|Rider: Kieran McGeown
Race Number: 179
Bike: Honda CBR250RR (MC22)
Class: Period 6, 250cc
|Rider: Simon Dickson
Race Number: 8
Bike: Honda CBR250RR (MC22)
Class: Period 6, 250cc
|Rider: Gary Dickson
Race Number: 30
Bike: Honda CBR250RR (MC22)
Class: Period 6, 250cc
Team Tiger returned to the Island Classic in 2014! Helping to make the return possible are some new sponsors. XCite bikes took out a yearly sponsorship package on Simons bike. They supply genuine and quality aftermarket parts for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki motorcycles, and they can supply parts for your CBR250RR. Gold Coast Truck Rentals sponsored Simon and Gary for the Island Classic, they also gave us a great rate on the the truck used to transport the bikes and gear down. They don’t just hire out trucks, they also have vans and utes available and are very helpful.
After the success of our 2013 Island Classic trip, some other club members were keen to join us to make the trip even more exciting and help share costs. This meant we had 12 bikes to transport, requiring us to build special crates so they would fit 2 high in the truck. Amazingly we succeeded in getting all 12 bikes in addition to all of the rider’s gear in the truck without issue! Kieran McGeown and Michael Carlsen started the long drive down the morning of Sunday the 18th. A trouble free drive saw them arrive at Phillip Island Monday night. The rest of the riders and family/crew flew down Wednesday morning and we unloaded the truck that afternoon.
Competing in the Period 6 (New Era) 250cc class
- 8 – Simon Dickson
- 15 – Michael Carlsen
- 18 – Jeff Duke
- 30 – Gary Dickson
- 57 – Tony Carroll (Bike supplied by Gary Dickson)
- 179 – Kieran McGeown
- 777 – Michael “Mojo” Webb
Competing in the Period 6 (New Era) 750cc class
- 8 – Simon Dickson (Bike supplied by Tony Carroll)
- 30 – Gary Dickson (Bike supplied by Tony Carroll)
- 275 – Tony Carroll
- 777 – Michael “Mojo” Webb
Riding commenced Thursday in the form of a practice day, the weather was clear but quite windy. It was the first time Michael Carlsen, Mojo and Jeff Duke had ever ridden the circuit. Simon and Gary had their first rides on the the VFR400s they would be racing and Tony had a test of the CBR250RR he would be competing on.
Friday brought with it rain so the riders decided against participating in the first practice session. Practice 2 for the 400′s was still wet and was skipped by the 4 riding the 400′s but by the time the 250 session arrived, the wind had dried up the rain and all riders got out on track. The final session of Friday was Qualifying Session 1 for the 400′s and all 4 riders got out and managed reasonable lap times.
Saturday saw the weather improve slightly, no rain but still quite windy. The second qualifying sessions were held and besides the track being very busy, making it difficult to get a clean lap, all riders qualified. The Period 6 750s and Period 6 Unlimited bikes shared a grid, 42 bikes took part in qualifying 27 of them in the 750 class. Tony, Simon, Mojo and Gary rode VFR400′s which were eligible for the Period 6 750 class. Tony qualified in 19th, Simon in 21st, Mojo in 29th and Gary in 38th .
The Period 6 250 class had 15 entries and shared the grid with the P5 350 class, making a total of 43 bikes qualifying. Simon was the leading 250 rider qualifying 8th on the grid with a 1:56.597, Jeff, Gary, Kieran, Tony and Michael took positions 15 through 19 and Mojo got himself position 21. All of them closing in on the 2 minute mark between 2:00.321 and 2:03.298 – 6 of them within 3 seconds!
The first race on Sunday would see Simon and Gary take to the 400′s. Simon was a little nervous for his first race start on a 400 – at the tall first gear would make it easy to bog down. The lights went out and he got it off the line well, however the bike 2 rows in front stalled and Simon had to back off to get the bike turned to miss the stationary bike. When letting the clutch back out he released too quickly and bogged it down. But when speaking to Simon afterwards he said “The run down into turn 1 was exciting, with so many big fast bikes passing, the noise was incredible!”. As riders got to turn 1 most of them slowed, and he was able to ride around them. Being the first race of the event Simon and Gary kept their heads steady and didn’t make any aggressive passes, getting into a groove on the 400′s before pushing. The race came to an end with Tony in 11th (5th P6 750), Simon in 14th (7th P6 750), with a best lap of 1:54.448 – a new PB, Mojo 21st (13th P6 750), with a best lap of 1:54.448 – a new PB, and Gary in 32nd (22nd P6 750) getting a feel for the 400 with a best lap of 2:00.143.
Now it was time for the Team Tiger boys to get serious, riding their own bikes they were more aware of the limits they could push them to. Simon didn’t get the bike off the line very well and was swallowed up on the way to turn 1 but recovered quickly and got into the groove to finish in 8th (1st P6 250) with a best lap of 1:55.794 – closing in on his best time from 2013. Kieran trounced Gary to take 10th (3rd P6 250) with a best lap of 1:58.350 – an improvement on his PB, and Gary completed in 11th (4th P6 250) also setting a new PB @ 1:58.419.
“Race 1 was really enjoyable. Once I opened up a gap to the other 250′s I was able to start to get really comfortable on the track. Qualifying and practise were so busy that it was impossible to get a clear lap and I was unsure what my potential would be this weekend. Racing against the faster guys on TZ350′s was loads of fun, they had more power but I could corner faster so we had a good tussle and traded places a number of times over the race.” – Simon Dickson
A few oil spills over the day meant our second race was moved to the Sunday. Saturday night was the Island Classic Dinner – a brilliant evening with good food, good company and Sir Alan Cathcart interviewing 20x Isle of Mann winner John McGuinness. After a good night we woke up to the best weather of the week. The sun was out and the wind had dropped off a bit so the stars were aligning for a great day of racing.
Race 2 of the P6 750s was our first for the day, Simon got a better start than Tony, but after a great battle between 4 or 5 bikes on track Tony and 2 other bikes got the better of Simon on the final lap, leaving him to take 17th outright (8th P6 750) with a much improved best lap time of 1:52.783. Gary improved his best lap ever to a 1:58.187 and took 32nd (21st P6 750), right behind Mojo in 31st.
The second race on the 250′s saw Simon have another poor start, but once moving he quickly recovered to lead the 250′s over the line – a best lap of 1:53.726 taking a full second off the lap record set by Simon in 2013. Gary and Kieran were again battling for position, this time Gary getting the upper hand and claiming 13th (3rd P6 250) with a best lap of 1:58.462. Kieran bettered his PB down to a 1:58.267 and set the highest speed through the speed trap of the production P6 250′s for the weekend of 190km/h – 6km/h higher than the best from 2013.
“I may not have managed to beat Gary across the line in this race, but I did reclaim the fastest time through the speed trap for the weekend for a production 250. I managed to get really close to a TZ350 for a perfect tow along Gardner straight. After Gary somehow managed 189km/h yesterday it was a great feeling to top him and be the first reach 190km/h” – Kieran McGeown
Round 3 of racing would see the 400′s and 250′s back to back, the lack of time between getting off one bike and onto the second meant that Simon and Gary’s brains would have only seconds and the warm up lap to adjust to the different bikes. It was only on this first quick change Simon noticed how different the brake levers were set up, he altered them to be more similar after the races. A well ridden race 3 saw Simon bring it home in 7th in the process lowering his fastest lap of the Island to a 1:51.705. Gary kept improving to claim 31st (21st P6 750) with a best lap of 1:58.405 bringing his time on the 400 very close to his best lap on the 250.
“I feel I have been improving my starts with each go, I got away nicely in race 3 and pushed through a few bikes early. I feel I rode well, but kept well within my limits, so I was very happy to find out I had done a 1:51! On the 3rd lap I was expecting Tony to get in my slip stream down the straight and come past me, but it didn’t happen. I found out after the race he had crashed at MG corner and hurt his shoulder. It’s a shame he won’t get to complete the weekend as he was riding really well and I have enjoyed being on track with him.” – Simon Dickson
P6 250 leg 3 Simon traded places with Jeff Duke a few times over the race however was able to put the hammer down posting a best lap of 1:54.407 to finish in 6th (1st P6 250). Gary and Kieran were again pushing each other to the maximum, Gary taking 12th (3rd P6 250) 0.064 ahead of Kieran! Gary’s best lap of 1:57.653 – a new personal best.
“I noticed my clutch had no free play, which would explain my extraordinarily bad starts. Unfortunately I didn’t notice until I was on the grid and it was too late to adjust it for the race. Jeff really pushed me in this race, we had a lot of fun. I was involved in near miss at the Hayshed – I was overtaking a bike and he straightened up mid corner while I was on the outside of him, I kept moving closer and closer to the edge of the track to avoid contact. Just as I was about to run out of bitumen, I leaned on the front of his bike to force him to turn so we would not ride off the track! It was a bit exciting at the time, but no harm no foul” – Simon Dickson
The fourth P6 6 750 race Simon had a real battle for position with Scott Emanuelsson (number 5). They swapped position a number of times over the race, however Scott got a good run through the final turn and managed to get the nose of his ZXR400 in front across the line. Simon finished the race in 16th (9th P6 750), his best lap of 1:52.161 – a solid finish to a weekend on a borrowed bike. Gary managed to complete his weekend by setting a new personal fastest lap of the island, a 1:57.568, bringing him home 28th (19th P6 750) for his best finish of the weekend on the 400.
“I botched the start in race 4, with a wheelie. I have been struggling with my left foot making contact with the exhaust, it has prevented me getting my foot into a comfortable position. I also noticed the extra weight on the 400. I had a lot of fun riding it, the extra torque and horsepower were a lot of fun at Phillip Island. I have to thank Tony for the ride.” – Gary Dickson
A Spanner was thrown in the works for the final race for the team. Although Simon, Gary and Mojo returned to the pits quicker than the previous back to back race, and the organisers being aware that riders were racing back to back, they would have to start the race from pit lane. It was not just Simon, Gary and Mojo that would start from pit lane, Kieran and Jeff had also missed out on taking the grid, expecting the gate to be held for the riders racing back to back as it had been previously. But this minor setback only proved to make the race more exciting! Simon and Jeff engaged in an impressive battle trading places multiple times every lap. Starting in 30th and 31st positions and progressing up to 8th and 9th over 4 laps while duelling with each other made for one of the most exciting races the two riders had ever taken part in. Kieran used his experience from a Queensland race meeting where he started from the rear of the grid to make his way past more riders than Gary and grab 13th (3rd P6 250). Gary finished the race in 17th (5th P6 250) to claim 4th in the P6 250 points tally, a final fast lap of 1:58.276 showing Gary had the pace when the track was clear, but when you start from the back overtaking becomes very important.
“What a way to end the weekend, the final race battling with Jeff was off the charts for excitement. I was lucky on the last lap, I made a better choice than him with my final overtake, and it gave me the metres I needed to get across the line in front of him”. – Simon Dickson
Results of the riders for Period 6 (New Era) 750:
|Michael “Mojo” Webb||20th||15|
Results of the riders for Period 6 (New Era) 250:
|Michael “Mojo” Webb||8th||50|
Consistently decent results in the P6 750 class for Simon would compliment his clean sweep of the P6 250 class and make him a top 10 point scorer for the meeting. Successfully defending his P6 250 title was Simon’s goal from the outset and he is thrilled to have kept it and in the process lowered the lap record.
Kieran’s aggressive riding in the final race would hand him a points victory over Gary for the weekend. The single point difference between Kieran and Gary proving that every lap counted, and it would be Kieran who would take home the 3rd place trophy this time. Kieran and Gary shared many great races and between them claimed the 2 highest speeds by production bikes through the speed trap, Kieran with his 190km/h and Gary posting a 189km/h. The bar has truly been raised in the P6 250 class this year. Team Tiger look forward to returning in 2015 to see if we can continue to improve.
The truck and bikes made it back home safely with Kieran at the wheel and Leah keeping him awake. All the riders and crew are hoping to come back next year even stronger! The help received in the pits by all the family and friends visited or came with the team was much appreciated.
Special mentions go to Brenden Allen (www.brendenallen.com) who took many wonderful photos and videos on and off track, he is compiling a documentary of Mojo and his trip to the Island. Also Howard Shearing from Redline Pix for taking action photos at the event and allowing us to use them – this is the second year Howard has contributed photos to Team Tiger at an Island Classic.
Thank you for reading. We will post the videos in the news feed as they are ready. Team Tiger would like to leave you with a look to the future.
Enjoy some footage from the event