When the calendar was first presented for the 2014 FX-Superbike Series I noticed Winton August 1-3 and I thought “that could be cold” and I wasn’t disappointed as Friday had blizzard like conditions only stopping short of snowing by very little, fortunately Saturday and Sunday were beautiful blue skies but bitingly cold with 12c the hottest temperature all weekend, starting off at -4c, it was fresh.
We were competing this weekend on a borrowed 848 (courtesy of Australian Nakedbike Champion Adrian Pierpoint) due to my 848 still in the sick bay following its massive tumble at Queensland.
My mission for this weekend was to get as many points as possible on Ado’s stock as a rock Ducati 848 and most importantly do not crash the thing!!
So with the dodgy conditions on offer Friday we kept the borrowed 848 safe in the shed.
Saturday- Apart from being freezing but also the track had natural springs around the circuit coming up through the cracks in the track and just dribbling off the track, this combined with a flyer circulated by Dunlop suggesting they did not have a tyre available for these low track temps, let you know it wasn’t the place for carelessness.
Race 1- An exciting start to race 1 as Paul Dutton through a chain through his crankcases of his 1198 Ducati off the line, surprisingly despite a chain on the track and oil in the breaking area entering turn one they did not red flag the race, not till 3 laps later when Mario Gonzalez jumped off his RSV4 Aprilia after meeting one of those natural springs with too much throttle and lean angle.
From the restart it was clear caution was the hot tip and we finished with a safe 8th outright and 2nd F2 Pro-Twins.
Races 2 and 3- Followed the same theme of just finishing as safely as possible without taking too many risks, whilst trying to fine tune some things on Ado’s 848, needless to say I ended up battling with Kris Keen on his RSV4 Aprilia and more importantly Richard Marrocchini (Moto Mechanica 1098 Ducati) who is currently hotly contesting the F2 lead in the championship with myself. Unfortunately Richard managed sneak past in every race on the brakes where I was a little reluctant to ask too much of the borrowed 848, so it was 2nd in F2 for Saturday.
Sunday – Dawned even colder -4c and ice everywhere, morning warm up was a contradiction in terms, so we gave it a miss, just an opportunity to get unlucky.
Race 1- The track a lot dryer and more confidence inspiring than Saturday I got away ok, but got caught up with Kris Keen and the faster RSV4 was difficult to find a safe way around so it was 9th in this one and 2nd in F2.
Race 2- This was the best start of the weekend and was running with the front guys for the first couple of laps, but a few scary front end moments reminded me I was here to get points and I buttoned off a bit, a bit too much as it turned out as on the 2nd last corner there was Richard up the inside on the 1098 to steal the F2 victory.
Race 3- It was getting late and cold quickly , didn’t get the world’s greatest start and got caught with Kris again and just wasn’t forceful enough to get by and Richard just in front I thought I may have a chance on the final lap but it came to nothing as the 848 started suffering some brake fade. So it was 2nd in F2 and 9th outright which was ok as we had come here to limit the damage of our championship and we left with a slender 4 points lead over Richard, but we will be back on my 848 for the next round at Wakefield Park 12-14th September and will be there to sort things out.