Team Tiger was at full strength for round 4 of the Pirelli Southern Downs Road Race Series, Simon Dickson, Gary Dickson and Kieran McGeown all fit and all 3 with their primary bikes ready for action. Kieran had removed the head from his engine, after in inspection it was not just 1 but 3 of the spark plug holes that needed to be helicoiled. Simon fitted new Metal Gear discs supplied by XCite Bikes, interestingly brand new Metal Gear discs felt like they weighed slightly less than the very worn OEM discs.
They guys were entered in Formula 4, and 250/300cc Production classes. Formula 4 is for bikes under 500cc and of a model made in 1995 or earlier, had it’s own grid and there were 17 bikes entered, mostly Honda CBR250RR’s and Honda VFR400’s. The 250/300 Production class was sharing the grid with the Moto3 class, there was 3 Moto3’s entered along with 15 Production bikes to make a grid of 18.
With 2 qualifying sessions for each class, everyone took it easy in the first session while the track was cold. Kieran missed the first Formula 4 session as he was still getting organised. Simon cruised around to ensure his brakes were bedded in for the 1 session of each class. Once the second qualifying sessions kicked off everyone was right up to pace. Simon took Pole position in Formula 4, and 2nd on the grid in Production class behind the Moto3 of Brian Houghton (#17 Honda NSF250). Kieran and Gary did a repeat of round 3 where they shared the lead in classes side by side. Kieran taking 8th in Formula 4 and 5th in Production, and Gary grabbing 7th in Formula 4 and 6th in Production.
Formula 4 race 1 was to be a 10 lap affair. Everything was going well until lap 6 when Mark Torrance (#12 Honda CBR250RR) had a crash on turn 7, although he was not injured his bike was stuck in the middle of the track and the race had to be red flagged to enable the track to be cleared. The race was continued from our original starting positions and run for the final 5 laps. Simon and Tony Carroll (#4 Honda VFR400) set off with a hot pace both parts of the race, Tony allowing Simon to lead for 99% of the time, only overtaking within inches of the finish line to snatch victory by 0.014 of a second. Kieran and Gary were involved in a massive 8 rider pack spanning only 11 seconds of track at the end of the 10 laps! Kieran made ground to finish 6th and Gary held his starting position for 7th, although throughout the race there was plenty of overtaking!
“I got a cracking start in the first part, even taking the hole shot. I knew Tony was just sitting on my tail letting the laps click off. I was surprised I was able to repeat my good start in the second part and we cleared out again. That was a seriously close finish, I got close enough to the finish line to start thinking I was going to get to the line first, then snap! Tony’s front wheel was about 2 inches in front of mine as I crossed the line. I’m still happy with the pace I set at the front, every single flying lap was in the 1:27’s.” – Simon Dickson
Race 1 for the Production class was another a 10 lap test of fitness. Simon spent the race with Glenn Chandler (#22 Honda CBR250RR) and Matthew Bushell (#142 Honda CBR250RR) hot on his tail. The pace was very good with all 9 flying laps between 1:27.599 and 1:28.683. Half way through the race Matthew dropped off the pace slightly, while Glenn kept the pace. On the last few laps Simon opened a small gap to cross the line in 1st. For the first 7 laps Kieran and Gary were embroiled in a group battle with Sarah Fairbrother (#14 Moriwaki MD250) and Justin Hall (#11 Kawasaki Ninja 300). On lap 8 Kieran upped the pace, Sarah followed but could not find a way past, Kieran able to cross the line in 4th by 0.1 of a second. Gary managed to keep it in front of Justin and hold onto 6th (5th in the Production class).
“The group behind are less behind than they used to be, instead they are right on my behind! The bike is feeling good, I’m hoping she is going to behave the whole weekend and I’ve done a good job of fixing it this time. I just have to work out how to go as quick on my bike as I do when I borrow Gary’s spare bike.” – Kieran McGeown
Sunday morning was even more glorious than Saturday, the temperature up to the mid 20’s, perfect conditions at Morgan Park Raceway! The 6 lap affair of Formula 4 race 2 was the days first event, once the warm up laps were out of the way everyone had decided the track was ready to go fast on. Simon and Tony Carroll set off from the get go, Tony leading for a couple of laps before Simon took over at the front. Once again Tony waited till the last lap before taking the lead for the finish line. Kieran and Gary were the front part of a 4 bike train with Michael Lynch (#41 Honda CBR250RR) and Pat McLaren (#68 Honda CBR250RR) keeping them honest. The 4 crossed the finish with less than a second between each carriage, Kieran finishing 7th and Gary 8th.
Production race 2 saw Matthew Bushell and Glenn Chandler continue to challenge Simon for the lead on the opening laps. After reclaiming the lead, Simon attempted to turn up the pace, however Matthew stuck right on Simon’s tail, crossing the finish line only 0.6 behind and Glenn was only 2 seconds behind. The challengers have well and truly arrived! Kieran and Justin Hall engaged in a close quarters race, Kieran keeping in front of the Kawasaki to take 4th with 0.3 up his sleeve. Gary was struggling with what low blood sugar. Although not feeling 100% he still lapped in the 1:34’s and managed to hold off the quickly improving Brenden Allen (#386 Honda CBR250RR) by half a second to take 8th (7th Production).
Formula 4 race 3; maybe it was that thought of only having to do 5 laps, but Tony Carroll fired off the line and attacked the track from the get go. Simon managed a stunning 1:26.297 on lap 2 to close him down and get back on his tail, and even take the lead briefly, but Tony did not stay behind for long, Simon finished in 2nd place. Gary had a tight race with one of the other more senior riders in the class Ray Clacher (#327 Honda CBR400). While he could keep close he could not find a way back past Ray, and finished in 8th. Kieran was lapping with a strong pace until his gear linkage bolt fell out forcing him to retire on lap 4.
“That was another fun race with Tony, I knew we had a pretty decent pace going, but I’m really surprised at the lap time! This is the 3rd meeting I’m using this set of tyres so I didn’t expect to get close to my PB, never mind set a new one! I just remember the bike felt smooth under me and I didn’t override it.” – Simon Dickson
Race 3 for the Production class saw Simon continue his win streak, this time it was Glenn that stuck to the rear wheel of Simon. Kieran spent the race trying to hold onto Sarah Fairbrother while Justin Hall, Gary and Michael Lynch were all trying to find a way past Kieran. Kieran finished in 5th (4th Production) with a best lap of 1:31.870. While Gary could not best Justin, he kept ahead of Michael and set his best lap of the weekend 1:31.530 on his way to 7th (6th Production). Another thrilling close quarters race!
The 4th and final Formula 4 race for the weekend was 7 laps, long enough to need a rhythm but not too long to be a marathon. Simon and Tony Carroll were joined by Michael ‘Mojo’ Webb, who had found his potential and led for the first 3 laps after getting the hole shot. Tony drew first blood, a lap later Simon found a way past into turn 6 and put down a couple of scorching laps to close back in on Tony. A final lap of 1:26.516 was only enough to place Simon in Tony slip stream on the run to the chequer flag with not enough power to overtake Simon finished a very close second. Kieran and Gary made it a Team Tiger 7th and 8th, the pair matching each other lap for lap, and crossing the line with 0.4 of a second between them.
“I had Kieran in my sights the whole race, I was stronger on the brakes in a few places but he was getting better drive out of crucial corners. I could stay on his back tyre but not launch a successful overtake, only close up the metres I had lost in the section before. It’s been a really good weekend, and I’m almost back to the pace I was at before the crashes, so I was happy with my progress and didn’t want to take any big risks.” – Gary Dickson
The final Production race saw Matthew Bushell as the main challenger for the first 5 laps, an error on lap 6 saw him run wide and drop back to 3rd, to leave Simon a buffer of 5 seconds back to Glenn Chandler. Sarah Fairbrother, Kieran, Justin Hall and Gary got involved in another 4 rider battle. Sarah the final victor of the group, Kieran did all he could to find a way past, including setting his fastest lap of the weekend on the final lap, a 1:30.889, but the Sarah’s Moriwaki was able to hold on to 4th by 0.027. Another solid 5th (4th Production class) place finish for Kieran. Gary was right with Justin but unable to make a successful overtake, both riders putting in their fastest lap of the race on the final race. Gary’s 1:31.535 only a shade off his fastest of the weekend, taking home another 7th (6th Production class) place points haul.
With solid results and magic conditions round 4 was a real success. A new PB for Simon, Kieran’s fastest lap on his bike for 2015, and Gary’s fastest lap since his crashes last year. Team Tiger would like to thank our sponsors for their continued support. Penrite Oil, Xcite Bikes, HEL Performance, 2fiftycc.com, CaraData, Kaiser Baas, and Litek. Wayne from Osella Photographics did an amazing job, with more superb photos than could fit in this report! Once again Bridget, Tamara and Leah provided outstanding support for their partners, Gary, Simon and Kieran say “Thankyou!”.
|Simon Dickson||Kieran McGeown||Gary Dickson|
|Qualifying Time – 250 Production||1:27.016||1:32.697||1:32.820|
|Qualifying Time – Formula 4||1:27.189||1:33.506||1:32.733|
|Fastest Lap – 250 Production||1:27.179||1:30.889||1:31.530|
|Fastest Lap – Formula 4||1:26.297||1:30.890||1:31.322|
|Total Laps (racing & qualifying)||73||65||70|
|Average race start lap time||1:32.473||1:35.777||1:36.754|
|Average race flying lap time||1:27.933||1:32.301||1:33.012|
|Qualifying Position – 250 Production||1st (grid spot 2)||4th (grid spot 5)||5th (grid spot 6)|
|Qualifying Position – Formula 4||1st||8th||7th|
|Best Finish – 250 Production||1st||4th||5th|
|Best Finish – Formula 4||2nd||6th||7th|
|Round Points – 250 Production||100||68||60|
|Series Points – 250 Production||400||257||124|
|Series Position – 250 Production||1st||4th||10th|
|Round Points – Formula 4||80||43||53|
|Series Points – Formula 4||307||212||101|
|Series Position – Formula 4||2nd||5th||12th|
Full meeting results available at MyLaps.