Round 5 of the Pirelli Southern Downs Road Race Series, held over the 1st and 2nd of November was the final race meeting for Team Tiger in 2014. As well as being the final round of the Southern Downs it also was the second and final round that counted toward the Queensland 250 Production title. Heading into the round Simon was leading the 250 Production class in the Southern Downs and was only 7 points down on Sam Phillips in the Queensland Title chase. Gary and Kieran were both returning to the track after their injuries from previous rounds, getting back on their bikes this year in a bid to be back into the groove next year.
Saturday morning the sun was shining and the temperature was rising quickly! By the time qualifying got under way, standing around wearing leathers was enough to break a sweat. Luckily for the team, Gary had gotten the Air Conditioner in the caravan sorted, which meant the boys could cool down between sessions, and leave their helmets, gloves and leathers to cool when not in use.
Qualifying Session 1 for the 250 Production class was the first outing on track for the team. Kieran discovered his bike was not revving correctly, which put an end to his first outing. The problem turned out to be a broken circuit on the speedo sensor, and was diagnosed in time for the final Formula 4 qualifying session. Gary got out and took it easy getting used to the bike, and working out if he needed to compensate with the reduced strength in his right hand. Simon left his fuel cap undone and had to come back in after 1 slow lap.
The first Formula 4 session was soon after. Kieran was still working on his bike and did not make it out for the session. Gary continued to test his hand and get used to his bike, working out what he could do with each lap. Simon found his rhythm quickly and put down a 1:28.185.
“I’m quite happy with how things are progressing so far, I have really noticed the lack of strength in my shoulder and hand. The aim is to take it easy this weekend and just get a feel for the bike again. So I can be 100% for the Island Classic in January.” – Gary Dickson
250 Production Session 2 saw Simon get out and lay down a lap of 1:28.147, good enough to qualify as the top 250 Production bike in 5th, the front row all taken by the faster Moto3 machines. Gary continued to work out what was comfortable, pushing through to 7th of the 250’s, for grid position 14, his best time 1:36.718. Kieran with his problem not yet solved went out anyway to see if he could gain a few positions, he succeeded in putting down a 1:41.605 which earned him 9th of the 250’s and 16th spot on the grid.
“The pressure is off this round with Sam and Jeff not here to push me. I’m happy to have lapped in the low 28’s. Hopefully I can have some fun races, it’s going to be a hot weekend which should slow the lap times a little. My goal is to try and get into the 1:27’s and bring the bike home looking as good as it does now.” – Simon Dickson
The second Formula 4 qualifying session marked the end of qualifying. Simon was unable to improve and his time from session 1 saw him on the front row in position 4. Kieran managed his first laps with a working bike and did a 1:33.747 which would enable him to start from 10th. Gary lowered his Formula 4 time to a 1:37.268, it was not enough to move forward on the grid and he held 14th position. Pole position was taken by Tony Carroll (#275 Honda VFR400) with Jason Hermann (#727 Honda RVF400) and Justin Hall (#111 Honda RS125) filling second and third between Tony and Simon.
“I was getting worried when the bike would not run properly, I sacrificed the first round of qualifying to troubleshoot the problem with the bike, step one was clean the carbies to ensure it was not a fueling issue. We fitted the sensor from the spare bike, on the off chance it was the root of the issue, and bingo, problem solved! I’m starting from pretty far back in the 250 Production class, but it’s a no pressure race meet for me, I’ll just go out and get back into a groove on the bike and have some fun.” – Kieran McGeown
Race 1 250 Production was a 10 lap race with 18 competitors, and would be a real test of race fitness for Kieran and Gary. Simon had a race long battle with Sarah Fairbrother (#14 Moriwaki MD250H), finding a way past with 2 laps to go, to finish as the top 250 Production bike in 6 outright. His best lap was a 1:29.339 on lap 9. Kieran got into his best groove of the weekend, and put in a best lap of 1:30.700. He was bested by Glenn Chandler (#22 Honda CBR250RR) across the finish line by 0.322. Kieran took valuable points for 3rd of the 250 Production class (7th outright). Gary found the 10 laps was a lot of work, he completed the race to take 7th in class and 11th outright with a best lap of 1:37.315 on lap 2.
“That was a real test on the hand, it feels great to have finished a race, my pace is where I expected it to be. So I’ll continue to work the old body and hopefully I’ll be able to continue at this pace or better over the weekend.” – Gary Dickson
Formula 4 Race 1 was the last race for Saturday and was 10 laps long, with 20 competitors on the grid. Simon finished in 3rd behind Jason Hermann (#727 Honda RVF400) and Justin Hall (#111 Honda RS125). Tony Carroll (#275) crashed out on the 7th lap from 2nd position. Kieran worked his way forward to 8th spot, John Carpenter (#511 Honda RVF400) was hot on his tail but Kieran managed to hold him off by 0.129 of a second! Gary finished in 11th and was the final rider to finish on the lead lap. His best lap of 1:35.853 one of 3 laps in the 1:35s showing his pace was improving.
“Mojo really is continuing to lift his game this year, it took me a while to reel him in after he completed another one of his trademark super starts! We changed positions a few times before I was able to get past and open enough gap to hold the lead down the straight, however Justin had put in too many fast laps for me to catch him. Tony’s crash at turn 6 was a real surprise and brings us much closer together in the championship.” – Simon Dickson
Sunday kicked off with Race 2 for the 250 Production class, another 10 lap race. The 10 lappers is enough time to employ some strategy rather than just ride flat out. Simon and Sarah Fairbrother spent the race inches apart, Simon managing to squeak across the line 0.117 ahead. Kieran found himself in a bit of clear track and just brought it home safely in 4th in class (10th outright), with a best lap of 1:32.976. Gary continued his trend of lowering his lap times, now down to a 1:34.953 he finished 7th of the 250’s and 13th outright, his position was under threat by Ray Clacher (#327 Honda CBR250RR) who finished 0.040 after Gary!
“Sarah and I were locked in battle, after a couple of laps I realised I could not get away, so I decided to try changing my body position to see how close I could get my elbow to the ground, much to my surprise I managed to touch my elbow on the bitumen! I’m pretty stoked to have achieved elbow down on a CBR250RR, I never really imagined I could do it without crashing.” – Simon Dickson
Race 2, Formula 4 was the first of the short races, only 5 laps. The weekend came undone for Gary on lap 4, he ran off on turn 10 and crashed, breaking his “good” shoulder. Luckily he didn’t do any other serious damage to himself. Simon was engaged in a race long battle with Michael ‘Mojo’ Webb, this time Mojo was able to hold Simon at bay. Simon finished in 4th with a best lap of 1:27.541. Kieran was the tail end of a group of 4 – including Wadi Nadzri (#828 Honda VFR400), Graham Wicking (#332 Kawasaki ZXR400) and Anthony Carroll. He finished in 8th with a best lap of 1:31.562.
“I came in to turn 10 after getting past John Carpenter, and I just was not able to tip the bike into the corner, I ran off into the grass but it was a bit rugged and I still could not get it turned, I ended up folding the front as I used the brakes as I got closer to the tyre wall. I’m pretty disappointed that I’m going to have to sit around again after just getting to s decent stage of recovery from the last crash. At least I can remember this one and understand what went wrong. I just tried to push too hard and I had not recovered the strength back after the last crash to get the bike to do what I wanted.” – Gary Dickson
250 Production Race 3 was another short 5 lap race. Simon and Justin stuck close together, the pair keeping a few seconds in front of Sarah. Justin lead Simon across the finish line by 0.275. Simon finished 6th outright, and first 250 Production bikes, to again claim victory. A best lap of 1:28.665 en route. Kieran crossed the line 3rd of the 250’s and 9th outright with a best lap of 1:32.581. He found himself in a bit of a gap between Glenn Chandler and John Naffa (#41 Honda CBR250RR).
Race 3 Formula 4 saw Simon push hard early to try and keep with the front group keeping his pace high he managed to make his way from 4th through to 2nd, right on Jason Hermann’s tail. A best lap of 1:27.039 while he was closing the gap to Jason to finish in second place. Kieran set his best lap of 1:31.512 on the fifth and final lap while battling with John Carpenter. Putting down a decent last lap gave Kieran the metres required to cross the line ahead of John’s RVF400, and take 7th.
“John and I were all over each other in that one, I thought he was going to get me on the run to the line, but I put in a good last lap and had enough metres to hold the lead. It’s good to be back on the bike and have fun races like that.” – Kieran McGeown
Race 4 was the final leg for the 250 Production class for the year. Sarah impressed Simon by making her strongest race to cross the finish line in 5th almost 1/2 a second in front of Simon, who ended the race in 6th outright. Once again Simon was the top 250 production finisher, giving him a clean sweep of 4 wins in the 4 races. Kieran took another 3rd place finish (8th outright) with a best lap of 1:32.069, again was sandwiched between Glenn Chandler and John Naffa.
“Every time I made an overtake on Sarah, she would get back as soon as she could. Normally she is happy to sit behind and just follow, but this was a different much more assertive Sarah! She was successful in keeping me from opening a gap and getting away. It was so much fun riding with her in that race, she rode strongly and deserved the victory, every pass she made was clean. I look forward to seeing more of that from her next year.” – Simon Dickson
Formula 4 Race 4 was the very last race of the weekend, and the final race to be run by the Motorcycle Sportsmen of Queensland for 2014. Simon got his best start of the weekend, however found himself in 4th at the end of the first lap. Pushing hard he moved through to 2nd and closed up the 2.5 second gap between him and Jason, even taking the lead at one point. Simon finished the season with 2 of his 3 fastest ever laps around Morgan Park. A 1:26.797 on lap 5 and a 1:26.767 on the 6th and final lap of the season. Jason took the win, but Simon made sure he had to put in the effort to get it. Kieran and John Carpenter were sharing precious inches of track, this time John got the better of Kieran by 0.164. However the race marked a successful return to the track by Kieran, finishing every race and getting his lap times to a decent level. A best lap of 1:31.808 on his way to finish the race in 8th position.
“I pushed really hard in that last race to get through Tony and Mojo, reeling in Jason made it a really enjoyable ride, I’m really impressed I managed 2 laps in a row in the 1:26’s. It was a fantastic way for me to sign off the year, all the boys and girls out there on track with us have made this a fantastic year. I look forward to doing it again next year!” – Simon Dickson
It’s been a fantastic year of racing for Team Tiger, it has also been a year marked by crashes resulting in injury. In the end of it all the boys have enjoyed their racing and the support they have received from sponsors, family and friends. Team Tiger looks forward to sharing the details of racing in 2015, and with the number of people putting 250’s together it’s sure to be an even bigger and more competitive year. Hopefully you can make it out to a meeting, either as a racer, official or spectator and enjoy some of the close racing that makes 250’s so much fun.
Many thanks to the following supporters of the team; CaraData, Penrite, XCite Bikes, 2fiftycc.com, Kaiser Baas, HEL Performance and Litetek, their support through 2014 has been fantastic. Wayne from Osella Photographics has also taken many great photos that enable Team Tiger to share their adventures, at round 5 he managed to once again take great photos, despite a recent loss in the family.
Detailed results and lap times available @ Mylaps. Onboard videos will be posted once editing is complete.
|Simon Dickson||Kieran McGeown||Gary Dickson|
|Qualifying Time – 250 Production||1:28.147||1:41.605||1:36.718|
|Qualifying Time – Formula 4||1:28.185||1:33.747||1:37.268|
|Fastest Lap – 250 Production||1:27.367||1:30.700||1:34.953|
|Fastest Lap – Formula 4||1:26.767||1:31.512||1:33.963|
|Total Laps (racing & qualifying)||67||63||43|
|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 5)||9th (grid spot 16)||7th (grid spot 14)|
|Qualifying Position – Formula 4||4th||10th||14th|
|Best Finish – 250 Production||1st||3rd||7th|
|Best Finish – Formula 4||2nd||7th||11th|
|Round Points – 250 Production||100||71||28|
|Series Points – 250 Production||466||234||225|
|Series Position – 250 Production||1st||6th||7th|
|Round Points – Formula 4||75||50||60|
|Series Points – Formula 4||348||148||159|
|Series Position – Formula 4||3rd||12th||11th|