The Irving Vincent team jumped into the deep end of the pool when they took on Australia’s best Formula 1 and Formula 2 Sidecar riders at round 3 of the 2018 Australian Championship run in conjunction with the ASBK at Winton Motor Raceway over the weekend of 7-9 September.
Riding the Period 5 Historic Class machine that has dominated both the International Island Classic and International Festival of Speed events the K-Tech Irving Vincent Team this weekend opted to challenge Australia’s best sidecar racers, to further develop the Irving Vincent Sidecar, and allow rider Beau Beaton track time as the
team prepare for the 2019 International Island Classic in January.
Noel Beare, who has been partnering Beau on the thundering Irving Vincent at recent meetings was unavailable due partnering his son Declan on bike 14 this weekend, so the team needed to find a replacement partner for Beau Beaton.
Stepping into the vacant position was young Queenslander Corey Turner, who as well as riding in the premier Superbike category in the ASBK races took on the role of swinger on the Irving Vincent outfit.
Friday practice was spent getting Corey familiar with Beau’s style and the unique nature of the bespoke Irving Vincent that is lovingly crafted by Barry and Ken Horner in their Hallam factory. As well as getting Corey used to the bike Barry Horner, Beau and Adrian Monti were working hard on setting up the brand new, specially developed, front K-Tech shock for the bike, this weekend being its maiden voyage.
Taking it easy in the first session on Friday morning Beau and Corey completed four laps of the technical Winton layout before upping the pace by five seconds per lap in the second session where they completed another four laps, finishing the session third overall with a 1:36.3.
Friday’s final practice session was the last event on the days program and with the new front K- Tech shock development yielding dividends Beau was able to unleash a little more of the booming 1300cc engine’s potential to complete six
laps and take another two tenths of a second off their previous best time in P2 to finish the session in second overall and first in the F1 category.
Saturdays single qualifying session saw Beau and Corey turn in their fastest lap of the weekend to date with a 1:35.1 to secure second position on the grid behind the Howard Ford / Leigh Menzies 1000 cc LCR Suzuki, despite being closely monitored by MA Officials to ensure the pushrod V-Twin was under the required 95dba noise limit.
Race one of the weekends three race program closed out the Saturday proceedings and was an entertaining baptism for Beau Beaton and Corey Turner in the Australian Sidecar Championship. Using the massive torque of the Irving Vincent 1300cc engine Beau fired off the line and into the lead through turn one. Completing the first lap still ahead of the field but with the reining Australian Champions Dave Boughen / Robbie Shorter and the Howard Ford / Leigh Menzies combinations right on their tail, the action was thick and fast. Ford and Menzies used the power of the 1000cc Suzuki to pass on lap two and open a two second buffer over Beau and Corey who were still holding off Boughen and Shorter, multiple Australian F2 Champion Mick Alton was a further 1.4 seconds back in fourth. Boughen and Shorter found a way past on lap three relegating Beau to third, a position he was able to hold till the chequered flag despite a determined charge from Jeff Brown and Darren Sheldrick over the final laps.
Race two was held on Sunday just after midday and was another exciting affair. Beau once again got a great launch off the line and was right on the tail of the No.1 outfit of Boughen and Shorter as they completed the first lap, and with over two seconds lead over third place Brown and Sheldrick. Setting the fastest lap of the race to date on lap three Beau and Corey kept the thundering Irving Vincent in position to pressure the reining champion until lap six when Boughen put in a stunning lap a full second faster that Beaton and Turner could manage on the Irving Vincent. Beau held second position to the flag eventually finishing five seconds behind the race winner on his modern LCR monocoque chassis and over twelve seconds ahead of third placed Brown and Sheldrick.
The third and final race of the weekend was the final event on the Sunday program and once again featured close racing over the opening laps.
Beau Beaton and Corey Turner got a great jump off the line on the two valve 1300cc Irving Vincent and opened a gap of almost one second as they completed the first lap with Boughen / Shorter fractionally ahead of Ford / Menzies. The pursuers narrowed the gap by four tenths of a second on lap two with Beau riding the wheels off the historic P5 machine to stay ahead of the pursuing modern F1 pack. At the completion of lap three the gap was down to .3 with Boughen / Shorter finding their way past on lap four. Due to the pace Beau was pushing at, intense heat was being generated by the combination of the air- cooled engine and the brakes under the fairing causing the sensors in the ignition to start overheating with the bike starting to lose power from lap five, this allowed Ford / Menzies to relegate Beau and Corey on lap six and Brown / Sheldrick likewise on lap seven. Beau eventually crossed the line in fourth overall and in the F1 category with the leading F2 machine of Mick Alton over 2.5 seconds behind in fifth.
Barry Horner had made it quite clear during practice and qualifying that the team was here to increase the spectacle of the sidecar races and not take any points away from the riders contesting the Australian Sidecar Championship. With Beau and Corey finishing the weekend third overall the decision as made by officials to exclude the team from the final results.
“This weekend was a great experience on the sidecar, but at the same time it was hard to sit back and watch the Superbikes without being out there” said Beau Beaton. “We were fortunate to train up another passenger in Corey, who surprised us all with how quickly he was up to speed on the bike, I think it is fair to say he exceeded all of our expectations. With the help of Adrian Monti, we also developed the new custom- made K-Tech shock for the front suspension, right now it is better that we have ever had previously but I also think there is a lot more to come. I have so much more feeling on corner entry, it got better every session over the weekend with the amount of feel and confidence it provided. Overall this weekend I am happy because Corey and I pushed it to the limit and rode as hard as we could, and thanks to the work done by Ken and Barry in the factory and the development work by Adrian here this weekend we were able to convert that into lap times. We now look forward to joining the ASBK paddock again at the final round riding the P5 solo Irving Vincent in the Superbike Masters Class”.
“I knew we would be strong here at this track this weekend, but our pace even caught me a little by surprise.” said an extremely happy Team Manager Barry Horner. “It’s just a shame that some people cannot see what we are doing here. We are here to increase the atmosphere and provide entertainment, at no stage did we intend taking any points off riders battling it out for the Australian Championship. The fact we went as well as we did was a bit of a surprise though, Beau is just brilliant, and he showed how much potential both he and the bike have. Corey’s performance can only be described as stunning, we are used to having the very experienced Noel Beare to work with so when he was unavailable I was a little worried, but Corey just got better and better as the meting went on and I cannot speak highly enough of what he did this weekend. This weekend was also the first time we have run the new K-Tech front shock on the bike and with the help of Adrian Monti we made a huge leap in the overall handling of the bike here this weekend, Adrian can take a lot of the credit for that. Despite us being excluded from the results we had a great weekend, we got in some great practice for the Island Classic, developed the new K-Tech front shock and found another talented partner for Beau to go in search of more lap records, mission accomplished”.
Photo credits – Andrew Gosling TBG Sport Photography.