British Superbikes' ruling body, the MCRCB, have reacted speedily to prevent any repetition of the cause of the track contamination that contributed to the postponement of the second race of the opening round at Brands Hatch.
Then the circuit was left in a treacherous state by fluids dropped from machines that had crashed and which their riders remounted and continued during a race. That practice is now outlawed by a rule change introduced with immediate effect during the second round at Thruxton.
"The situation at Brands Hatch was the catalyst for the MCRCB and MSVR to review the situation ? we have never been completely comfortable with the rule that was introduced back in 1996 as often riders have remounted with no apparent damage only to subsequently have a fluid leak or, for instance as Tommy Hill disastrously discovered in 2010 at Oulton Park, no brakes," explained series director Stuart Higgs.
Now, a rule change has been introduced by the MCRCB which bans the practice of picking up a crashed machine and continuing during practice or races.
The official wording is: Riders who fall from their machine are not permitted to continue in the practice session or race until passed fit by a Medical Officer (note: at BSB events there are Medical Officers on each corner around the circuit) and the machine re-inspected and cleared by Technical Control. Any infringement of this rule will result in the rider being disqualified from the remained of the practice session or race and may result in further penalties.
In the event of a practice or race being interrupted by a red flag, any crashed machines will be recovered and taken to Technical Control and released to the Team for repair. Once the repaired machine has been re-inspected and cleared by a Technical Officer a rider may continue in the restarted practice or race. In the second part of an interrupted race this applies to riders classified in the results of the first part.
MSVR consulted with the riders and Superbike elite teams, issuing by e-mail and publishing to them a document detailing the proposed rule change and asking for comments. The matter was also discussed with team managers.
"Superbike team managers have expressed support and we had no negative responses to our e-mail from anyone else," explained Higgs. "There are some 200 motorcycle road race meetings held in the UK each year and all but 12 BSB and three World Championship events have a no re-start rule.
"We understand the one bike rule has put riders under severe pressure to get their bike back at any cost but this has left our championship and their safety quite vulnerable. The one bike rule will remain in the current climate - its success shows in maintaining the grid numbers and this has been replicated in the Moto2, Moto3, Supersport and Superbike World Championships and it is proposed for the MotoGP class in 2013," added Higgs.
There will be no 'discretionary situations' although notice has been taken of the points raised by team managers as to the importance of the first 50 minute period of BSB free practice at each round in terms of setting up machines.
An additional comment to the new rule explains: 'If five minutes before 50% point of the duration of the BSB FP1 session there are machines that require recovering via the circuit the Race Director will advise that he will interrupt the session by displaying the chequered flag at the 50% point. The machines will then be recovered to Technical Control and the session restarted as soon as possible, lost time will not be added to the total session duration.'