The forecast had been pretty dire in the week leading up to round 3. After arriving and unpacking Friday evening, the team woke to find Saturday was overcast, however it turned into a cracker day, just warm enough to get some temperature in the bitumen, while staying cool enough that the engines loved it! The entry list for round 3 was solid, with 24 in the 250/300 Production class, sharing the track with 5 Moto3/125GP bikes, and 27 on the Formula 4 grid. With such big grids everyone was going to have someone to race with. Team Tiger was out in force with Simon Dickson, Gary Dickson, Adam Dickson and Kieran McGeown all racing.
Since the Masters of Morgan Park, Adam had purchased a CBR250RR and had managed to complete the necessary race prep in the week before, to race it this round. While it didn’t have all the trimming of Gary’s bike he had borrowed at the Masters it was his own and he had picked it up for a bargain price and managed to salvage the required parts to get it ready from spares the team had.
Qualifying ran smoothly, and all 4 of the boys did all 4 sessions. With only 2 of the full fledged Moto3’s on the grid with the 250/300 Production class, Simon was able to snag a front row spot with 3rd. A rising wave of talent on 400cc machines in Formula 4 meant Simon was only able to squeeze onto the 2nd row with 6th position. Kieran put himself in position 7 in the production class and 8 for Formula 4, with qualifying times in the 1:32’s. Adam surprised himself with how good his new bike felt, and he was able to place just ahead of Gary in both classes, and set himself up for an easy weekend of remembering the correct grid spot by claiming 13th in both classes. Gary was getting back into the swing of things, but the time on the cruise ship had certainly slowed him up a little, qualifying in 15th and 14th for Production and Formula 4 classes respectively.
250/300 Production race 1. Simon tried to escape from Sarah Fairbrother (#14 Moriwaki MD250) however was unable to open a gap, the pair battled to the end and Sarah won the battle. With only GP bikes in front Simon took the Production class win. Kieran had a cracking battle with Tony Carroll (#4 Honda CBR250RR) and Glenn Chandler (#22 Honda CBR250RR), the 3 riders all crossed the finish line in under half a second. Kieran pushed hard on the last lap, setting his best lap and did what was necessary to take 2nd in the class. Adam was enjoying how well his new bike was working, finding he was quickly closing in on his personal best lap time. It was a great race long 3 way battle for 7th with Mark Torrance (#12 Honda CBR250RR) and Gary. A battle Adam was able to stamp his authority on to claim the position, a single tenth of a second in front of Mark. Forcing Gary to settle for 9th.
Race 1 for the Formula 4 class saw the number of fast riders in qualifying was no fluke! Simon started strongly but the 400cc machines could not be held for long, finishing with 5th place in a race that saw the lap record lowered to a 1:25.1! Kieran finished a lonely 7th, Adam managed to get back into the same second of his best lap time a 1:32, and grab 8th. Kieran had better watch out, there is another Dickson approaching! Gary led a group of 3 250’s across the line to bag some points in 12th.
250/300 Production race 2 saw Simon and Sarah resume their on track antics. Simon opened up a small gap and started to get away from her on the final lap, but threw away the advantage by making an error on the brakes into turn 6. After the error Sarah was close enough to make the pass on the run to turn 9, Simon gave it everything to try and get past while braking for turn 10, however only made it half way alongside Sarah, luckily she saw him, and left some extra space, all of which was used. Simon’s overzealous dive resulting in Sarah getting a light touch from his front tyre. It was an exciting end to a fantastic race for the pair, and a fantastic result for Sarah who was really showing some serious intention on track! Simon still claimed the class win as the first Production bike across the finish line. Kieran held the Ninja 300 of Scott Nicholson (39) at bay to claim 3rd. Adam was chasing another Ninja 300, this one with James Sealy (#125) at the helm, unable to catch him Adam finished in 6th. Gary was knocking the times down again, and kept plenty of riders honest, finishing 7th.
The Sunday schedule contained rain! The track was fully wet for Formula 4 race 2, however it was not raining at the time, so it was a pleasant wet race if such a thing exists. Simon pushed hard early and took the lead, begging the Supercoras to grip the slippery bitumen. While the tyres do have tread, it looks more like the design is based on the minimum required grooves to gain road use certification, while this makes them incredible in the dry, they are not a tyre designed for use in wet conditions. Simon lead till the run to the finish line where Tony “The Veteran” Carroll (#4 Honda VFR400) used the extra grip and he had with his wet tyres, and the extra cc’s of the VFR400 to drive past Simon to take the win. A solid second place finish for Simon, with 3rd place almost 40 seconds behind! Kieran found his feet in the wet and was running with a pair of 400’s in the race for 3rd, however he was unable to hold them and claimed a highly respectable 5th place finish in tricky conditions. Adam kept it upright for his first wet race and brought it home for 9th. Gary was having nightmares on track, thinking about falling off and breaking another collarbone, but kept it upright and finished 12th.
Race 3 250/300 Production was an even wetter affair, the Ninja 300 riders of Scott Nicholson (#39) and Shelby Turner (#52) followed the lead of the GP bikes and put on wets. Slicks would have been unusable in the conditions. The rest of the grid soldiered on with their regular tyres, as part of the reason many race the 250 class is to keep costs to a minimum. Simon rode the race with Glenn Chandler right on his tail, until the final lap when Glenn made his move. The gamble to leave it to the last lap, last corner so Simon would could not counter paid off, and Glenn lead Simon across the line. With Scott and Shelby out the front on wets it was a battle for 3rd, the loss of the battle meant Simon was relegated to 4th. Kieran was next across the line in 5th, just keeping in front of the Ninja of James Sealy. Adam bought it home in 9th, pipped by the CBR250RR’s of Tony Carroll and Daniel Lardner (#250). Gary while improving was still not feeling the love for the wet and finished 12th.
Formula 4 race 3, wetter still. The 400’s all moved to wet tyres, and only 13 riders started the race! Simon did manage to be the only rider on road tyres to finish on the lead lap and claim a 5th place finish. Kieran grabbed 6th with Gary who had found a way to channel his inner duck, and suddenly enjoying the wet only half a second behind. The extra water had Adam more focused on finishing, than finishing in front of the rider in front of him, he ended the race in 10th.
After the race the heavens opened and the amount of water meant the race had to be abandoned. While the team regulars had not had a proper wet race at Morgan Park in some years they all had a ball on track, and enjoyed it more than expected. However they were all thrilled to be going home with bikes and bodies in the condition they arrived in. With the completion of the meeting, also came the completion of the Queensland Road Race Championships for the 250/300 Class, and 2016 brought the team some exceedingly strong results in a year where the number of competitors was the strongest ever – 29 riders scoring points over the 2 rounds. Simon placed first, Kieran managed to grab 3rd and Gary locked in 5th! Adam although only completing 1 round managed to push himself up the order into 15th.
Once again thanks to Team Tigers sponsors and King Images for their great help and the team look forward to competing in the support race at the Australian Super Bike Championship at Morgan Park in August. Team Tiger Sponsors: 2fiftycc.com, CaraData, Xcite Bikes, Penrite, Kaiser Baas, and Litetek