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Pascal Picotte and Brett McCormick - The making of a racer


by Marc Cantin ,

Calabogie - Getting serious
When the team showed up for the first Canadian Championship round in Calabogie, the complex relationship between Brett and Pascal was gelling. Brett was showing enormous promise and was eager to learn, and Pascal, acting as riding coach, technical analyst, and main communicator with the rest of the team, was building up a common vocabulary with Brett, as well as a sense of what "A little" meant as opposed to "Rideable" or "Too much". Pascal could then work with Öhlins suspension guru Mike Fitzgerald and tuner/strategist Paul Fournier in a language all three could understand.

A relaxed group waiting for the start of the Superbike race at Calabogie, with head mechanic and worrier Scott Cameron checking the adjustment of the brake lever.

In addition to his role as team manager, Pascal naturally enjoys this pivotal value-added communication role. "I listen to Brett's feedback and interpret it through my riding experience and style. I can then turn to Mike and Paul, as well as the Pirelli tire guys, and describe what is going on, so that we can analyse the bike's behaviour and come up with improvements."

After the two second place finishes at Calabogie, Pascal got to know his rider a bit more. "We finished a close second in 600, and in Superbike, Brett was very unhappy with second place after leading most of the race. I then realized just how determined he is to win. His off track friendly demeanour can fool you, as he really wants to win and goes out to do just that every time out. The whole team can see this and everybody's motivation just shoots up."

ICAR - The unknown for everyone
When the teams convened at ICAR for the second round, everyone faced an additional challenge: learn a new track and set suspensions and tires without any real race data on the new track. Picotte had a plan for the weekend. "After the Calabogie post-race analysis and a club race at ICAR, we had worked out two sets of baseline settings, and ended up fastest every time Brett went out for a practice, qualifying or race - we just swept the board on both bikes."

The team was also gaining a better understanding of what Brett needed in terms of handling, and the debriefings were becoming more effective. Pascal continues: "The debriefs are an opportunity to understand how the bike behaves, and then determine what you would want it to do.

Pascal checking out the competition at ICAR, as part of finding better settings and adapting the race strategy to what the others are doing.
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