Craig McMartin Racing and Racers Edge Performance on the pace until unlucky break in Darwin for round four of ASBK.
Round four of the 2018 ASBK delivered both substantial progress and heartbreak in equal quantities for the Craig McMartin Racers Edge Performance Racing Team and the teams star rider, four times Australian Champion Jamie Stauffer, over the weekend of 29th June to 1st July.
Having the advantage of an untimed session on Thursday afternoon prior to the official practice sessions getting underway on Friday the team were straight into action on track to fine tune the K-Tech suspension for the unique demands of the Hidden Valley Layout.
With the data from Thursday’s session the team opted to re-valve the rear suspension to give Jamie the feel he was looking for on Friday in the Darwin heat that was forecast to remain in the thirties all weekend.
Friday got underway with the overnight changes delivering immediate success, Jamie slotting into the top ten with a 1:07.816 and the teams Technical guru’s Craig McMartin, Greg Maher and Adrian Monti having a clear idea for improvement options in the setup.
The second practice session saw the team add some more rear preload to the K-Tech 35DDS Pro rear shock of the Panigale R to assist Jamie to finish off the corner better and get drive as the track temperature increased. Although Jamie finished the session in the same position on the timesheets an improvement of .4 of a second showed the changes had a positive result.
As Fridays final session got underway the team opted for more minor changes to the rear K-Tech suspension. Jamie was feeling more comfortable on the Panigale R,
despite the increased track temperature, recording his fastest lap of the weekend in a session a majority of the field failed to improve their times in. A whopping .9 improvement saw Jamie rocket the Craig McMartin Racers Edge Panigale R into sixth position ahead of 2017 Champion Josh Waters and 2016 Champion Troy Herfoss.
On the other side of the garage Heath Griffin on the McMartin prepared Russell Symes & Co Panigale also showed improvement over the day. Although remaining in twenty third position on the timesheets Heath improved his best lap by .7 in the hottest session of the day.
Saturdays first of two thirty-minute qualifying sessions got underway with track temperature a mild, for Darwin, 39.4 degrees. Overnight the team had made changes to the valving of the K-Tech fork internals of the Panigale R to give Jamie increased feel due to Friday’s rear shock development lowering lap times by 1.3 seconds. Another improvement in lap times saw Jamie take just over another tenth of a second off his weekend best to finish the first qualifying session in fifth place.
A huge ten degree increase in track temperature for the second session saw lap times fail to improve, Jamie a tenth slower than his impressive 6.4 in the heat to secure sixth for the session. On combined results over the two sessions Jamie’s 1:06.429 on the Craig McMartin Racers Edge Performance Panigale secured seventh position on the grid and leading privateer.
Heath unfortunately crashed in the second qualifying session sustaining a hand injury that would rule him out of Sunday’s races on the Russell Symes & Co Panigale. Prior to the crash Heath had shaved another .4 off his lap times.
After a weekend of such improving results the top end adventure ended with crash on the second lap of Sunday’s first Superbike race that saw former Multiple Australian Champion Jamie Stauffer sustain a broken ankle.
After losing ground off the start and dropping back outside the top ten Jamie was pushing hard as he felt he had the pace to challenge for a top five position on the McMartin Racing Racers Edge Performance Panigale R, unfortunately getting out a little wide on the exit of turn one while trying to overtake another rider and running onto a dirty part of the track. With the lost rear grip Jamie was thrown from the bike sustaining the injury that would rule him out of the remainder of the weekend.
The entire Craig McMartin Racing Racers Edge Performance Team wish both Jamie and Heath a speedy recovery from their injuries and hope to see them back on the Ducati Panigale as soon as possible.
“I really thought we could have been in the battle for fourth place this weekend” commented Jamie Stauffer. “So that makes the result a little disappointing. I didn’t get the best of starts, and just got impatient and tried to get to the front too early which is a shame. The bike was moving forward every time we went out, we had good race pace, so it was just a big stuff up on my part. I have no doubt we will be up the front soon, we are moving forward faster than anyone else. I’ll get the ankle checked out as soon as I get home and hopefully I can be back on the Panigale R at Morgan Park”.
“The weekend was looking so positive for us after Friday” commented Team Manager Craig McMartin “We made such good progress and the times were so close, from pole position to Jamie was .6 of a second. We had also concentrated on our race pace over the weekend, so we knew we could be consistent and a top five was certainly a realistic result. Unfortunately, Jamie didn’t get the start he needed and while pushing hard crashed. Despite that I am so very happy with the way Jamie and Adrian worked this weekend, I doubt we would have been able to make this rate of progress with Jamie without Adrian’s assistance. As always, a huge thanks to Greg and Julie Maher from Racers Edge Performance for everything they do, they are an integral part of this team and why I go racing. Also, my brother Dale for all his hard work over the weekend as well. I wish both riders a speedy recovery and can’t wait to be back on track with them to continue this journey”.