July 2018 saw St George MCC run the inaugural Sydney 5 Hour at Sydney Motorsport Park. It’s a race meeting that’s captured the imagination of the local and interstate racing community and now, in its fourth year of running, the club is still looking to develop it into one of the must-be-there events of the season. The popularity of the event with riders was clearly demonstrated on June 1st when the entry list was filled out within 65 seconds of registration opening online.
For 2021, the Pirelli Sydney 5 Hour meeting will run on the weekend of 24th/25th July and will host not only the iconic 5 Hour race itself but a packed schedule of races including the inaugural Sydney 200.
Whilst the 5 Hour is structured around a relay format with multiple riders and bikes, the 200 brings back a more classic one bike, one rider format.
“The countries best riders have been asking for endurance racing, and to race at The Creek in 2021, we’ve managed to achieve both,” says St George MCC’s Publicity Officer Michael O’Brien. “This is going to be an epic 52 lap battle where everything comes into play; machine preparation, rider nutrition and strategy on track and in the pits. The club is so excited to be hosting this race as part of the Pirelli Sydney 5 Hour weekend.”
The Sydney 200 is attracting the attention of a number of the top ASBK teams and we can expect the grid to include some of the best riders in Australia.
2013 and 2020 ASBK Champion, and 2021 series leader, Wayne Maxwell is already committed to the Sydney 200 and he’ll be heading to the meeting having set a new Superbike lap record of 1m29.7270 at the St George MCC Pirelli Motul Series / NSW Road Race Championships held at SMP over the weekend of 22nd/23rd May.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for Australia’s best racers to go head-to-head away from the regular format of ASBK. To race an endurance race at one of Australia’s best circuits is a fantastic concept and I’m excited to be a part of the inaugural Sydney 200 race.”– Wayne Maxwell, BOOST Mobile McMartin Ducati Racing.
Pole Position for the Sydney 200, and for the Sydney 5 Hour, will be decided by quick-fire, Top 5, shoot-out sessions which are always a hit with the fans and puts the pressure on the riders to make the most of the one lap opportunity they get. The shoot outs, which will have grid position and cash prizes up for grabs, will run on Saturday before the IPONE St George 2 Hour race.
The full calendar for the weekend includes
IPONE Formula St George 2 Hour, relay format for Supersports 300 class machines which will feature a Le Mans style start and will run late on Saturday 24th with a finish under lights.
The Sydney 200, single rider, single bike endurance for Superbikes and Supersport 600’s which will run on the Sunday morning, with a Le Mans style start, ahead of the Pirelli Sydney 5 Hour.
Pirelli Sydney 5 Hour, relay format endurance for Superbikes and Supersports 600’s. This headline event is scheduled to kick off, also with a Le Mans start, just before noon on Sunday 25th.
AGV Retro Superbikes sprint races across the weekend featuring Period 5, 6 and Pre-Modern bikes from the 70’s through to the 90’s.
Pit stop challenge, an opportunity for fans to see the crews in action in a head-to-head knock out competition involving the whole team, with the final being under lights after the finish of the IPONE 2 Hour Saturday evening.
Events of this scale can’t a happen without sponsors and whilst there are still some sponsorship deals still in the works, St George MCC have already sealed partnerships with Pirelli, IPONE, AGV, Edge Creative Printing, On Print T Shirts and are aligned with The Man Walk to help raise awareness of mental fitness. A mystery benefactor has also put up some prize money for the Sydney 200 to make it one of the richest local events of the year.
With SMSP missing out on a round of ASBK again in 2021, the Sydney 5 Hour weekend will be a great opportunity to see some of the ASBK riders in action as part of what should be a fantastic weekend of racing.
Donations will be accepted gratefully received at the entry gate to support The Man Walk.
St George MCC’s 2020 plan to extend the event into a two-round series, with a second 5 Hour event at Phillip Island, had to be set aside because of the uncertainty that covid-19 caused but it’s back on the cards for 2021 with the PI Round occupying the 29th/31st October weekend, one week after the date currently locked in for the Australian round of MotoGP.
The schedule for Phillip Island round of the St George meeting currently includes the Pirelli Phillip Island 5 hour, the second round of the IPONE Formula St George 2 Hour and more AGV Retro Superbikes sprint races.
Peter Doyle, Chief Executive Officer, Motorcycling Australia
“A great initiative from the St George club. Endurance racing was a huge part of the racing scene in Australia back in the 70’s and 80’s and was extremely popular at the time. Whether it’s a single rider over a medium distance or different riders sharing the same machine over a longer time frame, this along with teamwork and tactics add different dimensions when trying to win a long-distance race. Checking the racing community’s appetite for long distance events is certainly something that should be explored and, if well supported, may pave the way for future international endurance events which there has been a number of discussions around in the last few years”.
2008, 2011 and 2014 ASBK Champion Glenn Allerton, Next Gen Motorsports, Maxima Oil BMW
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of a 200km race; it will be a challenge for both the rider and the team to stay strong all the way to the end. It’s something I’ve been wanting for a long time and cannot wait for this race. With the team playing a major role in the race on track, this will add to the pressure on all team members. Cannot wait.”
Shane Kinderis, Team Manager Next Gen Motorsports
“Once again, St George MCC is leading the way and Next Gen Motorsports are more than happy to be involved. We are excited at hopefully bringing the rand new BMW M1000RR ro Sydney and showing the fans its capabilities. SMSP being Glenn and Lachlan’s home track, we are really looking forward to the endurance race and are also looking forward to having a 5 Hour team make up of our own crew.”
Oli Bayliss, DesmoSport Ducati
“We finished second in the last endurance event we raced in Sydney, but that was a team event on the 600, so I’m looking forward to testing myself on the Panigale V R. It’s a lot of laps, especially on a superbike, but that’s just another part of the challenge I’m looking forward to.”
2015 and 2019 ASBK Champion, Mike Jones, DesmoSport Ducati
“I’m really looking forward to the Sydney 200! I wrapped up the 2019 ASBK Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park, so I have some incredible memories there on top of it being such a great track to ride, so I cannot wait to get back to the circuit. Our usual races are 16 to 20 laps, depending on the track, so to switch it up for an endurance event is going to be a lot of fun.”
2010 ASBK Champion, Bryan Staring Kawasaki , BC Performance
“Endurance racing will be a new challenge for myself. The Sydney 200 will be that difficult distance where it is not an ultra-endurance race but probably can’t be ridden as a sprint race. The new format excites me as the manufacturers, teams and tyre suppliers will be working from a blank canvas. Seeing a high-quality entry list will increase the anticipation. Cannot wait to get on the line.”
Paul Byrne, Suspension Chemistry, Purgetec Pty Ltd
“I’m excited about the Sydney 200 this year; it’s a great addition to the Sydney 5 Hour endurance race by St. George Motorcycle Club. Endurance racing tests a rider, the team and the bike in different ways, that is part of the reason I love it. The format of the 200km race, one rider, one bike offers a completely different challenge that will test the endurance of the rider as well as the durability of the machine. The fitness of the rider, consistent lap times and a well-prepared motorbike is key to a good result. If you want to be the fastest you have to race against the fastest, and I’m pretty sure a lot of the top riders around Australia will come and give it a crack.”
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