Competitors awoke to a cold and foggy morning for Round 5 of the PCRA Champs. The fog took its time clearing, and when it eventually did, an hour of racing had been lost. Race organizers decided to shorten each race to three laps, in order to allow the 112 plus riders to try and get through the days program of one qualifying session and three full race events.
With the track having not dried out completely from the early morning fog, it was a slippery affair for the first group out; the sidecars. Running around on slicks, most of the field crept around like a cat on a hot tin roof. But fortune favours the brave and the team of Chris Pym/Matt McKinnon took pole from Eddie and Bronson Poucher followed by the pairing of Richard Hirst/Brendon Justice. Unfortunately Simon Reynolds (Suzuki 1000) dropped a cylinder through an electrical problem when a plug came off the coil, and started race one at the back of the field. Working hard through race one he eventually qualified in fourth spot. Race one went to Pym/McKinnon (JB 1000) with Raynor/Cummins (Shellbourne Honda) in second and Poucher/Poucher (Windle Suzuki) claiming third. Race two wasn’t any happier for the Reynolds team. Sitting on the second row of the grid, they were desperately trying to avoid a previous teams oil and sawdust residue on their starting position, however a stern bit of guidance from a grid marshall had them sitting right on top of the oil. Getting no traction off the starting grid left them with a pile of work to do, and 4 extra places to climb and only three laps in which to do it. Unfortunately they had to be satisfied with fifth. Race two podiums went sequentially to Pym/McKinnon, Alton/Bonney (Shellbourne Honda) and Raynor/Cummins.
Totally owning the Motorlites this round was Tyler Bradford ( Honda 150). Fighting off an army of 42 other competitors from qualifying through to race three late in the day, Tyler just reeled off 1:58/59’s all day. Regular as clockwork! Hot on his heels was Anthony Marsden (Honda RS85) who had a lock on second place for the day with 1 sec off the pace laps and breathing Bradford’s exhaust all up close and personal. Third was split evenly between Jack McGauley (Honda RS85) and Andrew Bennett (Honda 80) a further couple seconds behind.
Twenty riders gridded up for group 4 qualifying. This was comprised of 10 entries in the hotly contested P6 F750, 4 entries in Forgotten Era 750’s, 3 in Post Classic 750’s, 2 in Forgotten Era Unlimited and 1entry in Post Classic Unlimited. Qualifying saw the track dry but as the fog hadn’t long lifted and the sun hadn’t yet warmed the racing surface up, so a little restraint was still the order of the day. The seasoned Period 6 racer Rob Cole made a rare appearance at this event and topped the time sheet with a very slick1:48.5 on his GSX-R750. The front row of the grid featured four Suzuki GSX-R with John Mckenzie, Steve Anderson and Stuart Lomax keeping Cole company. In race one Rob Cole was in a class of his own with a blistering 1:45.7 pass crossing seven seconds ahead of second place Rick Kwok with John McKenzie looking over Kwok’s shoulder only seven tenths behind him. At the finish only three seconds covered second through to seventh place, the racing was that close. Even Steve Wood on his old Honda 1000, who despite being the only Unlimited Post Classic bike in the race, decided to mix it with the period 6 bikes all of which were running at 1:48 or better. It was an exciting day to be watching these talented riders push each other all the way to the line.
Wayne Gow took the win in Forgotten Era Unlimited on his immaculate Moto Guzzi 1000, Bruce Ireland (Yamaha 750) won the Forgotten Era 750 class and Paul Coughlan won the Post Classic 750 on his Norton Commando.
In race two, Rob Cole took the win (1:46.7) with Steve Anderson making a determined effort to chase Rob down shaving four seconds off the differential time from the previous race and making himself a much larger threat in Coles’ rear view mirror. Kwok was relegated to third a further three seconds back. The podium standing for the older classes remained the same as race one. Due to a couple lengthy delays, by the time race three came around for this group, the sun was setting low in the west. Cole once again proved too good for the field, and took the chequered by three seconds. Steve Anderson carefully held onto both second and his championship points lead with Dean Scott held out to third by three seconds.
A field of 30 bikes in this grouping with 17 Pre-Modern F1 machines, 6 entered for Pre-Modern F2 and 7 takers for Period 6 Unlimited. The track was in excellent shape by the time qualifying got underway and Paul Grant Mitchell set the benchmark time on his F1 ZXR750 posting a 1:44.5 .Completing the front row was Rob Cole, Daniel Birch (F1 ZXR750) and Wade Lewis (F2 CBR600). No sooner had race one gotten underway that in the dogfight for turn two Daniel Birch low sided. As he was running to recover his bike to continue the race was red flagged. It seemed that on the start line a great deal of oil had been discovered which occurred when Stephen Ward’s Ducati 888 snapped a drive chain which subsequently whipped into his engine and smashed the casing After a quick mop up the race restarted with some high stakes dicing taking place between Paul Grant Mitchell who took the win, and Wade Lewis and Ryan Young ( F1 CBR900R) having to settle for second and third.
Race two had barely gotten underway when it too was red flagged. Unfortunately this time the red flag shown on the first lap was a result of Phil Lane crashing his F1 FZR750 on the very fast left hander around corporate hill. We wish Phil, who is widely known as the nicest guy in the paddock, a very speedy recovery . This resulted in a bit of a delay in racing. During the delay Paul Grant Mitchell was called before the Clerk of Course and Race Steward for reacting to the red flag in a manner not to their liking and was excluded from the meeting. With the restart underway it was Wade Lewis who took on the late afternoon diminishing light and held on for a race win. Closely followed by Ryan Young who bettered his previous placing by one spot and Daniel Birch making amends after his race one fall to take third. Rob Cole took the P6 honors and 4th outright for the second race in a row.
As usual there was great racing throughout the all the groups with many great dices. Due to numerous delays through the day group 5, 6 and 7 missed out on their third race but such is case with racing.
Words and pics by Rob Annesley