2013 has been a landmark year for John
Dimbylow and his Splitlath program. It started with a whole new operation; after
growing tired of the short circuit circus John wanted to go to new places with
a new team free of the stereotypical constraints which bind so many in the
motorcycle racing paddocks.
The word ‘team’ is too narrow a noun, too stereotypical to use here. 'Program’ is better because this is a series of individual events which all serve a common purpose.
John aims to offer fans and sponsors a different view of motor racing, to show it from another view point. To see it as a team sport, to be able to almost live and breathe each event as we do through as many means as possible. This meant taking the online profile of the new venture to a new standard.
Late 2012 and Hong Kong had become the new head office and an Asian design team were tasked with the cosmetic revamp. A sophisticated marketing plan was created and dedicated writers and photographers were employed to bring the program to life.
Refreshed and repainted, the new 2013 Splitlath broke cover shortly before the first event on the revised calendar – the legendary 24hr Bol d'Or in France.
The Bol d’Or did not disappoint. The Kawasaki ZX-10R of the Louit brothers proved ideal and the three young riders showed exactly the spirit and professionalism we were looking for.
The Isle of Man TT followed the Bol d’Or, one legendary event following another, and proved to be a groundbreaking event.
Wai On Cheung, or OJ as he likes to be called, became the first ethnic Chinese to compete in the TT and he did so in our colours. We now have fans all over the Far East and along the way we doubled our Facebook ratings.
The FIM Endurance Championship headed off to Suzuka without us for the 2nd round – the logistics of going there for the first time simply defeated us in the time we had – and the wait until the late summer for Germany was long.
Oschersleben is a purpose built motorcycle track in northern Germany which offers top class racing. This round was a mere 8 hours and showed that the Louit Moto team had not been idle since Bol d’Or. A podium result was on the cards but for a racing incident in the opening laps which put the team too far behind to make back the time lost despite class leading lap times.
It seemed like only the following weekend when the Kawasakis were fired up for the last round in the FIM championship – the mighty 24hr race at Le Mans, France. The glorious weather was equaled by the performance of Florian Marino, Lorenzo Savadori and Emeric Jonchiere who put the ZX10R 3rd in class in front of a jubilant crowd.
The monumental podium came after near disaster in the early hours when Lorenzo was caught up in the Simon Andrews crash, and this left the team a huge mountain to climb.
Once the adrenaline had settled on this staggering achievement thoughts turned to the final event of our year, the epic Macau Grand Prix.
Splitlath is no stranger to this invitation-only showcase event run by the Macau government. For this year we continued our run of new challenges by taking the very exotic and rare Erik Buell Racing 1190RS machine. This bike, this dream of a brave, bold man, proved worthy of the challenge.
The two riders, Mark Miller and Brandon Cretu, loved every minute on-board the bike and finished in very strong positions with Mark, who had not ridden the bike beforehand, taking an amazing 11th place.
What does 2014 bring? A continuation of what we have started.
We really hope to be able to bring the EBR1190RS machines over to Europe to show them off here but in which event we don’t yet know. We also have unfinished business in the FIM Championship.
The one definite promise is that Splitlath will continue breaking the mould, to continue to nurture and promote spirit, and to showcase as much talent as we can put in front of you.
Finally, thank you for sharing 2013 with us. We hope you have enjoyed it, it’s been a blast.