it. 

I still had this feeling of ‘what if it’s not the bike? What if it’s me?’. I was pretty nervous.

Everything on the Stop & Seal YZF-R1 was new to me except the Pirelli tyres. The only thing that was the same was that it had a Yamaha badge. The electronics change was from the Yamaha kit ECU to Motec. Robbie had hired a guy who had only ever worked on cars to look after our electronics, and most people are aware now that the Motec ECU is so complex that even achieving a solid base setting can be difficult. 

The suspension was a switch from Bitubo to Öhlins and after the first session in Queensland we checked the data and put softer springs in the front and rear. With everything being so unfamiliar, instead of changing too many things and getting lost I decided to just ride the bike. Sometimes that’s the best thing to do.

Queensland Raceway is deceptively simple. Easy to learn but difficult to be fast at. Maybe it’s the long straights. You have to get such a good run on to the straights and if you don’t, your lap is ruined. For any chance of making a pass you’ve got to get perfect drive out of the corners, especially if you’re against someone who’s making similar lap times. 

With the resources of a well-funded team behind him, Sissis finished a steady ninth in the first race at QR, improving to fifth in the second

We improved in every session and the main difference I noticed was how much easier it was to come out of corners. I was surprised to be battling with Broc (Pearson) in the first race. I think it’s the first time I’ve passed anybody under brakes in about six months. In the second race I felt really good. It took me a few laps to get past Broc and then Glenn Allerton, but after that I was doing some of the fastest lap times, except for maybe Mike Jones.

Now I’m really excited with the potential. I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface with the Motec ECU. I think we’ve exceeded what everyone was expecting at Queensland Raceway, especially with the second race. The bike was exceptionally smooth in power delivery – smooth all round, so much easier to ride. The main difference was that it felt the same on the first lap as it did on lap 15 or 16. There wasn’t much of a drop-off. 

Robbie was telling me all weekend to treat the races like a test day, that’s all. He was trying to keep the pressure off, even after I made a stupid mistake in qualifying.

The next round is at Morgan Park – and I’ll be riding there. It’s physically demanding but I somehow managed to go fast there last year. With the Stop & Seal bike – with the smoothness of the power delivery, I think it could be quite good.

After that last weekend, it’s given me a huge confidence boost to know that I can still ride a motorbike. Let’s see how it all goes at Morgan Park, see you then!