We arrived at Morgan Park Race Track on Friday night and unpacked our bikes and gear ready for Saturday morning. We arrived at the track at 7:30 am and went through all the usual routines: sign on, having the bikes and gear scrutineered, putting on tyre warmers, fuelling the bikes and attending rider’s briefing.
Formula 4 was the first session out and the bike was running a lot better due to a new twin pipe exhaust, clutch cable and having the front and rear brake callipers serviced! Qualifying went well and the bike felt good. I posted a time of 1.27.09 for 2nd on the grid.
Formula 3and 6 was second qualifying and I was hoping the bike went better than last round as I was struggling to do a 1:28. I ended up with a 1.26.1 putting me in 4th position on the grid, 2nd in F3 class.
Next was Formula 4 qualifying and I did a 1.27.09 putting me in 2nd position behind Jason Hermann riding a rvf400. It was also starting to get quite hot with the temperatures in the low thirties.
The bike was running and stopping much better than last round. Just needed to get my starts a little better!
First race out was F3/F6. The grids had been changed from 4 across to 3 and pole was left open in memory of the President of Morgan Park Raceway, Bill Campbell who passed away unexpectedly the week before.
I got off to my usual slow start and was relegated to about 6th spot by the first turn and so began slowly passing each rider trying to catch 2 other riders in my class. This was a 9 lap race so lucky for me I didn’t have to try and make any hairy moves to pass some slower riders. Once passed, I settled in and slowly gained on the 2 riders ahead, Mojo Webb and Jason Hermann. By lap 4 I had passed Mojo and tried to catch Jason but by then he had gained a hefty lead and I had to settle for 2nd place.
There were more races to run on the Saturday afternoon however, due to some crashes in which one of my main rivals was injured and due to a sidecar spilling oil on the track all races were postponed until Sunday with reduced laps. (Get well soon Jason!)
Sunday arrived with clear blue skies and very hot temperatures. Formula 4 was our first race. As Jason was not able to ride I was now the pole sitter. Mojo Webb got his usual hole shot start and I followed next with Simon Dickson biting at our heels and doing his usual outbraking manoeuvre into turn 4. The three of us battled for many laps with Mojo “Dorothy” Webb coming 3rd, Simon “Sneaky”Dickson in 2nd and me “the Veteran ” so I’m told, coming in first. John Carpenter riding a rvf 400 didn’t make the start due to a flat battery. After borrowing one of mine he was back in the next races and his times are getting progressively quicker each round.My best lap time of 1.27.3
Formula 3 was next up. Again I was slow to start and was in about 6th position on turn 1. I made up a few places under brakes at turn 4 and 6 and proceeded to put in a few fast laps and get back on the tail of the front running guys. This proved a little more difficult than expected as they were running a pretty fast pace! I finally caught Mojo and eventually passed him down the straight as I managed to get a good drive out of turn 12. In the following video a couple of the boys give their version of the race. This footage was from Mojo Webb’s bike and Simon Dickson’s. My fastest lap was a 1:27.1
Formula 4: I started off on pole and by turn 4 was running 3rd. Simon passed me up the inside and so I settled in just following to see what pace was going to be run. Simon got passed Mojo and I could see he was ready to put down some fast laps and had already streaked off and had a good 50 metre lead by turn 10. It took me another lap to get passed Mojo and I decided to go as hard as possible as their was only 1 1/2 laps left and Simon was putting in fast and consistent laps. I finally managed to catch him by turn 10 and knew I had enough HP to be able to pass before the finish line. I left the run a bit late and only won by .03 of a second! Best lap 1:26.3, which was my fastest for the weekend.
April 11 and 12 is the Australian Superbike Championships @ Morgan Park. I will be entering the club round in Formula 3. Photos courtesy of Osella Photographic. We would also like to thank David and Yvonne Birdling for their great hospitality whenever we stay at Buckaroo Motor Inn @ Warwick and would not hesitate to recommend staying there if you are ever in Warwick. Nikki Carpenter for her great photos as well.