Round 5 of the 2016 Australian Superbike Championship was held at Morgan Park, with Formula 3 and Formula 4 being the support class, and Morgan Park being Team Tigers home track it was a great opportunity to be part of a big event and have some fun. The event was quite a different format to a normal weekend, with a 15 minute qualifying session on the Saturday and 1 race, then a warm-up session Sunday morning and 2 races over the day.
Kieran, Gary and Simon were entered in the Club Challenge for Formula 3 and Formula 4 bikes, the competition was a mix of Honda CBR250RR’s, Kawasaki Ninja 300’s, various 400cc machiens, SV650’s, Aprilia RS250, and a 3 cylinder 450. Qualifying went off smoothly, Simon managed to bag a front row start in 3rd. Kieran 10th and Gary 16th out of 28 bikes.
Race 1 was a good one, Simon got away at the front, Tony Carroll (#4 Honda RVF400) broke away into the lead after a few laps, Simon was then in a 3 way battle with Leigh Holmes (#35 Kawasaki ZXR400) and Chris Dunster (#66 Honda VR400). Across the line it was Leigh, then Simon followed closely by Chris, the trio all finishing within 0.7 of a second. Kieran enjoyed a race long battle with Ashley Robinson (#96 Honda CBR450) a solid last lap enabling him to hold onto 10th position, half a second in front of Ashley. Gary spend the race in another 3 rider battle, John Carpenter (#519 Honda RVF400) and Phil Casey (#3 Suzuki SV650). Gary was able to stay with them, but was unable to find a clean way past the more powerful bikes, and finished in a respectable 15th position.
Race 2 had Simon launch into his fastest lap of the weekend on his first flying lap (1:27.398), even though he had overtake Leigh around the outside of turn 9 on the lap. Come lap 3 disaster struck, Simon and Leigh made contact into turn 1. Leigh was able to keep his bike upright through the grass and was uninjured, with neither rider completing the race they were now out of the championship hunt. Kieran enjoyed the race as part of a 5 rider pack, finishing in the middle of the quintet, and scoring some good points in 7th. However he was beaten on the run to the line by up and coming 250cc rider Michael Cullen (#64 Honda CBR250RR). Gary completed the race a few seconds aft of Michael Fahey (#69 Honda VFR400) and a few seconds ahead of Mark Torrence (#12 Honda CBR250RR).
“That crash was a real disappointment, I was feeling very strong in that race. I’m a bit disappointed that Leigh made the error, but more disappointed I didn’t realise he was panic braking and not turning until it was too late. In the crash my right hand was pulled into Leigh’s rear wheel, jamming between the tyre and rear wheel hugger. It took 3 attempts to pull it free! I was having kittens while my hand was jammed. Saying I was happy to have it free would be an understatement. With my mind racing while being dragged along the ground with my hand stuck, my concept of time was out of whack, I felt like it had been many second since I had freed my hand and tried to stand up, however as soon as I dug my heals in I realised I was still travelling at speed. I was then launched into a massive front flip. I considered tucking and trying to land the flip, but quickly realised that if I got launched due to travelling at speed that would end in a massive face plant. I spread out to land on my back and let the back protector do it’s work. Once everything came to a stop I was able to check my fingers all worked. I ran to my bike to find the front brake lever missing. That was when I accepted the race was over for me. It was an unfortunate end, but thankfully neither I nor Leigh were injured and racing incidents are a part of racing.” – Simon Dickson
With the front brake master cylinder broken Simon swapped to the spare bike for the final race and was able to finish in 2nd place, with a lap time only 2 tenths slower than his fastest lap of the weekend. Kieran finished 6th, unable to hold off the 450cc of Ashley Robinson. Gary claimed 10th, hot on the tail of John Carpenter for a successful completion of racing.
“The spare bike had a flat spot on acceleration and it felt much slower in a straight line, however the front end was sensational! I was able to get the bike stopped and turned so much better than my main bike. Now I have to work out what to change to get my forks to work like the ones on the spare bike. My right index finger was feeling fine but I noticed that using it to pull the brake lever hurt. I had to use my middle finger to do all the braking, however the brakes on the spare bike felt amazing and seemed to require less effort than my own. Maybe I’ll just have to steal the front end from that bike, I’m sure dad won’t mind much.” – Simon Dickson
Another event done and some great racing had by Team Tiger, it was amazing to get to race in front of so many spectators. Thanks again to all our supporters, and a special thanks to Simon’s wife Tamara who came out for the Saturday even though she is due to give birth in 2 weeks. Our sponsors 2fiftycc.com, CaraData, Xcite Bikes, Penrite, Kaiser Baas, and Litetek. continue to be fantastic, and of course King Images for the super photos.