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National Endurance championship, round 3

By Alfonso Lygo -

 24 July 2007 09:53

Hottrax Motorsport Racing Club National + Junior TAG Endurance Motorcycle Championship – Round 3 – Pembrey, Wales 21st & 22nd July 2007

HOTTRAX National Endurance Championship – 6 hours. Three riders missing from the grid were former BSB privateer and International endurance expert, Warwick Nowland; whose wrist injury had not improved enough to join Harvey Mushman Racing – his place was taken by regular team rider, Richie Wright. Following a practice spill in the wet on the Saturday, local rider Vance John was unable to start with Uprite Racing – the rider was willing but the medics had different ideas. Andy Rouse, who had made such an impact with Ben Pearce in Saturday’s TAG race fell off his Yamaha R6 on the last lap of the Open Race whilst challenging for the lead, again a hospital visit meant that Andy failed to take his place with Kawasaki Newcastle for the big race.

A few minutes before the race start the heavens opened and the track was awash leaving teams with a real dilemma over tyre choice as blue skies appeared. At the drop of the Welsh flag Team Uprite (John Crockford/Jason Gunning/Suzuki 1000) shot off building a substantial lead over Harvey Mushman Racing (Hugh Brasher/Rod Lynn/Richie Wright) Yamaha R1), Moores Racing (Tony Jimenez/Nick Roake/Daz Jones/Yamaha R6).

Crockford was on a charge before pitting at the 30 minute mark, Uprite were struggling with front wheels after discovering 2 of their 3 rims were not true (one due to Vance John’s excursion on Saturday), they stayed on wets and dropped a lap in the pits. Just before the hour mark, Shaun Finch toured in on the Phoenix Endurance (Shaun Finch/Pete Gibson/Shelley Pike) R6 back to the pits after an 'off', costing the team 15 minutes to replace and lash a newly acquired ‘end can’ to the bike.

At the first hour mark, Moores R6 was a lap ahead from Uprite – Harvey Mushman were four laps adrift in seventh place and series leader GBMoto (Mark Smith Halvorsen/Mike Dickenson/Mick Godfrey/Yamaha R1) were down in 9th following a lengthy pit stop. A dry line was appearing around the track and Uprite pitted for slicks, Macca dropped the R1 and returned to the pits for running repairs, losing about 20 minutes before returning, Uprite were again back in the pits swapping front wheels! South African rider Mike Dickenson, was making his series debut – no stranger to endurance racing having already won a recent two hour at Mallory in May and coming second to GBMoto at Pembrey four weeks ago. Clearly Mike made an impression on the R6 he shares with son, Craig who is also a rapid and intelligent rider with a great future, having come second to the very experienced Mark Linscott in the morning’s Open race.

After two hours Harvey Mushman were back at the front two laps ahead of Uprite with the Moores R6 in third place, the experienced Tony Jimenez sharing riding duties with Derbyshire's Daz Jones, at twice the age of third man – Nick Roake. Nick had raced in the HMRC series back in April at Snetterton where he shared a Triumph 955i with father David. These two young bloods were standing in for Jim Agombar who was away at Laguna Seca in the US and Mike Eglington who was taking part in the Triumph one-make series elsewhere.

During the third hour Uprite overhauled the Mushman machine to enjoy a one lap lead and Moores in third place, ahead of the almost bog standard Kawasaki Newcastle ER-6 ridden by Gareth Martin and Ian Patterson – from eighth place after one hour the going to work commuter machine had overhauled the other Kawasaki Newcastle ZX6 of Ben Pearce/Phil Knowles/Andy Jones on it’s way up through the field. The only mods made to the ER-6 were the fitting of a Power Commander, a race can and a couple of recent oil changes – proving you don’t need a fortune to get results. GBMoto had made a couple of lengthy visits to the pits to investigate clutch and gear selection problems dropping them down to last place, HMR and Uprite were on the same lap at two thirds distance and Phoenix Endurance were back up to 10th after their earlier spill.

At half past four, Macca cruised past the pits indicating he could only select fifth gear, getting around the hairpin was a bit of a struggle and the team retired after 181 laps. The team were gracious in acknowledging their retirement would set up the remaining two rounds as an excellent battle for the championship.

At the drop of the chequer, the Uprite team won - five laps down on the leaders were HMR, ahead of the Moores Racing R6, the Kawasaki ER-6 finished well ahead of fifth placed newcomers – Darkside Endurance (Andy Buik/Darren Eyre/Kevin Upstone/Yamaha R6) – they had spent the whole race in either 5th or 6th, an excellent debut outing. Andy Buik, an accomplished single-cylinder pilot, was drafted into Phoenix Endurance for Knockhill, replacing an absent Shaun Finch - clearly Andy was hooked on long distance racing and came back with this well organised and capable entry. The second Kawasaki Newcastle entry, the ZX6 rounded off the top six by only one lap over the persuing 120+ machine.

120+ Racing (Richard Cunningham/Steve Mercer/Rhys Boyd) experienced big problems with the rear wheel of their R1, after a race which had seen them as high as fourth before finishing seventh. Following dramas at the last round at Knockhill, Team Viking (Paul Clarke/Crispin d’Albertanson/Barry Salmon/Honda 600) kept themselves mischief - and the gravel - free to finish in eighth place. 120- Racing (Sean Moss/Steve Lunnon) worked solidly to finish 9th, ahead of Phoenix Endurance who struggled to recapture the time lost following their spill. In eleventh Farside Racing (Charles Van Berkel/Phillip Dennis/Richard Cleverley) were classified ahead of GBMoto and Ducks Cross Racing (Martin Landmann/Michael Thompson/Jonathon Railton/Yamaha R6) who lost time getting stuck in the mud at the hairpin.

Look at the points situation - with two rounds of the championship remaining - it's open at the top and there's all to play for at Snetterton in August and Silverstone in October.

1 Uprite Racing * 316 laps 2 Harvey Mushman Racing 311 laps 3 Moores Racing * 302 laps 4 Kawasaki Newcastle 2 * 298 laps 5 Darkside Endurance * 293 laps 6 Kawasaki Newcastle 1 291 laps 7 120+ Racing 290 laps 8 Team Viking 286 laps 9 120- Racing 279 laps 10 Phoenix Endurance 274 laps 11 Farside Racing 265 laps 12 GBMoto 181 laps 13 Ducks Cross Racing 174 laps Fastest lap – Uprite Racing 60.612s (86.478mph) * Class Winners

HOTTRAX Junior TAG Endurance Championship – 2 hours. It was Fresh Orange Racing (Ben Pearce/Andy Rouse) who hit the front at the start of the wet race, leaving Moto Developments (Luke Hall/Simon Nash) and Team SOBER (Mark Linscott/Gary Bransgrove/Steve Callahan) in their wake. Rouse pitted cleverly on the half hour mark as the pace car made the first of its two appearances and Ben Pearce was able to get out quickly taking advantage of the situation.

Most riders found racing in the wet conditions difficult and, thankfully, the race was without major incident. At the half way point of the two hour race, Moto Developments held a one lap lead over Fresh Orange who had incurred a 30-second penalty for a technical infringement whilst exiting the pitlane. Team RHR (Robin Hooker/Paul Evans) were third ahead of M and P Racing (Mike Ashton/Paul Rogers). When the chequered flag dropped, with the track still awash, Moto Developments won by 1 lap from Team RHR with Fresh Orange a lap adrift ahead of M and P Racing who enjoyed a single lap advantage over Team 2-Ply (Darren Carter/Steve Smith), completing the top six were Dos Albaniles (Dave Charrett/Nick Ford).

Current championship leaders, Team SOBER (Mark Linscott/Gary Bransgrove/Steve Callahan) finished seventh, opening up the points table a little, with rounds at Snetterton and Silverstone to round off the season. Fresh Orange won the Junior 600 class with a 3 lap advantage over points leaders ETA Racing (Ian Courts/Daren Brearley) with Black Flag Racing (Alistair Holmes/George Duncan/John Higham) third.

1 Moto Developments * 97 laps 2 Team RHR 96 laps 3 Fresh Orange * 95 laps 4 M + P Racing 94 laps 5 Team 2-Ply 93 laps 6 Dos Albaniles 93 laps 7 Team SOBER 92 laps 8 ETA Racing 92 laps 9 C2C Racing 91laps 10 Rawlings Racing 91 laps 11 Epona Racing 91 laps 12 Black Cat Racing 90 laps 13 Go Faster Racing 90 laps 14 Black Flag Racing 87 laps 15 Team Deliverance 87 laps 16 Freaks of Nature 83 laps 17 Team Issor 79 laps 18 A & G Racing 79 laps 19 Purple Voodoo 75 laps 20 MC Racing 60 laps Fastest lap – Moto Developments 68.061s (77.013mph) * Class winners

HOTTRAX Open Solo Race – 18 laps. Mark Linscott (Yamaha R1) showed his well developed race craft and won the first ever HOTTRAX solo race, despite being chased home by young South African hot shot Craig Dickenson on an R6 and Dave Charrett on his Suzuki 1000.

Craig and his father, Mike, have been sharing the R6 in recent two hour races at Mallory and Pembrey where they had a first and second place. For Pembrey Mike joined the GBMoto line up and Craig would consider offers to race in either the 2 or 6 hour HMRC races. The race was stopped with one lap to go after Andy Rouse slid off on the last corner before the start line in an effort to hit the front, Andy was riding his Yamaha R6, used to great effect in the previous day’s 2 hour TAG Endurance race – as a result of his accident, a visit to the nearby hospital meant he was unable to join the Kawasaki Newcastle 2 team on board the 'sit up and beg' ER-6.

Andy Buik decided to start the race from the pitlane on his single-cylinder machine, as it tends to overheat if the grid is held – from last spot he made sixth on the diminutive device over the 17 laps. There is lots of scope in this class of racing, offering newcomers and experienced riders the opportunity to race their bikes in something a little more meaningful than a five lap sprint. One such newcomer was Simon Allen on his awesome sounding Aprilia RSVR 1000, the previous day he paired with Hazel Drury in team Purple Voodoo in the 2hr TAG race and joined the pit crew supporting Phoenix Endurance for the National race on Sunday.

1 Mark Linscott 2 Craig Dickenson 3 Dave Charrett 4 Tim Westley 5 Kane Dalton 6 Andy Buik 7 Ray Warren 8 Nick Ford 9 Richard Woolcott 10 Gary Bransgrove 11 Steve Callahan 12 Simon Allen Fastest lap – Craig Dickenson (Yamaha R6) 66.183s (79.199 mph)