Round 5 of the Southern Downs Road Race Series would be the final race meeting for Team Tiger in 2015. Heading into the round Simon was holding 1st in the 250/300 Production class and 2nd in the Formula 4 class. Kieran entered the round as 4th 250/300, trailing Matthew Bushell by a single point, and 5th in Formula 4, with only an 11 point gap to 4th. Gary was down the order a bit having missed the first 2 rounds, but he had worked his way up to 10th in 250/300 Production and 12th in Formula 4.
The 250/300 Production class has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and culminated in impressive fashion to top off 2015. Lining up to contest the final round were 20 in the class, all 20 of them 4 cylinder Honda CBR250’s! The average level of ability continues to improve, with so many riders on track new riders are able to follow the faster riders in front of them and hone their skills.
Formula 4 was the usual mix of 400’s and 250’s, with 24 on the grid it was going to be busy, however it’s always great fun. Riders of different bikes having different strengths, and learning to leverage your strong points and try to take advantage of other riders weak sections is a great way to improve race craft.
Qualifying session 1 went smoothly, everyone taking it fairly easy as there were a few damp patches on track after some heavy rain the night before. The 250/300 Production class was on track with the Moto3’s, the front row of the grid was claimed by a trio of fast riders on GP bikes. Simon was the leading production bike in 4th, Kieran in 7th and Gary in 13th. Formula 4 saw a trio of 400’s claim the front row, Simon made it easy to remember his grid position for the weekend with another 4th. Kieran and Gary didn’t manage to get in a quick lap with the traffic on the early laps and session ended early with a red flag, leaving them to start from 12th and 18th respectively.
First up was Formula 4 Race 1, the 7 laps were going to be hard work thanks to the temperature working it’s way to the mid 30’s! Simon had a good start but still had to work to pass the fast 400’s of Chris Dunster (#66 Honda VFR400) and Leigh Holmes (#35 Kawasaki ZXR400). Tony Carroll (#4 Honda VFR400) got through the pack first and opened a small gap which he managed to take the win. Simon finishing in 2nd after a really fun race with some good passes. Kieran put in a quality ride to hold onto Matthew Bushell (#146 Honda CBR250RR) for the first 5 laps before getting past and taking 6th only 7 seconds behind the group battling for 3rd. Gary was recovering nicely from a poor start and was up to 12th before the bolt he forgot to loctite on his gear lever vibrated out and left him unable to change gear, with 2 laps to go and with a dangling gear lever touching when he leaned left he was forced to retire.
The first 250/300 Production race was red flagged on the 3rd lap, a reduced 6 lap restart got under way quickly. Simon spent the race on the tail of Glenn Chandler (#22 Honda CBR250RR), however as the laps ticked over Glenn’s pace was proving too much and Simon dropped a couple of seconds behind. Attempting to close up on the last 2 laps just lead to errors and the gap increasing. Glenn’s victory mean Simon’s run of 250/300 class victories had come to an end. Kieran found himself in a gap for 4th place, between Matthew Bushell ahead of him, and the battling 250’s of Ray Clacher (#327 Honda CBR250RR) and Kyle Mountney (#54 Honda CBR250RR) behind him. Gary endured race long excitement, as part of a 4 rider train! Brenden Allen (#368 Honda CBR250RR) just managed to get his wheel across the line inches ahead of Gary, less than a tenth of a second separating them. Gary collected 8th, just pipping Kieron Horey (#349 Honda CBR250R) and Pat McLaren (#68 Honda CBR250RR). All 4 riders all doing pretty much the same lap time meant it was going to be an exciting weekend for them.
There is no better way to finish a hot days racing than with 10 laps to really test man and machine! Simon and Tony Carroll settled into a rhythm at the front once they made their way through the fast starting group of 400’s. The action heated up again on the last two laps, however Simon was thwarted by Tony’s signature overtake on the run to the chequer flag and relegated to 2nd place. Kieran spent 10 laps closing a gap to the evergreen Ray Clacher. He managed to close right up however he was unable to launch a successful overtake, and finished the race in 8th. Gary was got things under way wedged in a 5 man battle, the foursome from the previous race were joined by the bearded Tom Williams (#21 Honda CBR250RR). Unfortunately Brenden Allen and Pat McLaren were unable to complete more than the first 2 laps due to mechanical issues. With 2 of his nemeses out of the way Gary took 10th ahead of Tom and Kieron.
Sunday morning brought with it cooler temperatures, perfect for getting stuck into the 10 lap race that was 250/300 Production race 2. Simon spent the first 5 laps sucking down the exhaust fumes from Glenn Chandler. Unable to find a way past until Glenn slightly got a less than stellar drive out of turn 10, Simon had been in position to take advantage as it had also happened on lap 4. 5 laps close to the limit with minimal errors meant Simon was able to take the win. Kieran spent the race in 4th, just ahead of the quickly improving Michael Lynch (#41 Honda CBR250RR) and team mate Gary! Michael and Gary traded places like it was going out of fashion, but it was Michael who crossed the line in 5th, leaving Gary as the final rider not to get lapped by the Moto3 machines with an honourable 6th place finish.
Formula 4 race 3 started off a cracker, Simon worked his way through the 4 400’s of Chris Dunster, Leigh Holmes, Michael Webb and Tony Carroll, however his time at the front was short with Tony Carroll reminding Simon that he only sat behind when he felt like it. Kieran had another super session on track swapping positions seeming every corner with Ray Clacher for 7th and coming out the victor by 2 tenths. Gary worked his way past Brendan Allen, leaving him and Pat McLaren to their own devices and managed to keep 2 tenths between himself and Kieron Horey to take 9th.
Race 3 of the 250/300 Production class and it was on between Glenn and Simon. Glenn held the lead for the first 3 laps, on lap 4 Simon found a way past and held the lead to the chequer flag, putting in his best lap of the weekend, a 1:27.828. Kieran took another clean 4th place finish, behind him Gary and Michael Lynch sticking together until the final lap when Michael suffered a DNF, gifting 5th to Gary.
The fourth and final Formula 4 race of the weekend suffered from a red flag incident causing a restart and the race shorted to 6 laps. On the final lap Simon was chasing down Tony Carroll when his bike began suffering from a lack of fuel (no prizes for guessing who is to blame). Although he had a sizeable gap back to Michael Webb and Leigh Holmes it would prove to be not enough, both riders overtaking him on the run to the line. Luckily there was enough fuel to limp across the line in 4th. Kieran was unable to keep up with Ray Clacher who was rode a strong race on his VFR400, but Kieran still managed his best Formula 4 finish of the weekend in 6th. Gary was able to keep Kieran close, but never close enough, a clean fast ride kept him out reach of the boys behind and Gary scored a solid 7th place.
It was all surprises in the final leg of the 250/300 Production class. Glenn was happy with his weekend having wrapped up 2nd in the championship and taken his first win of the season, and packed up early. Kieran took advantage of the clear air in front of him and got off to a lightning start, and was the first Production bike into turn 1, it lasted until lap 2 when Matthew Bushell and Simon both made their way past Kieran. Simon and Matthew engaged in a quality battle for a couple of laps until Simon opened up a gap and took the race win. Kieran held onto 3rd for a podium finish. Gary had another stunner, engaged in a 3 way battle with Pat Mclaren and Ray Clacher. Gary managed to work his way past both riders over the 6 laps, and crossed the line in 4th, the senior member of the team showing he could push all the way to the end of the weekend.
Round 5 was a fantastic conclusion to an amazing season. The Team Tiger boys did themselves proud, Simon finishing 1st, Kieran 4th and Gary 8th in 250/300 Production and 2nd, 4th and 10th in Formula 4. The level of competition has lifted this year and with it the level of excitement. They team have made some fantastic new friends and had some great times on track over the year. Another nice extra was Simon’s wife Tamara was able to take part in the Side Car come and try session at round 5, her first go swinging on a racing sidecar, who knows what the future holds!
As always Team Tiger wish to thank their sponsors and family members for their support, without which the racing would not be possible. Penrite oils have proven their worth once again. The support from CaraData has been fantastic this year! The team has loved being a part of the 2fiftycc.com community. The support from XCite bikes has been fantastic. HEL Brake lines removed any doubt one would have with 25 year old rubber lines with their high quality braided brake lines. Also thanks to Litetek and Kaiser Baas for their support this year. Once again the photos from Osella Photographics have been outstanding and we thank Wayne for finding a way to take the shots he does.
|Simon Dickson||Kieran McGeown||Gary Dickson|
|Qualifying Time – 250 Production||1:28.083||1:32.219||1:35.324|
|Qualifying Time – Formula 4||1:29.977||1:34.559||1:37.130|
|Fastest Lap – 250 Production||1:27.828||1:31.966||1:32.816|
|Fastest Lap – Formula 4||1:28.082||1:30.852||1:33.633|
|Total Laps (racing & qualifying)||71||69||71|
|Average race start lap time||1:33.492||1:35.959||1:38.217|
|Average race flying lap time||1:29.150||1:33.087||1:34.481|
|Qualifying Position – 250 Production||1st (grid spot 2)||4th (grid spot 7)||10th (grid spot 13)|
|Qualifying Position – Formula 4||4th||12th||18th|
|Best Finish – 250 Production||1st||3rd||4th|
|Best Finish – Formula 4||2nd||6th||7th|
|Round Points – 250 Production||95||69||61|
|Series Points – 250 Production||495||326||185|
|Series Position – 250 Production||1st||4th||8th|
|Round Points – Formula 4||80||43||53|
|Series Points – Formula 4||307||212||101|
|Series Position – Formula 4||2nd||4th||10th|
Full meeting results available at MyLaps.