Masters TAG, Senior TAG + National - 3 and 6 hours With the 3 hour Masters race starting alongside the Nationals and Senior teams it was indeed last years champions and winners of Round One at Mallory in March, Trackcraft Racing (Mark Linscott/Mike Dickenson) who won pole position from 2008 ProSuperbike winners, Sweatshop Racing (Hugh Brasher/Mick Godfrey/Rod Lynn/R1).
Third fastest were the Senior 1000 equipe of Sorrymate.com (Jenny Tinmouth/Fergus Dalgarno/Bruce Wilson). The grid was a little down after loosing Team Viking and Roundall following accidents in Round 1 and two teams were unable to take start after practice hassles. Phill Clarke’s lovely sounding Ducati was also missing due to work commitments.
Also unable to take the star was Black Flag Racing, jovial George Duncan faced a long drive back to North Scotland after team mate Dan Ashley rendered himself unfit for the race, it will get a bit easier for George as he soon moves down to Lancashire with his work. From the Le Mans start, shortly after noon, it was Sweatshop who made the most of things, two laps later being eclipsed by Trackcraft who were on a charge.
Jenny Tinmouth was in the wars after 10 minutes, highsiding at the Esses – the transponder was recovered and bike journo Bruce Wilson took to the track on a brand new 600 kindly loaned by TM72 pit crew Garry Buck who had used the brand new machine in Friday’s trackday.
At the same time Mark Linscott dived into the pits on an unexpected stop as the oil light was flashing and on the 2009 R1 it was better to be safe than sorry, just needed a tad more oil adding and the bike was ready for another trip out. I didn’t take long for team mate Mike Dickenson to get out amongst it, dropping to 9th place in the process, Sorrymate.com were a massive 6 laps down on the leading Sweatshop R1 at this early stage of the race.
It was during this phase that South African Superbike rider Dickenson posted a 1m 10.002s lap which would be difficult to beat. At the one hour mark, Trackcraft had cruised to lead on the road by a mere 25 seconds from Extreme Bykesportz (Dave Wardle/Ian Walker) with Project 93 (Andy Buik/Darren Jones/Carl Myers/R6), Ducks Cross (Jon Railton/Grant Wagstaff/Martin Landmann/R6), First Form Endurance (Paul Robey/Jay Smith) and Freaks of Nature Too (Mark Whiston/Dave Stewardson), a lap adrift. More dramas for Sorrymate.com as Jenny Tinmouth stopped at the far side of the circuit with a seized rear brake, after coasting back to the pits to handover to team mate Wilson.
JT was also to suffer from a couple of time penalties for crossing the double white line on exiting the pitlane, delaying the team even further. At one third distance, the Mark and Mike (Trackcraft) held a comfortable 2 lap lead over Extreme, a sliver ahead of Sweatshop, Freaks, First Form, Ducks X and P93. The following hour was mostly steady for all teams, the main drama was when KTM Cup rider Jon Railton was handed a two minute penalty as a result of his team refuelling the R6 as others were working on the bike – cool minded Jon did not let this effect his fast and consistent riding style.
P93 came in for a new rear tyre and then spent ages refitting the spindle, again for this experienced team (Darkside Endurance in 2008) it was not a problem. After 180 minutes the chequered flag quietly dropped to signify the end of the Masters 600 and 1000 races, Trackcraft winning their second race of the season by 2 laps over Extreme one lap ahead of Freaks.
Top 2008 600 outfit ETA Racing (Ian Courts/Darren Brearley) were magic in winning their class a lap up on Pit Stop and 4 ahead of ProFibre (Richard Dubber/Richard Gothard). Masters – 3 Hours 1 Trackcraft 146 * 2 Extreme Bykes 144 3 Freaks of Nature Too 143 4 First Form Endurance 140 5 TM72 138 6 ETA Racing 138 * 7 Pit Stop Racing 137 8 Profibre 134 * denotes class winners Fastest lap Trackcraft 1m 10.002s ETA Racing 1m 14.584s With twelve teams still out on the track after the end of the Masters race, top team Sweatshop were leading on the road by an obscene 7 lap advantage over the penalised Ducks X and series newcomers East Coast Construction (Phillip Reed/Phillip Usher/Paul Hobson/R1) who were riding a 2008 Phase One Endurance machine that had received very little sorting prior to the race. P93 were a comfortable fourth place until 15 minutes into the fourth hour when Daisy Jones felt the front Michelin twitch and at the next corner, Turn 1, the bike took a low side, the damaged R6 was back in the pits quickly for repair to the right hand side whilst the rider attended the medical centre.
Luckily Andy Buik’s spare bike could be cannibalised to provide replacement parts, dropping them into final spot and 13 laps adrift. Darren was patched up and returned to the race for one more session; however the spill had aggravated a much older rib injury which would give him pain for the rest of the weekend. Two thirds distance and Sweatshop had maintained their 7 lap advantage over Ducks X, East Coast still in third and Gasi Racing (Helen Gaskins/Grant Gaskins/Sam Godfrey) were enjoying a hugely successful race to be a strong fourth place going into the closing stages.
By now Bruce Wilson had parted company with the borrowed 600 and made it back to the pits to exit on Jenny Tinmouth’s machine for some very quick riding whilst they chased Gasi who were up to a podium third for a while. In the closing stages there was some real close racing on the track between teams battling for places and at the end of the race Sweatshop had held onto their now 12 lap lead over the Supersport machine of Ducks X who had a fine ride including a return to the saddle for Martin Landmann.
After a host of problems throughout the six hours Sorrymate.com were masterful to finish in third spot only a couple of laps ahead of East Coast and Gasi Racing who were separated by an eye blinking 13 seconds. Well Oiled Kitty (Hazel Drury/Michael Naylor/Steve Griffiths) all pulled together effectively after several mechanical dramas on the aged Honda 600 component of the team to finish a lap ahead of 120+ Racing (Richie Cunningham/Mike Bradley/Steve Joy/R1) who were no stranger to on and off track dramas but made a welcome return to the series after a sabbatical. Worth noting that Steve Joy was really enjoying his first endurance race and is up for some more.
One of the ‘Old Guard’ at Snett was Mike Eglington, with no Moores Racing at HMRC for 2009 he has done all the decorating and gardening a man can bare and is looking for a ride – any offers or ideas, contact Mike or Kailah on 07967 529060. In a hefty eighth and racing under the ‘Help for Heroes’ banner, servicemen AMR Endurance (Bob Robson/Simon Taylor/Al Waring) finished only a minute ahead of the pursuing Apex Racing (Glen Levy/Nick Matthews/Lee Morris) effort.
The KTM could have been awarded the noisiest bike of the weekend as it had been more than a challenge for the trackday scrutineer’s noise tester on the Friday. That is the same reason why Jon Railton is unable to use trackdays to further test and develop his similar machine and resorts to entering club races to give him additional track time! On the same lap as these two until picking up a penalty for speeding in the pitlane during the closing minutes Costello Redmond Racing (Derek Redmond/Pete Douglas/Neil Garnham) were tenth in front of stablemates Yorkshire Racing (Phil Bowden/John Hewitt/Trevor Craig) and the once front running Project Nine Three after their earlier spill.
A fantastic weekends racing and the tables are closing up a bit, we now move onto Anglesey on Spring Bank Holiday weekend for Round Three. Rod Lynn could not have wished for a better meeting and was hoping a potential sponsor would be looking at his performance in readiness for the TT in May/June. If they were watching lets hope they provide a machine or machines for the Island.
Fraser Greenroyd was busy with his speed gun (as some competitors can endorse at a personal level) – random measurements from the pitwall during the race showed the following; National and Senior – 6 Hours 1 Sweatshop Racing 287 laps * 2 Ducks Cross 275 * 3 Sorrymate.com 267 * 4 East Coast 263 5 Gasi Racing 263 * 6 Well Oiled Kitty 262 7 120+ Racing 261 8 AMR Endurance 255 9 Apex Racing 255 10 Costello Redmond Racing 254 11 Yorkshire Racing 249 12 Project Nine Three 242 * denotes class winners Fastest Lap Sweatshop Racing 1m 11.360s Juniors – 3 Hours It was third fastest GT Racing (Keith Tribe/Brad Patras) who made the best start with Patras first out of the trap and Graphic UK (Dean Skipper/Basil Bannayi) making the most of their hard earned pole, while the hapless Project 39 (Andy Rouse/Colin Norris) rider Andy Rouse had trouble getting off P2 and was last to leave the grid – 10 minutes later the novice man was into the top six joining Spellfame Racing (Andrew Main/Richard Lloyd) who had made a brilliant start.
After half an hour GT Racing kept in touch with leaders Graphic UK on the same lap at the front of a raft of riders a lap down lead by P39, SOS Racing (Chris Hadfield/Simon Dennis) had to push into the pit lane with lack of fuel to execute their first pitstop. On the hour mark NR Racing (Nathan Horsfield/Ryan Peters) were only 30 seconds ahead of Graphics with GT and Spellfame sharing the same lap, a further lap down P39, Tango + Crash (John Blundell/Ryan Myler), Rawlings Racing and Costello Redmond Racing (Jon Leach/Drew Tommons) were all chasing the leaders and hoping to put some space between themselves and the next bike down.
Unfortunately A & G Racing (Mark Affleck/Gary Jones), who had been 4th placed 600 at one time were bumped down the field with penalties and problems. Graphics and NR Racing shared the battle for the lead and the same lap, holding a one circuit lead over the four next crews. Spare a thought for the ever improving Rawlings Racing (Lee & Matt Rawlings), who plummeted down the timing screen as Matt thought his R1 gearbox had cried ‘enough’ – this left brother Lee to carry on racing as a singleton and having to take the compulsory breaks between sessions.
This was also the case for Neil Plummer (Old and Older), who’s team mate’s (Ray Dewhurst) Kawasaki 400 went AWOL, ditto Steve Callaghan who went from 9th to last because of a spill on the track. With an hour left in the encounter the larger machines were benefiting from their superior top speed; Graphic and Spellfame were only 50 seconds apart, a lap ahead of the 600s of NR racing and Project 39.
At the same time the pace car made its only appearance and endurance strategists in the pitlane made important decisions about rider changes and pitstops, real winner here was GT Racing who rejoined the fray in a handy third place after some smart thinking and crew work. With an almost faultless performance this race was all about Graphic UK who controlled from the front with top 600 outfit not a great distance away in second place, Project 39 topped off the podium on the same lap as GT racing, Spellframe and Costello Redmond racing being rewarded with an excellent sixth place after Mario Costello was replaced by Drew Tommons.
Should the race have been a little longer I wonder if the baffle on Spellfame's bike might have failed as on the slowing down lap it was seen to be unravelling into a trail of fibres. 1 Graphic UK Racing 133 laps * 2 NR Racing 133 * 3 Project 39 131 4 GT Racing 131 5 Spellfame racing 130 6 Costello Redmond Racing 130 7 Tango and Crash Racing 129 8 Banzai Racing 129 9 TANC Racing 129 10 BLDS Couriers 127 11 STD Yamaha 126 12 TM 72 Juniors 125 13 Racing Snakes 125 14 SOS Racing 124 15 ASBO Racing 124 16 MC Racing 124 17 Yorkshire Racing 122 18 In the Doghouse Racing 121 19 Go Drive Racing 120 20 Roundall Racing 119 21 Pirate Racing 119 22 Signs Express Racing 117 23 A & G Racing 111 24 Rawlings Racing 106 25 Old and Older Racing 93 Fastest lap: Graphic UK Racing 1m 13.833s MotoGrande Racing
This oversubscribed class enjoyed no less than 4 Races, 70 laps and almost 130 miles, to get their teeth into over this bright and sunny weekend giving near perfect riding conditions for the participants. In practice, Steve Neate had used his well prepared R1 to great effect securing pole by almost a second from Robin Hooker on his very trick Ducati 1098 with Steve’s younger sibling Sam rounding off the top three. Steve capitalised on his pole during all the races he entered and walked away with convincing wins, the final encounter being won by Hooker with other decent rides from Dion Robinson, Greg Allsop, Andrew Rouse, Sam Neate and Sean Moss.
Big hand to the affable Sean – having been busy on his custard machine scoring a 5th 2 x 4ths and a third place in races with capacity or large grids – who volunteered to ‘marshal’ for one of the teams who had been let down and spent all day out there working, top man! Good to see young riders with a balanced lifestyle, Sam Neate did not enter Sundays race as he was playing rugby – hope he was on the winning team!