Pirelli Cup 1000

Pirelli Cup 1000

Mugello Circuit Italy

1 July 2018: Gabro Racing Team & TR20

Arriving on Thursday evening to Mugello was a joyous feeling to be back in the Italian paddock after many months away.

News that the fast Kiwi was back had spread around the paddock quickly.

By lunch on Friday, even the food tent manager had herd of our return & welcomed us with open arms.

The much awaited debut race was a success. The Bike performed faultlessly, the Gabro Racing team was supportive & adjusted settings as needed, the field is much faster than we had predicted when reserving our spot in February, but this makes us fight harder.

We could have competed in the Naked Class but our lap times would have seen us finish 1 minute before the rest of the class, we could have entered a class more suited to the Tuono, and that being an Amateur class, but we wanted to compete with the best & show what we could do on a Aprilia Tuono !

Our class had a Superpole event after Q1 & Q2, held on Sunday Morning, this is for the Top 15.

One flying lap of Mugello circuit almost all to yourself to determine the final top 15 starting order, leaving pit lane at 30 second intervals, like Moto GP.

We just missed out on Superpole by 2 seconds, with 15th place taking a 1.55.8 to our 1.57.9, whilst that being the Gabro Tuono’s fastest lap time around Mugello, we easily lost that time on shear horsepower on the 1.2km straight, with our little 1000cc Tuono only having 175hp, versus the lead guys having 230hp with their World Superbike spec Yamaha R1’s & BMW’s.. they were able to complete the track on average in 1.53.2 !

So our qualifying resulted us in a 25th start position, from 40 Riders.

The Race went well with a clean start and our freely vertical clutch, a Ducati barged his way past diving & running wide past Dillon in the first 5 corners, near the end of lap two saw a rider high side his bike from next to Dillon, with the riders bike above Dillon’s head height & the bike landing vertical next to him, as luck has it the bike fell away from him & not into him.

Lap 3 saw the Tuono’s pace increase to complete a 1.57.6 lap, the fastest one they have done.

Lap 4, Dillon thought he was gone, the bike’s rear slid out for a high side exiting Correntaio (turn 12), Dillon was up over the handle bars looking at the front wheel but somehow managed to save it & continue the race but this caused a few riders to make a pass. We figure the possibility of the save, was due to the help of the high handlebars of the Tuono, vs if they were clip-ons, his arms would be outstretched & he would be departing the motorcycle.

So a lucky save, he was able to fight back with riders through the circuit expect for the front straight, where the higher horsepower bikes could blow past him with ease, being that due to us having the slowest top speed bike in the field, with an average top speed of our Tuono doing 284kph & the front lads riding an average of 308kph.

What Dillon learnt in Italy last year, he was able to use this year on the Aprilia Tuono, by setting up the bike to withstand Dillon’s riding and braking later than the rider in front to take the lead from the exit of Sn Donato corner (turn 1), but every time down the front straight the cat & mouse effect. So impressive to watch him come from 70m behind the rider and still make the corner to take the position in front back, it blew a few people’s minds watching it, securing his name of the fast Kiwi.

It was great in some way that the bike was underpowered, as that meant Dillon had to rider harder than he ever had before and find the max limit but not throw the bike down the track in the process, there was no possibility that the bike could be ridden any harder.

As the bike runs electronics that record data, gear selection, suspension travel, throttle percentage & more, this shows Dillon has the bike at 57 degrees lean angle with the throttle at 80% fully open, Yes 80 % full gas! Now that takes a lot of skill to control the bike in a power slide & not have it loose traction & high side, which it was on the absolute limit a few times.

After a 10 lap race in 36.c Mugello heat, Dillon was pipped across the line by the competitor he had been battling with most of the race, due to the horsepower the competitor had & the line being situated 600m from the final corner, which Dillon had the lead exiting, finishing the race in 22nd from 40 top riders.

The Gabro Racing Team is very pleased with the results & we can’t thank them enough for giving us this fantastic opportunity to ride for them. This is not a free ride, we have to pay for travel, mechanics, running costs of the bike etc., as we would if we were racing our own bike at home.

We will help the team out in the following weeks to build up their 1100cc motor, in hope this will bridge the gap closer to the leaders, considering the top guys have a lot of money & big sponsors to help pay for testing on these tracks & have likely grown up here, we are heavily disadvantaged with only seeing these tracks for the first time last year, and not having the huge financial backing this year & nothing left to sell..

We are ever so grateful to everyone who has joined our webpage to assist with our team funding here & also to everyone who has given donations to assist with our tyre bills, it is our biggest money pit in racing over here, being a set of tyres costing us $750 NZ Dollars & they last 20mins on the track, given that Mugello circuit is 5.2kms long, the rear tyre has nothing left on it after 67kms, so we can’t re-use it for testing, requiring another new rear to be purchased. We do have a Rear tyre from our qualifying session available for testing, as Qualifying 2 got red flagged & cut short so we only managed to do complete 4 laps. As they run to time over here & do not reschedule sessions even if 9 minutes of your 20 minute session got missed.

We are also very grateful for the Italian Superbike team, J. Angel Motorsport, they have allowed us to use their pit set up & to save as much money as we can here, we have opted for Hotel J.Angel El’Tarmaco, and the latest Oxygen body support mattress.. In simple terms we are sleeping on an airbed in the back of the pit set up at the track, and with not having any vehicles here either, as this saves a few hundred of our own hard earned money that we can put towards tyres, paying the team, food, track day practice & more.

Sacrifices we make to be here and ride at the top !

If you want to help contribute to the team, email us at or join up at

Thanks to, Gabro Racing Team Italy, Aprilia Special Parts Italy, Dentures Plus Christchurch NZ, F1 Engineering NZ, Hamilton Motorcycle Club NZ, TR20 Limited NZ, Horsepower Motorcycles NZ, The Bike Valleluga Italy, Malcolm Taylor & Angela Taylor, Evan Dimond -Dimond Design Ltd NZ, all our Patreon Members, and specially our friend Pat Wagner for his financial support to purchase our set of tyres we raced on! That rubber got the Gabro Tuono the fastest lap times its ever done. Also thanks to ourselves, (Jo & Dillon) without our courage, hard work, sacrifices, dedication & all the support we have, we wouldn't be here flying the TR20 NZ flag in Europe doing the unthinkable!

Racing a Naked Aprilia Tuono Superbike against Full WSBK spec bikes. Number one rule, don't listen to anyone who puts you down and says you’re not good enough…because you are and you can do what you put your mind to.

Dillon & Jo

TR20 Racing

Words by Andy McGechan