So we decided that Team Tiger would make the effort this year and travel up to Townsville so we could complete both rounds of the Queensland Champs, hoping one of us could make serious play for the championship.
The bikes left Wednesday at lunch time, we modified the trailer to hold 4 bikes instead of 3 and it worked a treat. No dramas with the drive up or back. Gary drove up.
Kieran and I (Simon) flew up friday afternoon, I believe this was much easier than driving for 16 hours.
We arrived to have the pit area all sorted for us by Gary - legendary dad that he is.
Gary, Kieran and I.
All we had to do was get dressed and jump straight on the bike for Friday evening practise - under lights
Kieran managed to lowside at practise, no real damage just a brake lever. Lucky our 2 spare levers arrived the day before. So we punted around some more that evening getting used to the track. Fun little track, it's a kart track so it's not large but it's quite flowing in it's layout, only one super super tight hairpin.
We finished up at about 10pm that evening and setup camp beside the track. We noticed Kierans bike was leaking water from his radiator - his little crash must have given the radiator a little knock and it opened a little hole, lucky we had a spare that Kieran had been testing, so a bit of trackside mechanicing and Kierans bike was ready for the rest of the weekend. Got some sleep and woke up the next morning ready for action!
Started out with practise, followed by qualifying. Turns out there are a couple of pretty quick guys up there, I didn't push too hard in qualifying thinking I would easily get on the front row. I paid for my laziness. 5th! Kieran managed 7th and Gary qualified 10th.
The first race was upon us! Excitement was boiling.
Here is the onboard footage from my bike and from Kierans bike.
I finished 4th, in the first lap the rider in front of my went down right in front of me. I was just positioning myself to attempt an overtake on one of the next two corners, instead I was just working on not hitting him. We put down some decent lap times in the first race, Kieran set his best lap of the weekend in that race and I was unable to best my lap until the last race.
Race 2 was up next. I got a better start and tucked it under Kieran in turn 2 and ran away with 3rd position, Kieran kept the 4th spot. Gary raced to a solid 9th place in both races on the Saturday having a great tussle with Veronica.
That evening we experienced the Pony Express, 45 mins of racing under lights, with a shootout to decide qualifying positions and a Le Mans start to get us off the line.
Kieran and I entered as a team and Gary entered as an Iron man. Qualifying was left to Kieran on our team as I wanted to do the Le Mans start - that and Kieran is the start master and the shoot-out segment of qualifying would benefit from great off the line ability. Kieran qualified 7th in the 10 mins qualifying session. The shoot out then began, it works like this. The last two riders in qualifying line up on the grid in whatever spot they want on the front row. They then do a one lap race, winner stay on and is joined by the next qualifier. The looser leaves and that is his/her final qualifying position. This continues up the order till everyone has had a go. Kieran and his starting ability payed off! We went from 7th to pole with the shootout, Kieran just roasted everyone that he came up against off the line and completed the lap in front.
So with pole position we began the race, I was excited about doing a le mans start. It went like this
I led for about 10 laps then held 2nd for about 8 more laps finally was bumped into third. I was getting dizy and my tires were getting slippery, I decided to come in and let Kieran ride for a bit. I simply could not keep the pace of the two 400cc machines that had gotten in front of me. So we changed over without issue. Kierans bike got a bit hot after a while and we swapped again basically doing about 15 min sessions between swap overs. Gary managed to do the whole race on his own - I have no idea how he managed to keep such a decent pace for so long - people doing the vent as an Iron Man had one mandatory 10 second stop. Over all Kieran and I finished in 5th and Gary in 7th, so a pretty respectable first enduro style race for Team Tiger.
We hit the hay that night and woke up to a slightly cooler Sunday.
Sunday we started with a practise session to get warmed up then race 3. My camera batteries died for race 3 so I have no footage. However Kieran got footage - and he crashed. We think his bike got a bit hot and his overflow boiled over into the belly pan, as the spectators at that corner said they say water come from his bellypan and onto his rear tyre. He didn't break any bones - just another brake lever and a few more scratches. Our welded on engine case protectors holding out well - the bike has been down 3 times on the right hand side and probably get one more out before it's time to replace it. I managed to get 3rd again, I was in second place for a little bit but left the door open for David to take me back on the next corner then I could not hold his pace. Gary held on to another 9th position.
As you can see from the video his camera and mount did not manage to stay attached to the bike - the camera mount was busted by a part of Kieran as he left the bike. So no footage from Race 4 for Kieran but I managed a screamer in race 4, finally getting 2nd place on the last lap 3 corners from the end. I was ecstatic. Kieran managed a good ride after a bad start to take 4th. Gary once again held his 9th position Getting in front of Veronica earlier this race and setting his best lap time for the weekend.
So I finished the weekend with 3rd place over all. Kieran in 7th and Gary in 9th.
Thanks for reading.