International Festival Of Speed 2017

Off to Sydney we go! The full Team Tiger contingent of Gary Dickson, Simon Dickson, Adam Dickson, and Kieran McGeown on the Honda CBR250RR’s. The team joined on the trip down South by Mark also riding a Honda CBR250RR and the duo of Tony Carroll and John Carpenter, each bringing a pair of VFR400′s and RVF400′s. Gary had just fitted a set of window protectors to the front windows of the caravan, and lucky he did as the drive to Sydney included a couple of torrential downpours, the new covers meant the old windows at the front of the van no longer allowed water to pass into the van when driving in the rain. We arrived at Sydney Motorsport Park on Wednesday evening, got the pits organised and headed out for dinner at an Indian restaurant for the first feast.

thumb_IMG_5040_1024Gary (#73), Adam (#78) and Mark (#12)

Thursday was just practise, the day started wet but the track was mostly dry by the time we got on track, the only real issue was water seeping up through the bitumen at turn 5 ensuring the the corner stayed wet just after the apex. Everyone got out and used to the track, especially Adam and Mark for whom it was their first time at the track. Towards the end of the day the rain arrived, Adam was the only one in the group keen to get damp, the rest saving themselves for qualifying in the morning.

17434733_1846381665613372_5488137929372036868_oKieran (#79) and Simon (#8) with Gary in the background

A few showers overnight meant the track started wet. With a single 10 minute qualifying session it was critical to get out and post a fast lap early, on the upside the two classes the Team Tiger crew were in were 6th and 7th in 9 qualifying sessions. By the time the sessions were up there was a fairly decent dry line, once again turn 5 had the big wet patch. It was likely that was to be a feature for the entire weekend. First session was Period 6 500cc, which was the extra class the 250 riders enter for more track time, and was sharing the grid with the Period 5 500cc class. Simon managed to bag 12th, Gary showed he was not ready to let the young ones have their way, and took 20th ahead of Kieran in 21st and Adam in 33rd. Tony showed me meant business in 4th, Mark slotted into 27th and John 32nd. The grid was maxed out with 50 riders qualifying.

thumb_IMG_4726_1024Simon with Maria Costello in the background

The Period 6 250 Production grid shared with Period 4 500cc and Period 5 350′s. Simon showed superb form in qualifying and got on the front row in 2nd. Kieran started to give a bit of push and found his way to 11th, quite a good effort considering Kieran takes a bit of time to warm up. Gary grabbed 15th, just behind Mark, and Adam was getting closer to going sub 2mins and hit up 18th.

thumb_IMG_4682_1024Gary

There was a race for each class on the Friday, Simon found his qualifying pace was close to his limit, and his starts were not great. As the Honda CBR250RR was one of the slowest bikes in a straight line on the grid it was difficult to keep ahead of the opposition, although some very enjoyable racing was had, he finished down 3 spots in 15th for the 500cc race and slipped 5 positions back to 7th in 250cc Production. Kieran warmed up and grabbed a 22nd place in the 500cc class and held onto 11th in 250 Production. Gary dropped a few to 27th, but in 250 Production he finished only 3 seconds behind Kieran for 14th. Adam continued his steady ascent, and moved up to 35th and 16th, dropping into the 1:58 range. He was convinced he was going to catch Gary by the end of the weekend!

thumb_IMG_5060_1024Simon stalking the TZF350 of Peter Hinton

Friday night the crew hit up the Thai restaurant that had impressed the previous year, happily it matched the expectations. The track was again damp Saturday morning, however apart from the turn 5 ground water rising through the bitumen, it was dry by the time bikes were on track.

17310308_1845636189021253_5552858860172497226_oAdam and Mark keeping out of trouble

The second leg of racing was the longest races of the event at 6 laps each for the classes, the first of which was the P6 500cc race. Simon had a great battle in a group of 5, bringing it home in 18th on the tail of famous international racer Maria Costello. Kieran managed to just hold off a pair of VFR400′s and get across the line in 21st. Gary held onto 28th, beating Adam by a mere 2 hundredths of a second! Adam was a little more than excited after that race knowing he was so close to beating his dad!

thumb_IMG_4740_1024Gary and the Maico 440 of Greg Del Santo

The 250cc race saw Simon and Cameron Donald swapping positions multiple times each lap, however he could not keep the Egli Vincent behind him on the run to the finish line and finished in 8th. Kieran had a tight battle with local rider Keo Watson also on a CBR250RR, Keo got the better of Kieran who finished in 10th. Gary put in a cracking display and put 7 seconds and a rider between himself and Adam to take 12th and 14th respectively.

thumb_IMG_4703_1024Simon chasing the VFR400 of Maria Costello and the RG500 of Malcolm England

500cc race 3 was held in lovely conditions and was 5 laps in length. Simon was in a 6 bike battle, and finished 4th in the group to take 16th, his first race to improve on his starting position. Kieran moved up to 20th finishing only 7 seconds behind Simon. Adam and Gary had a sensational race, a 3 rider battle with Greg Dal Santo riding a Period 5, Maico 440. It was Adam that was victorious in 21st, Gary had allowed Adam to have his first victory in Sydney over his dad, Greg rubbed salt in the wound by relegating Gary to 23rd.

17492839_1845732869011585_9106637783461394760_oAdam trying to keep on Gary’s tail

Simon got off to a decent start and pushed the RGV250 of Ryan Young to the finish, however the 2 stroke was not to be denied and Simon finished in 5th. Kieran held onto 9th on the tail of Keo, while Adam was only 2 seconds adrift in 11th, and Mark managed to get a slice of the Gary pie and pushed Gary back to 13th. However it was an absolute barnstormer of a race and the trio were giggling like school girls over dinner about the race.

thumb_IMG_4674_1024Turn 2 is one of Simon’s favourite corners.

Sunday morning the conditions had continued to improve, the wet line through 5 continued to shrink and there was a tight dry line forming. Simon was in the group of 5 battling for 10th, a good clean fight resulted in Simon finishing 13th, a decent improvement. Kieran had a close race with Bob Garner but he could not hold the Ducati TT500 off and was beaten on the run to the line by 2 tenths, earning a 16th. Gary was in a cracking groove and set a lap 2 seconds quicker than the rest of the weekend in a battle with John and finished 19th. Adam dropped off the back of the pack Gary lead and finished 27th.

Simon tried to go with the lead group but could not keep up the pace and ended the race in 6th behind the TZ350 of Peter Hinton. Kieran ended in a similar scenario, with space in front and behind to take 11th. Adam, Mark, and Gary had their best race of the weekend, all 3 setting personal best lap times and finishing within half a second! Adam in 12th, Mark took 13th and Gary finished 14th. A number of crashes and stoppages on the Sunday meant that the schedule fell behind and the final 250 Production race was cut from the schedule.

thumb_IMG_4710_1024Gary and Mark mixing it up

The final race of the weekend was the 5th Period 6 500cc race and it was to be 4 laps long. It was a bit of a lonely race for Simon who finished 14th. Kieran locked horns with the faster period 5 500cc bikes of Grant Boxhall and Bob Garner, while he was able to get past them in corners on the run to the line he fell just short, the three finishing under 2 tenths apart! Adam and Gary were again joined by the Maico of Greg Del Santo. Adam put another victory over Gary on his tally board taking 22nd, Gary managed to put the Maico behind him and take 23rd.

thumb_IMG_4778_1024Waving after a great weekend

Final standings for the weekend: Firstly in Period 6 500cc, Simon’s consistency saw him get 8th on count back after finishing with the same points as 7th, Kieran took 15th, Gary 18th and Adam 21st. Period 6 250 Production finished with a podium of 2 strokes, then Simon in 4th, Kieran in 6th, a single point separated Adam and Gary, this time it was Adam that took the upper hand in 7th, with Gary in 8th. All up it was a fantastic meeting, the entire crew finished every session, with no crashes or mechanical issues. The drive down and back from Sydney were also without drama, so it was a sensational weekend away. Team Tiger sponsors continue to enable us to do what we love and push the limits of our machinery. With continued support from XCite bikes, CaraData, Penrite, Litetek, 2fiftycc.com and Kaiser Baas the team looks forward to a successful year of racing ahead.

thumb_IMG_5422_1024Cheeky celebration!

Big thanks to the photographers who have shared their work with us to use in the report. Lara Sims and M33 Photography.

Meeting Statistics

Simon Dickson Kieran McGeown Gary Dickson Adam Dickson
Fastest Lap 1:49.942 1:52.178 1:53.965 1:53.496
Best Finish – P6 250 Production 4th 5th 7th 7th
Points – P6 250 Production 68 61 53 54
Position – P6 250 Production 4th 6th 8th 7th
Best Finish – P6 500 10th 12th 15th 16th
Points – P5 600 44 33 15 9
Position – P6 500 10th 15th 18th 21st

thumb_IMG_4765_1024Gary hustling through turn 2