Senior TAG Endurance Motorcycle Championship– Round Four
National & Senior TAG Endurance 6 Hours
Visiting BSB team Co-Ordit Racing (Phil Bevan/Richard Cooper/Pete Bradshaw/R1) grabbed pole by over a second from title chasers Sweatshop Moores Racing 2 (Hugh Brasher/Rod Lynn/Ben Wylie/R1) with last years champions GBMoto (Mark Smith Halvorsen/Mick Godfrey/Mike Dickenson/R1) rounding off the top 3.
Newcomers Ecclectic Racing (Guy Bolam/Robert Pike/Paul Noble) and T3 Racing (Andrew Marriott/Lance Carey/Simon Marriott) were next up whilst both Senior TAG teams were followed home by freelance motorcycle journo Paul Smyth on the Best Choice Endurance R6 (Richard Greenland/Alan Stevens/Paul Smythe).
Drama occurred at the very start of the race with Co-Ordit being last off the grid in drying conditions. The mercurial Cooperman rocketing into 6th spot after lap 2 when the pace car appeared after an early off by John Higham on the Black Flag Racing 600 (George Duncan/John Higham/Sam Smithson), which also involved George Bicket on the AMA R1 (George Bicket/Mark Westcott/Robert Knoyle). By 30 minutes Cooperman was comfortably in control from Sweatshop Moores & GBMoto as MAD Racing (Darryll Elliot/Mick Watts/Andrew Browning) went missing from the field.
Pitlane was busy with AMA rejoining without a fairing – a sort of street fighter/endurance hybrid, MAD pitted for repairs before the one hour mark which saw Co-Ordit less than 2 seconds in front of GBMoto whilst BSB Supersport warrior Ben Wylie dumped the R1 at Russells necessitating a trip to hospital with a dislocated shoulder. Best Choice were in the wars and required a spell in the garage to repair the effects of a low-side and Rod Lynn pitted the R1 again after much shaking of the head on the quick side of the pit wall indicating concerns as to the bike’s condition and speed.
At third distance GBMoto held a 6 second lead over the ‘quicker on track’ Co-Ordit R1, Ducks Cross Racing (Jon Railton/Grant Wagstaff/Martin Landmann/R6) were a couple of laps down with Senior newcomers Ecclectic Racing in a handy fourth place on a line up which included the KTM LC8. On the same lap were the consistently quick R6 of Darkside Endurance (Andy Buik/Darren Jones/Kevin Upstone), Moores Racing (Tony Jimenez/Mike Eglington/Jim Agombar/R6) were a lap down from their class rivals.
The third hour was not, however a good one for Ecclectic, from challenging for a podium place on their debut, they tipped off at Russells requiring the transponder to be picked up to allow the KTM LC8 to continue. Robert who runs the KTM is intending to wring a bit more speed out of the motor however there are currently only a few performance bits available so watch this space.
Best Choice spent a while too long in the garage following that earlier spill and coupled with two penalties for infringements it was always going to be a tall order to recover a higher position. Co-Ordit held a three lap advantage over GBMoto at the half way point with Ducks X a solid third from the Moores Racing R6 who was now ahead of Darkside. On the same lap was White Tiger Racing (Nigel Bryan/Ash Joice/Chris Lang) – Nigel travelling from Australia to contest the final four HMRC rounds of the championship, Ecclectic & T3.
Pit stops shuffled positions and the Sweatshop R1 was a regular visitor to the pits as the gear selector was flexing under pressure making gear selection difficult. The trick here was for the team to complete at least 75% of the winning distance to keep at the top of the table going into the final three races of the season.
Co-Ordit kept their 3 lap lead going into the final third of the race ahead of a chasing GBMoto who never gave up hunting down the BSB visitors, Ducks X consolidated a good third 3 laps up on Moores R6 with again Eclectic, T3 and White Tiger sharing the same lap. Earlier Team Viking (Paul Clarke/Crispin d’Albertanson/Barry Salmon/R6) had experienced a punctured slick costing them time lost out on track as well as in the pits.
Barry was enjoying his comeback ride after injury at Round One in Anglesey, after the race Barry was to make a sharp exit down the A11 on his BMW 1200 to make a Channel crossing and motor on to the Nurburgring where he was instructing on the track early Monday morning – on my way home from Snett, I followed him for a while before our paths went separate ways and judging from his speed he should have made Germany by midnight!
When it really mattered Co-Ordit Racing secured their first win in the National Endurance championship ahead of GBMoto who did their title hopes no harm by finishing second a mere lap down. Ducks X were a brilliant third and first 600 home ahead of class rivals Darkside and Moores who could have been second in class but for an infringement during the race.
Sweatshop Moores - championship leaders going into Round Four - finished 14th on the road but more importantly fourth on class to make it nice and close at the top of the table with GBMoto. The Senior class was won Ecclectic Racing from White Tiger and Throttle Monkey 72 Racing (Andy McKnight/Eric Chitty/Kevin Doughty) and series newcomers T3 – originally planning to contest three Hinckley Triumphs – were delighted to take the Senior 600 class.
T3 had entered this meeting as a practice run out before the Triumph 675 series comes to Snetterton in September, Lance Carey is currently in the top six of the championship and hopes to improve and consolidate that position by the end of the season, all riders were thoroughly impressed by the HMRC series.
First Form Racing (Paul Robey/Jay Smith/ZX10R) plugged away throughout the six hours and was rewarded with a third in the ProSuperbike class, whilst Feisty Racing (Susie Grayson/Deb Cartright/Amanda Wake/R6) worked hard to consolidate 11th place overall and 4th in class.
Phoenix Endurance (Shelley Pike/Andy Jones/Pete Gibson just lost out to 5th in the ultra competitive Supersport class being passes by Team Viking in the closing stages. Phoenix will be missing the next round at Cadwell as they are away contesting the Manx Grand Prix during late August.
I make no apologies for it – I am a big Richard Cooper fan, ever since seeing him race at Darley Moor, Derbyshire. The weekend after Snetterton he will be peddling a works BMW around Oschersleben in the World Endurance Championship – he is winning in the KTM national series as well as Rob Mac’s R1 Cup – give that man a works ride! Richard joined Co-Ordit after Guy Martin was entered and unable to commit – Guy racing in the HMRC series, another must see event! It’s good to see Co-Ordit supporting this championship, with a busy schedule they also raced at Snetterton back in May but gremlins meant they dropped from contention in the later half of the race.
As well as team principle Pete Bradshaw racing in the National race, they enter the Junior series as well. Massive congratulations to Andy Jones who married the lovely Annie on the Friday before the meeting, Annie hails from the village of East Harling (next door to the circuit) and the honeymoon was spent in the wet at Snetterton! – The couple celebrated on track aboard Andy’s Ducati and we wish them all the best for the future.
Results: 1 Co-Ordit Racing * 280 laps 2 GBMoto 279 laps 3 Ducks Cross Racing * 270 laps 4 Darkside Endurance 267 laps 5 Moores Racing 266 laps 6 Ecclectic Racing * 266 laps 7 T3 Racing * 264 laps 8 White Tiger Racing 262 laps 9 First Form Endurance 262 laps 10 Throttle Monkey 72 Racing 260 laps 11 Feisty Racing 258 laps 12 Team Viking 255 laps 13 Phoenix Endurance 255 laps 14 Sweatshop Moores Racing 2 247 laps 15 Black Flag Racing 241 laps 16 MAD Racing 239 laps 17 Best Choice Endurance 233 laps 18 AMA Racing 227 laps Fastest Lap Richard Cooper (Co-Ordit Racing) 1m 08.654s 102.357mph * denotes class winners
Junior TAG Endurance - 3 Hours
Another massive grid amassed at a changeable Snetterton, following dryish qualifying it was British Supersport Cup leader Craig Fitzpatrick who secured pole by well over a second from other national 600 runner Jenny Tinmouth with championship leaders Team Trackcraft in third.
At the start of the three hour race it was obvious that the weather and tyre choice would be paramount for race success. Fitz established an early lead with Trackcraft (Mark Linscott/Mike Dickenson) and Freaks of Nature Too (Dave Stewartson/Kevin Tait) following in his wake, sometimes literally. A couple of riders alighted around the circuit as they tried to judge conditions including Sorrymate.com which introduced the pace car for the first time for 20+ minutes leaving teams to make their minds up how to best utilise the pit stop to gain maximum advantage from the situation.
Around the hour mark the heavens opened and wets were order of the day - Trackcraft were now at the front ahead of Co-Ordit (Dave Wardle/Ian Walker), GBMoto Junior (Sam Neate/Maria Costello) & Advanced Bike Shipping (Mike Bull/Jason Pittaway) who had earlier lead on the roads.
At two thirds distance Trackcraft led before another pace car appearance caused a spate of carefully timed pit stops. In the final 30 minutes doused in warm sunshine, GBMoto Junior held a slender lead over Freaks of Nature Too which was maintained to the flag; however both teams were two laps adrift of the first place R1s of Linscott & Dickenson.
In fourth place was Advanced Bike Shipping - their best placing of the season. The Rawlings Racing brothers, Lee and Matt, finished in fifth and rounding off the top seven were Spellframe Racing who was 20 seconds ahead of MIB with second 600 home, ETA Racing in eighth.
Results: 1 Team Trackcraft (Mark Linscott/Mike Dickenson) * 113laps 2 GBMoto Junior (Sam Neate/Maria Costello) * 111laps 3 Freaks of Nature Too (Dave Stewartson/Kevin Tait) 111laps 4 Advanced Bike Shipping (Mike Bull/Jason Pittaway) 110laps 5 Rawlings Racing (Lee & Matt Rawlings) 109laps 6 Spellframe Racing (Andrew Main/Richard Lloyd) 109laps 7 MIB (Dave Padley/Greg Allsop) 108laps 8ETA Racing (Ian Courts/Darren Brearley) 108laps 9 S and P Racing (Peter Carr/Scott Adam) 107laps 10 PUR Racing (Rob Wardle/Pete Allen) 107laps 11 Gasi Racing (Grant & Helen Gaskins) 107laps 12 SMF Racing (Pete Rogers/Simon Fenwick) 106laps 13 Slaters Bikes (Nigel Slater/Lee Trumble) 106laps 14 Throttle Monkey 172 (Claire Bowyer/Ryan Peters) 106laps 15 Damoose Racing (Mark Harrison/Andrew Barratt) 106laps 16 BLDS Couriers (Craig Fitzpatrick/William Lilly) 105laps 17 Name With Held (Phil Muldowney/Tim Westley) 105laps 18 Demonbikes.com (Bill Hunnan/Paul McCormack 104laps 19 RC Racing (Carl Costa/Richard Spencer Fleet) 104laps 20 SOBER (Gary Bransgrove/Steve Callahan) 103laps 21 MC Racing (Mark Wadeson/Jason McKinnon) 101laps 22 Monkey Six (Dave Allen/Steven Baggett) 101laps 23 Lone Dangers (Paul Ratite/Gary James) 100laps 24 Throttle Monkey (Geoff Rhodes/Dion Robinson) 100laps 25 Rabbit Racing (Ray Warren/Aaron Hobart) 99laps 26 Roundall Racing (Simon Allen/Dave Rose) 98laps 27 GT Racing (Keith Tribe/Brad Parts) 95laps 28 Team Tortoise (Grahame Marshall/Brett Allsop) 86laps 29 DNR Motorsport (Richard Payne/Dave Brooking) 80laps Fastest lap Craig Fitzpatrick 1m 10.802s 99.251mph * denotes class winners
MotoGrande Race 1 – 20 laps
Run in sunny but damp conditions, front row man Greg Allsop shot off into the lead leaving Deb Cartright and ex endurance racer Richard Cunningham in his wake with ‘back to racing’ Andy McKnight in close contention. As the track dried Allsop pushed a little too hard at Coram and crashed out leaving Feisty Racing’s Deb to chase after McKnight.
At the conclusion the pink R6 rider caught but couldn't pass the 1000 Suzuki, the gap being less than a quarter of a second. Even closer were Jed Angles and Cunningham with Nathan Horsfield & the throaty Aprilia of David Rose rounding off the top six.
Results: 1 Andy McKnight 1000 Suzuki 2 Deb Cartright 600 Yamaha 3 Jed Angles 1000 Kawasaki 4 Richard Cunningham 1000 Yamaha 5 Nathan Horsfield 600 Yamaha 6 David Rose 1000 Aprilia 7 Tom Rutherford 1000 Yamaha 8 Russell Horton 600 Yamaha 9 Ray Warren 1000 Yamaha 10 Mark Floyd 11 John Higham 600 Yamaha 12 Aaron Hobart 600 Yamaha Fastest Lap Greg Allsop 1m 16.897s 91.385mph
MotoGrande Race 2 – 22 laps
Richard Cunningham cleverly turned pole into an emphatic win of 36 seconds in the second MotoGrande race. Behind Richard there was a battle royal for the rest of the top six places. Ryan Peters was busy compounding a solid podium place before taking to the grass in the second half of the race and having to fight his way back into sixth and first 600 home.
Dion Robinson, Gary Bransgrove and Scott Adam fought all the way and Jed Angles was fifth and a lap down on the leaders. Having a ding dong battle were Nigel Slater & Martin Stainer on a brace of Hornets to complete the top three 600s. Winner Richard is currently supporting Steve Mercer racing at national level and is an endurance veteran of some repute himself.
Results: 1 Richard Cunningham 1000 Yamaha 2 Dion Robinson 3 Gary Bransgrove 1000 Suzuki 4 Scott Adam 1000 Aprilia 5 Jed Angles 1000 Kawasaki 6 Ryan Peters 600 Yamaha 7 Mark Floyd 8 Nigel Slater 600 Honda 9 Mark Stanier 600 Honda 10 David Rose 1000 Aprilia 11 Helen Gaskins 750 Suzuki 12 Simon Allen 1000 Aprilia Fastest Lap Richie Cunningham 1m 14.112s 94.819mph