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National Endurance Championship, Round 4

Published: 29 August 2007

HOTTRAX National Endurance Championship – 8 hours. Series leaders, Harvey Mushman Racing came to Snetterton with a slender 10 point lead over double race winners – GBMoto, ahead of Moores Racing and Kawasaki Newcastle. Pembrey winners Uprite Racing holding eighth in the table. In the classes, HMR led Superproduction 1000 protagonists GBMoto by only 4 points who were a reasonable distance from Uprite. 120+ Racing have a really healthy lead in the Superstock 1000 table and Moores Racing are safely ahead of Team Viking in Supersport 600 reckoning. Closest of all the classes is Superstock 600 where Kawasaki Newcastle are only two points ahead of Phoenix Endurance. With only two rounds of the 2007 championship remaining it is getting tight at the top.

Pole was set by GBMoto, based on average lap times (Mark Smith Halvorsen/Mick Godfrey/Roger Bennett – Yamaha R1) despite some blistering practice times set by John Crockford on the Uprite Suzuki (John Crockford/Jason Gunning/Vance John). Master strategist Max Scholl put Crockford out for an opening double shift of 1hr 25 minutes to establish a healthy lead of over a lap in the first hour building to 4 laps by the two hour mark over GBMoto after GBMoto pitted to adjust the chain, loosing a lap. During this time, HMR (Hugh Brasher/Simon Watson/Mark Linscott – R1) were forced to pit to sort persistent clutch problems which had caused the team to start the race from pit lane as well as loosing most of the early morning warm up.

Linscott, current leader of the Junior TAG championship was joining the National race for the first time – looking at the speeds, lap times and machinery of the Junior TAG competitors a number of the TAG teams could elevate themselves to National level without too much trouble – HMRC have designed the final round at Silverstone for you to so this, so how about taking up the challenge!

At around quarter distance, Macca pitted the GBMoto bike with a broken gear linkage which cost them 3 laps dropping them from second down to sixth place. By the three hour mark, some rapid lappery had moved them back up to fourth place, a lap adrift of the Supersport 600 machine of Moores Racing (Tony Jimenez/Nick Roake/Jim Agombar) behind the HMR machine and Uprite luxuriating in a seven lap lead.

Crockford returned to the track producing a string of 100 mph + laps, prior to handing over to Jason Gunning to protect the 8 lap lead at halfway point, HMR maintained second spot, 4 laps ahead of the recovering GBMoto machine and Moores in a very comfortable fourth place.

Darkside Racing (Andy Buik/Darren Eyre/Kevin Upstone) were on the same lap as class mates Phoenix Endurance (Shelley Pike/Shaun Finch/Chris Mayhew) – Chris was deputising for regular pilot Pete Gibson who was away at the Manx who achieved a practice lap of 100 mph, a nineteenth place in the Newcomers and a start in Friday’s Senior MGP). Chris, a sometime Bimota factory test and development rider from Leicestershire, produced some very quick laps during his stints which saw Phoenix overhaul Darkside during the closing stages, despite his lanky frame nestling behind the R6 fairing. This was after Phoenix had pitted to replace both sets of rubber; the R6 has been known to complete a six hour race without the need for new tyres.

Just before the six hour mark the Pace Car made its one and only appearance, for two laps to allow track workers to collect debris from the track at Sears causing the riders to bunch up and giving GBMoto a slingshot opportunity to overtake HMR whilst in the pits for fuel and rider change. With an hour to go Gunning pitted the Uprite machine to replace a worn rear sprocket, slick spannering saw this task completed in around four minutes and they re emerged on the track with a still comfortable lead over GBMoto. Uprite, like many of the top teams in British endurance racing practice these types of tasks so when it happens for real it has been well rehearsed. All the starters were still circulating until the Team Viking (Paul Clarke/Barry Salmon/ Crispin d’Albertanson) Honda 600 was planted in the gravel at Riches by Clarke – sterling work by the team saw the machine return to the fray to take the flag at the end of the eight hours. A Viking team member was quick to point out that Paul, who was also turfed off at Knockhill by another rider, was the man responsible for putting the END into ENDURANCE – seems a tad harsh!

Viking had a torrid time at Snetterton with the bike being drastically down on power due to a gremlin in the engine management/mapping department, visibly slower on the straights the three riders all rode well. At the end of the eight hours, Uprite took the flag ahead of GBMoto and Harvey Mushman Racing, Moores Racing maintained their fourth place and secured the Supersport 600 championship with a faultless display throughout the season, often champing at the heals of larger machines for podium places – a deserved result for Tony Jimenez and the Moores Racing team. Phoenix finished ahead of rivals Darkside Endurance on the same lap ahead of a steady race for 120 + Racing (Chris Carter/Sean Moss/Steve Lunnon) – well done on your class win in Superstock 1000 chaps! Rounding off the finishers were Kawasaki Newcastle (Andy Jones/Phil Knowles/Kevin Stainsby), Ducks X Racing (Martin Landmann/Michael Thompson/Russell Horton), Farside Racing (Charles Van Berkel/Chris Lewis/Philip Dennis) and Team Viking.

Outstanding features from the day were; the points situation for the 2007 Endurance Championship are now closer at the top, John Crockford put in some blinding circuits throughout the whole race, including a 101 mph lap, Moores nailed the Supersport 600 class, all the starters took the chequered flag after 8 hours of racing and the weather was fantastic. The final round of the championship is at Silverstone on Saturday 6th October and you would be daft to miss it!

Results: 1 Uprite Racing * 381 laps 2 GBMoto 377 laps 3 Harvey Mushman Racing 374 laps 4 Moores Racing * 367 laps 5 Phoenix Endurance * 357 laps 6 Darkside Racing 357 laps 7 120+ Racing * 352 laps 8 Kawasaki Newcastle 350 laps 9 Ducks X Racing 341 laps 10 Farside Racing 335 laps 11 Team Viking 304 laps Fastest lap – Uprite Racing 68.536s (102.533mph) * Class Winners

HOTTRAX Junior TAG Endurance Championship – 2 hours. Starting from pole position. Team RHR (Ryan Hooker/Paul Evans) was unable to shake off championship leaders Team SOBER (Mark Linscott/Gary Bransgrove/Steve Callahan), who started 15th on the grid, and circulated closely on the road until the first round of pit stops which saw leaders RHR separated by Co-Ordit Racing (Pete Bradshaw/Dave Wardle) from third placed Team SOBER.

By the half way point of the race, RHR had a one lap lead over Co-Ordit who were a lap ahead of Moto Developments (Luke Hall/Simon Nash) with Team SOBER in fourth. Following the mid race retirement by RHR, this left championship newcomers; Co-Ordit Racing to win, maintaining a one lap lead over A+M Racing (Andrew Gardner/Marc Westcott) with Team SOBER consolidating their championship points advantage in third. Moto Developments were fourth on the same lap as Go Fast Racing (Kane Dalton/Tim Westley), M and P Racing (Mike Ashton/Paul Rogers) and Combined Stabilisation (Nigel Sean Rae/Graeme Woodhouse/Phil Blackmore).

Team SOBER now lead the championship heading into the final round, ahead of Moto Developments who were grateful of some support (and spares) from Moores Racing and GBMoto following a spill at Snetterton earlier in the week. ETA Racing consolidated their lead in the Junior 600 class with a 10th place. To reiterate (and only a personal view) – a look at the practice/race times, along with the rider talent and quality of machinery and equipment indicates it would not be a huge leap for some of the Junior TAG teams to dip their toe in the water for the National race at Silverstone on October the 6th, with a view to moving up a gear for 2008. HMRC has provided a well structured progression ladder for endurance racing and now is the time to see some movement.

Results: 1 Co-Ordit Racing * 93 laps 2 A + M Racing 92 laps 3 Team SOBER 91 laps 4 Moto Developments 90 laps 5 Go Fast Racing 90 laps 6 M and P Racing 90 laps 7 Combined Stabilisation 90 laps 8 Freaks of Nature Too 89 laps 9 Freaks of Nature 89 laps 10 ETA Racing * 88 laps 11 C2C Racing 88 laps 12 Black Cat Racing 87 laps Fastest lap – Team SOBER 72.792s (96.53mph) * Class winners

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