Category Archives: Racing and Trackdays

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The Roger Bannister moment in MotoGP™

The Roger Bannister moment in MotoGP™

With McPhee shining in Moto3™, former MotoGP™ commentator Nick Harris delves into the history of Scottish Grand Prix riders.

It may not be a country built for World Championship motorcycle racing, but John McPhee is striving to change all that in the Moto3™ World Championship.

The Scotsman won in Misano and is third in the Championship riding the Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda. John’s home in Oban on the West Coast is how most people picture Scotland. Majestic mountains, Caribbean blue sea when the sun shines, beautiful Islands, Atlantic winter storms and midges come to mind rather than Grand Prix motorcycle racing.

While Scotland has produced plenty of motorsport World Champions two wheels have not been so productive but those who have tasted success at the highest level are very special. Three, Bob McIntyre, Jimmy Guthrie and Jock Taylor have worn the kilt with pride.

It was June 7, 1957 when McIntyre produced the magic Roger Bannister moment of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in the Isle of Man. Who will forget that moment in my home City of Oxford three years earlier when the athletic track announcer read out Bannister’s time for the one-mile race he had just won. Three minutes and the rest was drowned out by the cheers of the crowd. The very first man to run a mile in under four minutes and that announcement was soon relayed round the World.

Three years on and The Isle of Man was buzzing in anticipation at the start of the eight lap Senior TT race round the 60.721 kms TT Mountain circuit on the Island that had staged that very first World Championship race eight years earlier. Fourteen thousand extra fans arrived by ferry that very morning on the already packed Island to witness the Scotsman riding the four-cylinder Gilera in action. They knew history was about to be made. Nobody had lapped the most demanding and dangerous racetrack in the World at over 100 mph (160.934 kph). It was the Golden Jubilee of the TT races and McIntyre celebrated in true style.

At the end of the second lap the announcement boomed out round the circuit.’ Bob McIntyre leads the Senior TT after a second lap at an average of 101… The rest was drowned out by the cheers. The first rider to lap the Mountain circuit at over 100 mph in a time of 22m23.2s.

Typically, he completed three more 100 mph laps to win the race in three hours 2.57s. The modest Scotsman had already won the 350cc TT race that week and won the 350cc race for Gilera at Monza later in the year. He finished runner-up to team-mate Libero Liberati in the 500cc World Championship. McIntyre went on to win two more Grands Prix bringing Honda 250cc success in the 1961 Ulster and a year later at Spa Francorchamps. Tragically he was killed that same year in a crash at Oulton Park in England.

Twelve years before the World Championship started on August 8, 1937, 40-year-old Jimmy Guthrie was leading the German Grand Prix on the Sachsenring road circuit.

The Norton rider was chasing his third successive victory in Germany, where the rumble of war was looming fast. He had already won 19 Grands Prix, but he crashed in the woods on that fateful last lap and died in hospital. Four years after the Second World War ended in 1949 the locals built a memorial to Guthrie where he had crashed. They had never forgotten that Scottish gentleman and a fresh bunch of flowers have been placed on the memorial every week for the last 71 years. Back in the Isle of Man a kiln of stones on the mountain climb out of Ramsey on the TT course is lovingly preserved in memorial of the 19 times Grand Prix and six times TT winner.

Scotland’s only Grand Prix World Championship came on three wheels. My dear friend Jock Taylor with Swedish passenger Benga Johannson captured the 1980 Sidecar World Championship at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. On a truly awful August day in 1982 Jock lost his life in the pouring rain racing over the railway lines at Imatra in Finland when he crashed striving to win back the t**le that meant so much to him and his country.

Other Scotsman have come close to Grand Prix wins. The nearest was Niall Mackenzie with seven third places and a pole position in the 500cc Championship. His partner in the Silverstone/Armstrong team Donnie McLeod was a top class 250 and 350cc rider while Steve Hislop was a superb Superbike and TT rider.

Can John McPhee go one better than any of them and win a World t**le on two wheels? It is a mighty big ask but they would certainly approve of his efforts on behalf of their proud and patriotic country.



Source: The Roger Bannister moment in MotoGP™


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TOUGH WEEKEND AT DONNY AS BAD LUCK HALTS HICKY CHARGE

TOUGH WEEKEND AT DONNY AS BAD LUCK HALTS HICKY CHARGE

It was a weather affected weekend at Donington Park for the penultimate Bennetts British Superbike Championship encounter, as bad luck plagued the world’s fastest road racer, Peter Hickman during the record-breaking three Superbike races on Sunday.

After making improvements at the previous round, Hicky and the Global Robots BMW Team by Smiths Racing squad were looking to replicate that when the series returned to Donington Park. However it was a tough opening day of practice, with FP1 seeing the Superbike star tumble out before setting a fast lap whilst the wet second session saw the team go the wrong way with a wet weather setting.

Despite hoping to make amends on Saturday, Storm Alex had different ideas. With heavy rain and strong winds battering the circuit, racing for the day was abandoned, seeing three races scheduled for Sunday, the first time in Bennetts British Superbike Championship history.

With confidence high following a fourth in damp morning warm up, the world’s fastest road racer started the opening race from 15th on the grid (with times having been taken from opening practice). Starting on a damp but quickly drying track, Hicky, like much of the field, opted for full wets and was able to get a great start, immediately jumping up to 11th. Entering a race long battle with Mossey, Farmer and O’Halloran, Hicky eventually took the flag in 12th.

Race 2 saw the BMW rider enjoy a much better starting position in 10th. Unfortunately despite a strong start an incident coming out of the Melbourne Loop on the opening lap saw Hicky tumble out of contention. This left him starting 16th for the third and final race of the day. Seeing his customary good start, Hicky was able to immediately pick off a few riders, climbing up to 11th by the end of the race.

Peter Hickman

“Obviously it wasn’t a great weekend and it didn’t help me falling off Friday. We’ve been struggling for grip and it caught me out but really hindered our progress as there was no qualifying so we had a poor grid position.

The first race was wet but drying and I made the wrong tyre choice, not the team. Somehow I managed to get a decent lap to give me a good grid position for race two.

I made a good start and was feeling comfortable but then I got taken out by another rider coming out the Melbourne loop and I didn’t even set a lap time for race three! So all in all we’ve been on the back foot all weekend!”



Source: TOUGH WEEKEND AT DONNY AS BAD LUCK HALTS HICKY CHARGE


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Tricky weather at Donington provides thrilling racing – Kershaw/Charlwood extend lead

Tricky weather at Donington provides thrilling racing – Kershaw/Charlwood extend lead

Tricky weather at Donington Park provides thrilling racing, as Kershaw/Charlwood extend lead

The weather felt wintry at this late stage in the season, with Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood (Santander Salt Quattro Group Yamaha) needing to keep out of trouble and score solid points. There were three F2 outfits also joining in the fun, and these were to add huge colour and flavour to the proceedings.

Qualifying

The timed session late on Friday afternoon proved to be extremely interesting, everyone sensing there were big opportunities to be had with a good grid slot.

Ben and Tom Birchall after recording just a couple of free laps earlier, hit problems and did not make it out, so it was an early bath for them. The championship leaders were somewhat eclipsed to fifth fastest, with pole position going to the F2 Suzuki of Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie. This crew are in a rich vein of form currently, having had two good finishes at Knockhill, and four victories at the recent Oliver’s Mount meeting. Second fastest and delighted to be on the front row were Ben Holland and Tom Christie. Row two comprised an impressive Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant, alongside another short F2 of Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley.

Race One

From the lights, the pole men made no mistake, taking Tommy Philp with them into Redgate. Track conditions were slippery, and Crawford/Hardie revelled in them. The bellowing Suzuki was both fast and nimble, with the long outfits unable to make best use of their superior cornering ability.

Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant never let the leaders out of their sights and were in touch throughout, making several attempts to get past. It was truly thrilling at the front as the pair scrapped it out. Championship leaders Kershaw/Charlwood were in the mix further back, seemingly unable to make ground in the way they would like.

A rejuvenated Ben Holland, now with Tom Christie alongside, was having a brilliant ride fighting his own battle with the very experienced Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley. The Kawasaki of Holland was to eventually claim the final step on the podium, proclaiming to the rest of the field that Ben Holland is back.

Kershaw and Phill Bell/Jimmy Connell were also having their own scrap, with Kershaw doing enough to keep a respectable score in the absence of rivals Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson. The latter pair were in Germany chasing Superprix honours but will be returning for the Brands finale.

Sam and Adam Christie were also mid-pack and fighting through, but track conditions were not easy, so caution was the watchword for everyone. Everyone that is except Crawford and Philp who were at it hammer and tongs up front.
Into the final couple of turns and Philp took the lead at the Melbourne hairpin, only for Lee Crawford to grab victory on the sprint to the line. This was a great example of long bike versus short bike with very impressive results.

Race Result

1  – Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie (ARC Suzuki)
2  – Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant (Roberts Construction/Tops Autos Yamaha)
3  – Ben Holland/Tom Christie (Massingberd Mundy Kawasaki)
4  – Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley (Team Founds LCR)
5  – Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro/Santander Salt Yamaha)
6  – Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell (Marin Motorsports Yamaha)
7  – Sam/Adam Christie (Christie Engineering Services Yamaha)
8  – Simon Gilbert /Paul Thomas (Draper Racing Adolf RS1 Yamaha)
9  – Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Life Safety Yamaha)
10 – Brian Gray/Kenny Cole (Yamaha).

Race Two

Late in the afternoon the track was dry, and the sun was out. This would be different scenario, and with the top ten reversed on the grid, veteran Brian Gray sat on pole and made the best of it. The High Wycombe motorcycle dealer had recently celebrated his seventieth birthday, but he was to show he had lost absolutely none of his commitment and ability. He was born on the same date as Barry Sheene, hence the number seven he carried most of his career. Alongside him were Andy Peach/Ken Edwards, so these were two vastly experienced crews who would be hard to pass.

Kershaw/Charlwood flew through from row three and once past Brian Gray, never looked back. Behind them though, the entire pack had one of the most frantic and spectacular battles witnessed in modern times. No fewer than ten outfits were dicing for the same bit of tarmac lap after lap, and the picture changed every few yards.

Slowly but surely teams fought through, with Brian Gray stubbornly holding his own and refusing to give ground easily. Up front with them was the F2 outfit of Founds/Walmsley, giving a good account of themselves in fast company on long bikes.
One by one the fast men made it through, with the Christie Brothers breaking clear into second place. Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney took the Silicone Barnes Yamaha into third, making up for a race one retirement.

Tommy Philp’s progress was hampered this time around, and after locking horns with Phil Bell for several laps he broke free into fourth with Blackstock still in sight. After running very strongly all race in third and fourth place, swapping and fighting all the time, Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley were to retire on the final lap. Theirs had been a performance to equal that of Crawford in race one, and it was heart-breaking to see them go out. Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz had a fine ride chasing down Phil Bell at the end, with Crawford/Hardie following them home in seventh.

Race Result

1 – Kershaw/Charlwood
2 – Christie/Christie
3 – Blackstock/Rosney
4 – Philp/Bryant
5 – Bell/Connell
6 – Biggs/Schmitz
7 – Crawford/Hardie
8 – Martin Kirk/Shelley Smithies (MK Racing Yamaha)
9 – Holland/Christie
10 – Gilbert/Thomas.

Standings

Kershaw 161
Christie 105
Ellis 100
Philp 76
Bell 73
Stevens 70
Blackstock 59
Holden 58
Biggs 51
Reeves 50

The final round comes from Brands Hatch 16th-18th October.

Barry Nutley

Source: Tricky weather at Donington provides thrilling racing – Kershaw/Charlwood extend lead


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ITV 4

ITV 4

ITV4 TONIGHT, TUES NIGHT, WED NIGHT, BEST RACES ON IOM FROM LAST DECADE.

Source: ITV 4


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Rebel Read

Rebel Read

I’ve just finished reading Phil Read’s autobiography entitled ‘Rebel Read’ subtitled ‘Prince of Speed’ which was the t**le of his earlier book. I know there are mixed opinions about Read and particularly his a**ociation with the TT, but I was a fan then and I still am now and I can heartily recommend his book. It’s well written with loads of great photographs. He does seem to have made things difficult for himself at times but nontheless he could certainly race motorcycles and his career record is really impressive.

Source: Rebel Read


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Mackenzie becomes third different Donington winner as t**le fight rages

Mackenzie becomes third different Donington winner as t**le fight rages

Mackenzie becomes third different Donington winner as t**le fight rages ahead of Brands Hatch

Tarran Mackenzie became the third different rider to top the Bennetts British Superbike Championship podium at Donington Park this afternoon, grabbing the lead with four laps to go to give McAMS Yamaha the final victory of the weekend.

The final race of the weekend got underway with Josh Brookes leading the pack into Redgate for the first time ahead of Jason O’Halloran, but Tommy Bridewell was instantly on the attack and grabbed second on the Oxford Products Racing Ducati.

Glenn Irwin was making a move up the order, edging into third with a move on lap four, before the Honda Racing rider snatched second two laps later from Bridewell.

Bridewell’s race ended in disappointment when he retired with a technical problem on lap seven, but at the front Brookes was leading Glenn Irwin with Mackenzie piling on the pressure in third place.

On the ninth lap, there was drama for O’Halloran, when the McAMS Yamaha rider collided with Christian Iddon as the pair battled for fourth place and the collision with jammed his clutch in his lever guard, which dropped him down to eighth place by the finish.

By the tenth lap Glenn Irwin had grabbed the lead with Mackenzie in second and Brookes in third, but the McAMS Yamaha rider made his move at the Fogarty Esses and was able to hold off his Honda Racing rival.

Brookes completed the podium and his biggest points haul overhaul from the three races meant he was crowned the Monster Energy King of Donington; the VisionTrack Ducati rider leads the standings by 16-points into the final three rounds.

Christian Iddon was fourth fastest on the second of the VisionTrack Ducatis, and he heads into the final rounds in second place in the standings, with Gino Rea completing his best weekend of the season in fifth place for Buildbase Suzuki.

Lee Jackson led the Rapid Fulfillment FS-3 Kawasaki charge in sixth place, ahead of Round 13 winner Andrew Irwin and O’Halloran whilst Luke Mossey and Joe Francis completed the top ten.

Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, Round 15 result:

1.Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha)
2.Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) +1.223s
3.Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) +3.951s
4.Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +6.742s
5.Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) +7.441s
6.Lee Jackson (Rapid Fulfillment FS-3 Kawasaki) +7.685s
7.Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) +8.090s
8.Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +9.274s
9.Luke Mossey (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +10.383s
10.Joe Francis (Lloyd & Bowker BMW Motorrad) +10.860s

Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Round 15:

1.Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) 225
2.Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) 209
3.Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) 207
4.Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 206
5.Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 179
6.Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) 146
7.Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) 139
8.Lee Jackson (Rapid Fulfillment FS-3 Kawasaki) 131
9.Kyle Ryde (Buildbase Suzuki) 130
10.Danny Buchan (Rapid Fulfillment FS-3 Kawasaki) 101



Source: Mackenzie becomes third different Donington winner as t**le fight rages


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Glenn Irwin fights back with runner-up finish at Donington Park

Glenn Irwin fights back with runner-up finish at Donington Park

Glenn Irwin clawed back some ground in the British Superbike t**le battle with an important runner-up finish in race three at Donington Park on Sunday.

The Honda Racing rider lost his championship lead after crashing out in the wet in the opening race, which was carried over from Saturday as a result of bad weather at the Leicestershire circuit.

However, after finishing seventh in race two – won by t**le rival Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) – Irwin battled back to clinch the runner-up spot behind McAMS Yamaha rider Tarran Mackenzie in the third race, with Brookes completing the podium places.

Former champion Brookes was leading the race until he was overhauled by Irwin, who appeared on course for victory.

However, Mackenzie was on a charge and began to reel in Irwin after passing Brookes for second place.

Mackenzie also lined up a move on Irwin and once the Scotsman had his nose in front, he was able to open a slight gap to claim victory by 1.2s from Irwin, with Brookes taking third ahead of team-mate Christian Iddon.

Andrew Irwin finished seventh, Jack Kennedy (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 13th, Keith Farmer (Buildbase Suzuki) 15th and Graeme Irwin (Team 64 Kawasaki) was 19th.

With one round to go at Brands Hatch (October 16-18), Brookes leads Iddon by 16 points in a one-two for Paul Bird’s Ducati team, with Carrickfergus man Irwin two points further behind in fourth, only a point ahead of Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha).

Kyle White



Source: Glenn Irwin fights back with runner-up finish at Donington Park


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SUNDAY WIN AND PODIUM FOR KRT

SUNDAY WIN AND PODIUM FOR KRT

Jonathan Rea won the ten-lap Tissot-Superpole race at Magny Cours but just missed out on securing the 2020 WorldSBK championship t**le itself after finishing fourth in the final 21-lap race. Jonathan’s KRT team mate Alex Lowes scored his second podium in as many days in the Superpole race and was then seventh in race two.

In the Tissot-Superpole race, held in cool and wet conditions, KRT recorded a 1-2 finish, with Rea winning his 99th race across his entire WorldSBK career after what was his 300th race start in this category of racing. Lowes was a constant threat behind Rea and finished a confident second after another strong ride in the wet.

The second full distance race of the penultimate round was eventually held in damp but not heavily wet conditions, which played a part in not allowing early race leader Rea to continue his run of Magny Cours race wins and take another perfect hat-trick – which he achieved at Portimao earlier this season.

With his only championship rival Scott Redding out front in race two, third place would still have been enough to give Jonathan a sixth consecutive t**le with Kawasaki. After his old championship rival Chaz Davies passed him for the final podium place, Rea finished fourth and will go to the final round in a commanding championship position.

Now Jonathan needs just three points across three races at the final round to win the t**le.

A race two seventh in France for Lowes, added to his two earlier podiums, puts him up to fifth in the championship overall.

With one round to go Rea has a total of 340 points, Redding 281, Davies 222, Michael van der Mark 203 and Lowes 179.

The final round of the 2020 championship will take place at Estoril in Portugal, between 16 and 18 October.

Jonathan Rea, stated:

“Having started 300 races in WorldSBK makes me feel a little bit old, but it was a nice Superpole race because Alex was keeping me very honest. The gap was very stable and I had to concentrate to the max. We made a small set-up change from yesterday and I felt it really helped me, especially in the final laps with tyre drop. In race two, with the weather conditions at Magny Cours, you have to expect the unexpected and we saw all weekend that when there was not a lot of surface water, we were struggling. In morning warm-up and in the Superpole session, for example – especially with traction in the exit of the corner. I was losing too much on the exit of T5. But the bike set-up was pretty good in the chicanes and all the places where you had to be aggressive with the bike. It was pretty good but just this stop-and-go corner, on the exit, I had too much TC working and too much spinning. It was a really fun race because the bike was moving a lot and I was riding on the limit, but unfortunately not to the podium place that was the target.”

Alex Lowes, stated:

“Overall it was a positive weekend for us. I got a positive start in the Superpole race and felt good in the initial laps. Johnny was a bit quicker at the end and I was struggling a little bit with the front end. In those ten lap races you have to get a good start and get into a good position and we did that really well. It was a great 1-2 for Kawasaki. The final race was a bit tricky and I did not have the feeling I needed. When the track dried up I just couldn’t seem to get the grip and I could not attack and ride like I wanted. This was frustrating but overall in the wet I was really happy with the work the guys did. Big thanks to them because it is never ideal in these cold and wet conditions. I am really happy to be leaving France with two podiums.”

Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 12th and then a faller today, Valentin Debise (Outdo Kawasaki TPR) 16th and 17th, and Xavier Pinsach (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 18th and then a no-scorer. In the championship Xavi is 15th, Debise 27th and Pinsach 28th.



Source: SUNDAY WIN AND PODIUM FOR KRT