-- Hartwell Motorcycle Club Championship - Round Four - Phillip Island
-- By Jake Skate
The picturesque Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit played host to Round Four of the 2013 Hartwell Motorcycle Club Championships. This round was combined with Round Three of the MRRDA Junior National Championship, and the Formula 400 Tri-State Challenge.
The round saw more then 130 riders take to the track to battle it out in everything put perfect conditions. Saturday saw heavy rain from the night before and morning leave riders with a damp track, only giving riders a dry line by mid qualifying.
The difficult conditions saw Jason Embley take a run-away pole position in the Formula 400 qualifying. Michael Halliday was unable to match the pace set by Embley, taking second position on the grid, more than 1.7 seconds behind him. New South Welshman Phillip Burke, rounded out the front row piloting his Honda CBR 400 into third place 1.315 seconds behind Halliday.
After a difficult qualifying, Yamaha FZR rider, Jack Fox, dominated the first race; with over a six second lead on Jason Embley. It was an all-Victorian top four, with Tim Podt and Michael Halliday, taking out third and fourth place respectively. Young gun from New South Wales, Stephen Craig, lead fellow statesman Phillip Burke in fifth place.
The remaining two races for the Formula 400 class saw Kelen Kawasaki rider Stephen Craig take both wins with Glenn Kettle, Michael Halliday, Jack Fox and Tim Podt, well in the mix. Race 2 was cut short, red flagged and declared complete after only 3 laps because of rain at the rear of the circuit, which saw a number of riders have some very close calls.
Queenslander Tayla Relph had an impressive qualifying in the 150GP/250cc class, snatching pole from fellow Queenslander Troy Guenther by almost a second on her final lap on the drying track. “I was in fourth and came into the pits, so I quickly went back out on track, with not enough time to change tyres or anything, and I just went out there, like everyone else, still on wets, and in the end I managed to qualify a whole second in front of second place.”
KTM RCR 250 rider Lawson Walters took out the final spot on the all Moto3 front row, with Callum Alderson putting the first of the 125GP machines in fifth place on the grid.
Queenslander Troy Guenther held off Walters in race 1, with fellow Queenslander Callum Barker coming in third. Race two once again had Guenther snatch the win from Walters, with Callum Barker taking out third. The final race had Guenther and Walters in one and two, with Victorian 125GP young gun Callum Alderson taking out third. Race three also saw Matt Barton take fourth place only on video replay from Callum Barker, with less than 1 thousandth of a second gap between the two.
After a 20 Minute + 1 Lap race, the Greg Bailey Feature event, the win was decided on video replay with a margin of less than .001 of a second. The win was handed to Ben Burke from current series leader, Tyson Jones, the pair dicing their Kawasaki ZX10’s furiously for the entirety of the race. Local Mark Harris took position 3 on board his Suzuki GSXR 1000.
Lawson Walters took out pole position in qualifying for the Junior 80cc class, however struggled throughout the weekend to maintain his Metrakit 80 in that position, with the likes of the RMU GP8 shod Jacob Street and Jacob Whitehouse sharing the pointy end of field with Jock Manser. Whitehouse managed to take the first 3 races from Street, with Street making a comeback and winning the final race by .018 of a second. Walters finished the round in fourth place overall just 5 points ahead of sister Shelby Walters. It was a weekend to forget for RMU rider Tayla Street who was plagued with issues throughout the weekend with a fall on Friday practice entering turn 10 and suffered machine dramas in the first and fourth races.
Despite pressure from Drew Sells, Nic Liminton took his Honda CBR 150 to a clean sweep of wins in the Junior 150cc class. Sells had a fall exiting turn four in race one, and despite remounting and finishing the race, handed Lachlan Epis second position for the race. Tom Dodds however was the consistent third place finisher for the remainder of the races, with Danielle Foot in close pursuit.
The Junior 70 class saw only two competitors, being Scott Nicholson and Joel Kelso. Pint sized Kelso took wins in the first two races, whilst in the third Kelso and Nicholson both took a race-ending fall in the same location at turn 6. Nicholson suffered a broken finger, whilst Kelso went on to finish race 4 collecting precious championship points.
Ben Blyth took a clean sweep of the 600 Non Expert class with Kenny Redding, Glenn Nankervis and Chris Watt all sharing in second place positions throughout the three races. The 600 Expert class saw Michael Halliday steer his Yamaha R6 to the round win, after current championship leader Bruce Howie received a jumped start penalty, sending him from first to fourth in the final race.
The Over 600 Expert and Non Expert class saw Tyson Jones take out the Expert class from Mark Harris and David Trotter, whilst in the Non Expert Class, Alastair Loomes fended off Paul Dodd and Shaun Pilmore to take the round win.
The 600 and Over 600 Novice class was closely contested with John Blyth taking the first race win beating all the 1000cc machines on his Triumph Daytona 675, but it wasn’t by much, with David Simons the first of the 1000cc machines only finishing .001 of a second behind. Aprilia RSV mounted Simons took race two from David Meszaros, who lead Jeremy Gunia by an 8 second gap. Meszaros returned the favour to Simons in race 3, winning by just over 5 seconds.
The Pre modern class attracted 29 competitors with Wayne Nicholson taking his Honda CBR 929 to a narrow round win by 2 points in the over 500cc class, from David Simons and Donny Biddle. Jason Embley took the round win in the under 500cc class from Brian Bezzina only winning on a count back after both finishing on 50 points, with Andrew Werner only 4 points behind in third. The third race saw drama with Van Ark Media rider Graham Van Arkadie crashing out heavily at MG corner on the second lap, causing the race to be red flagged and restarted as a two-part race.
Richard Marrocchini took his Ducati 1098 to the round win in the Thunderbikes class on 67 points, ahead of Andrew Lear on 54 points and Triumph rider Greg Breese on 53 points.
Six sidecars took to the track, however none were able to match the pace of the pairing of Justin and Melissa Foot, who took the round win, with the consistent Chris Cowley and Laura Thompson taking their Suzuki GSXR sidecar to second for the round overall.
The Hartwell Motorcycle Club Championship is drawing towards the end with the fifth and final round to be held at Broadford on the 10th and 11th of August.
-- Scott Nicholson Report
Round 3 of the MRRDA was held at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in conjunction with Hartwell Round 4. I missed out on Friday practice but that was no problem as I went out in warm up and learnt the direction of the track again.
Warm up was a cruise for me as I just needed to learn the track again. I had a big slide out of Siberia which made me feel a bit like I was doing dirt track.
Qualifying was damp and slippery but I went out and tried my best to qualify well but it just couldn’t be done qualifying on the fifth row of the grid.
Race 1 - Race 1 turned out to be a good race getting my best start I have done since the start of my racing. I hitched in behind Nic Limington and Drew Sells into turn one but dropped back down the straights on the under powered Moriwaki. But the Moriwaki was handling well through the corners and just stayed with them the tiniest bit. Drew Sells crashed out just in front of me through Honda Corner on the second lap which put me in hot pursuit of Nic Limington but I just couldn’t do it and ended up 8th overall and 2nd 70cc.
Race 2 - Race 2 held out to have an even better start and was in front of Drew and Nic into turn one but Nic got me back through Southern Loop and started to pull away, but my Bridgestone tyres held in there and let me catch Nic through Honda, Siberia and MG. I held out Drew Sells and Lauchie Epis to come home in 8th position overall and second 70cc again.
Race 3 - Sunday morning loomed and there was no rain but the wind was blowing quite heavily. With no warm up in the morning we had to go straight out racing. We all went out on the warm up lap cruising to see the track conditions for the race. I was coming into Siberia when the wind shook the bike nearly through me off but i saved it and went around the corner and the wind blew the bike around once more and flung me of the high side of the bike. I never made the start of the race and the medical team had come to me to pick me up and told me I had a possible broken finger.
I never made it out for race 4 because I was in bad shape but there were some good battles all throughout the field.
I still managed to come second on a count back in the MRRDA and second in Hartwell. This weekend I was also able to win the whole Hartwell 2013 series.
Thank you to Hartwell, MRRDA, all the Marshalls, my good friends the medical response team, Mum, Dad and my brothers Wayne and Craig for helping out this weekend. Also my thanks to my sponsors G. Williams Motorcycle Engineering for their help on bike maintenance, Traction Control Suspension for setting my bike up the best possible way for this weekend.
- HARTWELL ROAD RACE SERIES 2012 -
ROUND ONE - WINTON
ROUND TWO - MAC' PARK
ROUND THREE - PHILLIP ISLAND
ROUND FOUR - BROADFORD
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