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Swedish rider Filip Backlund has decided to sit out the 2017 race season following the injuries he suffered at the final round of last year’s campaign.

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2016 was a frustrating and painful season for the 26-year-old rider, littered with crashes – many of which were beyond his control. Three laps into the penultimate race of the season on October 15th, Filip was taken out by Howie Mainwaring-Smart who had lost his brakes going into Hawthorn’s Bend, leading to an impact at around 160mph.

Both riders sustained injuries in the incident, as did a trackside race official. For Backlund, the off-season has been a battle to get back to fitness following the head injury he received.

“The final race was around four months ago but it’s only been since Christmas that I’ve been able to do some short walks, three times a week of just 20 minutes each,” he explains.

“This is hard for someone who is always in the gym training. For two months straight I couldn’t do anything physical and during that time after the crash it was quite worrying as I had issues with speaking, lost my balance and had memory problems. Things have improved, but I realise things will not be right to race in 2017.”

The experience has been a sobering one for Filip, who has raced since he was three years of age. He continues: “If I’m graphically honest with you all, I’ve been racing for 23 years and you think that the worst thing that can happen is that you could be paralysed, but you can overcome that, as many amazing people have.

“I guess it’s that ‘superhero’ mentality that bike racers have: you break a bone, they plate it, or pin it and you race a week or so later. You smash your head and suffer serious concussion and there’s no simple fix for this, it’s time that is needed. It’s one of those occasions as a racer that we realise we are not ‘super-human’ and I guess it’s a bit of a wake-up call.”

So, will Filip race on in 2018 and beyond? “If you ask me now, I would say no,” says Backlund. “But a lot of things could still happen in the next 12 months. The biggest thing for me, and of course, my partner Lindha is the birth of my daughter due in May. We’re both looking forward to that very much.

“Racing has been a massive part of my life, but it’s never been the only thing. I do believe it’s all a journey containing many chapters. I’ve always been busy, so I knew that when I stopped racing I would have other things to do. It may be today that I stop, or it may be in ten years’ time. At the moment, I simply know that I cannot race in 2017.”

Ever since Filip was told by his parents to raise his own finances for racing at the age of 15, he has forged strong links with a large number of companies across Europe. He’s also been running his own track days and race school since the age of 19.

“I have plenty to keep me busy during 2017,” Filip says. “In addition to Yamaha sponsoring our track days for 2017, I have also been offered a position with the Bilia group, which is Sweden’s largest car dealership.

“I always wanted to carry on with the business side of things that helped me win sponsorship after I finished racing. Back in 2008, Volvo cars asked to be a partner and this led to the link with the dealership. Since then, we have done lots of business together which I will be hopefully carrying on, as well as looking after one of their key customers and activating other business for them.”

As Filip moves back towards full-fitness in anticipation of becoming a father for the first time, he extends his best wishes to Mainwaring-Smart and the trackside offical for their continued recovery.

“Following the crash a lot of things have been put sharply into perspective for me,” he says. “Firstly I want to say that I hope Howie and the race official are OK and recuperating well with their families. I’m now looking forward to getting fitter and becoming a father. I love racing bikes, but I don’t want to be in a position where I can’t look after my family so that is motivating my decision to not race this year. We shall see what happens after 2017.

“Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in my career so far. From the biggest sponsor and partner down to every single fan who has attended races or said hello on my social media pages, you really need to know how much I appreciate you joining me on my journey. I’ve been blessed that so many have helped me along the way, sponsors, friends, family and fans, thank you all so much.”

Continue to follow Filip Backlund in 2017 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

2016 BSB, BSB R12, Brands Hatch, UK.Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider Filip Backlund was involved in a big incident during race one on Saturday, which ruled him out for the rest of the weekend. 

It was another example of the awful luck that has befallen the Swedish rider during 2016. A crash in pre-season testing led to a broken collar-bone which saw him miss the first round of the MCE-backed series at Silverstone and then – when he was finally back to full fitness – he scooped a points finish at Thruxton. After that, a series of crashes including one at Clearways at Brands Hatch in early August and one through no fault of his own at Cadwell Park later that month has left the 26-year-old battered and bruised for the final half of the season.

Sadly, the bad luck continued for Filip at the final round of the series at Brands Hatch. He said: “Qualifying went well as I went quicker and quicker: faster than I’d ever been around the Brands Hatch GP circuit by the end, which is what you want. The bike felt good and I was working with the team really well. We went into the first race and the opening two laps were good. However, on lap three at Hawthorn’s Bend, Howie Mainwaring-Smart lost his brakes and he hit me at 160-170mph from behind. When you get knocked off your bike, that’s when you realise how quick you’re going as it all happens so fast. I finished up under the tyre wall whilst Howie ended on top.”

Sadly Howie sustained a broken wrist, whilst a trackside race official suffered head injuries in the crash. Filip added: “Obviously my thoughts are with both Howie and the marshal who had also been hurt in the incident. I didn’t break any bones, but I’m really badly bruised and have a sore right knee, right wrist and a painful neck. I’m black and blue all over. At that kind of speed your whole body gets traumatised. I’m now left looking at the season and – while I may have had more falls in other years – I’ve never had so many bad crashes which lead to injuries, so thank goodness I wear the right safety kit or it could have been much worse.”

Now at the end of a turbulent 2016 it’s time for Filip to look back and reflect on what happened and re-focus for next year. He explained: “It wasn’t the season I wanted, clearly. My aim is to win – in whatever class I race in. But when I turn it around, I’m in the toughest domestic motorcycle series in the world and I’ve shown my speed a few times and not many people get to the level to compete here. Going forward I’m giving myself a few weeks off to mentally and physically repair myself. With all of 2016’s crashes it will take the whole winter to fix things and get to my previous fitness level. I’m actually looking forward to beginning my recovery.”

Today (Monday 17th October) Filip heads home to Sweden to begin his recuperation. “I’m still very emotional about what’s happened this year and feeling the pain from this weekend’s crash,” he described. “But I’m also excited about next season and will come back fitter and stronger. First of all I need a proper rest and think about 2017. When I get home to Sweden I will see a lot of my sponsors, many of which have been with me since I started road-racing at 13 years old. They are close friends, so it will be good to be with them and – of course – my family. After that, the plans for 2017 will come together so please keep looking at my website and social media pages for updates. I really want to say a big thank you to my fans this year: you have all been so supportive in a very difficult season. You help keep me focused and I want to thank you all – wherever in the world you are from.”

2016 BSB, BSB R11, Assen, Holland.The Brands Hatch GP circuit in Kent is this weekend’s destination for Filip Backlund as he takes part in 2016’s final MCE British Superbike round (Oct 15-16th).

The Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider is determined to have a successful end to his 2016 campaign and that means three race finishes, hopefully well inside the points-scoring positions.

“In one way it feels like we’ve just started the season and now here we are at the last race meeting,” says the 26-year-old. “I’m going to do my very best and finish as high as possible in the races. It is a shame that the end of the season has arrived so quickly, but at the same time I’m looking forward to having the winter off to recover and regain my focus for 2017.”

For the Swedish rider it’s been a difficult year, with a pre-season testing crash resulting in a collar-bone break, as well as big falls at Brands Hatch and Cadwell Park. “This has really hit my season hard,” says Filip. “The thing with racing is that you don’t have the time to develop your training until the winter, so you focus on different areas fitness-wise over this period then during the season you maintain that, but when you have crashes it becomes incredibly difficult. I’m eager to come back fit and strong for 2017, but throughout the year I’ve not been able to keep myself at 100 per cent, so I need to use these next few months to build myself up to where I was before.”

But, before he looks to recuperation there are still three 20-lap races to attend to at the 2.43-mile Brands GP circuit. “My aim is to finish all the races at the weekend. We have brought some upgrades to the bike, but mainly I want to go out there and enjoy every moment with some great races. I would like a good fight with the other riders and to hopefully score some points. There are plenty of guests and sponsors coming over so it will be a case of seeing them, as well as relishing my time on track.”

Brands is one of the world’s most exhilarating tracks, with fast and slow corners, as well as many elevation changes. With the championship still alive for the two main protagonists and everyone wanting to impress in the final races, it promises to be an exciting conclusion to the season.

Brands Hatch schedule of events – MCE British Superbike Championship

Friday 14th October: Free Practice 1 at 10:15, Free Practice 2 at 15:15.
Saturday 15th October: Free Practice 3 at 09:00, Qualifying at 11:05, Race 1 at 15:45.
Sunday 16th October: Warm up at 10:00, Race 2 at 13:15, Race 3 at 16:00.

tk1_5422Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider Filip Backlund bounced back from a practice crash to finish both races in the MCE British Superbike races at Assen at the weekend.

“Considering what we expected from the Assen races it has been a hard weekend,” said Filip. “In first practice we had a few technical issues so we couldn’t do the full session and in the second we found a good set-up which increased our pace but on the Saturday morning I had a little crash on the second lap out from the pits. Maybe I was too over eager and got on the throttle too early.”

The Swedish rider was disappointed after qualifying, as a suspension change didn’t result in better lap times. “We changed the rear shock for qualifying,” explained Filip. “But the outcome was that we were a second slower than before, so for race one we reverted to the previous rear shock but then suffered from front-end chatter which is something you don’t want around Assen, as you can’t push hard in the corners.”

The end result was 23rd at the flag. Race two saw Filip again lack the pace he was confident of doing consistently, but he did get quicker, setting his fastest time on the final lap and the result was 25th place overall. “It’s hard to say where we could have been if we could have carried over the good feeling from Donington practice, but it was not to be, for some reason,” said Filip.

All Backlund can concentrate on now is the final round of the series at the Brands Hatch GP circuit, to go on October 14th-16th. The #99 Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider said: “I really want to reward the people who put faith in me with results at Brands: that is the team, my sponsors and my fans. It’s been a tough season with crashes and injury but I do want to end it on a high and then get myself into good shape for 2017.”

2016 BSB, BSB R10, Donington Park, Derbyshire, UK.Filip Backlund is determined to have a positive finish to his 2016 MCE British Superbike campaign as he heads towards the final two rounds of the season.

The TT Circuit of Assen is the location for the penultimate round of the series this weekend (September 30th-October 2nd).

The Swedish rider knows the classic curves of the TT Circuit very well and with this being his return to Continental Europe to race, it could almost be considered a ‘home’ event for the 26-year-old. He says: “Once again, I should see some Swedish flags and I know around 20 fans from Sweden will be attending, but also some from the UK, The Netherlands and Germany too. I’m so lucky to have all these people there I can’t wait to see them.”

Following the disappointment of Donington Park, Filip wants to end the year on a high and his previous experience and success at Assen – as well as the way practice and qualifying went at the previous round – gives him heart ahead of Sunday’s two 18-lap races. “I first competed at Assen in 2006 on a 600cc Supersport machine and enjoyed the layout and went very well there, getting a podium finish. In different classes I’ve also had good races at this place and have great memories, it’s probably the circuit I’ve been to most in my career. It really is the ‘cathedral’ of motorcycle racing and the track – even since it has been reconfigured – is a wonderful challenge, complete with fast and slow corners. The fans make any event special there too and you will see plenty of different nationalities coming to enjoy the BSB action this weekend.”

Filip knows that an effective set-up of his Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja is essential if he is to have a good end to the season. He explains: “I think bike set-up won’t be far off what we had at Donington and the two tracks have some similarities: you’re so often on the edge of the tyre at both circuits, so this is what we’ll likely base it off. The positive camber on many of the Assen corners helps, but you need a bike that turns well and behaves as you want. I have five races left of the 2016 season and I want points finishes in all of them.”

Don’t forget to follow the #99 Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

TT Circuit Assen schedule of events – MCE British Superbike Championship
Friday 30th September: Free Practice 1 at 10:15, Free Practice 2 at 15:10.
Saturday 1st October: Free Practice 3 at 10:00, Qualifying at 14:20.
Sunday 2nd October: Warm up at 09:15, Race 1 at 12:15, Race 2 at 16:30.

tk1_7568Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider Filip Backlund suffered a double DNF in round 10 of the MCE British Superbike championship at Donington Park.

The Swedish rider initially was looking good for some positive results over the weekend with him staying inside the top 18 for Q1, until he was edged out by double British Supersport champ Stuart Easton in the dying seconds of the session.

He said: “I’m disappointed and annoyed at the DNFs, but this is racing. To be honest I was having a great weekend until the Sunday. The direction we have been going in clearly was making the Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki go well around Donington as I was in the top 18 in Q1 right up until the last minute when Stuart nudged me out. This made me think the races could have been so good for us.”

Race one saw Filip in 21st place and making up ground until he crashed on lap four. He said: “At the start of the race things were feeling good, but then I fell at The Old Hairpin. Sadly it was more of the same in race two. I got a much better start and was in 17th and feeling good but then I suffered a classic high-side coming out of Coppice and that ended my second race even earlier than the first one.”

Despite the double DNFs, Filip is remaining upbeat ahead of the next round at the Assen TT Circuit in The Netherlands. “The thing with racing is always taking away the positives from any situation,” said the #99 Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider.

“When I think of what I was doing around Donington Park when I was a Superstock 1000 rider, being at the sharp end and setting a lap record, I know that I’m doing the right thing pushing myself to go up a level and pitch myself against not only the best superbike riders in the UK but from around the world. That’s the way to improve: to compete against the best and the British Superbike championship is the most competitive in the world right now. I will not let this setback get the better of me as I’m staying positive for Assen in a few weeks’ time.”

Round 11 of the MCE British Superbike championship takes place at the Assen TT Circuit (September 30th-October 2nd).

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2016 BSB, BSB R09, Oulton Park, Cheshire, UK.Swedish ace Filip Backlund is looking forward to returning to the delightful curves of Donington Park this weekend (Sep 16th-18th) as the British Superbike championship heads into its final three rounds.

Donington is the host for round 10 of the series and is considered to be one of the best circuits in the world. With five left-hand and seven right-hand turns, the lap begins with Redgate corner before swooping down the beautiful Craner Curves. The 2.48-mile circuit was made up to suitable ‘grand prix’ length in 1985 with the addition of the Melbourne Loop, a ‘stop-start’ section of the track that is different in character to the flowing nature of the ‘National’ circuit, which does without the Loop section.

Backlund loves Donington Park and has done well there in the past in other classes. He says: “Donington is another of those British tracks that I love to race on and it is one of my favourites. Back in 2013 when I raced in Superstock 1000 I took a second place there and took the lap record for the class. I think we should be able to go well as I like the track a lot and we had some good pre-season testing there. With our data from the previous round at Oulton Park and the set-up changes made to our Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki, we have a good idea on the direction we will be going on with the bike so I hope to make some good progress and go for points finishes in both 20-lap races.”

With Filip still feeling the after-effects of two big crashes at previous rounds at Brands Hatch and Cadwell Park, his aim is to be 100% fit for the last rounds at Donington, Assen and Brands Hatch to ensure a successful end to his 2016 season.

Don’t forget to follow the #99 Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider at: www.facebook.com/filipbacklund14/

Donington Park schedule of events – MCE British Superbike Championship

Friday 16th September: Free Practice 1 at 10:15, Free Practice 2 at 16:00.
Saturday 17th September: Free Practice 3 at 10:10, Qualifying at 16:02.
Sunday 18th September: Warm up at 09:30, Race 1 at 13:30, Race 2 at 16:30.

2016 BSB, BSB R09, Oulton Park, Cheshire, UK.Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider Filip Backlund notched up three race finishes at the weekend’s British Superbike triple header at Oulton Park.

The Swedish rider desperately wanted to get to the flag in all three 18-lap encounters around the 2.69-mile Cheshire track, after a run of bad luck had seen him crash out of races at Brands Hatch and the previous round at Cadwell Park. Although neither incident saw him seriously injured, the 26-year old has been left feeling battered and bruised as the series headed into the final four rounds.

Filip said: “I’m still in a little pain from those crashes so with just a week to go before Donington Park I really needed to just finish the races and not get tangled up with anyone or crash again. Overall I think our race pace was good in Race One on Saturday where I finished 19th. I was strong from the second lap and consistent all the way through within about two-tenths of a second every lap until the last four or five, when the tyre went off and we began to lose grip. On Sunday for the second race of the weekend we made some changes and didn’t feel as confident and went a little slower, despite taking the same position as the first race at the flag.”

For the final Superbike race Filip and the team reverted back to the earlier settings. He explained: “We finished that final race in 20th but I did feel stronger and our pace was better overall. It makes us realise the direction we need to go in machine set-up wise for Donington Park this coming weekend.”

With the six ‘title fighters’ locked in for the remaining races, Filip knows what he must do in the final meetings of the year: continue to make progress and get back into the points. The #99 Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider said: “With the final three rounds ahead of us that is the plan. Once more I really want to thank the fans for boosting my morale during the difficult times. It really makes a difference when someone comes over for a photograph or an autograph, and it lifts you if you’ve crashed out or you’re having a bad weekend. The fans are such a big part of motorcycle racing.”

The Swede is now looking forward to round 10 at the Donington Park ‘full’ GP circuit this weekend (September 16th-18th).

 

 

2016 BSB, BSB R08, Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire UK.

Filip Backlund is relishing the chance to take his Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki around the ‘beautiful’ Oulton Park this weekend (Sep 9th-11th) in the British Superbike championship triple-header.

With the 2.69 mile Cheshire track being a favourite amongst the home riders it is also one of the Swede’s favourites in Britain. “Racing in the UK is unique at the best of times and Oulton Park is no different,” Filip says. “It is one of the most beautiful places, it really is. You’re racing around such gorgeous natural habitat and then there’s the lake, where you can often see people fishing! It’s bizarre and amazing. And then there’s the circuit itself. You have almost every kind of corner, some blind turns, crests; you’re going up and down all the time. It’s very special and like nowhere else in the world that I’ve experienced yet, really.”

Filip knows that all three 18-lap races will test both himself and his Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki to the limit. He explains: “You really want a well-balanced machine around Oulton Park and it doesn’t help if you attack the circuit. You want to flow with it. Once you brake later, accelerate sooner, you’ll find yourself using more back brake to keep the front-end down in places and you’ll be on and off the throttle so you need to be smooth. Another thing to consider is the traditional British weather this weekend. It could be T-shirt weather one minute and then umbrella weather the next. We shall see!”

Filip knows that with two scary DNFs at Brands Hatch and Cadwell Park, he wants to finish all three races and be in the points at Oulton. He says: “The aim is the same as ever of course. My pace was good in Race One at Cadwell but unfortunately it was cut very short in the second. I want to make the flag in all races this weekend. Thankfully we have some new parts to try on our Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki, not to make up for any issues, but more to improve the bike in all areas. With this in mind I’m really looking forward to making good progress.”

2016 BSB, BSB R08, Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire UK.

Don’t forget to follow the #99 Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider at: www.facebook.com/filipbacklund14/

Oulton Park schedule of events – MCE British Superbike Championship

Friday 9th September: Free Practice 1 at 10:15, Practice 2 at 15:05.
Saturday 10th September: Free Practice 3 at 09:40, Qualifying at 12:20. Race 1 at 16:00
Sunday 11th September: Warm up at 12:00, Race 2 at 13:35, Race 3 at 16:35.

TK1_3226Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki rider Filip Backlund endured another race crash in the second outing at Cadwell Park, thankfully without suffering any injuries.

The Burton-upon-Trent-based Swedish rider was trying to make up positions at the start of the second race when he tangled with Howie Mainwaring-Smart, causing both riders to fall on the exit of the first turn, Coppice, on lap one.

“Howie was in front so he went to the outside and then he had to shut off the throttle and I had nowhere to go, so we both went down,” Filip said. “It’s unfortunate but these things happen. It’s not good when you run out of space anywhere, but the track at Cadwell Park is so narrow; it’s one of those circuits where if things happen it’s harder to get out of the way. I’m luckier than Howie as he broke his collarbone so I’m sorry for that, but it’s no-one’s fault.”

In scenes reminiscent of his Brands crash, the 26-year-old Swede was given a thorough check-up by medical staff but luckily didn’t have to go to hospital. “After the big Brands crash I was still in some discomfort and a bit battered and bruised and now I am again, but things could be worse when you think of Howie and his broken collarbone. I hope he gets better soon.”

Over the weekend, qualifying was a step-by-step process of trying to increase the pace aboard his #99 Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki. He said: “Physically I was still a little uncomfortable after Brands, but my physio did some great work to make me feel much better. On the second day I was more comfortable and went nearly a second a lap quicker and was happier all-round.”

With a packed grid, Filip rode well to secure 18th position at the end of Race One. Reflecting on Race Two Filip said: “Sitting at the side of the track and watching the second race was a little bit deflating to me, as I could see the pace they were running so I could have been around 15th-16th place and that’s alongside previous race winners from this season or former championship runners-up.

“We went quicker and quicker in the first race, so the chance was also there in the second outing. I’m happy we made progress but just sad that wasn’t continued in Race Two. One thing I do want to say is a big thank you to the team for putting a great bike under me, I’m just sorry they have to fix it now. I just want to concentrate on staying focused for the triple-header event at Oulton Park which is the final meeting before the showdown.”

The Swedish rider now has a two-week break to get fit before Round Nine at Oulton Park in Cheshire (September 9-11).

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