Southern Downs Road Race Series 2014, Round 2

Team Tiger made the 250km journey out to Morgan Park Raceway in Warwick for round 2 of the Pirelli Southern Downs Road Race Championships, an event run by the Motorcycle Sportsmen of Queensland. The team – Kieran McGeown, Gary Dickson and Simon Dickson – were greeted by perfect conditions for racing. Although there was a threat of rain on the Sunday, the rain never arrived and the cloud cover kept the air temperature just right.

Simon wavingSimon waving to the crowd

The team competed in the 250 Production class which had a solid grid of 12 bikes. The class shared the grid with the Formula 3 and Moto3/125GP classes so there were 33 bikes in total entered – a very large grid indeed! The guys also competed in Formula 4 which was comprised of 22 riders on bikes under 500cc built before 1995.

Kieran turn 2Kieran through turn 2

After the 2 qualifying sessions for each class the grid was set. Formula 4 was first up and Simon was the teams leading rider finishing in 4th with a 1:29.04. Gary grabbed 10th with a 1:32.044 and Kieran missed the first session but managed to ride a 1:33.950 to take 15th. With 250 Production being on such a large grid, setting a good qualifying time was really important. But with so many bikes on the track it was hard to get a clean lap to set a fast time. Simon managed a 1:29.066 which earned him 9th place – the second of the 250 Production bikes. Gary managed a 1:32.548 to get 19th and Kieran held onto 22nd with a 1:33.478.

Gary and KieranGary and Kieran staying close

“Sharing the grid with the F3 bikes really increased the challenge of both getting a good grid position and race starts. The F3 bikes have more horsepower and torque than the 250’s and it makes a big difference off the line” – Gary Dickson

Kieran turn 10Kieran ahead of David Tomlins (Kawasaki ZXR400)

Formula 4 race 1 paved the way for the weekend, with every position proving to be a real challenge to hold onto. Simon pushed to the maximum he could on old tyres and managed to come away with 6th and a best lap of 1:28.675. Kieran found some pace and worked his way forward to 9th and set a best lap of 1:30.227 in the process. Gary, while leading a pack of 3 for most of the race, lost out on the last lap to Kieran and Cameron King (Honda VFR400) to finish 11th with a best lap of 1:31.260.

Simon @ turn 4Simon @ turn 4

“I quite enjoyed that race! Although I found on the right handers, especially turn 2, the rear was happy to start sliding once I got on the gas. I’ll get fresh tyres fitted this evening and see if it helps enough to keep up with the front group.” – Simon Dickson

Gary turn 10 back shotGary @ turn 10

In race 1 of 250 Production Simon engaged in a race long battle with Jeff Duke (Honda CBR250RR) to finish 3rd (11th outright) behind Jeff, and set a best lap of 1:28.558. Kieran picked up speed during this race and put down a best lap of 1:30.011 finishing in 4th place (16th outright). Gary again was in a pack with Kieran but this time it was a group of 6! Although he set his best lap of the weekend of 1:30.594 he was relegated to 5th (18th outright).

Kieran and Gary hunting ChrisKieran and Gary hunting Chris Thompson (Moriwaki MD250H)

I really picked up the pace and set my fastest lap on the final lap of the race to keep in front of Chris on his Moriwaki. Not only was it one of my fastest laps of the race but it’s one the of the fastest laps if not the fastest I have ever done on that bike. I have done a faster lap on Gary’s spare bike but then I cartwheeled that bike into oblivion the following lap.” – Kieran McGeown

Simon turn 10Simon through turn 10

The second Formula 4 race Simon stepped up the effort on the bike and managed to finish 5th, up a position from the previous race, and set a best lap of 1:28.727. Although it was a slower best lap than race 1, his total race time over the 6 laps was 0.6 of a second quicker than race 1. Gary and Kieran finished 2nd and 3rd of a 4 bike cluster, with only 0.02 of a second separating them. Gary crossed the line in 9th with a best lap of 1:31.874 and had Kieran close behind him in 10th with a best lap of 1:31.635.

Kieran, Gary and Jeff DukeKieran and Gary try to capitalise on an error from Jeff Duke (Honda CBR250RR)

“That was a top race with plenty of position changes. That was the closest I’ve been to Jeff at the end of a race and it’s always a pleasure to get the best of Kieran, especially when we cross the line so close together!” – Gary Dickson

Jeff Duke being hunted by Simon

Race 2 of 250 Production would be last race of the day for Team Tiger. It was another thoroughly eventful race with Simon battling with Sarah Fairbrother (Moriwaki MD250H) and Ken Croucher (Honda RS125) and although he was unable to beat the GP bikes to the finish line he finished 2nd (10th outright) in 250 Production. Sam Phillips took his second 250 Production win and broke the lap record – down to 1:26.830! Gary and Kieran were involved in a 5 bike scrap! Gary made moves at the right time to earn his 4th place (15th outright) throwing down his quickest lap of 01:31.044. Kieran was unable to push through the traffic and ended in 5th (17th outright) although he was finding his pace and set his best Saturday lap of 1:31.110.

Simon in the packSimon in the pack, Ken Croucher (#24), Sarah Fairbrother (#14)

“I had an absolute stonking battle with Sarah and Kenny, I’ve never finished behind Sarah before so I was pretty impressed with the way she rode, as she earned that position on track above me in that race. I’m really looking forward to more grip tomorrow with new tyres as I am having to go easier on the front into corners and the rear slides too easily for my liking.” – Simon Dickson

Kieran @ turn 2Kieran getting to the apex @ turn 2

Saturday night the whole Team Tiger crew, including wives, girlfriends and kids took part in a motorcycle themed trivia night that was held at O’Mahonys Irish pub in Warwick. It was also a night of celebration with Simon’s son Reilly turning 3 that day. Happy Birthday Reilly!

Simon @ turn 3 - back shotSimon trying to get tucked in out of turn 3

Racing on Sunday kicked off with Formula 4 race 3. With Simon’s new tyres fitted, he was keen to see if he could catch Sam Phillips. The race began and the new tyres helped him stick in the 5 way battle for the race lead. But it was down to 4 when a few laps in one of the race leaders Tony Carroll (Honda VFR400) ran wide on the exit of turn 3, lucky to even keep it upright. In the end it would be 1.3 seconds to separate the first 4 bikes across the finish line. Simon couldn’t find a way past Jason Hermann (Honda RVF400) that would stick and finished in 4th with a best lap of 1:28.238. Gary and Kieran engaged in another thrilling 6 way battle for positions 6 through to 11. Gary took 9th and Kieran followed in 10th with best laps of 1:31.622 and 1:31.678. Both times were set on the final lap with the duo crossing the line with less than a tenth of a second between them.

Gary @ turn 3Gary tipping into turn 3

“It was crazy out there in such a big pack! It’s really hard work to open up enough metres on the faster bikes so you can get the the next corner before they get to apply the horse power and drive back past. It’s good fun having such close racing and the icing on the cake was coming out ahead of Kieran.” – Gary Dickson

Simon keeping it tight through turn 2Simon nailing turn 2

250 Production race 3 saw Simon battling most of the race with Jason Hermann until an error braking into turn 4 lost Simon the tow leaving him to complete the race 2nd (9th outright) with a best lap of 1:28.635. Kieran brought out the race craft and managed to cross the line ahead of Mark Gordon (Suzuki SV650) to claim 4th (13th outright) with his best lap a 1:31.029. Gary, although unable to get the front of the group of 6 like Kieran, was still able to bring it home in 5th (16th outright) with a best lap of 1:31.566.

Kieran and Gary looking for a way past Mark GordonKieran and Gary trying to get past Mark Gordon (Suzuki SV650)

“I really felt I put in a good ride then! Getting in front of Mark Gordon can be a real challenge. To get enough metres so he can’t pass me back on the SV650’s before the finish line requires a really fast run through the final turns and I’m happy I managed to do it. The victory over Gary also closes up the points between us. Coming into this weekend he had 11 points over me so it’s important I get a few back this weekend.” – Kieran McGeown

Gary and Michael Webb out of turn 2Gary and Michael “Mojo” Webb side by side out of turn 2

Formula 4 race 4 was the first of the longer races for the weekend, 10 laps. Simon got away with the leading pack until lap 8 when his bike lost power. The gap back to the second group was large enough that he still finished in 5th, setting his best lap of 1:27.731 on lap 5. Kieran found some more confidence in the front end and was able to step up his level, finishing 8th in front of Michael Webb (Honda VFR400) with a best lap of 1:29.821 – his fastest lap of the weekend. Gary could not hold Kieran’s pace and finished in 10th with his fastest Formula 4 lap of the weekend – 1:31.083.

Kieran from Gary from Glenn ChandlerKieran from Gary from Glenn Chandler (Honda CBR250RR)

“Before this weekend my bike was a bit tired so I swapped engines and it turned out to be a good thing!  In previous races I struggled to keep up with the other riders but in this race, because of the engine change, I had more horsepower so my times were improving with a couple of 1:29’s – my fastest time for a while. Getting fast times is great but beating Gary is what really puts the smile on my face” – Kieran McGeown

Simon checking getting a close up of Sam PhillipsSimon taking a close look at Sam Phillips (Honda CBR250RR) rear tyre

250 Production race 4 would be a real test for all riders and machinery being 15 laps! Simon had swapped bikes after experiencing the power issue in the previous race. He was running with Sam Phillips (Honda CBR250RR), Jason Hermann (Honda RVF400), Tony Carroll (Honda VR400) and Brian Houghton (Moriwaki MD250H). With 5 laps to go the bike Simon was on was no longer getting enough fuel and had no drive out of the corners. Riding the bike as fast as possible with no drive out of the corners Simon was still able to bring it home 2nd of the 250 Production machines and 8th overall – setting a new PB of 1:27.646. Kieran continued to ride in a faster rhythm and finished 4th of 250 Production (11th outright) with a fastest lap of 1:29.996. Gary spent the race battling with 4 other riders and lead the group across the line to finish 5th of 250 Production (15th outright) setting a best lap of 1:31.858.

Gary showing Glenn Chandler how to get that extra 1%Gary showing Glenn Chandler that extra 1%

“The group battles this weekend have been brilliant, and that was no exception. We got lapped by Callum Barker on his Moto3 machine, but that still left 14 laps of intense racing. Glen really held onto me through that race and we kept a good pace while a couple of bikes that started out stronger than us, dropped back as the riders got tired. I really enjoy a race where you have to conserve your energy to make it to the end rather than just go out at 100% straight away.” – Gary Dickson

Kieran showing the other 250's his rear wheelKieran showing the other 250’s his rear wheel

Over the lunch break the team took the carburettors off Simon’s primary bike and cleaned them to see if that would resolve the issue he had with that bike since the spare he was riding had developed the fuel issue.

Gary and Kieran keeping a tight line

Formula 4 race 5 saw Simon push hard early even leading the race for parts of a number of laps. Simon eventually finished in 2nd behind Tony Carroll and set another new PB – 1:27.582. Kieran spent most of the race in clear space trying to catch up to the next pack of riders finishing in 8th with a best lap of 1:31.021. Gary arrived across the line in 9th 7 seconds in arrears of Kieran, with a best lap of 1:32.856 showing he was beginning to tire after so many races and laps.

Simon inspecting the rear of Justin Hall's Honda 125GP bikeJustin Hall (Honda RS125) and Simon the tyre inspector

“I felt really confident on the bike during that race. Cleaning the carburettors fixed the lack of power and with a decent start I spent most of the race leading the pack. I pushed really fast into turns 1 and 2 a few times to get back in front of Tony and Jason on the 400’s. It was pretty exciting and I was fairly close to the limit but kept it upright and I’m stoked to have taken 2 tenths off my PB.” – Simon Dickson

Kieran into turn 3Kieran leading a group through turn 3

The final race of the weekend was race 5 250 Production. This would be the most thrilling race of the weekend for Simon. He and Sam Phillips spent the whole race inches apart, while also looking for a way to get past Jason Hermann. The race ended a photo finish, with only a couple of inches between the front wheels of the duo. Simon not quite getting on the throttle early enough to take victory over Sam. Kieran had another exciting race as part of a 6 way battle for 11th outright, eventually taking 4th 250 Production and 12th outright behind Chris Thomas (Moriwaki MD250H). He again managed a best lap under the 1:30 mark setting  a best lap of 1:29.985. Gary finished 3 seconds behind the pack Kieran was battling in to finish as 6th 250 Production (17th outright) with a best lap of 1:31.980. This marked the first race of the event where Glen Chandler (Honda CBR250RR) was able to better Gary on track.

Simon chasing Sam PhillipsSimon chasing Sam Phillips (Honda CBR250RR)

“That was one of the most exciting races I’ve ever taken part in! Sam and I were only inches apart for most of the race trying to find a way past Jason. We traded places numerous times and both pushed to the limit but it all came down to the last corner on the last lap. Jason stuck it up the inside of Sam into 11 and I was trying to line up a perfect run onto the straight however I didn’t count on Sam going around the outside of Jason to take the line into 12. This caused the pair of them to slow down more than I had planned for, causing me to touch the brakes and ruin my drive out of 12. Sam and I were side by side in a drag race to the line but he took victory over me by only an inch or two. He took a big gamble trying to get back in front of Jason and it paid off by stopping me from getting past.” – Simon Dickson

Gary wavingGary waving

Team Tiger had a successful weekend of racing, with all the bikes returning home in the same condition as they arrived at the track. The racing was incredible and the weather was perfect. We would once again like to thank out sponsors, Penrite Oil,, Xcite bikes, CaraData and Litetek. Also thanks to Wayne for taking great action shots, and the riders’ support crew for coming out with us and making the events so fun! Full event results on mylaps.

Meeting Statistics

Simon Dickson Gary Dickson Kieran McGeown
Qualifying Time – 250 Production 1:29.066 1:32.548 1:33.478
Qualifying Time – Formula 4 1:29.040 1:32.044 1:33.950
Fastest Lap – 250 Production 1:27.646 1:30.594 1:29.985
Fastest Lap – Formula 4 1:27.582 1:31.083 1:29.821
Qualifying Position – 250 Production 2nd (grid spot 9) 4th (grid spot 19) 5th (grid spot 22)
Qualifying Position – Formula 4 4th 10th 15th
Best Finish – 250 Production 2nd 4th 4th
Best Finish – Formula 4 2nd 9th 8th
Round Points – 250 Production 108 81 88
Round Points – Formula 4 87 57 60
Series Points – 250 Production 199 155 151
Series Points – Formula 4 140 99 95
Series Position – 250 Production 2nd 4th 5th
Series Position – Formula 4 4th 8th 9th

250 Production Races:

Formula 4 Races:

Article edited by Leah Berney Marketing Pty Ltd