With the last time Team Tiger raced at a kart track being the 2010 Queensland Titles at Townsville, the opportunity to visit a new circuit and try some short course at Grafton with the North Coast Road Racers was worth the short road trip. Simon and Gary drove down to Grafton with the caravan on Friday evening. Waking up on Saturday the 24th of October the weather looked like it would hold out and provide a pleasant day at the track. The circuit is a very short 562 meters, with 6 changes in direction, double apex and even some triple apex corners, there was absolutely no time to rest over the lap.
As the event was the clubs XMAS party round and did not count toward their club championship the atmosphere was very friendly and casual. There was 7 in our grid. Gary and Simon aborad their Honda CBR250RR’s, Justin Hall and Lee Cheetham riding Kawasaki Ninja 300’s, Leigh Holmes on a ZXR400, Jimmy Britton and Stuart Brown ensured there were 2 strokes on the grid with an Aprilia RS250 and Honda RS85 respectively.
We had our group practise session, then they had an all in practise for those that wanted it. Gary and Simon both elected to go out. The first race we just lined on on the grid where we felt we deserved to be and off we went for the 8 lap first race. Simon took it home in 2nd behind Lee Cheetham, with a best lap of 29.276. Gary brought it home in 7th, a very poor start saw him last into the first corner and he was finding the track difficult to make an overtake on. Gary best lap was 32.356.
Race 2 implemented progressive grids, so the grid order was as per the finish order from race1. Simon got a great start and took the holeshot, and held off Lee for the win, setting a best lap of 29.158. Gary took a much improved start and held 5th for the entire race, improving his best lap to 32.205.
Race 3 it was Leigh Holmes on the ZXR400 that took the holeshot from Simon. Once past Simon was again hounded by Lee Cheetham to the chequer flag, but managed to hold onto the lead, and set a best lap of 28.940. Gary spent most of the race trying to find a way past Leigh Holmes after he made an error that put him back to 5th. Gary taking advantage of another error on the final lap to get 5th, with a best lap of 33.110.
After the sprint races there was a 30 minute special race that combined all classes of road bikes to make a grid of 13, and for extra intrigue a rolling start. Lee and Simon had the front row, Justin and Gary seeing on the second row, Jimmy Britton and then a swath of Superlights made up the rest of the train. Upon coming around in circuit in formation for the 3rd time the flag lifted and the race was on!
Justin Hall took a terrific start to shoot into the lead, followed by Simon, Lee and Gary. With Justin setting a decent pace Simon and Lee were content to follow, everything was staying static until lap 10 when Justin came across backmarkers and he choose the wrong way past them, Simon and Lee came past, and then the pace was increased with Simon seeing if he could open a gap to Lee, a few conveniently placed backmarkers gave Simon a couple of metres over Lee. On lap 33 Lee came unstuck into the hairpin costing him a lap while he remounted. Gary retired on lap 34 after his wrist began to feel weak. With the final round at Morgan Park in 2 weeks he was not taking any injury risks. He did manage to set his fastest lap of the weekend on lap 22 – a 31.657. Simon rode the rest of the race at a steady yet fairly quick pace and didn’t rush too much to pass back markers. After 59 laps the chequer flag came out and Simon took victory, with a fastest lap of 29.157 on lap 47.
Overall Simon and Gary enjoyed the day’s racing and thoroughly enjoyed learning the tricky Grafton circuit. The elevation changes and mutli apex corners proving good fun, the NCRR members were all very friendly both on track and off and we look forward to attending a meeting at the Lismore track in the future.
Once again thanks to our sponsors who help us keep our bikes running and enable us to go visit new tracks and race against different competitors. CaraData, Penrite Oil, Xcite Bikes, HEL Performance, 2fiftycc.com, Kaiser Baas, and Litek.
Complete lap results @ MyLaps