The 2014 Australian Historic Road Race Championships saw the return of motorcycles to Lakeside Park, not raced on by motorcycles in over a decade. The track has a fast and flowing layout, except for a new tight chicane, which proved to be a difficult part of track to get right. On paper it looked like it may open up overtaking opportunities under brakes. However the camber of the track in the braking zone meant attempting an overtake generally just made a mess of the section for the overtaking rider and all the riders around them. The racing throughout the event was of a very high quality, while there was not a large amount of track time, there was a huge volume of entries and a brilliant crowd of spectators, giving the meeting a fantastic atmosphere.
With Simon Dickson the only Team Tiger member racing at the event, he joined forces with other members of the Motorcycle Sportsmen – Anthony ‘Tony’ Carroll, Jeff Duke and Michael ‘Mojo’ Webb. Tony supplied Simon with a VFR400 to compete in the Period 6 500cc class and in return Tony rode a Team Tiger CBR250RR in the Period 6 250 Production class. Mojo was also riding both a VFR400 and CBR250RR, while Jeff was entered in the same classes aboard his CBR250RR.
Qualifying was 2 sessions for each class on Friday. Due to an error with the qualifying groupings, the 250 Production class was split, and only some competitors got to see their lap times. Simon Dickson was one of the competitors split from the group, as such his qualifying times were not made available. At the end of it all he managed to qualify in second, the initial grid sheet had Simon on pole, however it was wrong, P6 125cc competitor #79 Stephen Kairl aboard a Honda RS125 was missing from the grid sheet. Jeff Duke claimed 5th (2nd of the 250’s) with his time of 1:10.358. Tony Carroll was getting accustomed to the 250 and put together a lap of 1:13.29, giving him 12th (6th 250). Mojo Webb posted a time of 1:13.607 to qualify in lucky 13th (7th 250) of the 23 (14 250’s) riders on the grid.
For the Period 6 500cc class Simon Dickson set the time to beat in the first session, a 1:07.943 lap that would stay quickest over both sessions and earn him pole position. Tony Carroll claimed second on the grid, his best time of 1:08.824 also being set in the first session. Jeff Duke managed 4th, his best time of 1:09.818 showing he could be competitive even on a smaller displacement bike. Mojo Webb’s best lap of 1:10.654 put him in the thick of the action in 8th.
Saturday brought with it a number of surprises, first was that the grid sheets with the qualifying results were wrong and had to be modified. The initial 250 Production sheet was missing the real pole earner (Stephen Kairl), so everyone had to move down a spot. The second was that loads of spectators had arrived to check out the action. The third surprise was that the meeting was being changed to use progressive grids – meaning riders would start each race from the position they finished the previous race. As an extra touch of class, race starts were by signalled by the raising of the Australian flag rather than by lights. It really suited the historic theme of the meeting. The raising of the flag was handled by Anthony Christian, a regular official at meetings run by the Motorcycle Sportsmen and the group felt he did a fantastic job, every flag raise was done with gusto!
Race 1 Period 6 500cc. Simon Dickson got the hole shot in front of Sean Purcell (#7 Honda CBR400) and Tony Carroll. Coming through the Kink (turn 1) at full speed on lap 2 they were 3 wide on the tip in, Tony being on the outside backed off but managed to get in front of Sean into the Karrussel (turn 2). For the next 3 laps Tony stalked Simon, setting what would be the fastest lap of the weekend for the class on lap 3, with a time of 1:07.0646. Simon claimed second and was set what would be his fastest lap of the weekend 1:07.284. Jeff Duke spent the race battling for 4th with Sam Phillips (#26 Honda CBR250RR) who managed to get the best of him. Jeff still laid claim to a very respectable 5th place finish on the smaller capacity bike, his best lap 1:09.027. Mojo placed 8th as part of a 4 way battle for 6th spot, he put down his best lap of 1:10.614 on lap 3.
“Gridding for the first race was a little bit daunting not knowing a lot of the other riders behind. In position 1 was Simon Dickson and in third was Sean Purcell. Both riders I have raced with many times so that made me a bit more relaxed even though I knew they were very fast. Qualifying was not my best as the bike was extremely hard to get it to turn in so made some adjustments and hoped they worked. As the flag dropped I got off to a reasonable start slotting in behind Simon and Sean. With only 4 laps there was no time to waste so I followed for the first lap and realised my suspension changes had worked and passed Sean down the straight and tucked in behind Simon. I was then working out where I could make a pass, as I could stay close behind without pushing too hard. I decided the best place was to get a good run off the last turn and hopefully get a tow and pass just before the finish line. I had to time it just right as both bikes were similar in speed. On the last lap I got in as close as possible coming off eastern loop and followed for about 50 metres and pulled out just in time to win by .1 of a second, I also get the fastest lap in p6 500 with a 1:07.06 !” – Tony Carroll
The Period 6 250 Production class shared the grid with the Period 6 125 class. Race 1 got off with a perfect start for Simon Dickson, who took the hole shot and held the lead until lap 3 when Justin Hall (#111 Honda RS125) made his way past, an error while braking into the bus stop meant Simon dropped 2 positions to 4th behind Jeff Duke and Stephen Kairl (#79 Honda RS125), Jeff rode inch perfectly to claim the win in the 250 class (3rd outright), with a best lap of 1:09.562. Simon could do no more than hold onto second place in class (4th outright), with a best lap of 1:09.288. Tony Carroll lead a pack of 4 across the line to take 9th (5th 250), his best lap 1:13.464. Mojo Webb was just inches behind, and finished 0.08 of a second later! The tight finish gave Mojo 10th (6th 250), his best lap of 1:13.089 on the final lap was quicker than Tony’s, but not quite quick enough to take the position.
“Not having ridden the 250 for many months, I spent the first few sessions of the weekend trying to remember how to wring the bike’s neck and figuring out where to put my long legs! I qualified on position 13 on the grid and set my target as Tony Carroll, riding Gary Dickson’s Team Tiger 250. I got off to a good start and was in tenth position going into the Karrussell for the first time. Going into the ‘bus stop’ for the first time of the race was very tight with many riders all wanting the same, small piece of track. I came very close to the back of Angus Bushell’s bike as we went through and lost some drive but managed to hold position. I then witnessed Sam Phillips sliding off into the dirt on the exit of Eastern Loop on lap one, so I crossed the line for the first time in ninth, with Tony Carroll in pursuit behind me. I managed to hold off Tony until he slipped under me going into the Karrussell on lap three. The back of the Gary Dickson 250 is a very familiar sight for me, having seen it disappear into the distance many times at Morgan Park! I got a good view of Tony’s smooth riding for a while until the #441 RS125 of Mark Strong passed me at Eastern Loop later that lap. Heading onto the straight to begin the final lap, I was determined to catch Tony, who had pulled a gap on me. I got good drive out of Eastern Loop, I managed to re-pass Strong’s 125 before the kink. I put in a good final lap and was right on Tony’s tail coming onto the straight, but he held me out over the line by a metre or two.” – Mojo Webb
Race 2 Period 6 500cc, Simon Dickson got the hole shot again, with Tony slotting into second and staying there until the run to the line where he managed open the throttle slightly earlier, and get a better run down the straight and took the win by 0.05! Tony again set the fastest lap of the race 1:07.926 on lap 3. Simon’s fastest lap of 1:07.986 was also on lap 3, only a few hundredths slower than Tony’s. Behind the pair at the front was a 6 second back to a group of 5 that were battling for 3rd, Sam Phillips managed to get the better of Jeff Duke again, this time he ended the race in 7th with a best lap of 1:09.958. Mojo Webb unfortunately could not take part in race 2 as he had to leave the track to go to work before the race.
“I got my best start on the 400 all weekend in that race, however once again Tony slotted into second place, I tried everything I could to break away, and successfully managed to open up a few metres. However Tony closed back up on the final lap. Knowing he was close I focused on making sure I got the maximum drive for the drag to the line. I was successful in getting my best run onto the straight on the 400, and thought I had done enough to get the win. As the finish line approached Tony came alongside and managed to get his wheel across centimetres in front of mine. It was a really good race, I did everything I could and he deserved the win.” – Simon Dickson
Race 2 Period 6 250 Production was the first event of Sunday, and it was another perfect day of weather for racing motorcycles. With the progressive grids Jeff Duke had moved up to the front row with his 3rd place finish and Simon Dickson was relegated to row 2 in 4th. Tony started from row 3 in 9th and Mojo started in 10th at the head of row 4. Jeff got one of his trademark fast starts and held Simon at bay for the first 3 laps, on the final lap Jeff ran a little wide on the Eastern loop and Simon squeezed up the inside to take the lead, a good drive out of the final corner enabled Simon to take the win by 0.12, Jeff held onto second place, crossing the line 0.02 in front of Alex Pickett (#67 Yamaha TZR250) who also managed to set the fastest lap of the class a 1:08.004. That made it a win and a second place each for Simon and Jeff, the title would all come down to the final race. Mojo Webb and Tony Carroll continued their battle from the previous day, again the pair in a group of 4. Mojo managed to put the hammer down and lead the group across the line in 10th (6th 250), with a best lap time of 1:12.706. Tony completed the race in 12th (7th 250) with a best lap of 1:13.032.
“I got a decent start, but Jeff managed to better it, I spend the first 3 laps looking for a way past but Jeff was riding inch perfect, on the final lap I stuck extra close up out of Hungry and managed to take advantage of the wide line Jeff was running into Eastern Loop. Pushing to the maximum I managed to get under him and get the bike turned. I managed a perfect run out of the bottom of Eastern Loop onto the straight, carrying enough speed that Jeff was unable to slipstream past me. We were now a win a piece so it would all come down to race 3 to decide the championship.” – Simon Dickson
Race 3 Period 6 500cc, Simon Dickson only just managed to get the hole shot ahead of Lech Budniak (#27 Yamaha TZ250), Tony Carroll slotted into 3rd position, Simon knew that if Lech could hold up Tony for a couple of corners he had an opportunity to break away and claim a win in the 500cc class! Tony never found a way past Lech, so Simon was able to go on to take the win, setting a best lap of 1:07.343. Tony finished in 3rd with a best lap of 1:08.532, which was enough to win the 2014 Australian Period 6 500cc title. Lech’s 2nd place finish gave him the points he needed to take 3rd in the title chase. Jeff Duke was the final carriage in the train stretching from 2nd place through to 8th, another solid points finish which earned him 7th in the championship. Mojo Webb had a blinder of a race, after having to start at the rear of the grid due to his DNS in the previous race he cut his way through the traffic and set his best lap of the weekend on lap 3 with a 1:09.222, a super ride that moved him up to 9th position. Although the DNS in race 2 dented his overall points tally, he still finished a credible 11th in the championship.
“Due to work commitments, I was forced to miss the second P6 500 race. Thanks to the progressive grid system, the ‘Did Not Start’ result relegated me to the very back of the grid – 25th position. Despite having to back off the gas as I left the line to avoid a slower bike and to avoid the black-flag penalty of crossing the double white lines which mark the pit exit, I ended up getting a decent start and overtook about half the field by the first corner! I completed the first lap in 11th position then had a bird’s eye view of Angus Bushell running off with a stuck throttle at The Karrussel on the second lap. I then put my head down and put together two laps under my personal best, the best of which was a 1:09.2. I made my way to ninth during the second lap and tried to close down the gap to eighth, but a couple of small errors on the last lap saw me finish the race in ninth position. It was an exciting race – a real rollercoaster ride from the back of the grid!” – Mojo Webb
Race 3 Period 6 250 Production saw Jeff Duke off to a clean start, up to 2nd place into the Karrussel, Simon had a poor start and was in 5th for the first lap. A good slip stream down the straight, combined with Jeff having to roll off mid corner when Justin Hall had a little slide meant Simon was able to move to 2nd place on lap 3. Stephen Kairl took the race win after overtaking the 250 Production bike of Alex Pickett between Hungry Corner and Eastern Loop. Simon held on for 3rd outright (2nd 250) with a best lap of 1:08.063 just 0.06 shy of claiming the lap record. Keeping Jeff behind meant Simon took the 250 Production title by 2 points. Jeff finished the race in 5th (3rd 250) and claimed 2nd in the championship, 2 points ahead of the race winner Alex Pickett. With only 4 points between the top 3 the Period 6 250 Production title was the most closely fought of the meeting. Mojo Webb continued to improve his riding, a best lap of 1:12.288 enough to hold off Tony Carrol and finish 11th (6th 250), consistent results meant he also came home with 5th place in the championship. Tony was able to improve his best lap time to a 1:11.988 on his way to finishing 12th (7th 250) and bag 6th place for the event.
“It all came down to this race, I was a little close to Justin in the last turn and had to roll off when he had a small wobble mid-corner, Simon past me on the straight and did a good job putting some 125s between him and me, which was the ideal tactic. I was very happy with how quick I picked up the Lakeside track, as it was my first time there. I rode as hard as I dared, and almost got there. It was great to share the track with Isle Of Mann TT racer Alex Pickett, he seamed genuinely surprised at how hard we rode our little bikes. Bring on The Island Classic!” – Jeff Duke
The event went very well for the group, with Tony and Simon taking 1st and 2nd respectively in the P6 500cc class. Simon and Jeff worked hard for their 1, 2 championship finish in the P6 250 Production class. Despite the short races, and administration and timing difficulties encountered at the meet, it could only be described as a success thanks to the awesome crowd and fantastic competitors. Near the end of Sunday, after the group had completed all their races, tragedy struck in the combined Period 5 and 6 750cc race. Steve Anderson was involved in a racing incident and lost his life. Team Tiger and the Motorcycle Sportsmen would like to send our condolences to Steve’s family and friends. The outpouring of love and fond memories many have shared in Steve’s memory make us sure he was a great guy, and will be dearly missed by all that knew him. Rest in Peace.
Team Tiger would like to thank Wayne from Osella Photographics for taking the photos of the boys and a big thank you to our sponsors CaraData, Penrite, XCite Bikes, 2fiftycc.com, Kaiser Baas, HEL Performance and Litetek for enabling us to compete at the level we do. Thank you for reading.
Please click through for the onboard videos:
- Onboard with Simon Dickson – P6 250cc Production
- Onboard with Jeff Duke – P6 250cc Production
- Onboard with Tony Carroll – P6 250cc Production
- Onboard with Simon Dickson – P6 500cc
- Onboard with Jeff Duke – P6 500cc