The end of the Season, the end of racing for 2013. What a year it has been, the level of riding has been raised to new levels in every class. The trio of Team Tiger riders, Simon Gary and Kieran are leading the 250 Production class, and holding good positions in Formula 3 and Formula 4. A solid weekend of results for Simon could seem him land a spot on all 3 podiums.
The day was already hot at 9am when Qualifying kicked off, the first event for the Team Tiger riders was Qualifying Session 1 for Formula 4. The Southern Downs Road Race Series utilises static grids, so qualifying position does not change over the weekend, with such large grids starting position was going to be crucial, setting a good time over the 2 qualifying sessions could make the start of each race much easier than a bad qualifying. The 4 sessions completed, the only “incident” coming from Simon, who was a bit short on fuel in the first session ending it a little prematurely.
Simon lead the Team Tiger assault, a lap of 1:28.711 enough to get 4th and on the front row in Formula 4. Kieran and Gary were separated by just over a tenth of a second, best laps of 1:31.623 and 1:31.751 respectively, Kieran would cap off the second row, and Gary would head up row 3. Anthony Carroll (#275 Honda VFR400) threw down the gauntlet and took a well earned pole position with a fast lap of 1:27.675!
With the GP bikes sharing the grid with F3 there was a couple of extra fast folks to contend with, Simon managed to lead row 2 in 5th, thanks to a lap of 1:29.119. Kieran snagged the final spot on row 4 (12th spot) with a 1:32.185. Gary’s best lap of 1:32.940 would place him 15th (4th row).
Formula 4, Race 1 meant it was time to get into the real deal of racing! A reasonable start from Simon and a poor start from Sam Phillips (#26 Honda CBR250RR) enabled Simon to hold 3rd place over the first few laps. Sam and Simon traded places a few times over the race with Simon finishing the race in 4th, less than 0.5 of a second behind Sam. Simon happy to put together a best lap of 1:28.286 only 0.5 off his PB. Kieran held off Aron Burtenshaw (#17 Honda VFR400) to the line to take 6th, Gary gapped the riders behind to take a comfortable 8th.
Formula 3, Race 1. Getting away to an average start was going to make life difficult with Mark Gordon (#63 Suzuki SV650) and Sam Quade (#6 KTM SMR525) both able to launch past and both would prove difficult to pass and stay in front of. Simon decided that with Sam Phillips in the pack also stuck behind them that we would just hold position until a gap opened up. The tactic did not play out to plan, Sean Purcell (#7 Honda VFR400) slotted in front of Simon just as Sam Phillips found a way past Sam Quade. Simon put a hard pass on Sam Quade, but the damage was done Sam Phillips had opened up a gap and was would finish ahead of Simon, Sean compounding the damage by leading Simon over the finish line. Simon finished the race in 8th (6th of F3 and 2nd 250 Production), with a best lap of 1:29.72. Kieran earned himself 10th (8th F3 and 3rd 250 Production) with a best lap of 1:31.17, holding off the riders behind him and finishing just off the tail of Mark Gordon. Gary ended 15th (12th F3 and 4th 250 Production) after a bit of a dirt excursion on turn 10 saw him drop back to 20th on lap 2, a best lap of 1:32.759 while moving through the field.
Formula 4, Race 2. Simon got a good jump off the line and slotted into 3rd behind James Irvine (#42 Honda RVF400), the first couple of laps Simon could do no more than sit on James’ tail, on lap 3 or 4 Simon tried to carry too much speed into turn 2, the error opening the door for Sam Phillips to take up position behind James. Simon was unable to close the gap opened by the error, leaving James to score his first podium, and he did so by riding a very good race. Simon finished in 5th with a best lap of 01:28.626. The race was won by Anthony Carroll, Etienne olden finished 0.006 behind him! Kieran finished in 6th with a best lap of 1:31.550, Aron Burtenshaw getting the better of Kieran on on lap 3. Gary put in a quality ride to fend off Glenn Chandler (#22 Honda CBR250RR) and take 7th position, throwing down a best lap of 1:31.802.
Formula 3, Race 2. After getting off to a decent start Simon latched onto the front pack of Etienne and Tony, in the process opened up a gap to the group behind – on lap 5 of 6 the bike didn’t want to drive out of turn 10. Simon was running a tank from the spare bike that had been repaired, the repairs must changed the amount of space in the tank and put out the accuracy of our measuring rod. On right hand corners the fuel flow would stop and the bike would stutter until it was upright and the fuel would flow to the carbies again. The gap back to Sam diminished over the lap and Sam passed Simon on the run to the chequer flag, Simon ended the race in 6th (4th F3 and 2nd 250 Production). On the bright side it was not a DNF, and now the team knows that tank requires a bit of extra juice to complete a race. Kieran completed the race in 11th (8th F3 and 3rd 250 Production) after a drag race to the finish line with Jake Mitchell (#95 Honda VFR400) saw Kieran hold the position by a hair! Gary had a race long battle with Sarah Fairbrother (#14 Moriwaki MD250) but was unable to find a way past finishing in 14th (10th F3 and 4th 250 Production) a best lap of 1:32.066 showing the heat of the day had taken it’s toll.
Sunday started slightly cooler than the scorching heat delivered on Saturday, a few clouds threatened to rain over the morning but never more than a few inconsequential drops ever fell.
Formula 4, Race 3, another average start from Simon was not enough to keep out of traffic, it took a couple of laps to get past James Irvine and Aron Burtenshaw both of which have really stepped up the quality of their riding! Simon ended the race in 4th with a big gap forward to Etienne (race winner), Anthony and Sam. The rear tyre not having the traction of it’s younger self, a best lap of 1:29.333 was all Simon produced. Gary had a race long battle with Glenn Chandler (#22 Honda CBR250RR), getting on the throttle early out of the last corner Gary overtook Glenn on the run to the finish line – 0.009 the margin. A deserved 7th place. Kieran had not reconnected his fuel tap after some mid meeting maintenance, this saw him run out of fuel on the warm up laps, resulting in a DNS (Did Not Start).
Formula 3, Race 3. Simon got away strongly, so did James Irvine after trying to use the outside ripple strip to get past on the way into turn 2 Simon found himself having to go the long way around. The group in front threw down the pace early, unable to close the gap and out of the tow Simon completed a lonely race to finish 6th. Sam Phillips chose the right line through turns 1 and 2 and held on to the fast pack, in the process smashing Simon’s 250 Production lap record by 0.8! An excellent ride to accomplish such a feat. Kieran and Gary were embroiled in a close fight with Sarah Fairbrother and James Irvine – the quatro finishing within a single second! Sarah took the line honours ahead of Kieran in 11th (7th F3, 3rd 250 Production), Gary in 12th (8th F3, 4th 250 Production) and James in lucky 13th. An exciting race for the 4 of them to be a part of.
Formula 4, Race 4, the first of the longer 10 lap races, the extra time on track changes the dynamic of the race, giving you a little more time to recover from an error – it also provides many more opportunities to make an error. After getting off to a decent start Simon latched onto the front pack of Etienne, Tony and Sam. Things were going well at a cracking pace until Simon lost the tow of the leading group after a few big rear end slides. A best lap of 1:28.226 would be Simon’s best lap of the weekend – only half a second off his PB and on tyres that are well past their best. 4th place finish. Kieran rode a safe race, bringing home 7th with a fast lap of 1:30.656, despite Glen Chandler trying his best to stay in front. Gary collected a lonely 9th (best lap of 1:32.748), unable to run the pace of Kieran and Glen he set in to just ride clean pressure free laps, in the process he built a healthy gap back to Matthew Bushell (#146 Honda CBR250RR).
Formula 3, Race 4. Simon’s start while executed well was no match for the larger capacity machines of Mark Gordon and James Irvine, relegating him to 8th at the end of the first lap. Simon pushed to the maximum to try and get back in touch with Sam, however Sams pace was too high and the gap lost opened on the first 2 laps could not be made back up. Despite making it back to 6th by lap 3, Simon continued to push 100% to test his ability to string together a number of fast laps in a row, he was rewarded with 7 laps in a row in between 1:28.954 (Simon’s best lap of the race) and 1:29.334, a difference of only 0.380. A pleasing race with a final result of 6th (4th F3 and 2nd 250 Production. Gary was the next Team Tiger rider to cross the finish line, redeeming 12th (8th F3 and 3rd 250 Production) with a best lap of 1:31.59. Kieran’s bike began to overheat and he had to slow down his pace if he wanted to complete the race. Getting across the line in 15th (11th F3, 5th 250 Production), far better than a DNF. Kieran had a decent lap before his bike began to overheat, a 1:31.173.
Formula 4, Race 5. A brief calculation of the points situation and it looked like Simon only needed a top 10 finish to cement 2nd in the Formula 4 championship. The plan was to ride at 95%, get away safely and try and slot into 4th and hold it steady there, not push to the limit to try and hold onto the front fast 3. Another good start saw Simon just behind the Etienne, Tony and Sam, ignoring the plan Simon pushed for the first few laps until a few big slides from the rear broke the tow and reminded Simon of the plan. Another 4th place with a best lap of 1:28.421 meant Simon held 2nd place in Formula 4, the competition including any bike pre 1995 up to 500cc. An exceptional year of racing results, consistently riding near but not over the limit for Simon. Kieran finished the race in 6th with a best lap of 1:31.719, his results over the weekend enough to hold 4th place in the championship by 4 points over Sean Purcell. Gary who was also struggling with a worn out rear tyre ended the race in 8th with a best lap of 1:33.48. The race was a tight battle with Matthew Bushell, Gary used his race experience to find a way to cross the line in front Matthew. 6th in the championship a pleasing result for Gary, an accumulation of just 13 points less than Sean in 5th.
Formula 3, Race 5. With the rear tyre no longer producing excellent grip Simon’s plan was to get up into 6th place and just ride a steady race to take home 3rd spot in the Formula 3 championship. A solid start enabled early moves on the 400′s of James and Aron and a few clean laps enabled Simon to eke out small gap. A best lap of 1:29.121 did the job, giving Simon 6th (4th F3 and 2nd 250 Production) and a place on the rostrum! Kieran and Gary were closer for the first 4 laps then Jake Mitchell got in between. Kieran finished 11th (8th F3, 3rd 250 Production) with a best lap of 1:32.744. Gary could not find a way back past Jake, his faith in his rear tyre diminishing. Gary brought it home safely in 13th (10th F3, 4th 250 Production) with a best lap of 1:33.416. Kierans results over the season enough to earn 6th place in the Formula 3 championship, just ahead of Gary in 7th. Team Tigers riders can be proud of their results for the year.
Thank you to our main sponsor this year, CaraData. We also welcome our new sponsor LiteTek, who is getting on-board and helping the team with quality carburettor seal kits to ensure our bikes are running at their peak next season. Simon thanks 2fiftycc.com for their support. Wayne from Osella Photographics has done a magic job again of capturing the on track action. Finally a giant thank you to everyone that reads these reports and cheers for Team Tiger
Full timing and results available at http://www.mylaps.com/en/events/973236
Gary and Kieran managed to leave their cameras at home. Simon was successful in capturing 6 races. We hope you enjoy.
Formula 3 races
Formula 4 races