GT Racing claimed their first ever podium with 2nd place at Round 2 of the Hottrax Junior 1000 TAG endurance race at Snetterton on Saturday 18th April 2009, and wish to extend massive thanks and gratitude to the following, without whom the fantastic result would not have been possible:- Sam Bonnet (Pit boss & Reserve rider), Drew Tuck (Chief mechanic & Reserve rider), Stuart Ainslie (Team marshal), Doné Schreiber (Pitwall & ‘IN’-cushion duties), Createq Solutions (Website hosting and development) and Simon Watson from Race Engineering (Raceshop mechanic and advisor).
Geordie, Brad and Doné arrived at Snetterton on Thursday evening to prepare for the Friday trackday, in order to practice for Saturdays race at the Norfolk circuit. Friday dawned with damp but drying conditions, and the two riders set off to do a shake-down and get their ZX10R’s dialed in to the track, with Geordie still suffering with back problems and a hernia.
The second session saw both riders ride together for the majority of the 20 minutes on a full dry line, but with dampness affecting the outside edges of the track, as was found out the hard way when Geordie, exiting Corams curve, lost the front and half fell off the side of the bike, which then stepped out and threw him off, and tumbled down the track flipping top over bottom until the front tyre dug in and flipped the bike vertically up into the air, cartwheeling several times and each time smashing more of the recently purchased race bike into the racetrack, right in front of Brad who had been following closely behind, who then just managed to miss Geordie who was sliding down the track.
Back in the pits the extent of damage was clear, both wheels broken, tank, fairings, subframe, swingarm, forks and fairings all destroyed, clocks smashed off, frame dented and key gone. Remarkably Geordie suffered no ill effects apart from a bruised foot and ankle, and a gigantic repair bill. Desperate not to let this stop them from racing, the team immediately loaded the stricken ZX10R into Geordies race van who then set off to drop the bike off with Simon at Race Engineering in Bishops Stortford (www.raceengineering.co.uk 01279 755544) - who is now stripping the bike and assessing damage.
Geordie then headed back to Colchester to collect the old faithful GSXR750Y (also prepared by Simon), and returned to Snetterton late on Friday afternoon. Race day on Saturday brought glorious sunshine and clear skies, perfect conditions for being on track. Brad set out for qualifying having missed half of the session due to a schedule mix up, but set a great time of 1m14.9, immediately giving the team 3rd place on the grid, only 0.6s down from pole position.
Geordie rode the 750 to an admirable 10th position in his session with a 1m19.3, equaling many other riders on much faster machinery. At 2pm the start procedure got underway and Brad took to the Le Mans style grid in third position, with Geordie holding the bike alongside the pitwall. At quarter past two the flag dropped and all 25 riders ran across the circuit to their bikes, started and roared off. Brad took the lead immediately and stormed up to turn one ahead of the entire field, and held the lead for a lap and a half until the #44 R1 of Graphic UK Racing came past and edged ahead, but then managed to hold 2nd place for the remainder of his half hour session when, after being signaled by Doné with the unique pitboard/seat-cushion, he pulled into the pits where Sam and Drew performed a perfect transponder change and Geordie sped off onto the track.
Some jockeying for positions then ensued with the respective staggered pit stops by other teams making it difficult to tell where GT Racing stood, which was further complicated by Geordie running out of fuel around Corams on the last lap of his middle stint, but receiving a push up pit lane by NR racing’s Ben, to whom the team are immensely grateful. Brad rode out with the team in 5th position and almost immediately saw the safety car come out due to a crash at the final chicane.
Other teams took the opportunity to pit, leaving Brad heading the field once again behind the safety car. Safety car in and green flags shown and once again Brad rode off ahead of the pack, conceding to the #44 R1 again after a few laps before pitting for Geordie to take over.
The ageing GSXR750 held its own again as Geordie put in some good consistent laps before being called in early to allow Brad to try and stick a few final quick laps in aboard the stock-standard ZX10R, and ended up snatching 2nd place on the final lap to take the chequered flag for GT Racings first ever podium.
Throughout the race the commentator mentioned GT Racing, and also interviewed Brad on the microphone three times through the race while following their progress, with the final exchange over the tannoy announcing the final result to Brad in Parc ferme as Geordie was also interviewed by the excellent commentator Steve.
The whole team are overjoyed with the result, with Geordie quoting:- “Looking at the weekend we can see that without Fridays accident, and the fuel issue in the race, GT Racing would have won the race, especially given the 4 second-per-lap deficit of the older Suzuki over the ZX10, and also my dodgy back and hernia, so watch this space for a progression to the top step”.
Again, a huge thank you to all team members Sam, Drew, Stuart and Doné, and Niel at Createq and Simon at Race Engineering, without whose continued help and efforts none of this would have been achieved. Next round at Anglesey, 23rd May, we look forward to seeing you there! See our website for more details and pictures www.gt-racing49.com Sponsors needed!!