Southern Downs Road Race Series 2015, Round 3

Winter in Warwick, welcome to cold nights! On the upside the daytime weather was quite excellent! Team Tiger attack round 3 of the Pirelli Southern Downs Road Race Series with a full strength team of Simon Dickson, Gary Dickson and Kieran McGeown. All riders in full strength and all bikes ready for action, Kieran having sorted out a leaking head gasket. Saturday morning the temperature gauges had to wait a bit before they could click into positive territory, thankfully the sun came out and things kicked off on a cold but warming track.

Gary DicksonGary Dickson through turn 3

Everyone took things fairly easy in the first qualifying sessions just making sure bikes felt ok, and getting a feel for grip levels on while the track was at it’s coldest. The Morgan Park Raceway bitumen was reaching a usable temperature by the second qualifying session, and everyone was having a bit more of a go. Competing in 250/300 Production and Formula 4 classes the guys were on decent size grids.

Kieran McGeownKieran McGeown tipping into turn 3

The 250/300 Production class was sharing the track with the faster Moto3/125GP bikes, there were 17 bikes on track, 6 GP bikes and 11 250 production machines.Simon claimed 4th and was the leading Production bike, Gary managed to snag 9th spot, 4th of the production machines, just beating Kieran in 10th.

Simon DicksonSimon Dickson into turn 10

With a smaller than average Formula 4 grid, of 16 bikes. Simon managed a 1:27.746 to claim pole, with Tony Carroll (#4 VFR400) and Michael ‘Mojo’ Webb (#777 VFR400) completed the front row so it was just a bit of a shuffle of the usual suspects. Kieran found a little more pace than he exhibited in the 250 sessions to get 8th, and Gary finding his rhythm and claiming 10th.

Simon DicksonSimon Dickson exiting turn 10

“The Formula 4 pole position was a bit of a surprise, I guess everyone was just being cautious, unsure of the grip level with the morning being so cold. Either way I got into the 1:27’s on old tyres so I’m happy about that. I’ll put new tyres on for tomorrow, with my goal to try and find the lap record if the weather is as good as forecast.” – Simon Dickson

Kieran McGeownKieran McGeown through turn 3

The first race was the 250 production race was a long 10 lap session, everything went pretty smoothly for Simon who took the class win. Kieran was getting back into a fast groove, clicking off a 1:31.534 right before disaster stuck, one of his spark plugs came loose. The resulting misfires caused him to pull in to find out what the problem. Upon discovering the issue, things got worse, the threads in the spark plug hole stripped, he was able to borrow Gary’s spare bike to finish the weekend. Gary settled into a groove setting his best lap of 1:34.364 well into the piece on lap 8 and took 4th in class with his highest place finish for the weekend.

Kieran McGeown @ turn 12Kieran McGeown through turn 12

Formula 4 race 1, the temperature was dropping fast, it on lap two race leader Michael ‘Mojo’ Webb had his front end fold on him through turn 3, Graham Wickings (#332 Kawasaki ZXF400) had the same thing happen a lap later at the same place. With safety a concern the race was red flagged. Upon restarting Tony ‘The Veteran’ Carroll decided that Mojo and Graham had started a real trend and followed suite. The race was red flagged again and the remaining 3 races were postponed to the next day due to concerns about oil. However upon inspection none was found, the most likely explanation was the drop in temperature was most significant at the crest of the hill on turn 3 making it slippery. Thankfully none of the riders that crashed received enough injury to rule them out of Sunday’s racing. Michael ‘The Mojoinator’ Webb learned on the monday after racing that he fractured one of the fingers on his left hand. Making his continued pace on a borrowed bike even more impressive!

Group ShotKieran and Gary in the group taking it easy on a damp turn 4

After a good dinner at our favourite Indian in town the crew woke Sunday to a lovely cold yet sunny day. The first race for the day would be a rerun of the Formula 4 race as it was stopped due to safety concerns. An overnight rain shower meant the track was still drying when the F4 guys got under way.

Ray Simon Kieran @ turn 4Ray Clacher showing Simon and Kieran how to go fast in the damp

With memories of people falling off everyone was taking it very easy, except Matthew Bushell (#146 Honda CBR250RR), Matthew was in the zone, some 8.5 seconds a lap faster than anyone else, and rode off to his first glorious race win. In doing so he joins an exclusive club with only two other members – Jason Hermann and Tony Carroll! Simon started gently with brand new tyres fitted, the damp conditions instilling a fear that saw him drop back to 5th, he managed to work his way forward in the second half of the race, to finish in 2nd place. Kieran brought home the borrowed bike in 9th, just behind a timid Tony Carroll. Gary was not willing to take any risks with the damp and came home safely in 12th, not willing to risk another crash just as he is getting back to 100%.

Kieran and Gary @ turn 4Kieran McGeown and Gary Dickson

When 250 Production race 2 started, the track had warmed up and there was only a few damp patches off the racing line. Simon was crossed the line 4th, behind the 3 leading GP bikes to take the 250 Production class win, with a cracking best time of 1:26.899, 0.07 away from setting a new lap record. Kieran and Gary drag raced to the line, with Kieran taking the honours by half a second to cross the line as the 4th production bike, leaving Gary in 5th. Both riders put down their fastest laps on the final lap and both were in the 1:33.7’s.

Brendan, Michael and GaryGary keeping #368 Brenden Allen and another rider honest

Formula 4 race 2 saw things return to normal, Simon and Tony Carroll broke away at the front, and Tony overtaking Simon on the drag race to the line. A situation now referred to as being “Veteraned”. Kieran suffered a similar fate from Ray Clacher (#327 Honda VFR400) Kieran holding the old master off until the final run to the line. Gary had an exciting race a couple of seconds behind Kieran, swapping places with Michael Lynch (#41 Honda CBR250RR) and Brenden Allen (#386 Honda CBR250RR), Gary crossing the line side by side with Michael after getting an excellent run onto the straight and ending with the exact same race time, and Brenden only a bike length behind.

Gary DicksonGary Dickson @ turn 10

“I got a great run through the chicane onto the straight, I thought I had a nose in front over the line. The race was really good fun, nothing like a friendly 3 rider battle, and both the boys are getting smoother and they are safe to race with. Lets hope for more good battles like that one!” – Gary Dickson

Simon Dickson @ turn 3Simon Dickson getting close to the turn 3 wall

The third 250 Production race was a quick 5 lap dash, Simon made another attempt for the lap record and came up short, setting a best lap of 1:26.927 and finished top 205 Production bike. Kieran and Gary spent the race within touching distance of each other, Kieran managing to hold on to 4th ahead of Gary in 5th. Almost matching best laps with Kieran laying down a 1:33.393 and Gary 5 thousandths quicker with a 1:33.387!

Kieran Gary and Michael @ turn 4Kieran and Gary battling in front of Michael Lynch

“I almost feel bad beating Gary on his bike, however he is making me work for it. I’m pushing as hard as I can while ensuring I can give him back the bike in one piece. We don’t want a repeat of that time I cart-wheeled his bike into oblivion!” – Kieran McGeown

Simon Dickson @ turn 12Simon Dickson @ turn 12

Formula 4 race 3 saw the pace simmer at the front, Tony got the jump on Simon early. Unable to close the gap Simon crossed the line 3 seconds adrift in 2nd place. Kieran was lucky enough to have Ray Clacher aboard his VFR400 right on his tail on the run to the straight. Ray got a good enough run to take advantage of the extra cc’s and Kieran received a “Veteraning” from the most senior rider on track, placing Kieran in 6th. Gary was not quite able to hold onto Ray and Kieran, and finished a couple of seconds adrift but brought home a respectable 7th place.

Kieran Matthew and Gary @ turn 4Matthew Bushell splitting Kieran and Gary

The last 250 Production race was 6 laps in length. The wind had backed off and Simon got a good start and reeled off 2 of the fastest laps he has ever done. This gave him the class win for the race and a perfect 4 from 4 win rate for the round, to take a clean sweep of 8 from 8 in the Queensland Title chase. The icing on the cake was certainly the lap record with his best lap of 1:26.45. Kieran and Gary ended the round with in a sensational race, the pair joined by Michael Lynch and the evergreen Ray Clacher. All 4 riders crossed the line within 1.2 seconds! Kieran kept his form to lead the group over the line for 4th, Gary pipped by Michael Lynch, but held firm in front of Ray Clacher. A solid weekend of results for Gary saw him leave with the 4th highest points for the weekend. Kieran’s DNF in race 1 was costly for the round and saw him end the weekend in 8th.

Simon group shotSimon trying to cling on to the GP bikes of Locky Taylor and Tayla Relph

The final session on track for the team was the fourth Formula 4 race. Simon and Tony Carroll were stuck together for the duration of the race, however Tony was rock solid and put in the laps at the end to ensure Simon would finish in 2nd place, for the race and for the round overall. Kieran had clean race to finish 5th and keep the bike in tip top condition. He could not keep the pace of Ray just in front of him, but did manage to open a couple of seconds to Gary behind in him 6th. While not the most exciting race for either it did leave them in good standing points wise, Kieran leaving the round in 6th and Gary in 7th.

Gary Dickson wavingGary Dickson gives a wave to Wayne from Osella Photographics

Without Team Tiger sponsors we would not be able to achieve what we have, so thankyou to Penrite OilXcite BikesHEL Performance2fiftycc.comCaraDataKaiser Baas, and Litek. As always Wayne from Osella Photographics has managed to make the bikes and riders look better than they do in real life.

Simon Dickson  thumbs upSimon Dickson enjoying the racing

Meeting Statistics

Simon Dickson Kieran McGeown Gary Dickson
Qualifying Time – 250 Production 1:28.359 1:36.772 1:35.405
Qualifying Time – Formula 4 1:27.746 1:34.357 1:35.762
Fastest Lap – 250 Production 1:26.452 1:31.534 1:33.387
Fastest Lap – Formula 4 1:26.596 1:33.635 1:34.655
Total Laps (racing & qualifying) 68 56 64
Average race start lap time * 1:32.006 1:37.612  1:38.724
Average race flying lap time * 1:27.673 1:34.167 1:34.965
Qualifying Position – 250 Production 1st (grid spot 4) 5th (grid spot 10) 4th (grid spot 9)
Qualifying Position – Formula 4 1st 8th 10th
Best Finish – 250 Production 1st 4th 4th
Best Finish – Formula 4 2nd 6th 7th
Round Points – 250 Production 100 51 64
Series Points – 250 Production 300 189 64
Series Position – 250 Production 1st 3rd 12th
QRRC Points 200 120 64
QRRC Finish Position 1st 4th 10th
Round Points – Formula 4 75 55 48
Series Points – Formula 4 227 169 48
Series Position – Formula 4 2nd 4th 18th
* Excludes Formula 4 race 1 times due to damp track

Full meeting results available at mylaps.