The first event for the year held at Morgan Park for 2017 was the Masters Of Morgan Park, normally it would be the 3rd meeting of the year, however a resurface of the circuit, combined with some issues during resurfacing meant the earlier scheduled meetings were cancelled or moved to later in the year. While the track was open for action the news was not all great, there were some issues at turn 7, and a nasty bump into Turn 1 that was better if you went wide to miss it. It was not all bad news every other corner was much smoother, braking for turn 4 and 10 with the bump free bitumen the deciding factor now seeming to be how hard you could hold on with an almost insurmountable amount of grip! Turn 9 was no longer a corner where you rolled the dice hoping you didn’t hit one of the bumps that would start the bike walking toward the grass, now it was a warp speed swoosh of delight, now you needed to fight the urge and stay tucked in. Turn 11 and 12, the Castledine curve esse onto the front straight, simply amazing, you throw the bike in as fast as you dare, then wrestle it to change directions, absolutely glorious in execution!
Simon Dickson, Gary Dickson and Kieran McGeown were flying the Team Tiger banner for the event. Gary and Simon arrived Friday night and setup the caravans ready for the weekend, Kieran got himself to the track early Saturday and was all ready be the time riders briefing kicked off. At first things were looking bad, something like 7 riders crashed at turn 7, the Morgan Park track crew were hard at work pressure cleaning the corner to remove the grit from a patch that seemed to be causing the problem. The Clerk of Course had devised a plan, turn 7 was now a no overtaking zone and only the inside of the corner was to be used. Then the rain started! Luckily the rain stopped while before the work was completed and the meeting started on a perfectly dry track.
Qualifying was the first time on the circuit for the Team Tiger riders, the new surface was more challenging to learn than expected, all cracks and bumps used as reference points on the track had been erased and it was surprising how much harder it was to hit the same points each lap. Qualifying only required a single decent lap, so everyone had 4 sessions all up to find a some markers and push for a decent lap, 2 sessions for the Period 6 250cc Production class, and 2 for the Period 6 500cc class. The 250cc class had a capacity grid of 36, and the 500cc class was not far behind with 30 riders!
Simon managed to put together enough to grab pole in 250cc and jag a front row start in 3rd for the 500cc class. Gary got straight to work and did a cracking job as 12th of the 250’s and 8th with the 500’s. Kieran booked in for 11th of the 250cc machines and 9th with the larger bikes.
As racing got underway it was the 500cc class that would be the first race for the crew on track. Simon tried to hold on to Tony Carroll (#4 Honda VFR400) and Callum Barker (#47 Suzuki GSXR400), while they helped Simon escape the chasing pack, he could not hold on. Half way through the 8 lap race Simon noticed Callum had slowed and the gap was closing, Callum who was clearly suffering some sort of mechanical issue. With a lap to go Simon overtook Callum and ended the race in 2nd place. Kieran got a cracking start and had a close battle with John Carpenter (#511 Honda VFR400) and Mark Torrance (#12 Honda CBR250RR). The battle between John and Kieran had allowed to Mark to make a small gap up and beat them both, while Kieran could not overcome the extra capacity of the 400 and was forced to accept 6th. Gary was in a group of 4, the CBR250RR’s of Daniel Lardner (#250) and Chris Bailey (#273) as well as the GP bike of Michael Cramer (#36 Honda RS125), the you guns have been learning Garys tricks over the last few meetings, and in the end the group crossed the line with Gary at the tail in 12th.
The 250 grid was big, with a couple of larger bikes from the Period 5 500cc class it made for some great racing. Simon got a good start and while he had to concede the holeshot to the #3 Ducati Pantah of Mitchell Mulligan, he was able to reclaim the top spot on the initial lap, and held strong until the chequer flag to take 1st. Kieran learned that Tony Carroll (#4 Honda CBR250RR) was really getting to grips with the smaller bike, while Tony chased the Ducati of Mitchell and Glenn Chandler (#22 Honda CBR250RR), Kieran was not able to keep the pace getting stuck into a three way CBR250RR battle with the returning Matthew Bushell (#146) and Mark Torrence, who was finding the speed to become a real issue for Kieran. While the trio crossed the line within a few tenths of a second, it was Kieran who held strong to take 4th in the class, and 5th outright. Gary was in next pack back, however the young guns were finding speed, and Gary could only watch from a few seconds adrift, at the end of the 8 laps he was 10th in class and 11th outright.
The second 500cc race was 6 laps on Sunday morning and saw Simon try to check out with the 400’s of Tony and Callum, he managed to gap the group behind and claim 3rd place. Kieran rode a strong race to take 4th in front of Mark Torrence who was hanging onto Kieran like a shadow. Gary had a pearler and grabbed 6th, managing to hold off the hoard of 5 riders hot on his tail!
Back in the 250cc class and it was Glenn and Tony chasing Simon, however another solid ride meant Simon was able to claim 1st. Kieran was just a few seconds behind Tony in 4th, but managed to put the Ducati of Mitchell between himself and Mark to create a little breathing space. Gary and Liam Van Booma (#667 Honda CBR250RR) went down to the wire in the competition for 11th, but it was Liam that stole the thunder and Gary finished in 12th (10th Period 6 250cc Production class bike).
Gary and Daniel Lardner
7 laps for the 3rd leg of racing. In the 500cc class it was a familiar situation with Callum and Tony escaping at the front leaving Simon to take a lonely 3rd. Kieran managed to keep ahead of Mark ‘the shadow’ Torrence, who was busy having a tough time with Matthew Bushell – the pair separated at the line by 0.001 of a second! Gary swapped dancing parters, this time it was Daniel Lardner (#250 Honda CBR250RR) who was snapping at the old boys heals, but Gary held firm to claim 9th.
Another 250cc race, and again it Glenn was mounting a solid challenge, and again Simon came up with the answer, although at the end of the 7 laps the difference was only 0.8 of a second. Kieran was mounting a serious challenge of his own on Tony Carroll, but was forced to accept 5th (4th in class) behind Tony, and the Period 5 500cc Ducati of Mitchell. Gary again joined in a 5 rider battle, the quintet all crossing the line in 4 seconds, Gary was the tail that tried to wag the dog in 11th (9th in class).
The final legs were shorter 5 lap sprints, it started out the same story, Simon watching Callum and Tony escape, but on lap 2 Callum crashed on turn 2, gifting 2nd place to Simon. Kieran rode a solid race to snag a podium finish with 3rd! Gary suffered a rare electrical fault and he retired from the race. It turned out to be a loose battery terminal, a simple issue to fix, but a costly error.
The final leg of the 250cc class was a thriller, Mitchell Mulligan on the Ducati was riding on the limit and held the lead for the first few laps. Glenn decided he was not to be denied and made his way to lead. While Simon probed Glenn for a weakness, he was not to be denied. Simon finished in 2nd place by 0.055 of a second. Kieran gave it a good go, but was unable to hold onto the pace of Tony and Mitchell, finishing in 5th (4th in class). Gary found himself in a rare gap, with a couple of seconds of clear air fore and aft, and took his highest finish for the weekend in 10th (8th in class)
An highlight of the Masters of Morgan Park is the Gregg Hansford feature, the top 30 fastest riders on bikes built no later than 1995 are eligible. All 3 of the Team Tiger crew qualified for the event, which was run over 2 races, and there was plenty of dicing with a variety of machinery on the grid. Simon managed to take 3rd in the up to 500cc category after finishing 6th and 7th in the 2 races. Kieran was a close 4th. Gary grabbed a pair of 12th place finished, but he was having a whale of a time with some massive grins and plenty of laughter afterwards between he and Michael Cramer.
Overall it was a very successful meeting with all the team staying upright and the number of bikes in the classes continuing to grow each year, making for some exciting on track action. Team Tiger riders wish to thank their family who come out and help in so many ways and the team sponsors for continuing to support them on the racing adventures. XCite bikes, CaraData, Penrite, and Litetek.
|Best Finish – P6 250 Production
|Points – P6 250 Production
|Position – P6 250 Production
|Best Finish – P6 500
|Points – P6 500
|Position – P6 500
Lap times available at Mylaps.