Mick’s PCRA 1 Hour 2014 Race Report

Sunday was shaping up to be a perfect day for racing with clear skies and nice spring temperatures forecast for the endurance events. I’d bullied Richard into letting me partner him on the LC in Race 1 in exchange for him partnering me on the ZX6R in Race 4. I definitely got the better end of that deal as I knew the LC well and just had to re-familiarise myself with it, whereas he was going to have to learn a totally new bike.

The first 20 minute qualifying session was up for the LC and Richard went out first to set a couple of lap times and make sure everything felt good, then he came in and let me run it around until I felt comfortable on it again. I’m pleased to say that he’s got the mighty LC running as good as it ever has and I settled in on it very quickly, banging out some reasonable times and trying to remember where its limits were. We ended up 14th on the grid overall and the first in our class by a narrow margin, so we had to be pretty happy with that as a good setup for the main race.

The next qualifying session for us was on the ZX6R, but it took a while to get to as there were some delays after a big crash in another session. This meant the session was cut to 15 minutes and it was Richard’s first chance to have a run on the bike before the race, so I knocked out 3 laps to get a time on the board and then handed over to Richard to just go out and get comfortable on the bike with the instruction that it’ll feel a bit funny in the corners but it goes away if you push a bit harder. He had a couple of laps coming to terms with it and then settled in and managed to knock out some pretty reasonable times. This put is into 13th overall and 3rd in our class, but I knew we could be competitive against the guys in 2nd so was hopeful I could get in front of them and build a bit of a gap in the race.

With qualifying over we were pretty much straight back out on the LC for the first endurance race, so we threw the 6 back up on its stands and headed straight to the dummy grid with the LC. Richard was out first for the now 50 minute event and got a blinder off the LeMans start, but was passed under power by Roger Ward on his number 98 RD350LC towards the end of the first lap. However he put his head down and slowly set about reeling them back in, getting the gap down to a very small margin before pitting and handing the bike over at bang on the half way mark. We had a smooth changeover and I was straight out into it with the aim of chasing down number 98 which appeared to be our main rival. The LC was singing like a banshee and within a lap I caught and passed them, then set about setting a nice comfortable gap and a steady pace to get to the end. Number 98 expired with mechanical issues about 5 laps later, and this left us with a clear lead over our next rivals, finishing the race over a lap up on them and 1st in class.

We had a reasonable break until the final race of the day, so got to watch some of the racing and try to keep the energy levels up before heading back out again on the ZX6R. I was first out this time and got the honours of running across the track in full leathers, however I didn’t do such a good job of it and only got an average start off the line. I had the number 86 in my head as the one to look out for and by lap 2 I’d already passed them and got us up into 9th overall and on the back of a group of F1 bikes. I settled in behind them, looking for a chance to pass and trying to build up as big a gap as I could on our our other rivals, knowing Wade would be steadily pulling away at the front given the pace I was on. Just as we started catching some of the backmarkers and about 9 laps in, we were coming down the hill into T6 and could see a huge cloud of smoke along the main straight. I made sure I got in front of the backmarkers before we hit the yellow flags, then kept my eyes open down the main straight for the oil that was most likely going to be somewhere on the track.

It turned out that it was across 2/3 of the outside line on T2 and another bike had already gone down in it, so we had to cautiously ride through past it and then get back on pace at the green flag. After a couple of corners though, it was full course yellow flags with the safety car coming out. We continued this way for a number of laps before the red flag came out as the clean up job was turning out to be pretty big. We waited in the pits for updates, at one stage being notified that the race would be restarted with the second riders from a grid start for a 20 minute stint, which got Richard’s nerves up to fever pitch, but finally the notification came that there was no way the track could be made safe in the time left and the race was declared.

So the final position for us was 8th overall and 2nd in F2 class, which we were pretty happy with.

Now to the important stuff! I want to say a huge thanks to Richard for stepping up and not only agreeing to race on Saturday and enter the LC on Sunday, but also taking on the challenge of riding the 6, a bike he’d never even swung a leg over before those laps in qualifying. Hopefully next time you actually get to ride it for a few more laps. Also thanks for your help and support over the weekend and for letting me ride the mighty LC again.
Another big thanks to all the guys in the pits, Rob, Supa, Gos, Nelso and Leanne, it made for an entertaining weekend and a great atmosphere. Also thanks to everyone who came up to support us in the pits and on the track, including Keira, Julian, Jonesi, Jessa, Lee and Binksy (I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone there), and congrats to all the others from CR who were racing including Adam and Andrew.

I’m hoping that next year will be a lot more active racing year for Team Ghetto Racing (I’d better make sure I don’t drop any more valves I guess), so I look forward to seeing everyone out there either racing, flagging, pit bitching or watching from the fence. It’s amazing the support that’s out there and it’s greatly appreciated.