After a long trip down to Donington on the Friday night, due to accidents and road works along the way, Team RBRacing/Labman arrived at about 6.30pm. No rest for the team though as both riders had to climb into their leathers and take bikes up to Technical and clothing Inspection while the girls sorted the Caravan and supper out. Both bikes ok but wheels then had to be removed and left overnight for the tyre fitter to fit new tyres, ready for Saturday morning early qualifying.
7.00am soon arrived with Richy and Gerry up and about, signing on and fitting freshly shod wheels back onto bikes. Qualifying was again extra important as another oversubscribed grid meant the bottom half dozen or so riders would go into a “B” race with the “Streetfighter” class (the same as what happened at Mallory Park a month ago). Not to worry, both riders up to the job with Richy qualifying very well again in 9th with Gerry in an excellent 34th from 43 destined to be on the “A” race grid.
‘ead down arse up lad!
Great to see some of the Labman staff had come to watch the team at play, and soak up the noise, colour and excitement of motorcycle racing. Tea and cakes were served up by Jan and Ally on a pleasant but chilly morning. Thanks to Jo, Sue, Mike, Graham and Juan for making the effort, I hope you all enjoyed it!
Race one was away with 43 bikes thundering towards the first corner, Redgate. Then the frightening Craner Curves where Richy had a nasty “off”, here in March this year. Right, more right then left as the tarmac heads sharply downhill. The old CB500,s are just about flat in top through here, so it must be close to 120mph before going back 2 gears for the old hairpin. Fast flowing Schwantz curve, Macleans, Coppice, then properly flat out along the Dunlop Straight at 130 mph. Bikes slipstreaming and vying for position through the Fogarty Esses, the final two harpins and back onto the start/finish straight where less than two minutes ago we all started on the 2.5 mile lap!
Gerry doing well – getting the better of one or two riders that are normally a little quicker than him and finishing 7 places above his grid position in 27th place! Richy again riding the wheels of the little CB500, with a very fine 8th place!
The team had time for a quick lunch break before fuelling the bikes and preparing for the second race. With the weather staying fine, tyre choice was straightforward and the newly shod bikes were going well.
A decent start from both riders saw positions held for much of the race with Richy having some great dices up at the sharp end! Lines and gears were beginning to come together now on this fast flowing track, with lap times falling as well as a couple of riders!
Saturday night was cold, wet and windy but the team settled down for a lovely supper and a couple of beers. Sunday morning arrived wet and still windy. The warm up session showed the track to be still very damp although it had stopped raining.
The Thundersport 500 race was quite early in the schedule so a decision had to be made as to whether the riders went for wet or dry tyres. Wets were opted for and Richy and Gerry set about changing them. The CB500 wheels are tricky and time consuming to change, and the team took more time as brake discs had to be transferred as well (no spares). Pressures done and ready to go but with about 20 mins to go to the race, the officials decided the track was dry enough to be declared a “dry race” which meant wet tyres could not be used!
Too late to change back onto the drys, the riders had to go, but risk exclusion from the results. Both riders struggled in the race as the wet tyres were destroying themselves on the dry circuit causing the bikes to struggle for grip. Poor result for Gerry and Richy that did result in their exclusion as predicted. No points for either rider would mean badly affected Championship positions, but that, as they say, is racing!
Gerry in the mix it at the Melbourne Loop
The last race of the day (and season) was a humdinger with both riders trying to make up for the mess of the previous race. Richy was battling with the front group, passing and being re-passed all race long. Gerry was going very well, easily heading both riders that would ultimately beat him in the Championship due to him getting no points last race! Gerry dropped from 7th to 9th in the Senior Championship due to that decision! Richy dropped from a possible 7th place to 10th in the overall Championship as well! Both riders ended the season on a high though with great results leaving Richy in 8th place after dicing all race with Rob Mawbey, a very fast and experienced rider that had just sewn up winning the Senior Championship.
A 26th place(from a starting position of 33rd, with a grid of 43 riders) for Gerry may not sound that good but he beat his main rivals and was hanging on to faster riders ahead!
That’s it for this year. It’s been fantastic and could not have been done without the financial support of Labman Automation,.The team are now well known around the paddock with the livery of the bikes always standing out from the others. Richy in particular has made a big impression with his hard riding and the team plan to be back next year to have a more fun and to stick Richy on a well deserved podium! (no pressure)
Gerry and Richy say a big thanks again to Labman Automation, the fantastic organisation of Club Thundersport, and in particular to long suffering spouses Jan and Ally, and to Sarah and Jo for their help and support all season.
See you all next year!
Keep it pinned!!!