St George Summer Night Series
Round Two Report – Sydney Motorsport Park
By Half Light Photographic & TDJ Media
The second instalment of the St George MCC Summer Series Under Lights at Eastern Creek kicked off on Friday, under threatening skies that suggested riders might have to contend with a damp track under lights. To everyone’s relief however, rain stayed away from the western Sydney track and the evening was completed without a drop falling, in a rare change from recent weather.
As with Round Two, there were three classes of racing. Unlimited was split into Division 1 for riders nominating a projected lap time of under 1:40 and Division 2 for the remainder of the Unlimited riders. The third class was the Pirelli 600s.
The Round One race schedule of three seven-lap races for each class was modified for Round Two, with each class planned to run four sprint races of five-laps each. Some minor red flag and recovery activities early in the evening meant that the race card run a little late, so unfortunately the final 600 and Unlimited Division 1 races had to be called off.
Because of uncertainty around social distancing requirements for the event, it had originally been planned as a no-spectator meeting but changing circumstances closer to the event allowed for a small number of spectators to be permitted. Those who were able to come along were rewarded with some excellent racing in the unique atmosphere that the floodlit track provides.
Michael O’Brien – St George MCC Assistant VP
“The St George Summer Night Race Series sponsored by Pirelli keeps going from strength to strength. A change in the format from three races of seven-laps to four races of five-laps was definitely a hit with rides and spectators. Increasing the action on the track and the quick format of the night made the spectacle even more exciting. Thanks to all the great support for the Black Dog Ride from all participants and riders, raising funds to help them continue their work. You can tell this event is successful as like no other sprint race meeting I have been involved in. The social atmosphere surrounding the pit lane is brilliant, with a couple of cold Young Henrys to finish the night with your mates a sign of the comradery of this great community. Can’t wait for the next and final round on February 6, with another few surprises up our sleeve to keep the dynamic nature of this series.”
Black Dog Ride Unlimited Division 1
It was another near perfect weekend for Glenn Allerton onboard the Maxima Racing Oils BMW who qualified in pole position and took two wins from three races. A fierce battle raged with Yamaha Racing Team’s Cru Halliday, denying Allerton the perfect weekend, after Halliday took the Race 1 victory by just 0.044 seconds.
The battle between Allerton and Halliday would continue in Race 2 with the roles reversing and Allerton taking it out by an even narrower margin of 0.018 seconds. That battle and having only one set of tyres for the night, would mean Halliday could not finish Race 3 due to lack of grip.
Lachlan Epis on the other Maxima Racing Oils BMW had a solid night out, finishing in third for the first two races and rounding it out with a second place in the final race. That was good enough for second-overall.
Finishing on the last step of the overall podium was Patrick Medcalf. Medcalf steered his Kawasaki ZX-10R to three fourth places across the three races and his consistency meant he would get the points to finish third overall, although it was a close thing.
After a tough couple of races, Yanni Shaw on the Specialist Height Access/Airo Helmets GSX-R1000 would get himself third in the final race finishing just outside the podium for the round, one point short of Medcalf.
BC Performance rider Timothy Griffith round out the top five in the overall standings.
Glenn Allerton – P1
“Round Two of the St George MCC Summer Night Series was a great night for me on my Maxima Racing Oils BMW. I had some tough competition from Cru Halliday and Lachlan Epis so it wasn’t an evening stroll for me. Pole position, two wins and a second place was a great night for me and my team as we use this time to prepare for the 2021 season. I really enjoy the quick format of the night racing and there is something about racing under lights that is a special. It’s also great to have family and friends there to watch. Looking forward to more events under lights.”
Lachlan Epis – P2
“I’m really happy to join the Maxima Racing Oils BMW Motorrad again for Round Two of the Sydney night races. Really happy with how our night went, especially as we still only have a handful of laps under the BMW. The bike was working incredibly and each race we were closing down Cru and Glen. Was awesome to lead the last race after passing Cru into T1. Shame Glen got past but chuffed to keep the Australian #2 behind and take second overall for the weekend and a 1, 2 for BMW. Hopefully we can do the final round at the end of the month and keep improving on the bike.”
Cru Halliday – P6
“I just went into the night to get some seat time really. I only had one set of tyres which I used in all three races. You could tell from the results I started good, but then by Race 3 they were all over the place and I didn’t really want to push it into the ground for a club day. I didn’t really have anything to prove and I made a mistake in that last race so I just pulled in on the last lap. I think it’s a really good event, there’s no pressure at all just racing and a fair few people turned up to watch which is great considering the situation we are all in. The lights are great and the track is really well lit up.”
An early crash during Race 1 of the Pirelli Unlimited Division 2 brought out the red flag and ended up meaning an abandoned race. Once the racing kicked off again, it was Matthew Medcalf, onboard a Suzuki GSX-R1000, who took out the Race 2 win by just under six-seconds from Luke Mills of TLD Tattoo and Benjamin Robinson piloting a Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Mills would step it up in the next two races however, to take the next two race wins on-board his 2014 BMW S 1000 RR. The two race wins and a second place was enough to award him the round win.
Mongrel Boots rider Phillip Cloros ended the evening second overall in the standings. Riding a beautifully presented 2020 Ducati V4, Cloros finished outside the top-five in Race 2, eventually finding speed in the final two races to finish third in each.
Benjamin Robinson finished Race 2 in third place and would find himself battling in and out of the top three spots for Race 3 and 4, eventually gathering enough points to round out the top three.
Finishing just off the podium was Harley Borkowski of RB Racing/F45 Condell Park. Borkowski was consistent all night piloting one of the older CBR1000 Fireblades. Matt Franco of Extreme Fire Solutions rounded out the top five overall after finishing second in the final race of the evening.
Luke Mills – P1
“The night racing series held by St George MCC is an absolute blast. The atmosphere is great out there. We’ve been lucky with good weather and the new lighting is great. I had some good battles out there with Carl Kitson and Ben Robinson and I’m sure they’ll bring the fight for the next round. The guys at St George MCC have done an exceptional job of putting on a great event with more to come!”
Ben Robinson – P2
“Friday night lights! It was my first time racing under the new lights at night. Happy to walk away with a trophy. Big congratulations to Luke Mills for winning and running some PBs and to Phil Cloros on the V4 coming back after five years away! Absolute cracker of an event and the racing even better. Had a ball!”
Phil Cloros – P3
“After a five-year hiatus from racing, I was really keen to be on the grid for Round Two of the St George Summer Night Series. Racing under lights was special and it really added to the experience for both the riders and spectators. The crowd and vibe throughout the whole night was awesome, and I think St George have done an incredible job to create and implement the concept so quickly. I had a great time racing the Mongrel Boots Ducati Panigale V4 under lights and was stoked to come away with two podium finishes and second overall for the round. Thanks again to the club and everybody involved in making this happen, I can’t wait for the next one!”
In the Pirelli 600cc Supersport class, it was Stay Upright Rider Training’s Jack Passfield who had the perfect scorecard winning all three races for the night.
It wasn’t just the Passfield show however, with last round winner Aidan Hayes, onboard the Hayes Johnston Chartered Accountants R6, putting in three of the closest battles seen at SMSP. Hayes finished second in all three races with margins of 0.143, 0.114 and 0.338 seconds between the top two. The pair traded places throughout the night, with Passfield getting the better of Hayes.
Zac Jackson (LNS Mechanic/Honey Moto Racing) finished third overall in what was his first night race, bringing home a pair of fourth places, alongside third in Race 2. Zac battled for the top three against some hard chargers including the front runners from last round. Simone Boldrini took out a couple of third placings but just fell short on Jackson’s overall points tally.
Darragh Murphy and Carl Kitson were also part of this group battling for the final podium placings in each of the three races.
Jack Passfield – P1
“I had such a fun time at the St George MCC Night Series. Racing under lights made it feel like a completely different experience. I was able to finish work at four, head to the track and get in three races by 10 pm. We were out almost every 30 minutes and I think the wait between rounds at big events is the biggest drawback in road racing, it reminded me of racing dirt bikes growing up. Had a blast battling with Aidan all night with a few passes in every race and I was lucky enough to win all three. Our lap times weren’t much off our day pace, the track and bike felt amazing all night. Appreciate the St George club for putting in the effort to run a unique series like this along with Stay Upright Rider Training and my other sponsors for making it possible to make it to these fun events. It’s a shame I missed the first round because I’ll definitely be back for Round Three.”
Aidan Hayes – P2
“The day was threatening rain but the track kept its grip level even in the cooler temp, St George MCC put on another stellar meeting of night racing and we gave them some action to remember it! I had some really tight racing and battling with Jack Passfield pushing ourselves into faster night lap times and really testing the edge grip at night. Thank you to everyone who came out to support the event and all the sponsors, bring on Round Three!”
Zac Jackson – P3
“Round Two was my first time riding under lights, the weather held up and St George put on an awesome event as always. Really happy with third overall after some great battles and riding from Simone Boldrini and Carl Kitson. The five-lap sprint races were such a great format for night racing, combined with the weekend night vibe and plenty of spectators it’s a great experience to be on track and having fun.”
The second Garage Cup was awarded to Garage #49 of Glenn Allerton, Damian Sutton and Simone Boldrini. The award is given to the garage who scored the most combined points by the riders.
They scored 118 points which was three-points higher than Garage #34 of Michael Jeffery, Paul Rose and Carl Kitson. Garage #46 of Greg Nagy, Jack Passfield and Daniel Pesa Pesic rounded out the top three in the Garage Cup with 111 points.
It was a great night under lights once again and here’s hoping the riders can do it again at the start of February.
What others had to say
“St George have always run great race meets, however this quick-fire night racing is next level fun! There’s very little time between races, making the action fast and furious. The spectacular environment of a floodlit racetrack, complete with glowing tail lights and crackling flames from hot exhausts, is a sight to be seen. The track lights have a curious effect of blocking out everything outside of the edges of the racetrack, which adds a level of tunnel-vision focus that we don’t experience during the day. Perhaps counterintuitively, the grip is at least as good and probably better than during the day, and the track is so well lit that it hardly feels like it’s a Friday night! The Superbike Source 2020 BMW S 1000 RR M-Sport was a weapon, and blitzed the starts to good effect, moving up the field throughout the progressive grid races, finishing the round in seventh place, one spot behind the Yamaha Factory rider Cru Halliday.”
Melissa Eve Caruana (spectator)
“Wow! What an incredible experience. My friend and I loved every minute of it. The entire operation was so slick, and the crew were very friendly and accommodating. Everything ran smoothly with super-efficient scheduling. The track is great and the facilities are practical too. It’s so good to see so many bike enthusiasts out at the race track on Friday night. I wish these events would occur more often. Until next time, see you there.”
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