Round 1 – Southern Downs Road Race Series 2016

The Team Tiger crew kicked off the year at their home track, Morgan Park over Valentines weekend. The bikes having received some love over the off season reciprocated by staying upright all weekend for Simon, Gary and Kieran. The weather was as good as you’re going to get in Summer, hot with clear blue skies, and thankfully a bit of wind to keep it bearable in leathers.

Kieran and Gary with PackKieran and Gary being chased

The pits were packed with vehicles! More competitors are rocking up with caravans and bigger fancier trailers, combined with plenty more car loads of spectators meant there was a buzz in the air! The schedule had 250/300 Production mixed with the Moto3 bikes as the 2nd class to run, with 18 Production bikes and 7 Moto3’s the grid was a very healthy 25 bikes. Formula 4 was 5th of the 8 grids so a nice gap between races, and contained 23 bikes, meant everyone was guaranteed loads of fun in both classes.

Gary Thumb UpGary giving a thumb up

Qualifying got under way, Kieran keeping to his regular schedule of missing the first session on track, Simon felt comfortable on the bike right away, and Gary eased into things. By the time the qualifying sessions were complete Simon had locked in 4th place on both grids, leading Production bike in the combined grid, the front row taken by the Moto3’s. The front row of the Formula 4 grid locked up by the 3 400’s of Tony Carroll (#4 Honda VFR400), James Parker (#91) and Leigh Holmes (#35) on their Kawasaki ZXR400’s. Gary put in a solid effort to claim 12th on the Production/Moto3 grid and 9th in Formula 4. Kieran was planning lots of overtaking in the races by starting in 13th and 14th for Production and F4 respectively.

Simon Turn 4Simon gets low on turn 4

“I’m happy with my qualifying positions, the Moto3’s are untouchable on our bikes so I knew Brian, Locky and Tayla would lock out the front row in that class. I was hoping to snag a spot on the front for Formula 4, but my times are a bit off. I changed the jetting on the bike, previously I had 112.5 on the outside and 115’s in the middle, and was finding it a bit rich. I wanted to put in 107.5’s but could not source any in time, so I thought I would try 105’s in all 4 carbs. I it has a slight hesitation when I pick up the throttle mid corner, I’m trying to compensate by opening earlier, but you really need it to be perfect on the initial touch to get those extra 10th’s. Hopefully I can have it dialled in for the next meeting.” Simon Dickson

Kieran and PackClose racing in the 250 grid

250/300 Production race 1 Simon spent the race within a few inches of Glenn Chandler (#22 Honda CBR250RR), Simon took the lead on the penultimate lap and stayed error free to cross the finish line 2 tenths ahead of Glenn and take the class win. Kieran worked his way to the front of a bunch of 4 riders, eventually leading the pack to take 6th ahead of Lee Cheetham (#36) aboard a Kawasaki Ninja 300. Gary was in the same pack as Kieran and claimed 8th ahead of the ever improving Pat McLaren (#68 Honda CBR250RR). The group of 4 crossing the line in a 0.624 of a second window!

Gary Corner EntryGary coming to the apex of turn 4

Formula 4 Race 1 started off nicely, Simon getting a great start and lead for the first 2 laps, the 400’s of Leigh Holmes, Tony Carroll, and Chris Dunster made their way past. Simon was unable to pick up the pace and finished 4th. Kieran and Gary were locked together for entirety of the race, they were joined by David Waters (#193 Honda VFR400), however he got the better of them. Kieran finished in 9th and Gary in 10th.

Simon and ChrisSimon and Chris sticking close

“That was some seriously hard work, Leigh and Tony broke away and I spent the race trying to get back in front of Chris. I was able to close up on the brakes, but missed a few opportunities to set up an overtake into turn 6 by closing up too much into turn 4 and having to touch the brakes mid corner.” Simon Dickson

Kieran Turn 3Kieran close to the wall on turn 3

The second 250/300 Production race was the longest race for the weekend @ 10 laps. Simon took the class win by over 9 seconds. Kieran kept out of Gary’s grasp to take 6th, while Gary spend the race trading places with Lee Cheetham, eventually coming out the victor and taking 7th.

Gary Turn 7Gary through Turn 7

“I was having a great battle with Lee on the Ninja in that race. We traded places a few times, and showed plenty of wheels to each other over the first 8 laps, then he made an error on the brakes and let me back past, I put the hammer down for the final two laps and held on to 7th, my fastest lap of the race was on my final lap so I’m happy with my race stamina” Gary Dickson

Simon Turn 4Simon keeping a tight apex on turn 4

After a superb feed of Indian and cake Saturday night, the team assembled ready for action Sunday. The weather was slightly warmer, but there was still a stiff breeze to make it bearable.

Formula 4 race 2, an 8 lap affair. Simon lost the tow from the 3 400’s and finished in 4th place with a buffer to Wadi Nadzri (#828 Honda VFR400) behind him. Kieran held 7th, with Gary 8 seconds adrift. The race had to be restarted after Matt Bushell had a crash on turn 2, unfortunately Matt broke his ankle, and required surgery. We all hope he has a speedy recovery.

Kieran Exiting Turn 7Kieran on the power out of turn 7

250/300 race 3 saw Simon get a great start and lead the class from start to finish. Kieran found himself in a group containing the Moto3’s of Sarah Fairbrother (#14 Moriwaki MDH250) and Michael Cramer (#36 Honda NSF250) as well as Tony Carroll who was quickly finding his feet on the CBR250RR once he got it off the line. Kieran crossed the line 4th in class, behind Tony. A few seconds adrift was another 4 way battle involving CBR250RR riders of Gary Dickson, Pat McLaren (#68), the evergreen Ray Clacher (#327) and new to the class Michael Cullen (#64). All 4 bikes crossed the finish line within 1 second! Gary’s drive to the line had him cross 2nd of the group behind Pat, followed by Ray and Michael.

Gary Mid PackGary in the thick of the action

“That was a very exciting race, to have the 4 of us cross the line all within the one second is pretty amazing. I didn’t quite manage to get the run to overtake Pat, we spent race reeling him in once the group in front got past him.” – Gary Dickson

Simon and the 400'sSimon and the 400’s

Race 3 for Formula 4 was a 6 lap hustle. Simon got away with the lead pack, while the pace was able to stick together Simon was mostly battling with Chris Dunster and Leigh Holmes, who was struggling with a shift lever issue. Unable to make an overtake stick and open up enough space to stay in front to the next corner, Simon again finished in 4th. Kieran had an excellent scrap with Ray Clacher and Michael Cullen, eventually finishing in 9th ahead of the pair. Gary finished a lonely 12th, the heat and the large number of laps before lunch slowing him down.

Kieran and Gary PackKieran, Gary and others

“I love a good battle with Ray, and it was great to have Michael join us. We all finished within a second and it’s always even sweeter when you cross the line leading the group you’re battling with. I’ll have to pick up the pace, as Michael is coming to grips with the 250 very fast!” – Kieran McGeown

Simon Turn 7Simon clipping through turn 7

The final leg of the 250/300 Production class was 7 laps. Normal service resumed with Glenn Chandler taking the lead with the Production hole-shot into turn 1. Simon stalked him for a few laps then capitalised on a good slipstream to take the lead on lap 4 and holding it until the finish. Kieran had a tussle with Sarah Fairbrother, however was unable to keep a hold of the Moriwaki mounted rider, and finished 5th in his class. Gary managed to lead a litre of 250cc machines over the line, in tow was Ray Clacher, Michael Cullen and Mark Torrence (#12) all riding CBR250RR’s.

Gary Exiting Turn 7Gary tucked in and on the gas out of turn 7

“One of the things I enjoy about racing is there is always someone to battle with, and now there are so many CBR250’s on the grid, and so many riders that are able to run a similar pace means that I’m learning a lot more race craft having to deal with multiple competitors at the same time. It’s so much fun!” – Gary Dickson

Kieran and Gary Turn 2Kieran showing Gary the way

Formula 4 race 4. Simon spent the race in a 7 lap dice with Chris Dunster, while plenty of swapping of positions took place, Chris was able to capitalise on some good riding to relegate Simon to another 4th place finish. Kieran and David Waters (#193 Honda VFR400) traded places like playing cards! Eventually David came out the victor, and Kieran crossed the line in 8th. Gary’s lap times were a bit slower and he found himself crossing the line in 11th a few seconds ahead of the Honda RS125 of #39 Johan van Munster.

Simon bowingSimon bowing to the spectators

“It was a lovely final race of the weekend, I had a solid battle with Chris, I did my best but could not stay in front of him. I put in my fastest lap of the weekend on the 2nd last lap, which is always nice. I have a few adjustments to make to my bike, and hopefully I will be able to go a little quicker next time out. It’s been another fantastic meeting, all the team stayed upright and had suffered no mechanicals, so we are all happy and looking forward to round 2.” – Simon Dickson

Kieran WaveKieran Waving

Team Tiger wish to thank their sponsors and family members for their support, without which the racing would not be possible. CaraDataXCite bikesLitetek, Kaiser Baas and Penrite are all important parts of Team Tiger. New to the scene is King Images who will be capturing the team on track at Morgan Park Raceway.

Meeting Statistics

Simon Dickson Kieran McGeown Gary Dickson
Qualifying Time – 250 Production 1:28.803 1:35.320 1:34.682
Qualifying Time – Formula 4 1:29.091 1:36.054 1:34.346
Fastest Lap – 250 Production 1:28.206 1:32.931 1:33.680
Fastest Lap – Formula 4 1:27.927 1:32.898 1:34.259
Total Laps (racing & qualifying) 68  63 68
Average race start lap time 1:32.746 1:37.785 1:39.364
Average race flying lap time 1:29.222 1:34.402 1:35.867
Qualifying Position – 250 Production 1st (grid spot 4) 8th (grid spot 13) 7th (grid spot 12)
Qualifying Position – Formula 4 4th 14th 9th
Best Finish – 250 Production 1st 5th 7th
Best Finish – Formula 4 4th 7th 8th
Round Points – 250 Production 100 62 55
Series Points – 250 Production 100 62 55
Series Position – 250 Production 1st 5th 6th
Round Points – Formula 4 68 51 43
Series Points – Formula 4 68 51 43
Series Position – Formula 4 4th 7th 8th

Full meeting results available at MyLaps.