As Winter approaches and the days get shorter and colder it is time to compete in the Pirelli Masters of Morgan Park – featuring the Queensland historic Road Race Championships and a round of the BEARS National Championship for those riders with non Japanese machinery. With Gary away on a cruise holiday working hard at enjoying himself it was left up to #79 Kieran McGeown and #8 Simon Dickson to wave the Team Tiger flag. Our heroes made their way to the track Saturday morning, greeted by cool air and glorious sunshine, the fear of it being a cold slow meeting burnt away as the sun beamed down and brought bitumen to ideal operating temperature.
The boys were entered in the Lightweight class (up to 250cc) and the period 6 250 Production class. Over the course of the weekend riders and spectators alike were treated to a display of riding prowess by Beau Beaton on his Ducati 1198, he smashed the lap record, taking 7 tenths off it and bringing the fastest time any bike has lapped Morgan Park to an astonishingly low 1:15.9! The highlights didn’t end there, Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) and Beau put on a demonstration – side by side they wheelied the length of the circuit straight! What a show! After racing on Saturday we were also treated to drinks and nibbles, along with being party to an interview of Chris Vermeulen on his rise to and time at the pinnacle of international road racing. The Masters of Morgan Park really is an event worth getting to!
Back to our magnificent if not quite as well recognised Team Tiger riders, Kieran and Simon. Qualifying saw Kieran attempt to use race shift pattern for the first time and despite giving it a good go found it didn’t create many of the extra opportunities to shift gears he hoped it would have, and swapped back to road shift once racing began. Kieran qualified in 4th for the Lightweight race with a 1:31.119, and 5th on the P6 250 Production grid with a 1:31.586. Simon started the day using the spare bike due to worries about the clutch in his main bike, a 1:28.610 was enough to take pole position in the Lightweight race. He managed to go a little faster again for P6 250, putting down a 1:28.585 to take grid spot 2 beside Tony Carroll on his VFR400 competing alongside us in the P6 750 class.
The first race was the Lightweights and Simon got off to a decent start slotting in behind Jeff Duke (#18 Honda CBR250RR) and happy to sit there, come turn 6 on the second lap Jeff lost the front and crashed out of the race, Simon kept a small lead on Justin Hall (#111 Honda RS125) until the final lap when Justin found the pace needed to get past. Simon finished top of the Lightweight class with a best lap of 1:28.341.
Period 6 250 Production was the “serious” class as there was prize money on offer from Pirelli. The first race Jeff Duke and Simon had a real battle with plenty of swapping positions, Jeff ended with the upper hand crossing the line 0.045 in front of Simon. A best lap of 1:28.004 was not enough to break away from Jeff. Kieran spent the race embroiled in a race long duel with Matthew Bushell (#146 Honda CBR250RR), even though Kieran has found some of his pace of old – posting a best lap of 1:29.852 was not enough to break away from Matthew, who finished the race hot on Kieran’s tail, only 0.165 separating them at the finish line.
The fog early Sunday morning cleared to possibly the most perfect racing weather the team has ever experienced at Morgan Park. Mothers day was perfect, sorry to the mums that missed out on being spoiled thanks to racing getting in the way! The atmosphere in the pits was one of excitement, every competitor could feel the racing was going to be good today! With the spare bike running rich Simon decided to move to his primary bike even though it was experiencing clutch issues, the clutch issue only affected race starts so it was decided it would not cause too much of an issue.
Race 2 of the Lightweights saw Simon make some errors leaving Jeff and Justin to break away. Simon set a best lap of 1:29.276 and finished 2nd of the Lightweights some 1.6 seconds behind Jeff. Kieran managed to open up a gap on Matthew thanks to a best lap of 1:30.035 to finish a bit over 2 seconds behind Simon for a solid 3rd place.
Race 2 for the P6 250 Production class, Simon was relegated to 4th at the end of the first lap and fought back to cross the finish line in 2nd place behind Tony Carroll. The race saw Simon set his fastest lap of the weekend a 1:27.950 – a new lap record for the class, finishing top 250 was what Simon needed to fight back against Jeff. Kieran put down the speed required to lead a trio across the line, Michael Webb (Honda VFR400) and Matthew Bushell finished 0.029 and 0.396 behind Kieran respectively. Kieran’s best lap of 1:29.916 bringing him closer to the front where sub 1:30′s are a requirement.
Race 3 in the Lightweight class was another epic battle between Simon and Jeff Duke for the victory, the pair swapped places multiple times every lap. This round Simon would be the victor crossing the finish line 0.058 in front of Jeff. Simon’s best lap a respectable 1:28.539 considering the amount of dicing taking place. Kieran had bit of a moment and it enabled Matthew Bushell to beat Kieran (without mechanical intervention) for the first time since he began racing. Kieran’s best lap was a 1:29.330, his fastest of the weekend! Gary Dickson will have to work very hard to keep up with Kieran and Matthew now they have increased their pace.
If the previous races didn’t have close enough finishes between Simon and Jeff then this was the one to watch, again the pair spent the entire race nose to tail and side by side pushing each other to the limit. Simon again managed to be the victor, this time 0.001 – you read it right, one thousandth of a second separated them across the finish line. There was only millimetres between their front wheels as they completed the race. Simon finishing first of the P6 250 Production class with a best lap of 1:28.949. Kieran took a different strategy against Matthew Bushell this race, allowing him to lead initially and pouncing on the final lap to lead across the line by 0.383, a best lap of 1:29.781 was joined by two other laps in the 1:29′s.
With Jeff’s crash in the initial Lightweight race Simon was not under any pressure to win to take the Championship. However that didn’t stop him trying and all was going well until the final chicane where Jeff and Simon met a backmarker, Simon caught him at the apex of 12 and went around the rider, Jeff timed his run to find space on the inside and get a better run to the chequer flag. Simon was left behind by 0.079 and completed the race in second place, with a best lap of 1:28.356. Kieran had an easy 3rd place finish after Matthew Bushell ran off track on lap 2, Kieran brought it home safely, producing a mild best lap of 1:31.308 and secured 2nd place in the Lightweight Championship.
The final race of the weekend would decide the Period 6 250 Production Champion, if Jeff won then it would be 2 victories each and the winner of the final race is declared overall victor, Simon needed to a win to stop Jeff from securing the title. It was a 3 way battle for the entire race with Tony Carroll unable to break away from Simon and Jeff who were both giving it their all! It all came down to the final lap. Jeff took the lead back from Simon on the run into turn 9, Simon got an excellent drive through turn 9 they arrived at the braking zone for turn 10 side by side, neither rider willing to give the advantage, finally Simon decided it was no longer possible to stop the bike if he waited any longer, Jeff held off the fraction later, Jeff missed the apex allowing Simon to take a better line, they were again side by side up the hill into the final chicane, Jeff had a wheel in front and Simon had to yield into the chicane and with Jeff making a clean run through the chicane there was no way back past for Simon. Although Simon set a decent best lap of 1:28.082, Jeff managed to beat it with a 1:27.851 taking the lap record for the class from Simon in the process. Kieran had another 3 way dice with Michael Webb and Matthew Bushell, Kieran finishing behind Michael Webb’s VFR400, holding strong in front of Matthew to make it clean sweep of 4 x 3rd places for the P6 250 Production Championship.
“The event was spectacular, the first races of the weekend were really good, however each race was more exciting that the last. I really thought race 2 was going to be as good as it could get, however the battles Jeff and I engaged in increased in intensity as the weekend unfolded. I had an absolute hoot of a time! It was extra nice to take home some trophies and the $150 Link Dollars to make my next set of Pirelli’s a little less costly” – Simon Dickson
“It’s been another top event, I took a step forward on the bike this weekend, however it seems Matt took one too, so it will be very interesting to see how we fair next time out at the Southern Downs Series and if we can break away from the group we have been dicing with. I took home second and a third place trophies and $50 Link Dollars, and didn’t do any crashing which is always great!” – Kieran McGeown
All in all one of the best meetings the team has competed at. With a trophy haul of a 1st, 2 x 2nd and a 3rd place trophy it was a super effort from the team. The racing was close and to finish the weekend with the bikes in the same physical condition as they started is a real treat, especially when the boys were posting lap times so close to their personal bests, and having to fight for their positions on track!
Special thanks from Simon go to his wife Tamara and her mum Janice for looking after the kids, cheering, and being a part of a fantastic weekend of racing. Once again our major sponsors for helping us to show up and challenge at the front. XCite bikes, Penrite Oil, 2fiftycc.com and CaraData. Osella Photographics for taking more great shots of us. Also a big cheers to John Carpenter (#511 Honda RVF400) and Tony Carroll for allowing Kieran and Simon to share their pit bays and tools so they didn’t have to bring the full amount of gear out with Gary away. Full results @ MyLaps.
|Simon Dickson||Kieran McGeown|
|Qualifying Time – P6 250 Production||1:28.585||1:31.586|
|Qualifying Time – Lightweight||1:28.61||1:31.119|
|Fastest Lap – P6 250 Production||1:27.95||1:29.781|
|Fastest Lap – Lightweight||1:28.341||1:29.33|
|Total Laps (racing & qualifying)||62 (184km)||58 (172km)|
|Average standing start lap time||1:33.98||1:34.78|
|Average race flying lap time||1:28.90||1:30.66|
|Qualifying Position – P6 250 Production||2nd||5th|
|Qualifying Position – Lightweight||1st||4th|
|Best Finish – P6 250 Production||1st||3rd|
|Best Finish – Lightweight||1st||2nd|
|Total Points – P6 250 Production||94||80|
|Total Points – Lightweight||94||80|
|Championship Position – P6 250 production||2nd||3rd|
|Championship Position – Lightweight||1st||2nd|
Kieran and Simon shared the Kaiser Baas X80 camera until the memory card ran out of space. Enjoy the footage
Lightweight class races:
P6 250 Production races: