Southern Downs Road Race Series 2014, Round 3

Start of a Formula 4 race

Round 3 of the Southern Downs Road Race Series would also be the first of 2 rounds that count toward the 250 Production Queensland Title, round 5 of the Southern Downs counting as the second. The team arrived to a cold yet beautiful morning, the sun streaming down and the temps rising from just above 0, to around 12 degrees by the time bikes got out on track.

Kieran tipping into turn 2

This would be the first round that Gary would tow the caravan he has been building. The “Taj” had a successful Warwick début, Gary will continue working on it to give it the extra features he wants and make it pretty. It is also the first round the team gets to take advantage of a new partnership with HEL Performance. All of the team bikes have been fitted with HEL Performance brake lines. The guys at HEL have been excellent to deal with, their website makes it easy to find the correct set of lines for you bike. The fit was excellent, and they look fantastic!

Gary waving

The first round of qualifying took place without incident for the team, everyone dialing it back a notch with the track being so cold. Simon had new gearing to get used to, trying out 15 teeth on the front and 52 on the rear. The second qualifying sessions were also incident free for the team. Simon was the highest placed 250 Production bike on the grid in 3rd, surprising himself with a new PB (1:27.373). Kieran put down a 1:29.879, his first ever sub 1:30 qualifying time, and in doing so bagged 8th spot on the grid (4th 250 Production). Gary was getting into rhythm, his lap of 1:32.468 would get him onto the 3rd row in 12th (7th 250 Production).

Simon @ turn 3

“The new gearing made a bigger difference than I had expected. The bike pulls out of corners stronger and through turn 2 it’s much easier to hold 4th gear. I used to have to drop back to 3rd if I was not on a perfect line. I was really surprised to find I had cracked a new PB in a qualifying session, the Pirelli Supercorsa’s are much happier on a cold track than what I’m used to. The bike is feeling great.” – Simon Dickson

Kieran and Gary tipping into turn 3

 After lunch the day continued to be a picture of perfection, blue sky, minimal wind and about 20 degrees. The first race up was 250 Production, and if the weekend was to continue in this fashion, there was going to be some exciting racing! Simon finished 1st of the 250 Production class and 5th outright with a best lap of 1:28.064, edging out Sam by 0.063. Kieran was continuing to close the gap to the front runners, starting the weekend strongly with a 4th place finish and 9th outright after Justin Hall (#111 Honda RS125) managed to squeeze past on the run to the line. His best lap of 1:29.664 was one of 5 laps in the 1:29′s showing he had found a step forward on the bike this weekend. Gary was involved in a proper battle with Glen Chandler (#22 Honda CBR250RR), and Billy Subasi (#243 Honda CBR250RR) until Glen unfortunately had to retire with 2 laps to go, leaving Gary and Billy to scrap it out. This round 5th place went to Billy by 0.050 of a second! Gary’s best time of 1:31.162 on lap 8 was not quite enough to get the job done leaving him in 6th (11th outright).

Simon with Sam Phillips and Jeff Duke @ turn 4

“My start was a bit average, the new clutch feeling quite different to the old. I was in 3rd place behind Jeff Duke (#18 Honda CBR250RR) and Sam at the end of the first lap. Jeff made an error on the second lap and I followed Sam past. The plan was to hold the pace until a few laps to go then make a move, with 3 laps to go I put in an attempt and managed to keep Sam behind me for the last laps. It was a close one! I crossed the line 0.063 in front of Sam. Sam and Jeff have really lifted the level at the front, you have to be on it every corner of every lap if you want a win. I’m really happy I snagged that one.” – Simon Dickson

Gary leading a train into turn 4

Formula 4 race 1 started off a great race, Simon got away strongly and Kieran was making great strides including a new PB until disaster struck on lap 5. While braking into turn 4, Kieran’s right handlebar snapped causing him to be thrown from the bike. If things were looking bad they got worse when he collided with Michael ‘Mojo’ Webb’s motorcycle (#777 Honda VFR400), injuring himself and causing Mojo to go down as well. The incident caused the race to be red flagged and Kieran was transported to Warwick hospital. A 2 part race was run, the second part a 3 lap dash. Simon finished in 3rd behind Anthony Carroll and Jason Hermann, with a best lap of 1:27.957. Gary posted a best lap of 1:30.741 and took 7th, again just behind Billy Subasi.

Kieran and Michael ‘Mojo’ Webb after the crash @ turn 4

Kieran was released from hospital on Sunday morning and headed to the Gold Coast for X-rays to check if he had broken any bones (his hand and tail bone causing him some pain). The team continued in much cooler conditions – the track and air temperature only getting to about 15 degrees, cloud cover hiding the sun for most of the day.

Sam Phillips and Simon @ turn 10

Race 2 for the 250 Production class saw Simon unable to find a way past Sam Phillips, Jeff Duke stuck close in 3rd, only 0.5 after. Best lap from Simon was a 1:27.547. Gary and Billy resumed their on track battle, this time joined by Matthew Bushell (#146 Honda CBR250RR), the trio all crossing the line in half a second. While Gary was able to hold off Matthew and put in a best lap of 1:31.858, Billy again proved to have the necessary moves to relegate Gary to 5th.

Gary and Billy Subasi

“I thought Matthew was going to be my biggest threat this weekend, but Billy has really stepped it up since round 2. On track it’s very even between the three of us, it is a lot of fun swapping positions. I’m going to have to step it up to get Billy behind me.” – Gary Dickson

Gary holding onto the tail of the lead pack

The second Formula 4 race saw the bar raised again. Simon managed another 3rd place finish with Sam Phillips just 0.066 behind. Simon set a new PB of 1:26.995, his first lap in the 1:26′s. Gary’s fastest lap of 1:30.933 he put down early in the race, however Billy closed up and found a way past in the final lap, the duo only separated by 0.027! A 7th place finish netting Gary solid points.

Simon @ turn 4

“Getting into the 1:26′s is very exciting. I’m really thrilled to have done it. I put in everything to try and get the win but Sam was too strong in that one. Lowering my PB into the 1:26′s has been my goal for this year so I could not ask for more.” – Simon Dickson

Simon hot on the tail of Jason Hermann

250 Production race 3 was a very exciting race, Jeff Duke finally put together his best race yet and Simon with another average start spent the first 4 laps trying to keep close on the tail of Jeff and Sam. A last lap move on the brakes past both Sam and Jeff into turn 4 saw Simon take the lead and hold it to the finish line. Simon, Jeff and Sam all crossed the line within a quarter of a second. There was only one problem and that was the yellow flag out at turn 4 that Simon didn’t notice. As such he a 2 place relegation was imposed, moving Simon to 3rd posting a best lap of 1:27.399 on the final lap, and giving Jeff a very deserving win. This race Gary managed to finish in front of both Billy, a mistake from Matthew Bushell on the last lap gifting him 4th, he also managed to also hold off the GP  bike of Sarah Fairbrother (#14 Moriwaki MD250H) who finished hot on his tail. His best lap of 1:31.334 coming early in the piece.

Gary and Sarah Fairbrother @ turn 4

“The racing is just at a great level, the bikes are all so even, we are swapping places using the slipstream down the straight, or I can sometimes get past on the brakes into turn 4. The only other way is if one of the boys makes and error. It’s good close racing! I’m happy to finally get one over Billy this weekend. I applied a bit of pressure on Matt and was rewarded with an error when he went too deep into turn 4. A 4th place finish is a good reward for the effort.” – Gary Dickson

Kieran @ turn 3

Formula 4 race 3. After his best start of the weekend Simon was pushing Jason Hermann (#727 Honda RVF400), after swapping positions a few times Simon got a bit impatient. While attempting to pass Jason on the brakes using a slightly tighter line into turn 4, he found a large bump. The bump unsettled the bike, and ran deep enough to allow Jason to come back underneath, as Simon was not going to make the apex. It turned out he went a little too deep and ran off the track, dropping a number of positions. The best he could do was recover to 5th, setting a best lap of 1:28.930. Gary finished in the middle of a 5 bike pack. Michael ‘Mojo’ Webb and Billy Subasi getting the better of him, and Matthew Bushell and Graham Wickings (#332 Kawasaki ZXR400) right behind. A best lap of 1:31.304 and 8th position giving Gary more critical points in the Formula 4 championship.

Gary chasing Billy Subasi

“If the level of excitement in the previous races was high, we reached the pinnacle in that one. A 5 rider pack makes for a whole world of fun on track! Mojo who is normally a little quicker didn’t manage to break away from us, the lap times were decent considering the jostling for position. Billy just managed to get me again, but I managed to keep Matt behind me so things are going quite well.” – Gary Dickson

Simon and Sam Phillips glued together

The final 250 Production race was another classic. Simon, Jeff and Sam spent the race glued together. Sam managing to take back the lead after a last lap overtake into the fast turn 9 from Simon. The race pace was fast, all 5 flying laps were in the 1:27′s! Simon’s fastest lap a 1:27.367. Gary was not so lucky, his throttle cable snapped on the second lap and that was the end of his race.

Gary @ turn 2

“What can I say, no one likes a mechanical failure. I started strong in that race and felt I had a rhythm that would keep me in front of Billy and Matt. I was really hunting a 1:29 this weekend. I’ll jump on the spare bike for the next race but it’s not running quite right, but I’ll do my best. There is been some awesome racing this weekend. Hopefully getting to watch the others from trackside has given me a few insights on how to step it up a level for next round.” – Gary Dickson

Kieran @ turn 4

The final race of the weekend was race 4 of Formula 4. Sam, Simon and Jeff all set new PB’s in the chase for glory. All 5 flying laps were under Simon’s current PB, the slowest of his laps a 1:27.253, and the best coming on the final lap, a 1:26.593. Once again Sam managed to counter Simon’s last lap pass into turn 9, with a cleanly executed block pass at turn 10. Simon had expected it and tried to go around the outside, however he was unable to get in front for the final chicane, side by side and Simon was on the wrong side. With that he finished in 4th. Gary rode the final race on his spare bike, although he felt it handled better it was suffering a carburettor issue and would not rev properly. Pushing on he finished in the points in 12th position with a best lap of 1:35.135, not the end to the weekend he wanted but still he finished every Formula 4 race with points and kept the bike rubber side down all weekend.

Simon and Sam Phillips

“That race was ridiculous! The level of riding in that race with the 3 of us was something I’ve never experienced before. My attempted pass took 6 perfect corners to setup. The level of excitement in racing like that is just incredible. Congrats to Sam for pulling off the win – I gave it everything and he had the moves to hold me off, and a big cheers to Jeff for holding on to us and collecting his first lap in the 1:26′s! I could not ask for a better ride to finish the meeting. We all just hope Kieran heals up quickly.” – Simon Dickson

Simon and Jeff Duke keeping it close

The event showcased some brilliant racing, all riders engaged in some exhilarating on track action. The weekend would have been perfect if not for Kieran crashing and getting injured. Massive thanks go to Leah for looking after Kieran, also to Tamara and Bridget for looking after Simon, Gary and the kids. We hope we have done our sponsors proud and would like to mention CaraData, Penrite Oil, 2fiftycc.com, HEL Performance, Kaiser Baas, xcite bikes and Litetek. Thanks again to Wayne from Osella Photographics for taking excellent photos of us. You can check out the full results and lap times from mylaps.

Kieran waving to thank you for reading

Meeting Statistics

Simon Dickson Gary Dickson Kieran McGeown
Qualifying Time – 250 Production 1:27.373 1:32.468 1:29.879
Qualifying Time – Formula 4 1:27.542 1:32.006 1:30.293
Fastest Lap – 250 Production 1:27.367 1:31.162 1:29.664
Fastest Lap – Formula 4 1:26.593 1:30.741 1:28.167
Total Laps (racing & qualifying)  66  59  28
Average race start lap time  1:32.552  1:36.625  1:34.370
Average race flying lap time  1:28.357  1:32.239  1:29.844
Qualifying Position – 250 Production 1st (grid spot 4) 7th (grid spot 12) 4th (grid spot 8)
Qualifying Position – Formula 4 3rd 10th 8th
Best Finish – 250 Production 1st 4th 4th
Best Finish – Formula 4 3rd 7th N/A
Round Points – 250 Production 89 49 18
Series Points – 250 Production 288 204 169
Series Position – 250 Production 2nd 4th 5th
Round Points – Formula 4 74 50 60
Series Points – Formula 4 214 149 95
Series Position – Formula 4 4th 7th 11th

Here are the videos we captured over the weekend.

Onboard with Kieran for his crash: