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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've just completed my second race weekend with the Australian Superbike's, this time I travelled to Sydney to race at Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP). I had never been to this circuit before but I had been told it was a fantastic circuit and I was really looking forward to the weekend. Unfortunately I would only have 2x10 min practice sessions before qualifying commenced (unfortunately no practice day beforehand). I had watched a couple of YouTube videos but still really had no idea of the course layout, I also couldn't find any videos of any 250-400cc bikes going around at race pace so had no idea what I was in for

I arrived early Saturday morning to setup, sign in and get scrutineered for the weekend. Driving up to the circuit it looked amazing, it really seemed like a world class facility. Seeing how much money they spent around the track gave me confidence in the track surface, I knew it'ld be clean and extremely grippy but I had been warned about a few nasty bumps.

There were lots of other attractions set up as well including a 'kids motorcycle come and try' set-up, F1 race car simulator, bike dyno, stunt rider (during entertainment breaks), slid pan where there were endless cars drifting all day and lots of stalls, shops, cafe's etc. It was a much bigger set-up than anything we have 3000km's away (back home).

First practice session started and I was going to take it easy and learn the track layout. First corner out of the pits and my knee was dragging which caught me by surprise, the corner tightened up and I wasn't expecting it. It didn't scare or panick me, in fact I didn't really think about it until after my knee was dragging (I never really stick my knee out very far at all which means I was carrying some decent lean on the very first corner). The track was lovely and wide, really clean and high grip Tarmac, great elevation changes, varying degrees of camber and lots of run off.
The weather was spectacular (sunny and mid 20's [Celsius]) and I felt great on the track, it took 4 or 5 laps before I was confident what corner was coming next but I felt really great out there and set the 6th fastest lap- times were obviously going to plummet but I was pleased so far.

I went out for the next practice session trying to lift the pace and familiarize myself with the track. After this practice session I would have 2x20min qualifying sessions for each race class I was completing in (4x20mins total). It was pretty obvious the better lap times would come later in the day as I had more track time. I was improving my lap times and comfort during the day, I started to get a bit sore and tired as the day progressed though- much better than last race round though. I managed to qualify in 6th in the R3 cup and 11th in the production series (7th 301-400cc). Because the weather was so great, there were a lot of people pushing their bikes beyond their capabilities resulting in many crashes throughout the day.

I didn't hear about any serious injuries though (thankfully).

By the time my first race of the afternoon stared my tires were f**ked, rain was forecast for Sunday so I decided to hold off buying a new set. The front and rear were slipping very small amounts but weren't really making a huge difference to my performance.
The 1st race of production seemed to be a lot more civilized than the previous round, there was still some hard racing and a few elbows and paint being swapped but nothing malicious, I got a very average start and slowly made my way back to 11th. I was tailing a ninja 300 for the last couple of laps but the next racer had already pulled too much of a gap. There was no point in battling with the ninja as we were technically in different classes so I just followed him until the finish line (finished 7th in my class).

1st race R3 cup I gave up a couple of places on the first corner again, over the next couple of laps I made my way through back to my original 6th position but the guys in front were too fast for me to decrease the gap and I had a lonely race to finish 6th

That was the end of day one. I was praying for rain Sunday, I knew if it rained then it might even out the field and give me more of a chance to fight at the front of the field.
Stay tuned in the next couple of days to see how Sunday went or jump onto the Facebook page if you can't wait ;)


424 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I went to bed reasonably early Saturday night to make sure I got plenty of sleep before Sunday, unfortunately my body isn't used to that much sleep and I was awake at 4am. It was forecast to rain but it wasn't yet raining, I checked the radar and there were huge areas of heavy rain... Unfortunately the were way south of the track.
By the time I was due to go out for warm up the clouds were grey but not too threatening, the radar was showing widespread very light showers but it wasn't raining at the track. The ambient temperature was a little lower than the day before and the sun wasn't out to warm the track, conditions were fair but not as good as Saturday. My tires were very worn at this point (especially the left side of the rear). I put in a few decent laps including a 1:50.004- I was pretty satisfied for the amount I was pushing.
I checked my rear tire and it wasn't far off bald but the grip level still seemed decent(ish). I went out for the R3 cup practice and decided I'ld just put in a flying lap to keep my mind prepared. I went out and had a couple of laps I wasn't too pleased with (1:51's), then got a little more space and knocked out another 1:50 before I pulled in to conserve my tires.
By this time in the day I was praying for rain, I felt that the fastest guys would be slowed down giving me more of a chance and it would also save me some cash not needing to buy another set of tires (I had a set of wets already). My rain dance wasn't successful and the 1st race was dry.
I had an alright launch but backed off a little into turn 1 loosing a couple of places. I made one place back into turn 2 which caused my slightly wide coming out of turn 3, next thing I new... BANG. One of the other riders smashed into my side, it was a hard hit that traded a bit of paint/vinyl ?. He knew he had ****** up and waved to appologise- no hard feelings, it was racing and he wasn't intentionally trying to take me out. I was at the back of the leading pack and followed for a couple of laps. The group started to separate over the next 4 laps and the only other rider near me was Justin Hall on a ninja 300 (who is in a seperate class), then one of the riders who had made contact with another rider and ran wide got through, I tried to keep up with him but I could latch on. My front tire was sliding everywhere pushing me slightly wide or making my corner speed lower, the rear was sliding more than the front not allowing me to get as much power down as quickly as I would like. i was running wide on the exit of turn 11 and went off the track 3 times this race, there is a concrete run off area so the wasn't a huge problem but the was a significant difference in the height of the surfaces when re-entering the track which did cause a few puckering moments. The other rider that was involved in the previous incident was the next closest rider to me but wasn't gaining an inch. I ended up finishing 12th (7th 301-400cc). Best lap 1:48.500. My rear tires were shot, there is NO WAY I could get another race out of it!
Rain was still threatening but just looked like extremely light widespread showers but we still hadnt received a drop. I went to the Pirelli dealer and had a new rear sc2 put on. I wanted to try the 150/60, they were trying to tell me that it was for the KTM only and I couldn't/ wasn't allowed to use it, after a lot of arguing they agreed to put it on... Then it turned out they didn't bring any ? So I put a new 140/70 sc2 on. I could feel more grip available on my sighting and warm up laps ?
The race started and I got a great start from 6th, gained one place through turn 1 and another into turn 2. I was actually being slowed coming out of the corner by the rider in front. This was my best start so far. Nothing changed for the rest of the lap as we settled into position. On the second lap Hayes had been in my slip stream and popped on by into turn 1, I took the place back on the braking in to turn 2. Next thing I knew I could feel something on my right hand boot... It was his front tire. Another lap passed as we formed an orderly line, I felt like I was riding well. My front tire (still the same old worn one) was sliding frequently but I was managing it well. On turn 4 I ran a little wide, that was all the invitation Hayes needed, as I corrected and set up for the next corner Hunter Ford surprised me and flew straight past. Both of these riders breezed past the next rider, I stayed on his tail but couldn't gain enough to make a pass and brought the bike back to finish in 6th. Best lap 1:49.7

Then the heavens opened! It was a huge rush to get the tires changed and lockwiring re-done. There was a race and a half before I needed to be back out there. In the rush I misplaced one of my front wheel spacers, I looked everywhere but couldn't find it ? Thankfully most racers are really friendly and helpful and I borrowed one off someone else's spare parts bike (thanks Aiden). I managed to get them on in time. I joked with one of the other riders that I might be the next Jack Miller (start making my way through the field in the rain only to crash out lol), I probably shouldn't have jinxed myself ?

PRODUCTION RACE 3 (WET): I really had no idea how much grip was available, I have never raced in the rain before and wasn't sure how much I could push. I got an alright start but went really slowly into turn 1 and lost a few places, the group was really slow under braking in to turn 2 and I took a couple of those places back and settled in to the line, the group remained close through the rest of the lap. I got another few places back into turn 1 and more places in turn 2. I could see I was laying significantly faster than anyone in front of me, it was taking longer to make a pass than it usually would because I was being cautious in the rain. There was a huge problem with visibility as the spray from the riders in front was blinking and saturating my visor, to make things worse my visor was fogging up. There were gaps between the front riders opening up, as soon as I'ld pass a rider I'ld close the next gap easily and catch up to the next rider. I had made my way up to 5th with 2 laps to go, the only place they were faster than me was turn 11, unfortunately that meant I couldn't use their slip stream. On the last lap I had closed the gap again and was right on their tail going into turn 3, I couldn't find a safe place to pass without a lot of risk. I knew if I could keep up with them through turn 11 I'ld be right on them coming out of turn 12 where I was getting better drive and could use their slip stream, I was confident I could make one or even both places by the finish line. I knew I needed more corner speed through turn 11, I went in faster than usual and trail braked harder than before... The front washed away. I was sliding along the Tarmac and into the grass. I kept hold of the bike, I wasn't giving up and would salvage what I could. There was a rider right behind me and I'ld definitely loose that place but the next rider was 23s behind, I might only loose the one position?
I picked the bike up and was back on immediately, I went to select the right gear to get it restarted in the gear shifter was gone ? I couldn't get it restarted and received a DNF. Best lap- 1:57.1 (and my last lap was looking significantly faster). I was annoyed and frustrated, this would have been my best result so far and my performance was just as I predicted- just like Jack Miller ?

Damage was minimal, clutch lever twisted, the vinyl did an amazing job holding the fairings together, gear shift was slightly bent and the shift rod disconnected, clipon bar slightly ground down, rearset peg grounded and the pickup spool mount was basically ripped off. My suit had a significant tear in it (wouldn't be able to use again) and Velcro on the gloves were damaged. The next race was in 1/2hr and I needed to be cleared by medical, pick my bike up, repair it, get it scrutineered and add fuel. Repairs were straight forward but it was still a rush. I put on my spare set of leathers and a bit of race tape to hold my glove on and I was ready for the next race. I now knew I could ride at a decent pace in the rain and was confident of a podium.

I got off to a good start but traffic was congested in to turn 2 with lots of different lines. I had made 1 position off the start and was in 5th. An orderly line formed and in turn 12 the rider that was 2nd lost the rear, next lap I made it past another rider to get 3rd, the following lap the took that position back and I was 4th again. I was sticking to his rear tire waiting for an opportunity, next thing the rider infront of him high-sided which moved me back to 3rd. I still was confident of getting past the rider in front. I wasn't going to make any silly mistakes though and wanted to make sure I secured my first podium. On the last jap my front tire clipped the yellow line and had a huge slide, thankfully I was hard on the throttle and was driving from the rear tire, I then hit another yellow line trying to catch the time I had lost and had another slide.
Now he was a second in front and it was a gap I couldn't make up in half a lap. I finished 3rd, the next rider was 20s behind. Best lap 1:56.6. I really felt I wasn't pushing as much in this race and was still a little shaken from the previous race but was happy with the result (I still think I could have done better though).


424 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That was a great write up you should be writing for an M/C mag as well as racing,oh yeh congrats on getting on the podium.

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Writing definitely isn't a passion of mine though, so it's not something I could do in a professional capacity. Sharing my experience is a combination of a few things including:
-increasing exposure for my sponsors
-it's quiet difficult to compete on the national circuit where I live due to such an isolated location and it's not something that most people here have a chance to experience so I want to share my journey with them
-I receive a lot of support and encouragement from a lot of people and the least I can do to thank them is keep them up to date on my progress
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