Monday, 14 May 2018

Leading the superbikes into the final race !

The Donington Park round was extremely exciting, but for all the wrong reasons !

The Team were relieved to have come away with 4th position in the Superbike standings, and the lead in the Superbike EELC series. An early race crash cost the team 17 laps and despite some fantastic racing, particularly by Graeme Gowland, who posted the fastest absolute race lap of 1min 14.51 secs, a full 0.9 secs ahead of eventual winners Team Force, the team could not recover to a top position.

We should not just single out Graeme, as both Peter Linden and Hugh Brasher both raised their games and responded splendidly in the fightback.

The meeting started on Thursday last with a trackday to test some new items, including Conti's new 17" inch front tyres, plus more track familiarisation for Hugh. [as an aside, Conti used Donington Park to launch the new Mark 3 version of the 18" Road Attack CR race tyre, which we have used so successfully in the CR2 form for 5 years. The CR3 is now available to the public and will surely prove to be the next benchmark in competitive classic racing.]  Thursday's tests were very valuable as a new geometry set-up was found which was used in the race and proved competitive.

Saturday's sessions were very short and despite the best efforts of the organisers, the timetable was
in chaos by mid day.! However, enough time was found to do some further useful work on suspension, albeit leaving the full tank testing as late as warm up.

Race day was fine and dry. The team had a great start and settled into P3 for lap one.The crash, on lap 3 from P2, which was not rider error, necessitated front brake, fairing and rear brake lever replacement. This took an overlong 20 mins, but equipped the team with a bike capable of fastest lap in the final hour.

The crash completely altered the team's race strategy (which had aimed to scoop the maximum mid- race points bonus) to one of simply abiding by the rules (40 mins minimum for 3rd rider and a max of 120 mins for any rider) and getting to the flag in an efficient manner.You can race as fast as you like but you cant make up 17 laps in 4 hrs.

In short, it was a fraught race in which we were very happy to go home relatively unscathed and still be in the lead in the EELC Superbikes. It now leaves the team only Oschersleben to show the true potential of this fantastic new bike.!!

Thanks to all team members, riders and sponsors for their support.......and in particular Hugh Brasher, Maurice Walcock, Graham Matcham of Conti, plus Lee and Ray Marchant of MES.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Marchant Engineering Services

Lee Marchant of Marchant Engineering Services (MES) has confirmed sponsorship backing for the Team for the 2018 season. Team Manager Russell Benney said "What a terrific vote of confidence in the Team following its great performance at Paul Ricard two weeks ago. I know that Lee was disillusioned by the cronyism of the organisers of the ECS championship, but his enthusiasm has been firmly reignited by the arrival of the European Endurance Legends Cup (EELC). As we now find ourselves leading the Superbike class after round one, we can expect some great exposure leading up to round two at Donington Park on 13th May. The EELC organisers have already shown themselves to be on a new level in terms of being media savvy, so I know that MES will be getting even more value for money this season.We are very pleased to welcome MES as sponsorship partners once again."

Lee Marchant " I followed the live timing and reports from the Paul Ricard race from the UK and just wished I could have been there. The boys did so well and leading at half distance was a highlight. The other was Peter's big push on laps 94-96 to try to retake third when he scored the team's fastest lap. Absolutely great. I am very happy to continue to sponsor the team in this important inaugural year for the EELC and look forward to some more close racing and great images"

MES have been enthusiastic supporters of the team for 4 or 5 years and were significant contributors towards winning the 2015 European Classic Series. The company provide general and specialist fabrication and maintenance services to a range of industries in Southern and Eastern England.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Paul Ricard - A great result !

Top marks to all concerned; we come away equal third in the championship and in the lead in the Superbike category!

The race was held in cold dry conditions with track temperatures around 9 deg. C ! In qualifying Team Force had dominated with Greg Fastre and Stephane Mertens setting fastest times in the daylight and the dark qualifying sessions. Our aggregated time (with three riders) had placed us sixth.

Qualifying was eventful - with a pitiful amount of track time devoted to endurance, every minute would count. For us, a troublesome gearbox required us to abandon the race engine and insert a mildly tuned engine originally built for the UK club race scene. However, despite being down on power it proved easy to use and returned the reliability that was just what the doctor ordered. We sincerely hope that the Donington Park organisers give us sufficient practice over the May weekend.

The race commenced at 8.00 PM, in pitch darkness, a first for the Phase One Team, but it went without incident. Team returnee Graeme Gowland completed a fine 65 minute session (now no 45min max stint rule) to hand over, in second position behind Force, to Peter Linden. After another 35 minutes Peter inherited the lead when Stephane Mertens crashed the Team Force bike heavily into a barrier at the end of the Mistral. He was uninjured. The bike was not so lucky. After a further 30 minutes Peter handed the bike to Hugh Brasher, still leading, now by some 20 seconds, from Roadrunner, Haquin and Taurus.

The EELC organisers have adopted the widely despised mid race distance points award system - one that, in this case, awards points to the top ten at the two hour mark. Rewarding fast (works) but possibly unreliable bikes was never part of what endurance was about. The clue is in the name; endurance.! Anyway, we scooped 10 points there, for leading at mid race.!

So back to the race, after Hugh' stint we were 4th, but it was still all oh so close, each pitstop would drop you 3 places! Graeme returned another fine 18 lap stint to hoist the team back to third and set us up for Peter to challenge for the finish rostrum, however, we all knew it would be a very big ask. In order to optimise the rider times (max 120 mins, min for third man 40 mins) we had planned our compulsory 5th stop (another wacky rule by the organisers to penalise the Guzzi and Ducati entries) very late in the proceedings - so late in fact that it was almost impossible for Peter to catch third place by the line. We failed by 1 second and finished 4th. In doing so Peter set the fastest finishers race lap time of 2;22.9 secs. Not bad for an old boy ! The top six finishers were all on the same lap.

Because of the mid-race award, the team are now equal third going into Donington Park.

Congratulations on superb performances from Roadrunners Suzuki, Moto Bel and Godier Genouud. What a great race.

Our thanks go to our sponsors and team members for a superb job. See you all on 12th May for round two.

Race Results

Roadrunner Suzuki      96 laps   Suzuki
Moto Bel Guzzi           96 laps   Moto-Guzzi
Team Godier Genoud  96 laps    Kawasaki
Phase One Endurance  96 laps   Suzuki
Team Taurus                 96 laps   Suzuki
Japauto club                 96 laps   Honda

Photographs by Jacco Dijkhuizen and Martyn Watchurst

Monday, 19 March 2018

Off we go to Paul Ricard !

Round One of the new mini-series, the European Endurance Legends Cup (EELC) is being held over the weekend of 24th /25th March.

The team will be contesting all three rounds on its brand new P&M GSXR1100 Suzuki, which has just been finished in the nick of time - see the debut photos below.

We are all excited and intrigued about just how well it will go; so far there has been no easy comparison with any known reference. All we know so far is that it has better brakes and is a darn sight lighter.

Perhaps our best experience will be to welcome back our old team rider, Graham Gowland, at Paul Ricard. We all met up again at our Valencia test and it seemed just like he had never been away. It will be great to have his friendly face and good humour around the classic endurance paddock.

Peter Lindén, Hugh Brasher and Graeme Gowland will make a superb team.

This race is almost all in the dark, starting at 8.00 pm and finishing at mid-night. Just up our street.

Thanks to all the team members and sponsors who have helped to build the new lets see how it goes......

Friday, 2 February 2018

2018 - The Plan !

I will just give a short summary for now, with more details later.

We have the race dates decided. See below for the list.

The technical specification for the new bikes is also in place - now it's just a matter of building something!

Hugh and Peter will be fronting up the team with a third rider TBA.

Main sponsor Sweatshop has reconfirmed and we are delighted to have the full backing of Conti once again - and this year on the brand new spec tyres!

The first test is at Valencia on the 9th - 11th of March, just 5 weeks away.

A brief summary of what's been going on:

  • As predicted, the European Classic Series has finally self-destructed, with just Spa left as a stand alone event.
  • A new unofficial championship has been launched, called the European Endurance Legends Cup (EELC). This will run over 3 races, Paul Ricard, Donington and Oschersleben.
  • The Classic Bol is alive and well, again in September.
  • The Italians are running an enticing 4 race series, but they currently haven't any decent classes to race in.
  • We are building a new P&M for 2018, with more powerful engine, less weight and improved Beringer brakes.
Our race plan is:

Paul Ricard 4 hours, 24th/25th March,
Donington  4 hours, 13th May,
Oschersleben 4 hours, 8th/9th June,
Spa 2 x 2 hours, 30th June
Classic Bol 2 x 2 hours 14th/15th September

In addition, the team will do some ICGP racing on the new BSR Yamaha TZ350s, running Peter Lindén at least at Hockenheim on 7th/8th September, and at Interlagos in early December.

As a result on embarking on our new projects, we will sell another of our 2017 Peckett & McNab Suzukis. This bike is the machine that won at Imola last year. It is on Ebay and Racebike bits.

European Classic Series winning machine, ridden by Ian Simpson and Peter Lindén. Fresh from winning the Imola 4 hrs in 2017.

The motorcycle can be sold in whatever specification the purchaser requires (EELC, ECS, CRMC, Endurance or Sprint), with an 1170cc or 1230cc engine.

The present specification is for 2017 ECS;

Frame: P&M frame 148, owned from new. Built to Phase One specification in 2015, with alterations to rake and swinging arm pivot height, painted black, not powder coated.

Engine: Wiseco pistons, Megacycle cams, APE valves and springs, Salter head, Nova gearbox, reinforced clutch, high ration oil pump, etc,

Rolling Chassic: Ohlins worked Thundercat 41mm forks, Koni rear units, Moto Sachses ignition, Dymag magnesium wheels, 18 x 2.75 and 18 x 3.75. 300mm Beringer brakes with 14mm master cylinder and 34mm calipers. Lithium ion battery with total loss system, Ragged Edge bodywork, Racefit titanium exhaust system, 33/35mm Keihin RS carbs, single ATL quick filler, 22L BSR tank, etc,
The motorcycle has been refreshed ready for the 2018 season and can be raced immediately with no additional work.

The motorcycle can be supplied with additional engines and spares at cost. 

(that 'Kawasaki' tank can be re stickered 'Suzuki' if required!)

More details will follow soon.


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

3rd position in FIM ECS series

Third position in the 2017 European Classic Series was just a reward for a mixed season of results.
Congratulations to all invloved, team, riders and sponsors alike.
The highlights were certainly high! It's hard enough to win a race, let alone get a 1-2 and at Imola to boot!
The corresponding lows were equally low! In summary though - Great job everyone, well done!!

At Aragon, after leading 1-2 from the start, both bikes suffered engine component failures at mid-distance, one cracked crankcase and one broken rocker arm; both bikes were retired.

Going forward, we are now determined to move onto more reliable machinery (all engine problems have been component failures - each 35 years old) and a return to a higher percentage of race finishes and great results lie ahead.

Whether the EVO 750 category happens in 2018 or not, we are moving onto later machines, almost certainly a return to ZXR 750 Kawasakis, similar to those which the team had so much success with in the 1990s. Two machines will be built for either the ECS or other European (and UK) events. The first will be based on one of the team's 1991 spec bikes.

The team will run a single bike entry in 2018.

Alongside that project will sit the building of two Bill Simpson framed TZ350s for next year's ICGP races. The build budget is already in place, but currently the running costs for 2018 are not covered. We have blank fairings just waiting to be painted in somebodies colours!

This year we have been proud to work again alongside Hugh Brasher, Peter Lindén, Ian Simpson and Mike Dickinson. Our appreciation and congratulations to them all.

Thanks to everyone else for your contributions, work and support, roll on 2018!


Monday, 16 October 2017

Aragon Saturday 28th Oct

We leave on Tuesday 17th for Spain. The truck is crammed full - six enduro bikes, three race bikes, one parade bike and a moped! Not to mention a whole host of superb Continental tyres.!

The first leg to Santander is always enjoyable: 24hrs of relaxation and a few whale sightings if we are lucky.! Then the drive to Ainsa via Pamplona, Jaca and Fiscal, thats great fun too. Then, that's followed by a week with our mates, (14 this year) with the offroaders in the Pyrenean foothills. Blimey its going to be a great ten days, capped by the final race of the year at Aragon.

The proceedings start on Friday with practice and qualifying sessions, further quaifying on Sat and the race on Saturday night. The teams remain unchanged with Mike and Hugh paired together and Ian and Peter sharing a bike. 

I would like to have announced some big developments on the bikes, but the spec remains the same as Imola, but with some general freshening up - new rings, cylinders, stem seals, wheel bearings electrical connectors, etc - basically all the routine stuff that wears out. So no big performance improvements, sorry !

The race is held as part of a big classic meeting and one of the highlights is the 'big top' style tent packed with classic bike parts sellers, a real treat for the Sunday after packing up.!

The 'championship ' is currently led by Taurus Suzuki - a lovely team who have been knocking on the door of championship success for a few years. I wonder if they will consolidate or not ?

For those who have not been to Aragon before; its worth it.......and its 23deg C right now.

See you there  RB