Preston Motorcycle Club stages second Bracket Racing instalment for 2017
Words by Marty Thompson – Images by Colin Rosewarne
The fickle Victorian weather buggered off and despite the forecast for rain, put on a brilliant day of sunshine for both the Saturday practice day and for Sunday’s PMCC Bracket Racing at Broadford State Motorcycle Complex, 45 minutes north of Melbourne.
For those not familiar with bracket racing, riders are put into groups in varying timed brackets (of 10-20 seconds) to ensure a level and fun playing field.
They key being you are not allowed to break out. Which means not lapping faster than 1 second of the fastest lap of that race. Except of course for the number one (T1) bracket, which can run as fast as they are capable of.
It’s a similiar concept to the way some drag racing classes are run. It allows riders to race in an environment where there is a lot less pressure than at a club level meeting.
The aim of these meetings, which is put on by the Preston Motorcycle Club, is for the riders to have as much fun as possible, without the fear of A grade riders passing them at 20 seconds a lap faster than their pace.
It also gives newer riders a chance to gain valuable race craft, should they decide to take the next step and go racing at club level, and to become used to bikes being in close proximity to them, all in a safer environment than jumping straight into the cut and thrust of a club or state level championship.
Don’t be mistaken however, it is still racing and the riders are all vying for the honour of greeting the chequered flag first. Just with a lot less stress, pressure and seriousness than club level racing.
Judging by the faces of those who entered the meeting, that aim was achieved in spades. The riders were not just grinning back in the pits, but huge ear to ear smiles were also seen under the visors of riders like Michelle Edgar on her Honda CBR250 in the T5/T6 class, as they circulated the tight and undulating Broadford circuit.
After a good number of entries to the trial event last year and with a strong turn out for the previous meeting in February, it was no surprise to see almost 60 riders enter for the second bracket racing event of 2017. Machines varied from small capacity bikes, to Supermotards and right up to full blown Superbikes.
One of the benefits of this format of racing, is that it promotes very close racing, with all the riders in each bracket capable of winning the race. It keeps the bikes close together and makes for fantastic spectating, with the lead often changing multiple times per lap.
I will repeat what I stated in my first bracket report back in February, “As a concept to encourage newer riders, I think bracket racing is a winner. As a concept to encourage more spectators… I think bracket racing is a winner.” That statement is no less relevant after seeing the second round over the weekend. Anyway, onto the classes and results.
Preston Motorcycle Club Bracket Racing Results – May 21
Alex Katakousinos and David Buonapane took the opportunity to use the bracket day as a bit of practice for their respective club championships and scrapped it out for race wins and overall honours.
Although not lapping at lap record pace, the first few riders were consistently dipping under the 60 second mark, which most ride day punters would be over the moon achieving.
Quentin Blazely would also have figured much higher in the results had he not missed out on three of the five races, also managing to punch out sub 60 second laptimes. Jonny Taylor and John Kendal also deserve some praise, as they were taking it up to the leaders, both riding 600cc Honda machinery.
Which is all part of why bracket racing is such fun to watch and to compete in. It doesn’t matter what you ride, there is the chance you can win it.
Both Travis De Bono, affectionately known as “Harry Hang Off” due to his elbow scraping style, and Dmytrii Nagirniak, on 600cc machines, harassed Travis Hardy for the honours in the T2 class. Dmytrii was coming oh so close to nipping under that magical 60 second mark.
Karthik Ravishankar just took the honours in T3, with race two and three proving to be his downfall. In the first, fourth and fifth races he took the wins, with Nick Wheatley riding consistently to take second place.
Damien Crough must have thought he had it in the bag after the first three races and cruised home in the last two to take a safe win ahead of Dick Lodge, who only edged out Mark Fletcher by two points.
Kirsten Theile rode well all day, taking the first two race wins and then settling down for some thirds and a second place to win the T5 class, Theile was followed home by Michael Salamon who rode well all day, even taking a win in race three and not dropping below fourth for the remainder of the races.
Michael Salamon also deserves special mention for having what was the most stunning looking old TT600 Triumph. If there was a best presented award, he would have had my vote.
Mal Leigh showed why consistent laptimes are important and although winning the first three races, broke out and was re-graded to T5 for the final two races. Those he went on to win… perhaps there was a little playing possum in the qualifying sessions, or perhaps track time brought huge improvement. Having not spoken to Mal, I cannot say.
But that left Joel McCabe, Stuart Thompson (no relation, but surely a sign of huge potential) and Catherine McFarlane to take out the first three spots in the T6 class. Michelle Edgar who finished ninth deserves the mention of the meet!
Michelle was the epitomy of what bracket racing was all about. Look closely under her visor in the attached photo from Colin Rosewarne and you can see the ear to ear grin which was for the most part on every riders face both on and off track all day.
Supermoto is run as the last race of the meeting due to it using both the road circuit and a dirt extension which includes jumps and berms. So in order to minimise the dirt dragged back onto the tarmac surface when re-entering the road race circuit, Supermoto is run as the last race of the day.
However, many riders also choose to run in one of the bracket classes, to maximise their track time for the day. As well as winning her T5 class, Kirsten Theile also went on to take third in the Supermoto races. David Healey and Christopher Grigg taking out the first two spots.
Another highly successful event!
A big congratulations to Preston Motorcycle Club and all those who volunteer to provide assistance to run the bracket meetings. It’s a fantastic way to take that step from track days or road riding and dip your toe into road racing in a non-threatening and friendly environment.
Thanks also to photographer Colin Rosewarne who spends hours and hours standing out in mid-field taking photos of all the riders and provides the photos for this article. Lastly, a big thanks to the editor of MCNews.com.au for providing both webspace on his site and his employees time to edit and lay out these articles with no financial reward.
So make sure you support those supporting grass roots racing. Buy some photos from Colin Rosewarne (Colin Rosewarne Photography) and keep up to date on all your motorcycle racing news from club level racing right through to MotoGP, all on MCNews.com.au.
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