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Pembrey Race Weekend 21-22nd June

By Alfonso Lygo -

 27 June 2008 12:59

Hottrax Motorsport Racing Club National, Senior and Junior TAG Endurance Motorcycle Championship and MotoGrande – Round Three at Pembrey, South Wales on 21st + 22nd June 2008

Race 1 - 15 laps 17 riders had qualified for the two races of the MotoGrande series and from the drop of the Welsh flag it was Greg Allsop who made top spot his own and never looked back despite the changeable weather conditions. Second in practice, Gary Jones started at the back of the grid after enjoyed a lightening start but pulled in after 3 laps. The 18 lapper was red flagged early due to a spill by Jed Angles which rendered him pinned down by his Kawasaki ZX10R, confirming Allsop as winner from Dave Stewardson, poleman Duncan Knox and Throttle Monkey Man Eric Chitty, GBMoto Junior racer Phill Clarke kept ahead of James Walker riding an ex Phase One Suzuki 750.

It was good to see, and hear all three Aprilias running till then including the RAF lads who form Roundall Racing in the Junior Endurance championship. Results:

1 Greg Allsop * Tri 675
2 Dave Stewardson * Hon 600
3 Duncan Knox Hon 600
4 Eric Chitty Suz 750
5 Phill Clarke Kaw 600
6 James Walker Suz 750
7 David Rose Apr RSVR
8 Ed Pashley Tri 675
9 Kevin Doughty Apr RSVR
10 Russell Horton Yam 600
11 Simon Allen Apr RSVR
* Class winner Fastest Lap Dave Stewardson 1m 03.039s 83.149 mph.

MotoGrande - Race 2 - 13 laps Dave Stewardson secured the hole shot in dry but windy conditions and was never challenged, leaving in his wake the rest of the MotoGrande field. The race was red flagged after Samantha Godfrey had high sided her Kaw 600 exiting Debini, confirming Stewardson as winner, only 1.3s ahead of Race 1 winner, Greg Allsop, Duncan Knox, Gary Jones and Sam Godfrey’s team mate, Phill Clarke who is really enjoying his season so far, Phase One personnel James Walker rounded off the top six, in seventh was Sean Moss, Gary Jones’ Junior team mate.

Further down the field we had the Rabbit Racing pair bringing up the rear. Samantha was taken to a nearby hospital with a suspected broken leg; we look forward to her return to the action. It was Sam’s wish that Mick stay at the circuit as GBMoto National rider rather than spend hours hanging around a hospital A & E department – what fine selfless judgement, come back quick Sam! Results

1 Dave Stewardson* Hon 600
2 Greg Allsop * Tri 675
3 Duncan Knox Hon 600
4 Gary Jones Yam 600
5 Phill Clarke Kaw 600
6 James Walker Suz 750
7 Sean Moss Hon 600
8 David Rose Apr RSVR
9 Ed Pashley Tri 675
10 Russell Horton Yam 600
11 Ray Warren Yam 1000
12 Aaron Hobart Yam 600
* Class winner Fastest Lap Greg Allsop 1m 02.738s 83.547 mph.

 Junior TAG Endurance Championship Once again for the 2008 season, championship leaders Team Trackcraft (Mark Linscott/Mike Dickenson) were proficient in converting pole into a win in the two hour encounter. This was not a total domination for the pairing as tyre choice was to play an important role to play in the outcome – currently regulations state a rider must remain on the tyre which they start out on and with rapidly varying weather conditions, the initial choice of rubber has never been more crucial.

In the early stages of the race it was Trackcraft who set the pace ahead of Freaks of Nature Too (Kevin Tait/Dave Stewardson), Team MIB (Greg Allsop/Tom Rutherford) and Gasi Racing (Grant Gaskins/Paul Hodge) – Paul Hodge replaces Grant’s wife Helen who was seen scuttling around on crutches on the Saturday. Following the introduction of the pace car it was Co-Ordit Racing (Dave Wardle/Ian Walker) who seized the lead, enjoying a 27s advantaged which was maintained at the one hour mark over Trackcraft – the pursuing five teams (Freaks of Nature Too, Billericay Coachworks (Kevin Maxted/Tim Gorringe), Team MIB (Tom had endured a spill during the race which cost them some time and places), Gas Doctors (Dene John/Steve Griffiths) and Team Throttle Monkey (Andy Buik/Richard Gammon)) who were a lap adrift but nicely bunched up.

In the 600 class, front row starters sorrymate.com (Jenny Tinmouth/Fergus Dalgarno) led four of their classmates all on the same lap – close racing or what? Jenny has been riding impressively recently as her performance in Hottrax Junior and at Brands Hatch in Thundersports recently indicates; Fergus admits he is riding better as a result of Jenny’s imput into his riding. Tyre choice strategy kicked in again as the weather conditions rapidly changed from dry and windy to saturation and windy.

In the closing stages of the race, Trackcraft and Co-Ordit were less than half a lap out of touch in the Junior 1000s, ditto in the 600s sorrymate.com were only just ahead of Snails Pace Racing (Sean Moss/Gary Jones) who were deducted a lap as Moss stayed out on the track longer than is permissible in the rules. Up until the last round at Snetterton, both Gary and Sean were part of Best Choice Racing at national level; they have now switched to the Junior race using their own machines.

Similar penalties were also metered out to other teams who had committed similar indiscretions. Newcomers to racing the Gas Doctors, a pair of local trackday participants, were a little surprised to find themselves second quickest on the grid in qualifying, they made the most of their start, both had a couple of sweat inducing moments on the way to the flag finishing 5th in class – both riders were delighted and hope to reappear at rounds in the future, confirming the purpose of Junior Endurance as the next rider development stage from being trackday regulars. Results:

1 Team Trackcraft* 106 laps
2 Co-Ordit Racing 106 laps
3 Freaks of Nature Too 105 laps
4 Billericay Coachworks 104 laps
5 Gas Doctors 104 laps
6 Team Throttle Monkey 103laps
7 sorrymate.com * 102 laps
8 Electric Lemonade 102 laps
9 Team MIB 101 laps
10 Spellframe Racing 101 laps
11 Gasi racing 101 laps
12 Advance Bike Shipping 100 laps
13 DNR Motorsport 100 laps
14 GBMoto Junior 100 laps
15 Rawlings Racing 100 laps
16 Snails Pace Racing 100 laps
17 ETA Racing 99 laps
18 Dos Albaniles 98 laps
19 Team Monkey 6 98 laps
20 Team Sober 97 laps
21 Freaks of Nature 96 laps
22 Team Tortoise 94 laps
23 Pirate Racing 94 laps
24 Rabbit Racing 92 laps
25 Roundall Racing 91 laps
26 MC racing 89 laps
* Class winner Fastest Lap Co-Ordit Racing 1m 02.091s 84.418 mph.

 National + Senior TAG Endurance Pembrey pole was pinned by 2007 champions GBMoto (Mark Smith Halvorsen/Mick Godfrey/Pete Jennings/Yamaha R1) in changeable conditions on the day before the race – the only team to dip under the minute mark with a 59.918s. The majority of the teams had experienced dramas during practice or qualifying; welcome returnees to the series Uprite Racing (Rod Lynn/Alex Cudlin/Declan Swanton/Suz 1000), and second fastest, had lost their number one engine and spent over six hours throughout the night trying to fix it, eventually fitting last year’s plant for the Sunday race, testament to the work of Triff, Gresh and the gang.

In 2007, Uprite won three out of the five National races but failed to take the title due to the consistent performance of GBMoto. Current series leaders Sweatshop Moores Racing 2 (Hugh Brasher/Nick Roake/John Paul-Scott/Yamaha R1) also said goodbye to their only engine, managing to locate a standard road engine from a breaker, miles away from the track – a journey to collect + purchase the replacement item was followed by an impressive engine swap by the Moores men in less that 90 minutes.

Third fastest was Phoenix Endurance (Shelley Pike/Andy Jones/Mark Long/R6) making the most of circuit specialist Long and a well prepared Yamaha, Mark was deputising for Pete Gibson who was away at a social event! At the start just before midday it was GBMoto who sprinted ahead keeping a respectable lead over the chasing opposition, pitting around the one hour mark and keeping their lead on the road, early dramas for Sweatshop Moores who spent 45 minutes pitted to sort the machine out after an ‘off’ by John Paul Scott, Moore’s R6 (Tony Jimenez/Mike Eglington/Jim Agombar) also returned to pitlane after Jim fell off at the hairpin following contact with a slower rider.

This R6 had been suffering all weekend with binding brakes and took to the start line with the same issues, the team had literally tried everything to rectify the gremlin but to no avail – a DNF would effectively put paid to Moores championship battle. We had also lost Greg Wilson’s Best Choice Endurance (Richard Greenland/David Hockham/Stuart Holloway – a strong combination with lots of North Gloucester experience of Pembrey at Streetstocks level) after the R6 continued at speed into the foam protection barrier, again at the hairpin, and it was impossible to retrieve the stricken machine so the team remained frustrated until they could leave the track after the race had finished.

Just prior to the two hour mark Uprite pitted with overheating problems which kept the team busy for a while, at the same time GBMoto had built up a 5 lap advantage over nearest rival, the Supersport of Ducks Cross Racing (Jon Railton/Grant Wagstaff/Martin Landmann/R6). Congratulations to student Jon who recently started blagging championship points at BSB meetings, starting with Snetterton. The Phoenix Endurance R6 was next in for a long stop at Shelley Pike tried to locate the source of disturbing and costly engine noises, eventually retiring from the race.

This was a rare blemish in the team’s history where retirements are very rare indeed! Uprite were back under the awning with a cooked generator – a legacy of the earlier overheating problems and Sweatshop Moores were back in the groove, working towards achieving 75% of the winner’s distance to qualify for championship points at the end of the round and work towards the championship. Half way point of the race saw GBMoto heading the first of the 600s by a convincing 7 laps over Ducks X – we also had Darkside Endurance (Andy Buik/Darren Jones/Kevin Upstone/R6) and Team Viking (Paul Clarke/Crispin d'Albertanson) on the same lap a mere 4 seconds apart.

More dramas for Uprite, at one stage they were absolutely flying before the stopwatches showed a downturn in speed – rider Rod Lynn was called in for fresh rubber and returned to the fray as Team Viking were up to third place before dropping back. Uprite retired 40 minutes later, just after the four hour mark, when last year’s engine cried enough on the start/finish straight, a major disappointment to crew chief Max Scholl, the team and the trio of young top riders with masses of valuable experience. For the closing stages GBMoto continued to rack up the laps and win the race by a convincing 18 laps over Ducks X, a real fight for third place saw Darkside beat Throttle Monkey (Dave Stewardson/Eric Chitty/Kevin Doughty) who had had a steady race with a very respectable outcome and finished on the same lap as their rivals. Viking were a mere lap adrift in fifth ahead of Black Flag Racing (George Duncan/Sam Smithson) demoting Black Cat Racing (George Bicket/Mark Westcott/Robert Knoyle) in the final couple of laps of the race, Moores Racing and Sweatshop Moores never really recovering from loosing so much time early in the race. Spare a thought for Dave Stewardson who entered every race of the weekend and came away with a fist and second in MotoGrande, a third place in the 2 hour Junior and, replacing at the last minute, non starter Andy McKnight sporting crutches!, a fourth and a class win in the 6 hour Senior race!

Andy was given the very important task of flagging the race away. As well as riding for the winning team, Mick Godfrey dropped the chequered cloth effectively on the third round of the Hottrax Motorsport Racing Club National and Senior Endurance Race. Not even halfway stage of the championship and it’s getting closer at the top of the points table, and anything can happen in endurance racing, Round 4 is at Snetterton on 2nd + 3rd August 2008. Results:#

1 GBMoto * 337 laps
2 Ducks Cross Racing * 319 laps
3 Darkside Endurance 315 laps
4 Throttle Monkey 72 racing * 315 laps
5 Team Viking 314 laps
6 Black Flag Racing * 307 laps
7 Black Cat Racing 307 laps
8 Moores Racing 301 laps
9 Sweatshop Moores 280 laps
10 Uprite Racing 193 laps
11 Phoenix Endurance 66 laps
12 Best Choice Endurance 15 laps
*Class winner Fastest Lap GBMoto 59.887s 87.525 mph