In a break from the usual round of club and state events, Morgan Park Raceway played host to a varied mix of old and new, when a diverse range of two and three wheeled vehicles took to the track for the Motorcycle Sportsmen of Qld's, Pirelli Masters of Morgan Park on May 14 – 15.
The 2016 event included the Qld Historic Road Racing Championship for solos and Rd 2 of the Pirelli National BEARS Challenge.
The Pirelli Masters of Morgan Park continues to build on the successes of previous years, as a stand-alone event it provides a break in the racing calendar and brings in visitors from far-afield. The Masters includes the much sought after Gregg Hansford Trophy race for the top 30 fastest bikes from Period 3, 4 and 5, the New Era and Pre-modern classes. Gregg Hansford was Australia's first professional motorcycle racer and a fan favourite who also became successful on four wheels. Greg was loved and respected unanimously and his memory lives on with the coveted Hansford trophy.
The Gregg Hansford trophy race was split into small and large capacities for 2016; this was to ensure that the smaller capacity bikes that had qualified for the event had a chance to compete for victory rather than just make up the numbers against the bigger bikes. First place in the 500cc to unlimited category was taken by Scott Rinaldis in a dominant style with three first places from the three feature races. The up-to 499cc category victory went to Chris Dunster, perhaps helped out by an unfortunate DNS in race two for Anthony Carroll who had the pace but not the reliability.
The Masters of Morgan Park has traditionally served as the Queensland round of the Pirelli National BEARS Challenge. The BEARS [British, Euro, American Racing] series groups bikes into classes based on performance specifications rather than capacity which sees some less familiar machinery taking to the track as well as the latest offerings from the European factories.
The Bears F1 race was all about the battle between Michael McMillan on his Aprilia RSV4 and Angus Reekie on the KTM SuperDuke 1290, both machines were immaculately presented and are as different as it is possible to get. Reekie muscled the big naked-bike around like an oversized Supermoto and had the measure of McMillan, finishing first in all the races he contested, but a DNS in Race four meant the round victory went to McMillan who was putting in some impressive times on the RSV-4. Ducati mounted local specialist Luke Cooper took out the 3rd place trophy with a consistent string of 3rd place finishes and a 2nd in the final race.
It was a successful weekend for the Gregg Hansford trophy recipient, Scott Rinaldis. A clean sweep of the Bears F2 class meant it was a relatively easy sum for the timekeepers, 100 points for the weekend assured his first place. Perhaps showing how important local knowledge is around the technical Morgan Park Circuit, the podium was made up entirely of locals, Steve Haslam took out second place on his Triumph and it was a welcome and productive return to wanderer Clint Clarke taking out the 3rd place trophy on an MV Augusta instead of his traditional 125GP.
Relatively small fields in the smaller classes mean that the BEARS F3, F4 and F5 classes were run together. Sean Oeser was unstoppable on his Aprilia SXV engined hybrid, only losing out on five points for the whole weekend in the BEARS F3 class, whilst Joe Brown took a hard fought second place and Cosimo Ubaldino ended the weekend in third. Gary Naysmith showed incredible consistency by finishing first in every BEARS F4 race, and a perfect 100 points assured him of the top step of the podium. Mark Powell, Craig Harms and Paul Casson split the honours in the battle for the remaining two spots, with Powell ending up in second and Harms taking out third. The result of the BEARS F5 race was decided by countback based on the last race. Scott Brown and Linden Roth both amassed 90 points apiece but Scott Brown took the round win by virtue of a higher finishing position in the final race. Sunshine coast resident Darren Tindale took out the final position on the podium.
Dave Boughen and Lok O’Kane looked set for a clean sweep of the sidecar class but they probably didn’t plan on running over a witches’ hat at the exit of pit lane whilst taking a wider than usual line into turn one. The witches’ hat comprehensively destroyed the chair wheel-cover and caused them to indulge in some high speed two-up gardening followed by a comedy low-speed roll around in the dirt for Lok. A quick turnaround saw them only lose two places at the finish and head back to the pits to effect some repairs which enabled them continue and win the round. Lindsay Donai and Lee Menzies took out second place for the round and Richard and Scott Goodale finished in 3rd position.
The combined big-bore historic classes provided some great racing. The Pre Modern Unlimited bikes had the pace but the Period 5 unlimited bikes showed that they still had the pace to get amongst the action. Scott Rinaldis and Ryan Yanko were always at the pointy end on the modern historics but Leo Cash and Martin Hodgson weren’t afraid to mix it with them on the big bore air cooled monsters. Rinaldis took out the Pre modern title from Yanko followed by Richard Farquharson, bad luck for Brad Phelan and Michael Mercer saw them drop out of championship position with a couple of zero point finishes. Leo Cash took out the Period 5 unlimited class, no-doubt benefiting from Martin Hodgson’s misfortune, a DNF in race two left Hodgson in second place despite three race wins, David Grant took out the final spot on the podium. The period 6 1300cc bikes fought their battles further down in the field but it was no less intense, Gary Naysmith topped the podium followed closely by Mark Powell with whom he swapped places all round, followed by John Cooper in third.
The small capacity bikes of P3, P4 and P5 fought their battles together, the pace might have been slower but the racing was just as serious. Colin Meredith took out the P3 under 500cc class title, followed by Graeme Osborne and Mark Jones. The Period 5 under 500cc class went to Dave Keenan followed by FNQ favourite Gary Ellem and Brett Dugdale. There was a great turn-out of Period 5 125GP bikes and it was hard to predict who would take out the championship. At the completion of the round, five points separated places 1 to 3, and Jason Barclay emerged as the victor with Jason Tester in second and Ron Carrick in third.
Local hero Simon Dickson was the pre-event favourite to take out the Period 6 250 class and he did not disappoint, taking an almost perfect score for the event while Anthony Carroll and Kieran McGeown pushed him hard for second and third place respectively. Callum Barker and Chris Dunster engaged in a hard-fought battle for the Pre-modern 600 class honours, with Barker narrowly taking two wins ahead of a hard charging Dunster… it was so close that one race was decided by a mere six thousandths of a second! Unfortunately, Barker was unable to contest the final two races which left Chris Dunster to claim the championship title, followed by Guy Carlyon and John Carpenter.
The Period 6 500cc class was dominated by 4 cylinder 400cc machinery, most of these bikes are over 25 years old and still in regular use in club racing around the country. James Parker, Anthony Carroll, Simon Dickson and Chris Dunster traded places all event with the round win finally going to Parker by a narrow 3-point margin followed by Carroll and Dickson, Chris Dunster finishing on equal points to Dickson but losing out on countback. Runa longside the Period 6 500 class, the period 5, 500 cc class was dominated by Rick Kwok, who had significantly more pace than the rest of the class which saw him finish with a perfect round score and the first place trophy, second went to Bill Ross and Cyrel Wright took out third. The Period 5 500-1300 class was also run in conjunction with these classes, Owen ward took out first place with a perfect 200 points followed by Darren Tindale with a perfect run of second place finishes and Mark Faulkner in third.
Club Racing returns to Morgan Park Raceway on June 18 – 19, with round three of the combined Pirelli Southern Downs road race series and Queensland road Race Championships for selected classes. Round three will also feature a round of the GP Juniors series for competitors up to 15 years of age.
Aussie MotoGP rider Jack Miller and many other Aussie international riders got their start in road racing through the precursor to this series, come see the action and check out the stars of the future.
For more information on the Motorcycle Sportsmen of Queensland, head to their website or Facebook page.
(Photos thanks to King Images)