Successful debut in 2014 Swann Series for North Coast V Twins & Craig McMartin Racing Team.
North Coast V-Twins Superbike Star Beau Beaton has made a successful debut in the 2014 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship at the season opening round held at Wakefield park over the weekend 14-16 March taking the Ducati Panigale to strong finishes all weekend while team mate – and former multiple Australian Pro Twins Champion – Craig McMartin recorded five wins from six starts in the supporting Pro-Twins Class.
Riding McMartin’s spare Ducati Panigale 1199S, Beau recorded one top ten placing over the three races, and was thirteenth overall in the Australian Formula Xtreme Superbike Championship held on Saturday.
Against Australia’s best – and by far the strongest grid seen in many years in this country – an eleventh overall for the premier Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship held on Sunday was a strong result with no testing prior to this first round.
For Beau, Friday practice was spent acclimatising back to the 1199cc Italian V-Twin after spending the last three years on four cylinder machinery, and working through the myriad of setup option available on the multi adjustable chassis. Meanwhile McMartin continued to improve and feel more comfortable on the bike after only limited racing over the last few years.
Working hard with suspension guru Steve Mudford and team technical director Mark “Doc” Downie, Beau and Craig spent time providing feedback to allow adjustment of the set-up of the Ducati Panigale to cope with the demands of the tight and technical eleven turn, 2.2km layout, that has many unique traits.
By qualifying for the Superbike Class on Friday afternoon Beau was able to record a 59.713 lap time, only .7 of a second off pole. With the competitive field assembled for this first round of the series Beau would start the first race on Saturday from fifteenth position.
Saturdays racing was as cut and thrust, as everyone had expected, and Beau rode sensationally to record seventh and eleventh places in the first two races before a technical issue caused a DNF in the final outing for thirteenth overall.
Sundays qualifying was based on the fastest race lap on Saturday’s program, Beau would start all three races on Sunday from fourteenth position courtesy of his fastest lap in race two, improving by .2 of a second from Fridays qualifying session.
Sunday saw some of the closest, most scintillating Superbike racing seen in Australian for many years, the top seventeen riders on the grid having recorded lap times on Saturday within a second of the lap record prior to this meeting getting underway.
Beau was involved in hectic dicing in all three races finishing thirteenth in the two part race one, following a battle with the man known as the “King of Xtreme”, Kevin Curtain and five time New Zealand Champion, and former Suzuki Factory Star, Robbie Bugden.
Race two was more of the same, big packs, multiple overtaking manoeuvres each lap and close tight racing with Beau having his best finish of the day, a strong tenth place only eight seconds behind second place.
Race three was slightly different with the lead group of eleven riders getting a slight gap of two seconds from about lap three. Over the remaining eight laps Beau managed to surge his way through the field to move from fifteenth to his finishing position of twelfth, leading home the second pack.
On the other side of the garage Craig McMartin dominated the Pro-Twins Category posting five wins from six starts over the weekend on his Ducati Panigale 1199S.
Craig was in a class of his own and decimated the Pro-Twins field in setting a new class lap record in race one on Saturday, then lapping within a tenth of a second in four of the five remaining races over the weekend.
Craig’s bike was still running all road fairings, headlights and tail lights and proved to be extremely adaptable to the demanding nature of the circuit.
That’s was a pretty exciting weekend” commented Beau.
Beaton. “Firstly, massive thanks must go to Craig for allowing me to ride his spare bike, and give me the best equipment in terms of gearing and suspension. We were swapping bikes in our only pre race test and we could both do the same lap times on each bike. On Saturday were on for a good result but an exhaust spring broke and not wanting to risk any damage to the bike I pulled in, pity as we were in an excellent positing for a top ten finish overall. On Sunday morning Muddy made a big step forward in the feel of the front end and the bike felt great, in the only test we had he wasn’t there so this weekend was the first chance to really make serious changes. Unfortunately we went a little backwards in the last race on Sunday in terms of setup but that is what happens when you have limited preparation. The races were great though, I got great starts but it was so hectic in turn two that I lost ground in all three races. Still, it was great to out there racing and I can’t wait to do it again”.
“After having so much time off from serious racing I am pretty happy with how the weekend went” said Craig McMartin. “I would have been happier if I went faster, a 59 would have been good, but to set a new lap record on a bike that had minimal preparation was fantastic and goes to show how good the Panigale is as it comes off the showroom floor”.
After such a successful first round the North Coast V Twins Craig McMartin race team is now in discussion Racers Edge Performance and other supporters in relation to contesting further rounds of the 2014 Swan Australasian Superbike Championship.
Beau would like to thank Craig McMartin, North Coast V-twins, Steve Mudford from Race Dynamics, Mark Downie, Greg from Racers Edge Performance & Kevin from Quick Lap Performance for all their help over the weekend..