Round Two of the Pirelli Southern Downs Road Race Championship featuring the Pirelli Queensland Road Race Championships threw up some surprises and heated on-track action some of them before the racing even started on April 2 – 3, 2016.
A substantial amount of oil was deposited on track following a mechanical failure in qualifying which necessitated a break in proceedings to clean up. Many hands definitely made light work of it and thanks to a herculean effort by all, the track was left looking good-as-new in a remarkably short period of time and qualifying could recommence.
The combined format of the championship means that select Queensland Championship classes are run at each Southern Downs round and this time it was the turn of Formula 3 and Sidecars to begin their campaign for championship glory in the first of two Queensland championship events.
Leigh Holmes, Mick Pillinger and Mark Gordon got their championship challenge off to a good start by replicating their finishing positions from the last club round with first, second and third respectively, but as always, the finishing positions only tell part of the story. Leigh Holmes was unstoppable, taking four wins from four starts. Chris Dunster, Kyle Mountney and Callum Barker all showed flashes of brilliance but put too many ducks on the board to be a serious threat in the final points tally. Mick Pillinger and Mark Gordon were the ones with the correct balance of speed and consistency to take out the minor places for the round giving them a decent buffer from fourth place man, James Tarbuck.
It's an over-used adage that defending a championship is harder than earning one, but last year’s Queensland Sidecar Champions Dave Boughen and Lok O’Kane were showing no signs of championship stress, taking a clean sweep of 100 points for the weekend. The 2015 runner-up team of Richard and Scott Goodale made a good start to replicating their vice-champion status with three, second place finishes, Richard and Scott were only bested in the final race by Lindsay Donai and Lee Menzies who were running with a strong pace all weekend but could not make up for a no point score in the first race. William Crick and Daniel Keppell finished out the first round of the State Championship in third place but with 14 points covering positions three to seven, this championship is by no means a foregone conclusion.
Ryan Yanko went into this round as Formula 1 class points leader, just missing out on taking a clean sweep at round one. The stakes were raised considerably in round Two with the appearance of Mitchel Paynter and Jason Martin, both making a welcome return to Morgan Park raceway after a few years on the national scene. Paynter showed he had not forgotten his way around the physical Warwick circuit and put his Kawasaki ZX-10R on pole, nearly one second quicker than points leader, Yanko, and had it not been for a slight miscalculation resulting in a DNS in race two, it would have been a perfect weekend for him. Ryan Yanko gave a stark demonstration of how quickly circumstances can change in racing, three DNFS and a third place makes for a weekend to forget. A strong, consistent performance by Rodney Criminale moves him up into the championship lead.
Dylan Mavin went into Round Two as the early favourite for the Formula 2 championship, only bested in the final race of Round One by ex-MotoGP and Current WSS wild-card Anthony West. Based on his performance in qualifying there was no reason to suggest that he would not strengthen his grip on the championship, but qualifying only tells part of the story. Mavin had the speed compared to his rivals but was missing the consistency, two DNFs from four races has slashed his championship lead meaning that Callum Barker has joined him on the top step of the ladder in equal first place. Christopher Quinn was the star of the round, only dropping one place, taking three wins and one second place while brother, Anthony Quinn finished out the round in second place, also moving up to second place in the championship.
In the 250/300 Production class it was a familiar tale with Simon Dickson continuing his unbeaten form from Round one and taking out a perfect 100 point score. Glenn Chandler also repeated his form from Round one by grabbing all the second places and Kieran McKeown jumped ahead of Anthony Carroll by taking all the third places but it wasn’t enough to change his position in the championship standings with Carroll’s performance in round one enough to keep him in third place.
With this being the home round for the top three Moto3 finishers at the recent ASBK round, there was no doubting the depth of talent on show in the Moto3/125GP class. Brian Houghton, Locky Taylor and Tayla Relph went into this round as the championship top three but Tom Edwards turned up for round two and set about shaking up the established order. Aside from Brian Houghton making a rare mistake and scoring no points in race one, each race was a carbon-copy of the last, a high-speed, four-way battle for the lead. Tom Edwards, Locky Taylor and Brian Houghton walked away with the spoils for the weekend but the championship positions remain the same.
Last Year’s Formula 4 champion, Anthony Carroll has been pushed hard this season by class new-comer Leigh Holmes. Round two played out along similar lines as Round one for the two at the top of the table, both coming home with two wins and two second places apiece, leaving Carroll with a slender two point gap at the top of the championship ladder after two rounds. Simon Dickson, Chris Dunster and Callum Barker traded blows for the minor places but Dickson’s consistency means he retains third spot on the ladder.
Leo Cash, Graeme Coney and Martin Hodgson all built on a strong showing in round one to leave this round in the top spots for the Formula 6 class. A rare mistake from Cash in the final race took the shine off his weekend but it wasn’t enough to affect his position at the top of the championship.
There was no change at the top of the table in the Supermoto class running on the short combined dirt and tar circuit. Another dominant display from Adam Griffin saw him take every win while Brad Trivett moved up to second place in the championship by virtue of a clean sweep of second places. Brad Griffin had a battle on his hands to move up to third place in the championship as he was pushed all the way by Mick Ricketts, Mark Sparrow and Yosuke Kawamura.
Be sure to get to Morgan Park Raceway on May 14 – 15, for the Pirelli Masters of Morgan Park, featuring the 2016 Queensland Historic Road Race Championship and a round of the Pirelli National BEARS Challenge, the machines may be more culturally diverse and the overall age of equipment will definitely be higher but the action on track will be just as intense.
The next round of the Motorcycle Sportsmen’s Pirelli Southern Downs Road Race Championship featuring the Pirelli Qld Road Race Championships will be held at Morgan Park Raceway on June 18 - 19. Check out www.motorcyclesportsmen.com.au for more information.
(Photos thanks to King Images)