-- Parnell’s Pirelli but Tozer’s still quick!
-- By Kevin Eeles - Photo’s by Steve Thibou
Kris Parnell and Steve Tozer split the Superbike series in the opening round of the 2013 Pirelli Road Race Series at Winton Raceway, Tozer taking out the sprint series on the Saturday and Parnell taking out the more lucrative TT Series on the Sunday.
The 2013 Pirelli Road racing Series kicked of under glorious blue Winton skies with the first days racing for the Reevu Helmets Sprint Series. Pete Berry was unfortunate enough to come off after five laps in Superstock 1000 qualifying, dislocating his thumb but otherwise all the qualifying action was against the clock.
In an eventful opening race of the Superbike/Superstock 1000 class Kris Parnell (SimPro Consulting Honda CBR 1000RR) took an early lead but was up against it after being penalised 10-seconds for a jump-start. Steve Tozer was second and in the box seat to win on his recently rebuilt Mastercoat Racing BMW R1000, consistent South Australian Steve Leach on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 bringing up third. Parnell, realising that he needed to go flat out if he had any chance of picking up decent points, pushed hard whilst Tozer rode a controlled race keeping Leach at bay, but not extending himself any more than he needed to. Parnell posted the six fastest laps of the race with Tozer consistently lapping a second slower. Remarkably, Tozer slowed dramatically in the last two laps allowing Parnell to take the race by an incredible 0.051 seconds after the 10-second penalty was imposed.
Quizzed after the race as to what had happened Tozer said, “I just slowed down because I knew Kris had a penalty but I just miscalculated. The bike was fine. I thought if I stay reasonably close to him I would get the win. I did not even know I had lost until someone came and told me afterwards. I was very surprised.”
Parnell was happy to take the win saying, “I just kept my head down because you never know what will happen. I was a bit surprised to look over at the end and see him way of in the distance. I was bit lucky I think.”
Leach took out third place closely followed by Lee Frankland, the first Superstock 1000 rider, having a great ride on his Vons Trackside Tyre Service Honda CBR 1000RR. Frankland won the class comfortably from Danny Gibson with Stephen Mion third.
Race two of the Superbike/Superstock 1000 sprint was just as eventful as the opening bout, with Parnell, who was leading at the time from Tozer and Leach, crashing out of turn one on the third of the seven-lap race distance. From that point on Tozer controlled the race winning comfortably from Leach with Frankland taking third place. After the race Parnell said, “I was feeling good after getting a good start. I just got a good drive out of the last corner and was just a little bit faster than normal into turn one and held the brake longer than normal and that was it, all over”. Tozer was happy to win, “after Kris went of I rolled of and just got it home”.
Due to the damage sustained to his bike Parnell was unable to make the grid in race three and Tozer again controlled the race to win from Leach and Frankland. Tozer won the day on 70 points from South Australians Leach on 58 points and Jeffrey Hill on 53 points. Lee Frankland swept the Superstock 1000 series to win on 76 points from Danny Gibson on 60 points and another South Australian Jason Ivkovic on 53 points.
In the Supersport/Pirelli Superstock 600 Sprint Series Ryan Taylor gave a master class of Supersport racing on his Pirelli/Motul Yamaha R6, winning all three races comfortably from Matt Fyfe on his MJF Plumbing & Excavations Suzuki GSX-R600 and Darren Sciberras on his Yamaha R6. Taylor won the day on 76 points from Fyfe on 58 points and Sciberras on 56 points. When asked about his presence at the round after his recent ASBK stint Taylor said “we are chasing a bit of set up and testing some parts. I see that we are about half a second up on the Superbikes. We have a new suspension this weekend and the bike is going really good”. In the Pirelli Superstock 600 class Ben Blyth swept the series on his Triumph Daytona 675 with 75 points from Jay Presepio on 58 points and Troy Hitchon on 53 points.
In the other classes of Sprint series there were a number of highlights for the day. In the first junior sprint race Canice Brebner suffered an unfortunate crash incurring a shoulder injury. The crash delay caused all remaining races for the day to be reduced by 1 lap. Jacob Whitehouse, Callum Alderson and Lawson Walters put on a fantastic display of sprint racing with Whitehouse taking 3 wins and Alderson the other. Both riders gave the crowd a scare when they came together at the esses and almost ran into the marshal’s post with a rider going either side of it. Special mention must go to 9 year old Joel Kelso having his first taste of road racing, who put on a great display and is definitely a rider of the future. Drew Sells was also putting on a great display of riding on his birthday weekend.
In the Formula 400 / Twin Sprint / Pre-Modern F2 & 125cc/250cc Grand Prix & 250cc Production / Supermono series Jack Fox on his Yamaha YZR450 and Luke Sells on his Honda NSF 250R supplied great entertainment for the spectators all day battling for the chequered flag honours. In the end Fox triumphed but only after being seriously challenged by Sells all the way.
The Bears/Thunder Bike & Pre Modern F1 class saw some terrific battles between Nathan Mawson on the Yamaha R1, Ben Scott on the Scott Plumbing Yamaha R1, Mark Stephenson on the Yamaha FZ1 and Phil Paros on the Aprilia RSV4 with only a second or two between the four in all three races. Mawson swept the races and the Pre Modern Sprint class with 75 points from Scott on 61 points and Tim Reinen on 54 points. In the Bears/Thunderbike Class it was Phil Paros sweeping the class to win on 76 points from Stephenson on 60 points from Fergus Gibson on 54 points.
With a great days sprint racing over and the TT series to look forward to the next day riders, officials and spectators retired to the Commercial Hotel in Benalla for the Annual Pirelli Road Race Series Welcome Dinner where a fantastic time was had by all with more than a few sore heads to show for it come Sunday morning.
Sunday morning broke to another day of blue skies and hot temperatures with high hopes for racing to match in the Ferodo/Motul TT Series.
Race one of the Superbike/Superstock 1000 got of to a furious start with Parnell leading Tozer from the ever present Leach and Frankland. Tozer was pressing Parnell hard and constantly showing him his wheel in a bid to crack the Honda rider. On lap six Tozer went to make a move on Parnell only to have the BMW shut down on him and go into limp mode forcing him to retire to the pits. Parnell controlled the race from that point on winning from Leach with Frankland third and Danny Gibson on his Honda CBR 1000RR in fourth place. After the race Tozer was at a loss to explain what happened saying, “I don’t know what happened. It just started misfiring and I had no throttle response. I was travelling pretty comfortably and was just starting to put the pressure on”. Later it was discovered that the issue was that the bike was overheating but the reason was still unclear.
In race two Parnell again took the lead at the start but Tozer drove the bike hard in the back straight in lap one passing Parnell with Leach in third and Frankland in fourth. Knowing that all he had to do to win the series was to finish the race in a reasonable position Parnell did not challenge Tozer and he quickly built up a sizeable lead allowing him to ease up on the bike. In the end it was Tozer winning from Parnell with Leach in third. Parnell won the TT day with 45 points from Leach on 38 points and Doug Hall on 35 points.
After race two Parnell said, “I was certainly having a crack and when Steve came past I thought I would be able to stick with him but we made a change before that race and it was actually worse. I was happy with the result in the end”. Asked if he was happy with his weekend Kris responded “Absolutely! It’s always disappointing to have a crash but it’s nice to come back from it and do all right. I am pretty happy with the bike and the work the guys put into it to get it back on the track so, yeah, I’m stoked”.
Tozer was happy with his weekend stating, “Saturday was good, I’m quite happy with that. Sunday wasn’t such a good day for me with the bike overheating in race one. I was happy with race two when I could get a break and take it a bit easier so it didn’t get too hot. Today was pay day though so I’m happy but it could have been better”.
Frankland was again the leading Superstock bike sweeping the endurance series along with his sweep in the sprint series. Frankland won the TT series on 50 points from Danny Gibson on 41 points and Peter Berry on 36 points. Frankland was ecstatic with his weekend, especially after coming off a personal best performance in the ASBK at Phillip Island the week before. “Awesome weekend! I love the Pirelli series. The Pirelli tyres were awesome and Vons Trackside helped me out heaps. I could not be happier or ask for a better weekend. We did well at Phillip Island last week as well so we have had a couple of really good weeks and I could not be happier”.
In qualifying for the Supersport/Pirelli Superstock 600 class Mick Luther, a former race marshal, in his first race series, crashed into turn one and unfortunately suffered a broken ankle and broken wrist.
Ryan Taylor again dominated in race one easily winning the race from Darren Sciberras who had a great battle with Matt Fyfe who finished in third place. After a great battle in the Superstock 600 class Ben Blyth finally triumphed from Jay Presepio and Troy Hitchon.
Race two started as a repeat of race one with Ryan Taylor dominating and Sciberras and Fyfe fighting for the podium places when Matt Fyfe’s bike blew a motor on lap 6 and spread oil on the track causing Troy Hitchon to crash and other riders to run of track. The race was red flagged and restarted after the marshals removed the oil from the track. Taylor won the race easily from Sciberras and Ben Meade on his Smart Square Yamaha YZF-R6. Taylor won the series with 51 points from Sciberras on 40 points and Meade on 35 points. Taylor was happy with his weekend saying “We had a great day today. It was a pity about the oil spill in race two because we had got of to a good start. It was great to be able to come to our sponsor’s series and do the sponsors product proud. The bike set up with the new suspension was really good. We also got a bit of data for our ASBK tyres in hot weather so that was good because we have a few rounds where we will be riding in hot weather”. Ben Blyth swept the Superstock class from Jay Presepio and Peter Paraskevas. Blyth won the series on 50 points from Presepio on 40 points and Paraskevas on 36 points.
A feature of the weekend was the introduction of endurance racing for the juniors and again their racing was the highlight of the day. Lawson Walters, Jacob Whitehouse and Callum Alderson put on a fantastic show for the crowd with Walters winning race 1 from Alderson and Whitehouse and Whitehouse winning race 2 from Alderson and Walters.
In the Formula 400 / Twin Sprint / Pre-Modern F2 & 125cc/250cc Grand Prix & 250cc Production / Supermono TT series Luke Sells and Jack Fox again had a great battle with Sells taking race 1from Fox with Lawson Walters third. In race 2 Fox turned the tables on Sells with Walters again third.
The Bears/Thunder Bike & Pre Modern F1 class again saw some great racing with Nathan Mawson, Phil Paros and Ben Scott fighting out the podium positions in race 1. Mawson finally triumphed with Paros second and Scott in third. In race 2 Paros and Scott finally had some success against Mawson with Paros winning comfortably after a fantastic ride and Scott beating Mawson by an incredibly narrow 0.278 seconds for second place. Nathan Mawson won the TT series on 46 points by a single point from Ben Scott on 45 points and Tim Reinen on 36 points. Phil Paros won the Bears/Thunderbike TT series on 50 points from Tim Janney and Fergus Gibson who both had 35 points.
The weekend saw the introduction of the Period 5 and Period 6 bikes into the Pirelli series for the first time. Only three bikes entered the series, most likely due to the fact that the Historics raced at the WSBK round and they were also racing at the Barry Sheene in Eastern Creek. Kudos must go to Roger Gunn, Danny Serong and Robert Ruwoldt for entering. All had lots of fun and they entertained the crowd with their start line antics and their gentlemanly attempts to share the honours between them. This is just the start of what will become bigger and better things for this class.
- PIRELLI ROAD RACE SERIES 2012 -
ROUND ONE - BROADFORD
ROUND TWO - MAC' PARK
ROUND THREE - WINTON
ROUND FOUR - BROADFORD
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