2020 St George Summer Night Series
Round One Report – Sydney Motorsport Park
By Nick Edards
Images: Half Light Photographic, RbMotoLens
Last Friday saw Sydney Motorsport Park host their first official bike race meet under the newly installed lighting system.
St. George Motorcycle Club’s Under Lights Summer Series kicked things off with Round One at 1830 and racing wrapped up just four hours later. In that time three classes had 10-minute practice/qualifying sessions and three quick-fire sprint races each throughout the course of the evening to make for a highly successful first outing.
With sunset kicking in almost on the dot of 2000 and cloudy skies contributing to a quick transition to darkness, the second half of the event would have been impossible without the very effective new floodlight system installed around the entire GP circuit.
St. George MCC had already conducted a couple of night sessions over the past months to work out the logistical challenges of running under lights. Those preparations paid dividends on race night, with everything going off smoothly and efficiently.
The original schedule was for each race to be seven-laps with a contingency plan to trim race lengths if required in order for the track to be cleared by 2230.
A couple of minor track clearance interruptions during the evening did mean that the last rotation was trimmed to five-laps per race, but otherwise the night went off without a hitch.
Michael O’Brien – St. George Assistant VP
“The St. George MCC has been at the forefront of making this happen with ARDC and the great support of Pip Harrison from MA. There was months of work, many meetings, a few debates and here we are. I was personally more nervous than if I was riding and the tension with the senior officials was obvious. The night went pretty well to plan, a few small incidents saw the schedule delayed a little and the strict times of operations leaves us with a few conversations to be had to make sure we can keep to our plan at these night race meetings. What will the race format look like next time? It will be the same classes but maybe we’ll adjust race lengths, formats and race starts… we might throw a Le Mans start or a Handicap race start to keep the riders and crowd guessing. Overall the event was a huge success on and off the track, not just from the riders point of view. I have received many many good reports from officials, media and the spectators that came along to this inaugural night race. Many thanks to everyone involved in this journey, we only got here because of everyone’s efforts. Bring on January 8.“
Apparently the P in VP stands for ‘Pest’ as Michael is always chasing people and pushing boundaries – exactly what’s needed to make something like the Under Lights series happen.
Here’s a look at the on-track action over the three classes, Black Dog Unlimited Division 1, Pirelli Unlimited Division 2 and the Pirelli 600s.
Black Dog Unlimited Division 1
In Black Dog Unlimited Division 1, Glenn Allerton was dominant on the Next Gen Motorsports BMW S 1000 RR, posting three wins from three races with his fastest lap under lights as the track cooled.
Lachlan Epis, also riding a Next Gen BMW as a test ahead of his BSB ride on a BMW in 2021, came home second in all three races.
Yanni Shaw was struggling with bike set-up on the Specialist Height Access/Airoh Helmets GSX-R1000 in the first two races but still managed to card a fourth place finish in the opening race, followed by two third place finishes after upping the pace under the lights.
Brendan McIntrye bought the Western Motorcycles Suzuki GSX-R1000 home just eight-hundredths of a second behind Epis in Race One in a promising start to the night, but a crash in T3 early in Race Two ended his evening prematurely.
Heading towards Round Two of the Summer Series Allerton leads the Black Dog Unlimited Division 1 field on a perfect 75-points. Epis second overall on 60, with Shaw third having claimed 53-points. Timothy Griffith and Nick Marsh completed the top five on 49 and 48-points respectively.
Glenn Allerton – P1
“St. George MCC’s first night race was something totally new. The quick format made for entertaining racing and the atmosphere at the track was awesome, lots of spectators coming and checking out the bikes, and for me the racing was great at night. I personally can’t wait for the next race as it was the best way to spend a Friday night.”
Yanni Shaw – P3
“It was an awesome night of racing. The fact that it’s under lights brings a whole different atmosphere. I have to hand it to St. George Motorcycle Club for pulling it off.”
|1||Glenn Allerton||BMW S 1000 RR||10:51.5370|
|2||Lachlan Epis||BMW S 1000 RR||11:02.7180|
|3||Brendan McIntyre||SUZUKI GSX-R 1000||11:02.7930|
|4||Yannis Shaw||SUZUKI GSX-R 1000||11:15.2340|
|5||Timothy Griffith||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||11:22.0250|
|6||Nicholas Marsh||BMW S 1000 RR||11:22.6240|
|7||Leanne Nelson||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||11:24.1910|
|8||Patrick Medcalf||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||11:24.6110|
|9||Adrian Pelegrin||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||11:26.0990|
|10||Michael Jeffery||YAMAHA YZF-R1||11:29.7730|
|11||Peter Graham||YAMAHA YZF-R1||11:31.0470|
|12||Paul Rose||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||11:32.3870|
|13||Daniel Ayash||KAWASAKI ZX-10RR||11:32.7360|
|14||Daniel Wong||DUCATI PANAGALE||11:32.9780|
|15||Aaron Smith||APRILIA RSV4||11:34.5340|
|1||Glenn Allerton||BMW S 1000 RR||10:54.8820|
|2||Lachlan Epis||BMW S 1000 RR||11:00.2030|
|3||Yannis Shaw||SUZUKI GSX-R 1000||11:15.3860|
|4||Timothy Griffith||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||11:22.6720|
|5||Nicholas Marsh||BMW S 1000 RR||11:27.9980|
|6||Adrian Pelegrin||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||11:29.0520|
|7||Michael Jeffery||YAMAHA YZF-R1||11:32.3390|
|8||Daniel Ayash||KAWASAKI ZX-10RR||11:32.5000|
|9||Peter Graham||YAMAHA YZF-R1||11:32.7040|
|10||Aaron Smith||APRILIA RSV4||11:33.0980|
|11||Leanne Nelson||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||11:36.6510|
|12||Paul Rose||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||11:37.9820|
|13||Daniel Wong||DUCATI PANAGALE||11:38.7500|
|14||Daniel McCartin||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||11:39.0760|
|15||Gergely Nagy||YAMAHA YZF-R1||11:39.2680|
|1||Glenn Allerton||BMW S 1000 RR||7:51.8560|
|2||Lachlan Epis||BMW S 1000 RR||7:55.5960|
|3||Yannis Shaw||SUZUKI GSX-R 1000||7:57.1830|
|4||Nicholas Marsh||BMW S 1000 RR||8:11.1490|
|5||Timothy Griffith||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||8:11.1910|
|6||Patrick Medcalf||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||8:16.5190|
|7||Adrian Pelegrin||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||8:17.6610|
|8||Peter Graham||YAMAHA YZF-R1||8:18.2690|
|9||Michael Jeffery||YAMAHA YZF-R1||8:19.8410|
|10||Daniel McCartin||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||8:23.8960|
|11||Paul Rose||KAWASAKI ZX-10R||8:25.1090|
|12||Aaron Smith||APRILIA RSV4||8:25.1570|
|13||Gergely Nagy||YAMAHA YZF-R1||8:25.7030|
|14||Daniel Wong||DUCATI PANIGALE||8:26.9140|
|15||Daniel Ayash||KAWASAKI ZX-10RR||8:27.1140|
Pirelli Unlimited Division 2
The Pirelli Unlimited Division 2 is for riders with estimated lap times no quicker than 1:40, and saw some strong competition between Joshua Chambers and Clint McAnally as the sun settled below the horizon and the lights came on.
Chambers took out Race One on his immaculate R1, just two-tenths ahead of McAnally on the #72 1199 Panigale. Gareth Rees wasn’t quite able to match the leaders’ pace on his ZX-10R, finishing four-seconds back in third.
Race Two saw a reversal of fortune with McAnally holding off Chambers to best him by two-tenths of a second at the chequered flag. Andrew Burley kept the pressure on the leaders on the Duc-Pen Specialists 1199 Panigale and followed them over the line, less than a second behind Chambers.
Race Three, shortened to five laps, saw McAnally take a second win for the evening and this time it was Burley keeping the pressure on to cross the line in second spot. Chambers was not quite able to match his Race One and Two pace but still scored a podium.
The results see McAnally leading the Pirelli Unlimited Division 2 standings on 70-points, with Chambers on 63 and Burley third on 55. Luke Mills (49) and Harley Borkowski (46) completed the top five.
|1||Joshua Chambers||YAMAHA R1||11:41.2450|
|2||Clint McAnally||DUCATI PANIGALE||11:44.7380|
|3||Gareth Rees||KAWASAKI ZX10R||11:48.9800|
|4||Andrew Burely||DUCATI PANIGALE||11:50.9910|
|5||Luke Mills||BMW S1000RR||11:55.1260|
|6||Harley Borkowski||HONDA VTR1000F||11:55.4570|
|7||William Steuart||BMW S1000R||11:57.4450|
|8||Greg Avery||KAWASAKI ZX9R||11:58.9550|
|9||Dejan Ivanovic||KAWASAKI NINJA||12:04.1620|
|10||Garry Karaolia||KAWASAKI ZX10R||12:10.8140|
|11||Stephen Kairl||SUZUKI GSXR1000||12:16.6810|
|12||Simon Walters||APRILIA RSV4R||12:18.8210|
|13||Franck Donniaux||KAWASAKI ZX10R||12:18.9560|
|14||Jason Dlugosz||APRILIA RSV4||12:19.6190|
|15||William Birdsey||DUCATI 1098R||12:19.9370|
|1||Clint McAnally||DUCATI PANIGALE||11:43.7970|
|2||Joshua Chambers||YAMAHA R1||11:43.9830|
|3||Andrew Burely||DUCATI PANIGALE||11:44.8790|
|4||Luke Mills||BMW S1000RR||11:58.8330|
|5||Harley Borkowski||HONDA VTR1000F||11:59.1010|
|6||Dejan Ivanovic||KAWASAKI NINJA||11:59.3360|
|7||William Steuart||BMW S1000R||11:59.7390|
|8||Greg Avery||KAWASAKI ZX9R||12:03.1500|
|9||Stephen Kairl||SUZUKI GSXR1000||12:14.3680|
|10||Franck Donniaux||KAWASAKI ZX10R||12:18.5830|
|11||Simon Walters||APRILIA RSV4R||12:20.5490|
|12||William Birdsey||DUCATI 1098R||12:20.7470|
|13||Jason Dlugosz||APRILIA RSV4||12:21.0340|
|14||Aaron Schereck||APRILIA RSV4||12:23.6280|
|15||James Burke||KAWASAKI ZX10R||12:26.0070|
|1||Clint McAnally||DUCATI PANIGALE||8:24.4890|
|2||Andrew Burely||DUCATI PANIGALE||8:25.3860|
|3||Joshua Chambers||YAMAHA R1||8:28.9410|
|4||Dejan Ivanovic||KAWASAKI NINJA||8:34.0150|
|5||Luke Mills||BMW S1000RR||8:34.5370|
|6||Harley Borkowski||HONDA VTR1000F||8:37.6650|
|7||William Steuart||BMW S1000R||8:38.2300|
|8||Simon Walters||APRILIA RSV4R||8:48.4250|
|9||Franck Donniaux||KAWASAKI ZX10R||8:50.2860|
|10||Aaron Schereck||APRILIA RSV4||8:50.2990|
|11||William Birdsey||DUCATI 1098R||8:50.8990|
|12||James Burke||KAWASAKI ZX10R||8:52.7560|
|13||Jason Dlugosz||APRILIA RSV4||8:53.0710|
|14||Ali Medlej||BMW S1000RR||8:53.3110|
|15||Paul Brooker||KAWASAKI ZXR||8:56.9020|
In the Pirelli 600 series Aidan Hayes took out a hat trick of wins on the Hayes Johnston Chartered Accountants R6 and never looked like being challenged.
Behind him, R6 mounted Carl Kitson and Simone Boldrini battled with Noel Mahon on his ZX-6R, fighting for second, third and fourth spots in all races.
In Race One Hayes took the win by 10-seconds, with Mahon holding off Kitson for second place, while Boldrini was a tenth of a second off the podium in fourth.
Race Two saw Hayes extend his winning lead to 20-seconds, with Boldrini claiming second ahead of Kitson for a Yamaha R6 1-2-3, while Mahon was 0.15s off the podium in fourth.
The final Pirelli 600 race of the night saw another win from Hayes, while Kitson and Boldrini battled for the final podium positions, with Kitson coming out on top. Mahon had to settle for a distant fourth.
The final award of the night went to Keith Mulcahy, Aaron Smith and Clint McAnally who were the winners of the inaugural Garage Cup, handed to the riders whose garage scored the most combined points through the races.
This is great little initiative to encourage teams in the same garage to support each other and to create a bit of banter in the pits. The rest of the riders will no doubt note that Garage 37 may be giving off some lucky vibes. The guys scored a cumulative 144-points, just pipping the Garage 50 line up of Boldrini, Pelegrin and Borkowski on 142-points.
Aiden Hayes leads the Pirelli 600 class to Round 2 on a perfect 75-points, with Kitson, Boldrini and Mohan second, third and fourth respectively, with a point separating each of them on 56-55-54. Keith Mulcahy completed the top five on 48-points.
Aidan Hayes – P1
“Sydney Motorsport Park is my favourite track and racing it under lights was such an awesome experience, it creates another level of excitement for us as riders and for the spectators! The track is lit up nicely and the race schedule by St. George MCC was set up perfectly with races in quick succession with everything done in four hours.”
Simone Boldrini – P3
“Thanks St. George Motorcycle Club for organising an amazing night at Sydney Motorsport Park for the first Summer Series round. The Sprint races format with entertainment and open bar is a ripper! Plenty of friends and visitors around the pits, just felt incredible.“
|1||Aidan Hayes||YAMAHA YZF-R6||4:53.0630|
|2||Noel Mahon||KAWASAKI ZX6R||5:03.8760|
|3||Carl Kitson||YAMAHA R6||5:04.9620|
|4||Simone Boldrini||YAMAHA YZF-R6||5:05.0500|
|5||Keith Mulcahy||KAWASAKI ZX6R||5:06.8010|
|6||David Bourne||KAWASAKI ZX6||5:09.7660|
|7||James McIntyre||YAMAHA YZF-R6||5:13.8250|
|8||Romeo Armone||YAMAHA R6||5:14.7610|
|9||Brian Bolster||YAMAHA YZF-R6||5:20.4070|
|10||Timothy Rodley||YAMAHA R6||5:22.4760|
|11||Joshua Soderland||TRIUMPH DAYTONA||5:23.4150|
|12||Gavin Mudie||YAMAHA R6||5:24.1080|
|13||Christopher Dunne||KAWASAKI ZX6R||5:24.4590|
|14||Paros Huckstepp||YAMAHA R6||5:28.3000|
|15||Julian Savio||KAWASAKI ZX6R||5:37.2260|
|1||Aidan Hayes||YAMAHA YZF-R6||11:24.0810|
|2||Simone Boldrini||YAMAHA YZF-R6||11:44.6510|
|3||Carl Kitson||YAMAHA R6||11:45.3820|
|4||Noel Mahon||KAWASAKI ZX6R||11:45.4370|
|5||Keith Mulcahy||KAWASAKI ZX6R||11:57.9780|
|6||James McIntyre||YAMAHA YZF-R6||12:09.3560|
|7||Romeo Armone||YAMAHA R6||12:13.3610|
|8||David Bourne||KAWASAKI ZX6||12:13.3690|
|9||Timothy Rodley||YAMAHA R6||12:13.7980|
|10||Gavin Mudie||YAMAHA R6||12:15.7750|
|11||Brian Bolster||YAMAHA YZF-R6||12:16.8690|
|12||Christopher Dunne||KAWASAKI ZX6R||12:18.3370|
|13||Vaughan Cloros||YAMAHA YZF R6||12:19.6580|
|14||Joshua Soderland||TRIUMPH DAYTONA||12:32.1020|
|15||Paros Huckstepp||YAMAHA R6||12:32.9200|
|1||Aidan Hayes||YAMAHA YZF-R6||6:33.9260|
|2||Carl Kitson||YAMAHA R6||6:42.8740|
|3||Simone Boldrini||YAMAHA YZF-R6||6:43.4720|
|4||Noel Mahon||KAWASAKI ZX6R||6:53.7680|
|5||Keith Mulcahy||KAWASAKI ZX6R||6:59.1300|
|6||James McIntyre||YAMAHA YZF-R6||6:59.6790|
|7||Timothy Rodley||YAMAHA R6||7:00.6200|
|8||Romeo Armone||YAMAHA R6||7:02.7590|
|9||David Bourne||KAWASAKI ZX6||7:03.1590|
|10||Brian Bolster||YAMAHA YZF-R6||7:03.6150|
|11||Christopher Dunne||KAWASAKI ZX6R||7:07.3640|
|12||Gavin Mudie||YAMAHA R6||7:07.6540|
|13||Joshua Soderland||TRIUMPH DAYTONA||7:07.9060|
|14||Vaughan Cloros||YAMAHA YZF R6||7:08.5930|
|15||Paros Huckstepp||YAMAHA R6||7:15.0450|
Round 2 of the Under Lights Summer Series will be at Sydney Motorsport Park on January 8, with the third and final round scheduled for Saturday February 6.
Do the racers like the format? Tim Griffith summed it up perfectly saying, “Turn on the lights and my home track didn’t just level up, it’s a whole new dimension. Exhilaration has a new address. No sun required!” You can follow St. George Motorcycle Club on Facebook for more details on upcoming events.
What everyone had to say
Peter Doyle – Chief Executive Officer Motorcycling Australia
“It has been great to see the St. George club take the initiative to get night racing up and running at SMP. Despite the difficulties with COVID restrictions, they have put a huge effort into getting the appropriate approvals completed in consultation with the MA office. Being able to race under lights adds another dimension to road racing which we believe will be popular with riders and spectators. Fantastic effort by St. George and thanks to SMP for their cooperation to bring road racing under lights to a reality in Australia.“
Peter Goddard – Director Motorcycling Australia
“It was a pleasure to go to St. George’s first bikes under lights race meeting at Sydney Motorsport Park. The track lighting is exceptional, world class and better than many of the tracks I’ve raced World Endurance at. This adds a whole new and exciting atmosphere for all involved, from competitors to spectators. It would be fantastic to see this era of motorcycle racing grow and have SMP, ARDC and the NSW Government endorse and embrace this back to National level in the future as well. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see the whole facility become an annual motorcycle festival for Sydney with night racing and other shows. Credit to St. George MCC and SMP on initiating a brilliant concept for Sydney.”
Jan Blizzard – Life Member of MNSW
“Due to my retirement from actively working at meetings, I have not attended any race meetings for over two years. But on December 11 I was invited to attend the first ever night meeting held at Sydney Motorsport Park. What a great night! The track looked amazing under lights and the racing was spectacular. I was viewing from upstairs above the garages near to Turn 1. Holy s@#$ they are really going fast into that first corner aren’t they. I was also able to see racing at other parts of the circuit that, previously, I had never had the opportunity to see. What an amazing sight under lights, congratulations must go to all officials involved in setting up and conducting this meeting. It was something completely different to their normal race days and it was great to see it all come together so nicely. I would thoroughly recommend anyone to go and see the next couple of meetings being held in January and February.”
“Absolutely loved it. The fast-paced format, quick turnaround between races and doing it under lights was amazing. I feel it has injected some new life into the sport like the T20 Big Bash did for cricket!”
Lyndel Gorsuch – St.George MCC Red Flag Official
“The Summer Night Series is short, sharp and epic fun! A great format developed by the club that has the riders grinning and the spectators gasping! Can’t wait for the next one!”
Michael Rooke – Clerk of Course
“From an operational point of view, the event was not difficult to manage. The team of officials and marshals provide positive feedback. Any challenges that were presented, where quickly addressed with minimal disruption. The event under lights presented a unique learning experience for all involved, not only was it spectacular, the lighting system at Sydney Motorsport Park was beyond expectations. The St. George Motorcycle Club is to be congratulated for taking the initiative and Motorcycling Australia for being supportive. We are looking forward to the next night event on January 8, 2021 at SMP.“