Round 4 – Southern Downs Road Race Series 2016

The penultimate round of the 2016 season, and Team Tiger is in full force! Gary Dickson and his eldest son Simon and youngest son Adam were join by Kieran McGeown to compete. The grids were at capacity, 32 riders signed up for both Formula 4 for the 250/300 Production + Moto3 grids. With only 4 Moto3′s that meant 28 of them were production bikes. Saturday morning started out the weekend with delightful weather. The schedule was pretty big on Saturday, 4 qualifying sessions and 4 races, and 4 more races scheduled for Sunday.

Simon Sarah GlennSimon leading Sarah and Glenn through turn 3

Qualifying was busy and it was difficult to get a clear lap in, a couple of riders did have incidents, either mechanical or a crash, but the Tigers all completed the sessions. In the Production class Simon snagged the final front row spot beside 2 of the Moto3 bikes, Kieran put himself on the middle of the 3rd row in 8th, Adam grabbed 14th and Gary 20th. Formula 4 saw Simon qualify in 6th, Kieran 9th, Adam 17th and Gary made his weekend easy by snagging 20th again.

KieranKieran up close

The Production class was the first event for the team, there was a pretty good pace at the front. Glenn Chandler (#22 Honda CBR250RR) lead the Production class for the first 4 laps, but Simon attacked on the 5th and held strong to take the win, with a fastest lap of 1:28.601. Kieran managed to open up a gap on Tony Carroll (#4 Honda CBR250RR) of a couple of seconds to claim 3rd. Adam was in a 5 rider battle, the group trading positions constantly, Adam lead the group across the line on lap 3, however when the chequer flag was out he had been beaten back to 9th. Gary had a good race, moving forward most laps to break through to 13th, just holding off Ray Clacher (#327 Honda CBR250RR) by 2 tenths.

SimonSimon into turn 3

“When I put my tyre warmers on I noticed my front disc was moving in and out as the wheel spun, while I had not noticed any ill effects in qualifying or the first race, it was visible that my front disc was bent. I swapped a disc on from the spare wheels we had brought out, however as I went out in Formula 4 race 2 I noticed I had swapped the wrong disc and put the wheel on backwards! I’m not sure how I could be so silly but I managed. Luckily it seemed to work fine in backwards even though it meant the spacers were in the wrong sides, if the pads were any more worn I’m sure the callipers would have been hard up against the stops of the sliders and caused me issues. After the race I swapped the discs around again.” – Simon Dickson

Adam Gary Daniel DamienAdam, Gary, Daniel and Damien all close

Formula 4 race 1 saw Simon spend the race trading places with Leigh Holmes (#35 Kawasaki ZXF400). Leigh was able to counter every attack and Simon finished in 5th with a best lap of 1:27.177. Kieran put in a solid effort to hold out plenty of larger capacity bikes and take 3rd. Adam engaged in a race long battle with Liam van Booma (#667 CBR250RR) and Michael Fahey (#69 Honda VFR400), however he finished the tail end of that battle in 13th. Gary had a close finish with Daniel Lardner (#250 Honda CBR250RR) but was unable to best him and finished 15th.

Kieran MichaelKieran and Michael

Race 2 in the Production class and Simon selected neutral on the way to second gear, the less than stellar start put him back to 6th. After a couple of laps of watching and enjoying the battle in front with Michael Cullen (#64 Honda CBR250RR), Glenn Chandler and Sarah Fairbrother (#14 Moriwaki MDH250) it became clear it was time to push when Glenn made it to the front of the group and was opening up a gap. Simon pounced on Michael and Sarah with a superb move on the pair of them through turns 1 and 2. While chasing down Glenn, Simon came across a back marker on a yellow flag, staying behind until the following green flag blew out the gap from half a second to over 2 seconds and allowed Glenn to escape and Simon had to accept 2nd in class, 3rd outright. Kieran held onto Sarah for the duration of the race, however could not open up enough gap to keep the Moriwaki behind, he finished 3rd in class, behind Simon.

Kieran TrainKieran leading a train, count the helmets

Adam was in a group of 4 again, this time he managed to head the quartet across the line to take 7th in the production class, with 1.6 seconds covering all 4 riders in the group. Gary was a couple of seconds behind Adams pack, and finished 12th in the class. Gary had swapped the exhaust from his main bike to see if it would solve the carburation issues he was suffering with, while it made a slight difference there was still a flat spot around 14,000RPM which is a critical part of the rev range to get good drive out of corners. So it back to the drawing board for Gary to get his bike working properly.

Gary RayGary and Ray, two of the most senior riders

Formula 4 race 2; Simon spent the race stuck to the rear of Leigh Holmes, on the last lap he crashed, however picked up the bike and finished in 5th, with a best lap of 1:26.892. Kieran had a bit of a play with John Carpenter (#519 Honda RVF400) and brought it home in 6th. Adam and Gary were in a group of 6 riders that finished in a 1.6 second window! It was a like a train you would normally see in a moto3 world championship race! Adam was 2nd of the group in 11th and Gary was 3 behind in 14th.

SimonSimon at turn 4

“I was setting up for an overtake into turn 4, the run through turn 1 was spot on, however I tried to carry a tiny but too much through turn 2, going a couple of inches too wide on the exit, the front wheel dropped off the bitumen onto the kerbing. While I expected this to happen I was not expecting the kerbing to be as vicious as it was and I lost the front after the front bounced around a few times. Luckily the bike slid cleanly down the bitumen to turn 3, apart from a nice dint in my front rim, the only damage was scratches on top of the repairs from my last crash. I’m very happy I’ve finally done a 1:26 with the 140 wide rear tyre, even better is that the tyre is not new, so I’m getting the bike to work with the different profile.” – Simon Dickson

Wet TrainWater keeps everyone close

Sunday morning the track was proper wet, the rain was light but enough to ensure you still got wet whilst on the bike. A number of riders decided they were not keen to race in the wet, after having a good day on Saturday they packed up and went home to ensure they didn’t have any upcoming repairs to complete.

GaryGary up close

Production race 3. With the Moto 3 bikes of Brian Houghton and Locky Taylor packed up, the front row was sparse. Only the production bikes of Glenn Chandler and James Sealy (#125 Kawasaki Ninja 300) put on wet tyres, along with the Moto3 class Moriwaki of Sarah Fairbrother, the rest of the grid continued to use the Supercorsas. The riders with wets took the top 3 spots, Simon held onto the back of Sarah but being in a different class was unwilling to risk a crash pushing harder to overtake her. Kieran finished 5th in the class, but set the fastest lap of the race of the riders not on wets. Adam took 9th and Gary 12th.

AdamAdam enjoying the dry on Saturday

It was a similar situation in Formula 4, 3 of the bikes on wets, the rest stuck to the Supercorsas and plenty of the competition had parked it. Simon slotted into 4th and kept at a steady pace, a number of riders ensured it was not to be a cruisy ride. Daniel Lardner (#250 Honda CBR250RR) went past on the 4th lap. Simon was really struggling to stay with him as the rain got heavier. Come lap 6 Daniel exceeded the available traction on the apex of turn 1 and crashed, leaving Simon to take 4th. Adam took 6th battling with Ray Clacher, Gary 7th and Kieran 8th, all of them happy to have survived the race.

John Kieran RayJohn Carpenter and Kieran

The rain got heavier and proceedings were paused while a heavy rain cell passed over, the final races were shortened to 4 laps – all competitors agreed they would rather spend less time out in the rain and didn’t want the flaggies to stay out in it any longer than they had to.

SimonSimon lining up the wall

Production race 4 saw the riders on wets clear out and a solid train form behind Simon. Simon and Kieran engaged in a good battle, a massive slide through turn 1 on the final lap for Simon took the wind out of his sails, Kieran tried to go around the outside of a scared Simon on turn 3 and had an even bigger out of the seat moment, although after Kierans miraculous recovery he found himself heading toward the grass, once he was on the dirt there was no traction and was forced to have a little lay down. Simon finished 2nd in class, Adam took 4th behind Michael Cullen and Kieran remounted after his crash to still finish in 5th. Gary was engaged in a 4 rider train, however he was not willing to take and risks with the conditions as they were and finished in 9th.

Kieran WaveThumbs up from Kieran

The final race of the day for the team was the 4th Formula 4 race. The 3 wet shod bikes checked out, and Simon set a conservative pace at the front, pretty much everyone else on Supercorsas deemed that their pace too, and formed a 6 rider train! People were showing wheels here and there but no one was doing anything too silly, Simon took a few extra risks on the final lap to keep at the head of the train and finish 4th, Adam was feeling in the groove and took a few risks to stick with Simon and get 5th. Kieran was not falling off again after his previous indiscretion, he finished in 8th 0.3 in front of Gary who completed the finishers list in 9th.

Simon CheerThanks for reading!

It was another fantastic weekend, even with the rain the team are doing great in their championship classes and are looking forward to round 5! Thanks as always to our sponsors – XCite bikes, Penrite Oil, CaraData, Litetek and Kaiser Baas. It was also special to have Wayne Reed back at the track taking the pictures.

You can find the full results and all the lap times for the event @ MyLaps